Running with the sub-3s: Boston Bound (Read 370 times)


Interval Junkie --Nobby

    TRM-7 (BM-12): My super-powers, optimistic invulnerability, ability to cruise at mach 5 w/o breaking a sweat and imperial over-confidence, have all vanished this week.  A cold hit me on Monday.  I went out for a 10mi @ AHR anyway.  Yeah, that didn't happen.  A low-grade fever had my joints aching early in the run.  I stopped, walked, tried to pick up again.  Just wasn't happening.  I bagged the double planned for later in the day and just went to bed early.

     

    The fever disappeared quickly, leaving behind fatigue, a phlegmy cough and runny nose.  I decided to do the Wednesday track workout in 8F.  Coach, great guy that he is, spent the morning sweeping off the 3" of powder covering the track, all while blowing a whistle for a time-based workout most people were running.  Only two of the sub3s showed (Kenny and Case).  Unfortunately, I had a different workout.  Trucking through the fresh powder for my 2x2mi quickly became a harder workout than I expected.  I could only hit the slower end of the pace-range (HMP).  Maybe it was the footing (which was pretty good, just not optimal), maybe the cold or the Cold.  Really, I think it was more of just doing the workout alone that made those second miles so tough.

     

    Saturday I found myself in Chicago.  And while Charlottesville had its first warm-spell at 50F, Chicago had icy snow at 32F.  The plan was 14miles with 4 warmup at marathon start pace, then 10 at MP.  This turned out to be a horrible failure of a run.  I'm sure I have a whole bag of excuses to choose from, but the truth is I just couldn't do anything near what the workout required.  My head wasn't in it.  I couldn't lock down my breathing.  The environment just had me rattled.  Why is it that a run on home-turf, with lots of rolling hills, feels easier than a dead-flat new path like Lakefront Trail?

     

    The only enjoyable part of that run was when I picked up with the University of Chicago X-C team.  They were out doing 14mi, of what I expect is their AHR pace.  I kept up with them for about a mile and a half at 6:25 pace.  This was early in my workout, but my mood was already sour and I needed something to make this feel like running rather than slogging.  We chatted away: nice guys.  One had just beaten the freshman record at their meet in Wisconsin.  I asked about hill training and got the stock Chicago response: 'Ha!".

     

    You know, quick race times are nice to talk about at the pub, but I'd trade any PR for just an ability to cruise with fast guys.  It's my favorite part of running.

     

    Perhaps predictably the workout went downhill from there.  I realized an early 6:25 mile or two was going to affect my workout.  Thought it would mean 8 @ MP instead of 10.  Didn't even come close to that.  My pace got slower and slower until I turned around into the wind.  Then the workout just got miserable.  Small daggers of icy-snow jabbed me in the eyeballs.  Right around where the kids were tobogganing on a man-made hill I took a meaty one straight on.  Dropped a loud F-bomb and clutched my eye just as a kid was tugging his sled across the trail in front of me.  His Dad wasn't too impressed, "Duuude!  Really?!"

    (66mpw)

     

    The next few days got slightly better.  My Monday AHR run wasn't so bad.  Still couldn't lock-in my breathing.  But ah well.  Hopefully this week will redeem my confidence.

    2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

    Current Status 06/19: Pelvic stress-fracture = 6-weeks of no running.

      Ah! You found the other hill in Chicago...both sledding hills, one in Humboldt and the one you ran past. That's all we got.

       

      Enjoying reading about your journey to sub 3, esp the trials and tribulations. Character building! : )


      Interval Junkie --Nobby

        TRM-6 (BM-11): Back with the crew this week and things started looking up.  Wednesday's workout was a descending progression run from HMP to 10K pace.  I mostly made my pace targets but worked a bit harder in the workout than I expected.  For the Saturday long-run Coach scheduled for us another progression run, this time for 20mil or so.  In sets of 3miles: MP+50s, +30, +20, +10, MP, MP-(?).  We picked a course that is a steady incline for 3miles.  So ever odd set was uphill, with the evens downhill.  At first the incline doesn't feel like anything, but by the time we got to the uphill MP set it was a hard work to keep the pace close to target.  There's a 15sec differential between the up and down, so hitting an adjusted MP at MP+10 is probably accurate.  I was shooting for MP+5.

         

        Anyway, downhill it felt like we were on wheels.  I gunned it for the last mile at 6:20 (MP-30s).  Probably wasn't smart, but the victorious feeling was worth it.  Definitely felt a bit out of control -- but not so much that the wheels were falling off or anything.  Still, I was well ahead of Rick and Deric (who blew-up -- I think he pushed the uphill MP set too hard).  Tom, just flew over the course looking really good, as he usually does.  Even Kenny smoked by in the low 6s, to finish off his run.  Pretty damn good day for all.

         

        Collective suffering is an essential part of any good workout.

         

        87 mpw

        2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

        Current Status 06/19: Pelvic stress-fracture = 6-weeks of no running.


        Interval Junkie --Nobby

          TRM-5 (BM-10): Monday I ran my typically hilly AHR route near work.  It's basically a "W".  My practice at running down hill has improved my comfort and pace, though the decline is nothing severe.  I'm leaning forward rather than back on my heels.  Still takes concentration, though.  Dropped in 10x30s hill repeats too.  And made it back in time for the meeting. It was a good day.  Felt strong.

           

          On Wednesday we did 1mi, 6x800m, 1mi from 10mi pace to 5K pace -- all with a 400m recovery lap between (which turns out to be about 3mins).  The recovery time is longer than I need to make this a hard workout so my final 800s and 1mi were faster than 5K.  Tom, Rick and I were joined midway through by a pretty fast guy named Galen.  Tom figured he was an old hand at this because Rick and I called him by his name -- there's a general policy to not learn anyone's name until they show up 4 or 5 times.  Tom was "West Coast" for half the summer.  But Galen is a masters-age guy I was in awe of when I started.  He is tall and thin, but with coat-hanger shoulders.  He trains for shorter distances and was always leading the pack by a large margin when I was with the 5K group.  He'd even run the outside lane for the workout just to keep in closer sync with the rest of us.  His running form is out of a book.  Well, Wednesday was his first time back at the track in a while -- weirdly he tends to go through this injury cycle every year.  He joined us after the first mile and tried to keep up with Tom.  Rick watch him peel off from us and just said, "He has no idea what he's in for."  By the 3rd 800 he realized I was running closer to the paces he could handle.  On the 2nd to last 800 we were kinda racing -- I was only pushing a little . . . just a bit to be in front of him; he cut a corner on the course to finish with me.  The last 800 was on the track and I had him by a good 5 seconds. It was a cheap victory: I'm at the peak of training, he's just coming back.  But it felt nice.

           

          For the last mile the track was mostly empty as everyone had finished their workouts except us.  Coach was projecting times at the quarter: "sub-6 pace, looking good.  Keep it up!"  That's what I heard for the first three laps.  Kenny was there watching and rooting me on.  So, as soon as I cross the start of the final 400m, I dropped it into a new gear.  Legs were getting that heavy feeling and I was fighting it off.  But my breathing got weird again as it has a few times; my throat seems to close -- though it feels like my lungs are full and processing efficiently, if I could only get air down there.  It only happens when I'm near red-lining in the cold.  I trucked over the finish line feeling solid and pooped.  Coach yelled out, "That was one heck of a last 400, you dropped 15seconds off your pace!"

           

          One of the wonderful things about Coach is he always responds to people's performance according to their relative ability.  My mile wasn't very impressive compared to Tom, or his RMR runners, most of the sub3s.  But he knows it took a lot of work for me to hit that pace at the end of a workout and he recognized it with enthusiasm.  And that's what he's like for everyone down to the 5hr marathon plodders.

           

          Saturday was difficult: we had about 14" of snow dumped on our quasi-Southern town.  There's a special place in Hell for those who didn't shovel their sidewalks.  And unfortunately, the plows don't understand how far to push the snow off the street.  So, the sidewalk was patchy-death and the road, now missing its shoulder and bike-lane and parking spaces, was equally lethal.  The question was where to run for what was bound to be the hardest workout of the season: 3mi then 12mi @ MP.  To be honest, I had a lot of anxiety about this workout; in Chicago I blew up on a similar 10mi @ MP.  I knew if I had to run this on the treadmill I was facing another failure.  Instead we found a flat and cleared 3mi part of Free Union to run on.  Rich, Tom and me.  We had to sneak the run in between rain and 15mph winds.  Eventually the winds got us -- and royally pissed me off.  Other than two miles that I have a couple of good excuses for, I made my paces (about 6:49avg).  But it wasn't exactly a confidence builder: the workout was really hard and I felt like I was ground-pounding more than any other workout.  The rest of the weekend my legs felt a bit beat-up.  And to think: the race is just two of those.  Still, good workout to have in my pocket.

           

          62mpw (recovery week).

          2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

          Current Status 06/19: Pelvic stress-fracture = 6-weeks of no running.

            Nice.  Looks like you nailed you MP run.  Even if it was harder than you wanted, 12 miles at MP is never easy.


            Interval Junkie --Nobby

              TRM-4 (BM-9): After last weeks 12 @ MP run, I felt a bit fatigued.  Not "dead-legs" just tired-legs for the first time this training period.  Wednesday morning the track was still covered in snow so we hit a rec-park and ran around the asphalt perimeter.  6mi Progression run from MP-> to 10K pace was the mission.  On the way there I spotted a girl blowing through The Corner with ease.  After the warmup, there she was again -- standing next to Coach.  "Erin, you run with these guys [us]."  I gave her the breakdown of expected paces.  She chose Deric and me, instead of Tom.   After about 2mi Coach shouts out, "Looking good Eric, just keep up with them."  I shouted back, "Who's keeping up with whom?!"  She was keeping an impressive pace and hardly looked like she was working.  We were all working.  She only did 3 of the 6 miles, but finished strong.  She probably ran home through The Corner at the same pace.

               

              For the 2 last miles Deric pushed.  Later I found out he had skipped the Saturday run, so had fresh legs.  But at the time I kept thinking, "just don't lose contact.  Just don't lose contact."  I was trailing him by about 10ft and just couldn't close.   It's funny, this quasi-racing Deric and I do.  It's a lot of fun.  It's all within a certain bounds of effort.  We could certainly have gone faster and made it a real race, but somehow that is against the rules.  The effort needs to be about what the workout calls for . . . and then just pushed a little bit.  Everyone knows we still have the long-run ahead of us.  Well, I trailed Deric until about 800m from the finish.  Then I just hit the gas.  I think our last split was 6:10 for the mile.  Right on target.

               

              Saturday's long run was the infamous "Time On Feet" run.  You take your expected finish time and divide by 22 or 23miles and that's the pace you should run.  That put us at 7:50 for a 3hr run.  The guys have a habit of running 7:30 or faster and kinda missing the point of the workout.  I had to be the wetblanket and announce faster paces, "Okay mom, we'll slow down," was the retort.  I blew up on this same run in Oct so really wanted to make sure I could complete it this time.

               

              So, for 3hrs we ran around town.  And in 3hrs at an easy pace you get kinda chatty.  We talked about modern trends in English grammar, The Decline of the Roman Empire, the definition of Irony; this lead into a dissertation on the Krebs Cycle by Deric (who is a brain surgeon) and whether athletes habitually spiking their adrenaline with Gu makes for Type II Diabetes candidates of the future ("No" was the conclusion); that was followed by the relative merits of Aristotle vs Kant in moral reasoning; then Kant's response to David Hume; then a literary evaluation of the works of Herman Hesse.   Around that time we were a bit less than a mile from home.  There are a bunch of hills that lead back to Riverview Park.  I decided to see what I had left in the tank.  How much had this 21mi run really taken out of me?  I charged up the hills and tried to avoid breaking as I went down.  Keep my weight forward.  Deric, always game for a little action, took chase.  After 3/4 a mile we hit the park at 6:10 pace.

               

              Usually the ToF run destroys me.  This day I felt great.

               

              Sunday we decided to go out for an easy run together on Ridge.  We were all gathered and ready to take off when Rachael Ward showed up.  Rachael ran last Summer at the Olympic Trials.  I think she's 22, but she looks 16.  Always a happy smile on her face, she popped out of her car with headphones dangling from her collar.  "TIME ON FEET, yesterday!" we called out to her, "RECOVERY RUN, don't Judge!"   She laughed.  We waited until she was over the first hill before we started out.

               

              (86mpw -- more than I'd planned.  Now on to the taper).

              2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

              Current Status 06/19: Pelvic stress-fracture = 6-weeks of no running.


              Interval Junkie --Nobby

                tl;dr: Shooting for 2:58.  2:57:30 might be possible.  Please don't let it get above 50F.

                 

                TRM-3 (BM-8): After the ToF run, the mid-week workout was rather long (11mi total).  2x1mile @ 10mi-10k (600m rest), 4x800m @ 5k (400m rest), 2x1mile @ Faster than first miles (600m rest). The very long recoveries gave me plenty of time to recoup.  I wish there were races like this: with rest intervals.  I think my soccer/ultimate history tuned my body to recovering faster than average.  Anyway, I killed the workout.   On Sunday we went back to Green Springs, where I chased Deric in our first 8 @ MP run.  This time 11 @ MP.  Deric took off strong.  My objective was to keep 6:43 pace.  He pulled ahead of me and widened the gap over the first 6 miles.  I just kept him in sight and kept my effort/pace (it's kinda uphill on way out).  On the way back I dropped a 6:35 and a 6:28 (downhill) to catch up to him and pass.   6:43 avg (not including the last mile of 6:15).  The effort was a bit harder than I would have liked -- fresh gravel on the road an 13F might have contributed to that.

                 

                TRM-2 (BM-7): It snowed in town again.  The track wasn't open so we had to run on the "carpet".  I've started over-dressing again: 3xwool shirt, windbreaker, wool cap, gloves, tights and windbreaker pants.  The workout took a lot more effort, but I still hit my paces -- just not the lower-range of the paces like I'm used to.  The day before I had gone to the gym and did 8mi on the treadmill in similar attire, trading the windbreaker for an old sweatshirt.  I looked homeless.  I was also soaked through.

                 

                TRM-1 (BM-6): So, the taper is in full swing.  Like clockwork, my wife got sick the week before the marathon.  I tried to quarantine her.  That didn't go over so well.  This morning I woke with a scratchy throat and feeling a little dumpy.  Hopefully, whatever is it I can kick by Wednesday, giving me time to get to 100% by Sunday.

                 

                I went to Coach with a battle plan for a 2:58 goal.  It's basically this:

                 

                Start 7:15 and for the first 3 miles chip off 5 seconds

                Then lock into 6:47 until the half.  That will put me in debt by 51sec (1:16 with terrain).

                At the half start 6:45.  At 21 6:43.

                With terrain this will bring me in at 2:58:01

                 

                I think it's a conservative plan and Coach liked it.  However, if I'm feeling good at the half, I might try to drop to 6:42, and then 6:37 at 20.  That would be 2:57:01.

                 

                During most of the training period I felt like I could chew glass and shoot lightening out of my butt.  I don't feel that way right now.  There might be a few good reasons: 1) the taper, 2) over-dressing, 3) lots of life-stress right now 4) possible cold  5) the TAPER!  Then again, I might just have peaked early -- not sure there's anything I could have done about that.

                 

                Been working on my race-weight too.  At NYCM I was 167lbs before carbo-loading.  This week I'm 163lbs.  Missed my goal by 1lb, but I'm pretty happy about it.

                 

                The last thing of course, is the temperature.  Looks like 41F - 65F.  Much warmer than I would like, considering most of my training was at 13-25F.  If I can finish before it hits 50F, I should be okay.

                2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

                Current Status 06/19: Pelvic stress-fracture = 6-weeks of no running.

                  You're ready. Give 'em hell.

                   

                  Your post is full of so much high quality tweaking that you are definitely ready to rip. The part about switching from 6:45's to 6:43's at mile 21 is especially awesome. If you can pull that off (on purpose) you're playing a different game than me, but all in all your plan sounds really solid.

                   

                  What are you going to call this thread after you break 3?

                  Runners run.


                  Interval Junkie --Nobby

                    Thanks, Mikey.

                     

                    Only two concerns at this point:

                    1) definitely caught my wife's cold.  Can't breath through my nose and have a sore throat.  I'm sure I can get over it before the race, but a bit concerned about not being 100%.  Still, i think the 2:58 is possible -- just might not be the ~2:56 I'm hoping for.

                     

                    2) Sunday happens to be the relative high temp of the surrounding 10 days.  40F - 65F.  The race starts at 7am, so hopefully I can finish before it hits 55F.  After that I'm going to be sunk.  I don't do well in the heat.  I realize few do, but I'm particularly susceptible.  I'd rather run at 13F.

                     

                    Also, hit 161.2 this morning: so I just need to maintain before carbo-loading.  I've done just about all I can to hit this goal.  Probably could have done more core, though; happy I did some.  I only failed one workout in the training period and over-achieved on most of them.  I'm confident I've prepared as best I could without pushing the injury envelope.  A short rundown of differences:

                     

                    1. Did a lot of long-hill work, specifically training myself to run down hill w/o breaking. (thanks for advice on this, especially Mikey).  All my Monday AHR runs are on a "W" course.  Many of my easy runs as well.  I even went out of town to seek some nasty hills in Nelson county just to push the quads more.  Most of this was prep for Boston, but it will probably help anyway.
                    2. I ran doubles with the second run of the day being a recovery run at 9min pace or slower.  I think this helped with the next item.
                    3. I hit 87mpw twice and averaged around 74mpw for the training period.  Even after high-mileage weeks I felt fine.  I think because of #2.
                    4. Unlike the other sub3s, I took a damn rest after NYCM.  Through Nov and Dec I just slowly built a base not caring about the pace.  I think this really helped my legs recover.
                    5. Dropped 5lbs off my race-weight.
                    6. I only did Gu on one training run and otherwise avoided sports-drinks during the run.  After the run I'm still pushing Ultra-gen.

                     

                    Nothing i can really control at this point other than to make the attempt or not.  But it looks like a green-light so far.

                     

                    I guess when I start running with the Sub-2s, I'll consider changing the name of the thread. Wink

                    2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

                    Current Status 06/19: Pelvic stress-fracture = 6-weeks of no running.

                      +1 on being ready.  My only comment on the pacing strategy would be that since you have a slight cushion shooting for 2 min below 3:00 hours plan for worst case in the last 10K instead of best case.  In my experience maintaining pace the last 6 miles is tough and sometimes staying under 7:00 MPM takes everything you have.  I would consider how it affects your overall pace if the last 10K is run at 7:00 MPM instead of 6:4X.  What you don't want to have happen is run a 7 flat at mile 21 and lose all your confidence because you hadn't accounted for that scenario.


                      I'm back!

                        I think it's a sensible pacing plan. I guess what you're suggesting, flatfooter, is to do the math in advance on what he needs to hold for sub-3 from 21 on, if that 6:43 is a no-go? Yeah, I would do that too. Let's see, 2-minute cushion, that means he can give up about 24 sec/mile if he's on pace at 21 and still come in under three. That will handle those 7:00 miles.

                         

                         

                        Start 7:15 and for the first 3 miles chip off 5 seconds

                        Then lock into 6:47 until the half.  That will put me in debt by 51sec (1:16 with terrain).

                        At the half start 6:45.  At 21 6:43.

                        With terrain this will bring me in at 2:58:01

                         

                        Not sure what terrain has to do with it, though, as far as translating pace into time.

                          At that pace, an additional (minor) issue could be running into the back of the slower (walking) half marathoners  on the narrowish greenway (with on coming Marthoners the other way). Should not be a big deal, but pointing it out so it won't be a surprise.

                             I guess what you're suggesting, flatfooter, is to do the math in advance on what he needs to hold for sub-3 from 21 on, if that 6:43 is a no-go? Yeah, I would do that too. Let's see, 2-minute cushion, that means he can give up about 24 sec/mile if he's on pace at 21 and still come in under three. That will handle those 7:00 miles.

                             

                             

                            Yep.  Not questioning the pacing strategy just want stadjak to be prepared for the possibility that 6:43 at mile 21 might not happen.  It's better to do the math up front instead of when your head is all whacked out and you may not be able to recite your name (that is how I am at mile 21 anyway).

                               

                              Yep.  Not questioning the pacing strategy just want stadjak to be prepared for the possibility that 6:43 at mile 21 might not happen.  It's better to do the math up front instead of when your head is all whacked out and you may not be able to recite your name (that is how I am at mile 21 anyway).

                               

                              Why is it better to do the math up front? If you're fading after mile 21 there's nothing you can do about it except try to gut it out. If you think you're going to fade after mile 21 and you go out at an even faster pace for the first 21 miles in anticipation of this, or to try and bank time, then you'll only produce an even bigger, more violent fade after 21.

                               

                              After mile 21 I'm generally in "go until they wrap me in mylar" mode anyway. There's not a whole lot of conscious choice to the pace--it's just managing the effort to completely empty the tank by the finish line (hopefully not before.)

                               

                              Pacing plans are good and all but at a certain point it's a race an you have to be all in. Hopefully you've run a smart enough race that your "all in" pace is basically the same as the pace you were running up to that point. But if not it's way too late to do anything about it.

                              Runners run.

                                 

                                Why is it better to do the math up front? If you're fading after mile 21 there's nothing you can do about it except try to gut it out. If you think you're going to fade after mile 21 and you go out at an even faster pace for the first 21 miles in anticipation of this, or to try and bank time, then you'll only produce an even bigger, more violent fade after 21.

                                 

                                I wasn't recommending banking more time, this was in response to the plan on speeding up in the last 5 miles strategy.  The reason why I recommended doing the math up front was to prevent the mental break down of "oh no, I missed my planned time by 15 seconds two miles in a row", despair, and all that which can result for some folks in the end of their race because they lost the mental fight.   I'm not saying this happens to everyone, but OTOH I have definitely seen runners check out mentally after a couple missed splits.