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With New York in my rear view mirror, I can now firmly set my sights on Boston. The New York Marathon was a bonus. I hadn’t planned on running 2 marathon this Fall, but when the opportunity to run New York presented itself, who was I to say no? The thing is, I trained all summer for Smuttynose, not New York. It isn’t a bad thing. It paid off in spades. I was able to qualify for Boston at Smuttynose.
But New York taught me something. Well many things, really, but it taught me this one thing in particular – you must train for the terrain. I purposely spent the summer and early fall running on flat surfaces. Every recovery, tempo, interval, marathon-paced, and long distance run was done on ridiculously flat roads or trails, or on the treadmill. Training this way allowed me to cruise through Smuttynose with relative ease (I stress the relative of course because as my good friend Mike reminded me recently, a marathon isn’t supposed to be easy).
But when it came to New York, I suffered Yes, I had some nutritional and GI issues, but I think that, despite that, had New York been a flat marathon, I could have managed a significantly faster marathon. I may have even been able to come close to a PR.
Which brings me to this winter.
I look to Boston, with it’s early, deceptive downhill and it’s late, heart-breaking uphill. Training starts either in December or January, but either way, I know there is going to be one “must” in my training.
I must train for the terrain. It will require doing runs of all kinds on the hills that are available around me. Fortunately, being from the Boston-area, I will be able to drive over to the Newton Hills and do hill repeats without too much juggling of my schedule. Heck, living in the Boston-area means that I can make sure my long runs make their way by those hills. It’s not going to be easy; it may not be fun, but that is what I am going to have to do if I want to take a shot at a 3:15 at Boston.
In Pfitzinger’s Advanced Marathoning he states several times that you must try to emulate the conditions you will face in your goal marathon. What better way to emulate the terrain of your goal marathon than actually run on the terrain of said goal marathon?
I’m curious to see how my body will adapt to this kind of training. Will it accept it as a necessity? Will it rebel after a summer of flat running? Will it adjust?
Train for the terrain.
That’s gonna be the mantra this winter.
Train for the terrain.