Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Sugarloaf’

Stay the course…

Don’t change horses midstream…

Dance with the one that brought you…

***

On October 3rd, 2010, I ran the fastest 26.2 miles of my life.  My 3:19:19 at the Smuttynose Marathon qualified me for Boston 2011 and at least got me in the registration door for Boston 2012 (though ultimately I fell 33 seconds short of having my application accepted).  To get there I followed Pfitzingers 12/55 (12 weeks, peaking at 55 miles per week) plan out of his book, Advanced Marathoning.  Every subsequent marathon that I have run I have tried to follow one of Pfitzinger’s plans, be it the 12/55, the 12/70 or, most recently, the 18/55.  When people have asked for advice on how they can improve their marathon times, I’ve directed them to the book.  It really works.

But something happened to me last summer – call it burn out or fatigue, my body needed a break.  I just wasn’t listening.  I kept thinking that if I just continued to push myself, I’d break out of my funk.  Marathon after marathon, I set out to follow the Pfitz plan.

But I would miss a workout.

And then another.

And another.

My next three marathons came in at 3:26, 3:43 and my one and only DNF.  By the time training for New York City ’11 rolled around, I decided I was just going to run for fun.  I just couldn’t bring myself to hitting every run set out in the Pfitz plan.  5 to 6 days a week of running is not easy, especially when you’re in full burnout mode.

***

After New York, my running became even more haphazard.  I convinced myself I wanted to get back to Boston, so I searched for a fast, Spring marathon.  I set my eyes on Sugarloaf.

A little over 6 weeks ago, I began the Pfitz 18/55 plan.  I had to drag myself through the workouts from the very start.

Not good.

By sage buddy Mike suggested that I spend 6 weeks rebuilding my base and then follow the 12/55 plan.  As wise as his advice was, I was happier with the concept that I wouldn’t be required to run 4 – 5 times a week than the idea of pushing off the start of my training.

My wheels were spinning.

Then, about a week and a half ago, Mike inadvertently passed along another golden nugget my way.  He suggested that I take a look at the Furman FIRST program – essentially it is a Run Less, Run Faster program.  The key to the program is that there are only 3 runs per week – a speed workout, a tempo run and a long run.  Running is not allowed on any other day.  Cross-training on two other days is recommended.  Every run is based on one’s 1oK race pace.  I was particularly intrigued by the concept that long run needed to be run at 55 – 75 seconds slower than 10K pace – read that again – that’s a good 30 – 75 seconds faster than every other program I’ve followed.

***

Now, I know one is not supposed to change horses midstream and should dance with the one that brought ya, but I have also come to realize that the Pfitz program just wasn’t doing it for me anymore – I had just been unwilling to accept that.  I still believe in the Pfitz program and I still would recommend it to anybody who has the commitment and drive to run 5 days a week.  I’ve just come to a place where I realize that my body needs the cross-training but it can’t take the constant pounding 7 days a week.

The turning point for me was this last Saturday when I struggled through my run but felt a spark at the end.  That’s when I decided that I still had the desire to re-qualify for Boston.  At the end of the run I went back and read over the FIRST program again.  The more I read, the more excited I got.

I know I am jumping in late on the program – it is a 16 week program and there are now less than 12 week until Sugarloaf, but for the first time in a long time, I believe!

I believe!!!

On Tuesday I had my first speed workout – 10 x 400 meter intervals at 10K pace minus 55-60 seconds.  I hit every interval at under 6:00 pace, the last one at better than 5:45 pace.  Yesterday I put in 1000 yards in the pool.  This morning I have a 5-mile tempo run at 10K + 15-20 seconds pace.  The first real test will come this weekend when I put in my first long run of the program – 14 miles at just under 8:00 pace.

We’ll see how I feel after that run, but for right now, at this moment, I believe again…

…I have my plan…

…and I’m glad to be changing horses.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

On Saturday afternoon, after getting the refrigerator working again and half fixing a half-broken washing machine, I finally got out for a run. The temperatures were in the low 40’s but the 20 to 40 mph winds were making it feel much, much colder. Over the course of 8 miles I felt like I was running into the wind almost the whole time, which was quite a feat considering I was running an out & back route.

My plan was that I really didn’t have one. A few weeks ago I decided that I was simply going to run miles when I could before beginning a 12-week program for Sugarloaf.  This past Monday was the beginning of that program.

As I started my run, I thought of Sugarloaf and what it would take to re-qualify for Boston.

A sub-3:15 marathon – sub-7:25 per mile pace…for 26.2 miles. I haven’t run that pace consistently in so long…how the hell am I going to do this…

As I ran past 1 mile, I looked down at my watch – hmmm…7:34 – that’s not so bad – I kept moving at a pace that felt comfortable, focusing on my form, not really paying attention to pace.  I looked at my watch as I passed mile 2 – 7:30.

I decided to have some fun and push the pace a little, just to see what I had in my legs.

Miles 3 and 4 went by in a snappy 7:18 and 7:29.  Somewhere before reaching the turn around I started to tire.  As good as it felt to be running sub-7:30’s, I didn’t feel particularly strong.  I thought about the fact that at Sugarloaf, I would have to run faster than this for over 6 times the distance.

I began to reevaluate the very idea of attempting a BQ and a 5-minute PR in May.  Was I crazy?  Was I fooling myself?  At this point I just wanted to jog it back home at a slow pace and mope.

For no apparent reason I decided to push the pace for 2 more miles.  I wasn’t sure what I had in me, but I figured let’s just run this one out.

I looked at my watch at mile 5 – 7:16.  My fastest mile of the day.  Mile 6 came even faster at 7:06.  At this point however, I felt spent.  I was happy I was able to close strong, but a bit disheartened that I felt so tired.

2 miles from home, it was time to jog it in.  I covered the next 1/2 mile at 8:30 pace – a comfortable pace for me.  I started to relax and felt my breath coming back to me.

My mind drifted.  I let my body just roll along.  My watch beeped at the next 1/2 mile interval – 3:37.

3:37?  That’s 7:14 pace!

I went with it – trying not to exert too much, just letting gravity and momentum do their job – next 1/2 mile? 3:32 (7:04 pace).

As I made the final turns for home I felt a burst of energy run through me and decided I needed to finish this run strong (despite the fact that the last 1/2 mile is uphill).

I covered the last 1/2 mile at 6:58 pace and felt great – spent, but great.

Suddenly Sugarloaf didn’t feel so daunting anymore.  Suddenly I remembered that I just might have it in me to hit my BQ, despite the fact that I will need a nearly 5-minute PR.  Suddenly, the spark was back.

Now all I needed was a plan…

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: