Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How I Qualified for Boston Twice in a 2 Week Time Frame-My Non Training Plan Guide on What Helped Me Get Faster

I've had a few people ask me how I have gotten fast and how I train in order to get that way. Have I always been this fast. The answer is no I haven't. I wasn't always as fast as recently. My speed really happened within a 3 month time frame leading up to my recent races. I had the endurance because of the crazy distances I train but was never really able to maintain that over an entire marathon race. I asked a couple of my friends who are sub 3 hour marathon runners and ultra runners what I needed to do. First off, I was running my long runs too slow. I was doing those about 2 minutes slower than my marathon goal was. They told me to focus on 3 key workouts per week. I do 1 run of about 6-8 miles on hilly trails and try to push the pace hard, the 2nd workout I focus on is a 8-10 miler at half marathon race pace and the 3rd is my long run. For me I have built my endurance to where I consider a long run of 26 miles or more but 20-22 miles is a good distance if you are training for a marathon. I try to keep my long run around 1 minute per mile slower than goal marathon pace and the last 4-6 miles I try to pick up the pace and run negative splits. That way you get the feeling of what it is like to run on tired legs. Now I never hit the wall in a marathon and actually feel just as strong in that last 6.2 miles as I do that first 20. I can keep my 1st mile the same pace as my last mile.

I don't use a training plan but a typical week for me will look something like this:

Monday-1 mile rest day run
Tuesday- 6-8 mile hilly trail run
Wednesday- 4-6 mile run at medium to hard pace depending on how I'm feeling.
Thursday- 8-10 miler at half marathon race pace
Friday- 1 mile rest day run
Saturday- 26-30 mile run at 1 minute per mile slower than marathon race pace goal running the last 6 miles progressively faster
Sunday- 4-6 mile recovery pace run.

I do this for 2 weeks in a row then the 3rd week the only thing I change is my Saturday run and make it a 10 miler so I can recover but I still maintain the same intensity during my workouts.

Leading up to a race my last long run is 2 weeks before a race. 2 weeks before a race is my taper. I still follow the same schedule and maintain the intensity 2 weeks prior to a race. The weekend before my race a 10 miler as my long run and the week of the race I take Monday as a 1 mile rest day. Tuesday I will run 6 miles and Wed I do a 5k still maintaining the intensity though to keep the legs moving. I take 2 days before the race off and those are 1 mile runs leading up to my race. If it's a Sunday race I adjust accordingly.

If I need an extra rest day in there I take it. You have to listen to your body and do what is right.

Doing this helped me to take off 43 minutes off my marathon time from the same race the previous year and qualify for Boston twice in a 2 week time period running a 3:14 marathon and a 3:09 marathon. Something I though was only a dream.

I am not a running coach but am always happy to pass along what I have learned along the way and what has  worked for me in the past. Happy running everyone. If you ever have a question always feel free to ask and if I don't know the answer I will try to get you an answer!!