Thursday, February 15, 2018

9 weeks to the Boston Marathon: Last week's training

This last week was a tough one, but I knew that going into it. In the past I have normally kept the week to one mid-week workout and a fairly high quality long run, but we are trying a couple weeks of two workouts, plus an easier long run. It won't be the norm for this marathon block, but we are going to give it a shot for at least one more week. Within 6 days I had a 24 mile run, a 14 mile tempo on a challenging, hilly loop, and 7 x 1 mile on a net-uphill paved course. My biggest mistake was not taking the 24 mile run easy enough. I still drove around my usual 12 mile loop placing bottles with my Power Gel mixture, which in itself makes me take the run more seriously. It ended up being a progression run finishing at 5:00 pace. I definitely felt that two days later in the long tempo attempt, but it still went fairly well. By the time I got to the 7 x mile, I was pretty wrecked, and decided after two reps to do the rest of the workout as a Fartlek. A couple of light days later, and I'm feeling back to normal, but it is a lesson learned for the coming weeks. It takes discipline to pull back a bit when you feel that you are on the brink of over-training, but I have enough experience to know that it's necessary in avoiding injury or detrimental exhaustion.

I decided to make an overnight trip with my wife and 2 month old son to the Oregon Coast and felt rejuvenated after a couple of surprisingly sunny beach runs at a time of year when you feel that you have the entire region to yourself. Looking forward to the challenge of the next couple weeks before backing off slightly heading in to the US 15k Championships at the Gate River Run. I have run this race many times in the past and have placed as high as third. I'm looking forward to coming back for the first time since my injuries in 2015!

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below.

Total Volume:
10 140 Sunday 2/4/2018 Long run 24 miles, progressing to 5:00
    Monday 2/5/2018 AM: 14, PM: 6
    Tuesday 2/6/2018 AM: 14 miles @ 5:10 on hilly loop PM: 5
    Wednesday 2/7/2018 AM: 14 PM: 6
    Thursday 2/8/2018 AM: 10, PM: 5
    Friday 2/9/2018 AM: 7 x 5 min Fartlek w/3 min rest PM: 6
    Saturday 2/10/2018 AM: 14, PM: 6

Thursday, February 8, 2018

10 Weeks to the Boston Marathon: Last week's training

It's been a while since my last blog post, but there hasn't been much to report since Berlin. My wife and I had our first child on December 14th, so training was a little lighter than usual this winter. This was expected of course, but I am now into full marathon mode preparing for Boston in April. I have normally reserved my spring seasons for the track, so I am very excited to finally be able to incorporate the world's oldest marathon. 

After the Berlin Marathon in September, I took a couple weeks off before starting to slowly build volume again. I was able to get up to 130 miles per week with some decent workouts, but with our delivery date approaching, running had to take a back seat for a few weeks. I knew I wouldn't be sleeping much, but I underestimated how tough that was going to be. Once I started coming out of this foggy, delirious period, Portland was hit with a mini ice storm right around Christmas. That left me only a few weeks to prepare for my half-marathon in Qatar on January 12th. I actually had surprisingly solid workouts during these few weeks and was fairly happy with my performance (7th place) in a loaded field. The time was only 63:45, but it was warm, windy, and a 5k out and back around a single cone, so considering the preceding month, I was pleased with my effort. After a few days recovery from the long travel, I jumped right into marathon training. We were fortunate enough to have Eva's parents fly from Czech to help us with our newborn during this period which really helped me get into a sleep/train routine. 

I have posted the last couple weeks of training below and will now start posting weekly up until Boston. Our volume strategy this time around is to alternate between 140 miles per week and 120 miles per week. The daily volume actually won't change much, but I will take one day off every other week to catch up on sleep and prevent injury. This is one step closer to the 150/135 alternations I was able to do pre-injury. In the coming weeks I'll look more closely at the field, which is historically deep, and talk about my race plan moving forward. I'm healthy, hungry, and have fun toy to play with at home in between training sessions (baby Oliver). 

Total Volume:

12 140 Sunday 1/21/2018 Long run 20 miles
    Monday 1/22/2018  
    Tuesday 1/23/2018 Threshold: 4 mile, 3 mile, 2 mile, 1 mile @ 70-71, 4-3-2min recovery
    Wednesday 1/24/2018  
    Thursday 1/25/2018 Run 10 x hills or 200m strides
    Friday 1/26/2018  
    Saturday 1/27/2018  
11 120 Sunday 1/28/2018 3-4 mile warm up, 4 mile @ 70-71, 10 miles @ 6:00, 2 mile at 70-71, cool down = 23-24 miles
    Monday 1/29/2018  
    Tuesday 1/30/2018
    Wednesday 1/31/2018 8 x 1 mile on hilly course (4:48 down to 4:28)
    Thursday 2/1/2018
    Friday 2/2/2018  12 x 200 meter hills
    Saturday 2/3/2018


Friday, September 22, 2017

2 days to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

I'm sitting in my hotel room in Berlin, counting down the hours until race-time. The race starts at 9:15 (CEST) on the 24th, so the middle of the night for those trying to follow in the United States. I left for Prague on Sunday and arrived Monday evening, so I will have had almost a week to recover from travel. The jetlag is hitting me much harder this time than it did earlier in the summer, but fortunately my sleeping is almost back to normal with two nights to spare. I arrived in Berlin yesterday, and the brief 30 minute flight was as easy as it sounds.

This past week has been mostly focused on risk aversion: Flying to Europe early, sleeping as much as possible, being deliberate with food choices as to avoid food poisoning or any other digestive issues, thoroughly washing hands, pre-preparing my fluids for race-day, etc. I even switched taxis at the airport when realizing immediately that the driver was very sick. There is no reason to lose the last 11 weeks of marathon prep over something that is in your control. Now it's all on me come Sunday.

We will find out the final details regarding pace groups tomorrow, but it sounds like I will be in a 65:30 group at this point. I think this still puts me in a good position to set a PB as my current personal best is from London where we came through in 65:15 and faced some headwinds the second half. If I had run these same workouts before my stress fracture cycle, I would probably look to be more aggressive, but because I have not had many opportunities to race the last two years, I need to be patient and do my best to take a step forward toward the Olympic Trials for 2020. Even though my volume hasn't been quite as high as in the past, the quality has been steady across the board, and I think I have a chance to give sub-2:10:57 an honest shot.

As I mentioned previously, the front end of the race is going to be incredibly exciting, with Kipchoge, Kipsang, and Bekele all in contention for a new world record. Be sure to tune in at NBCSN.

Thanks again for reading. The final two weeks of training are posted below. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Weeks to go: 2 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 14 off 40 minutes 14
Tuesday 12.5 5 + drills and strides 18
Wednesday 4 x 2 miles @ 4:40-4:45, rest = 2 min off 15
Thursday 12.5 off 12.5
Friday 11.5 4.5 40 minutes 16
Saturday 45 minutes + 8 x 200 meter hills off 9.5
Sunday 15 miles easy off 15
Total: 100

Weeks to go: 1
AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday off - travel to Czech off- travel to Czech 0
Tuesday 11.5 6 30 minutes 17.5
Wednesday 5 x 1km @ 2:55, rest = 1 min 4.5 15
Thursday 9.5 off 9.5
Friday 7 + drills and strides off 7.5
Saturday 4-5 miles off 4.5
Sunday Berlin Marathon off 15

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Less than 2 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

I'm on my last few days in Portland before heading to Prague to rest before the Berlin Marathon on the 24th of September. With the world record under serious threat, I am a little jealous that I'll be running several minutes behind the leaders as opposed to seeing the race play out! With that said, it would be an honor to hit a new personal best during the same race the world record falls. Let's hope for both!

I'm looking forward to getting to Berlin and discussing the final pacing situation with the other runners and pacemakers. It seems that we will have a solid group being paced somewhere between 64:30 and 65:30. That is a big difference, but I am hoping that we can meet somewhere in the middle as 64:30 might be a bit aggressive for me at this point!

I pushed my mid-week workout back by a day this week after the 16 mile tempo because that workout took a lot out of me. I had a suspicion it would, so we had the option built into the calendar. I also came down with a cold starting Thursday night which knocked me down for a couple of days, but I felt surprisingly good by Sunday. We had originally planned some threshold intervals followed by an hour run, but due to the cold I decided for a moderate 19 mile run. I was pleased that a 5:26 average felt easy, especially considering my first two miles were 6:40 and 6:15 respectively, meaning the other miles were mostly in the teens. It was also my last chance to practice with my fluids which I have dialed in.

Everyone has their own hydration strategy, but I keep mine fairly simple and straightforward by mixing one Powerbar Powergel (Tangerine or Double Latte w/ 50mg of caffeine) with 400 mL of water. I drink about 230 mL of water per bottle which will be available every 5km in Berlin, and I have been training with this exact ratio for several marathons by now. It's important to know how your body will react to supplements when you are under duress, so I always encourage runners to test out their nutrition plan several times before race day.

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below. My next blog will be coming from Prague as I rest and prepare for the big day! Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.


Weeks to go: 3 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 14 off 40 minutes 14
Tuesday 12.5 6 + drills and strides 18.5
Wednesday 12.5 6 40 minutes 18.5
Thursday 4 miles, 2 miles, 2 x 1 mile @ 4:45-4:48, rest = 4 min, 2 min, 1 min 6 21
Friday 14 5 40 minutes 19
Saturday off-sick off 0
Sunday 19 miles @ 5:26 off 19
Total: 110

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Less than 3 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training


Berlin is approaching fast and the majority of training is in the bank. There is still plenty of time to make mistakes, so I  need to remain vigilant in diet, rest, and injury prevention. A few more hard efforts are in the near future, but the most important long runs are now over after last weekend's 16 mile tempo. I averaged 4:58 for the workout, but I was at about 5:00 through 13, closing in around 4:50 for the last 3 and feeling strong. I have averaged faster for this tempo workout in the past, but I was very pleased with how comfortable I felt. Since returning from Europe I have ticked all the confidence building boxes I was hoping for, and now the focus turns to feeling fresh and healthy on September 24th.

Portland has been choked by smoke since a fire broke out in the Columbia River Gorge on Sunday. It has begun to improve today, but I have had to balance treadmill miles to save my lungs while not hurting myself with 20 mile indoor days. Hopefully we are through the worst, but ash falling from the sky, blood orange sun and moon, and scratchy throat and eyes have all been very disconcerting. Unfortunately most of the west coast is experiencing poor air quality at the moment, so a quick escape for healthy training is not easy.

I head back to Prague in 9 days to give myself enough time to recover from the travel and time difference. In Prague I'll be able to cook and run in a familiar setting as opposed to living in a hotel for a week. From there I'll have a snappy 30 minute flight to Berlin 3 days before the race.  A few years ago I had the privilege of pacing Shalane Flanagan in her American record attempt, so I have run 26 miles of the course and am familiar with start and finish line procedures. One less thing to worry about!

Pace groups will be finalized over the next couple of weeks, but it appears that we will have a decent sized group going through at around 65:00ish, which will be perfect based on the marathon block I've had. Looking forward to sharing that info when it becomes available.

Thanks again for reading. Feel free to check out last week's training below. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.


Weeks to go: 4 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Tuesday 14 + drills and strides 5 19
Wednesday 6 x 2km starting @ 4:45 pace down to 4:28 pace, rest = 90 seconds 5 21
Thursday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Friday 1 hour run + 8 x 200 meters @ 30-31 off 12
Saturday 6 off 40 minutes 6
Sunday 16 mile tempo @ 4:58 off 22
Total: 120

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Less than 4 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

I've only just returned from Europe 11 days ago, but I already feel pressure to finalize plans to fly again in two and a half weeks. It seems that my fatigue and struggling in the Czech highlands has paid off, as I have felt fantastic since flying back to Portland. I know I will start to feel human again at some point, but for now I'm proud of the way I pushed through the tough days earlier in the training cycle as I am being rewarded with a feeling of fitness and optimism. I was happy with both of the workouts this past week, but I was even more pleased with the perceived effort. Nothing was forced, and the overall daily volume has been very manageable. I have no doubt that a fair amount of the mental and physical lightness has been thanks to the help of Cam Levins, having recently moved to the neighborhood, and I am looking forward to continuing our cooperation in the future. I hope I'm rounding into shape at just the right moment before Berlin!

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.


Weeks to go: 5 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday off 9.5 40 minutes 9.5
Tuesday 14 + drills and strides 6 20
Wednesday 4 mi tempo @ 18:59, 10 mi run, 4 mi tempo @ 18:57 off 24
Thursday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Friday 75 minute run + 8 x 200 meter hills 6 20
Saturday 12 6 40 minutes 18
Sunday 20 miles moderate + 4 mi push @ 19:31 off 20
Total: 131.5

Friday, August 25, 2017

Less than 5 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

It was a long trip home, but I'm happy to be back in Portland for the time being. My wife and I had booked our tickets to Czech well before I had committed to Berlin, so we had built in a stopover in Barcelona on the way home as the tickets happened to be cheaper. We were there for three days, one of which happened to be the day of the attacks. We were about 10 blocks away with plans to walk toward Las Ramblas after lunch, so while we never felt that we were in any danger, it was a sobering experience. I feel terrible for the people of Barcelona as I am sure it strikes you completely differently when something of that nature happens in your own backyard. The rallies of solidarity the following day were inspiring. Most encouraging was the ability of the Spanish people to stand against fear while embracing the Muslim community of Barcelona.

On a lighter note, I chose my week of travel to be a down week in terms of intensity. I had a strong mid-week workout before flying to Barcelona, but used the uncertainty of the weather as an opportunity to force myself into a Fartlek for my Sunday run. I decided to push my long run until a few days later once I was back in Portland.

I did my best to grind out every run and every workout while in the Czech countryside in the hope that it would pay off with some confidence building workouts once I returned. I am relieved to say that I have felt amazing since landing and am looking forward to sharing the details next week. I have also been fortunate that Cam Levins is back in the neighborhood and we have been able to link up for a workout as well as some easy running. Most of my training since leaving Oklahoma State has been solo, but I am very appreciative for any opportunity to train with someone when possible, especially with someone with the work ethic and credentials of Cam. Hopefully we can help each other to our goals this fall and further into 2017/2018.

Thanks again for reading and feel free to check out last week's training below. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.


Weeks to go: 6 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Tuesday 12.5 + drills and strides 6 18.5
Wednesday 15 x 1km, 2:58 down to 2:51, 1 min rest 5 23
Thursday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17
Friday 13 5 18
Saturday 4.5 + drills and strides off 40 minutes 4.5
Sunday Fartlek: (5,4,3)(4,3,2)(3,2,1)(1,2,3) w/equal rest off 19
Total: 120