September: The Month of Promises

Hard to believe, but another summer has come and gone (or almost gone for those who are holding onto the fact that summer doesn’t officially end until Sept. 22nd!).  Seemingly without warning, we are starting to get hints of fall here in Eugene: shorter days, cool mornings, and even a little coloring in the trees.  Change is indeed a-coming.  These changes also bring with them promises of what lie ahead.

From our earliest days as kids heading back for another year of school, September has always been a month of promises.  Entering the final 5 weeks before this year’s Chicago Marathon, those promises have taken on a new meaning.  Every run, and each workout, provide dreams of what could potentially be: a chance to be better than ever before come October.

There have been times during this pursuit when things don’t come easy and running isn’t always fun.  But a confluence of factors has made these last few months of training among the most enjoyable of my career.  Whatever is going on…it has me excited about the prospects of next month’s Chicago Marathon.

Team Run Eugene teammate, Dan Kremske, and I at last weekend's Wine Country Half Marathon.

Team Run Eugene teammate, Dan Kremske, and I at last weekend’s Wine Country Half Marathon.

The last two weeks of my training are below.  I’m not big on doing back-to-back weeks of high mileage, so after doing 150-miles a few weeks ago (8/11-17), I gave my legs a little rest from the volume during the last week of August before bumping things back up this past week.  This coming week will be the last time I go over 130 prior to the marathon; I like to start backing off 10-15% of the volume during the final month.  I’ve found that 110-125 miles per week is still high enough to where I don’t peak too early, but low enough to have my legs start feeling fresher for workouts and runs.  I’ll continue to tell anyone who is stupid enough to listen that being a good marathoner (runner) requires stringing together week after week of consistent training.  There are no off days in marathon training; you can take as much rest as you want and need after the race!

8/25-31 AM PM Total
Monday 12 miles 6 miles + 10 x hill sprint 18
Tuesday 3 mile warmup. 4 x [3 x 800]. 200m in :45 between 800s, 400m between sets. 3.5 mile cooldown. 13 miles total. 6 miles 19
Wednesday 12 miles 6 miles 18
Thursday 12 miles OFF 12
Friday 3.5 mile warmup. 4 mile cutdown; 8 x 200m. 4.5 mile cooldown. 13 miles total. 7 miles 20
Saturday 10 miles OFF 10
Sunday Wine Country Half Marathon (1:06:33). 3 mile warmup. 5 mile cooldown. 21 miles total. 5 miles 26
      123

 

9/1-7 AM PM Total
Monday 14 miles 7 miles 21
Tuesday 12 miles 6 miles 18
Wednesday 4.5 mile warmup. 12 x Hendicks Hill Loop. 4 mile cooldown. 13 miles total 7 miles 20
Thursday 9 miles 6 miles 15
Friday 3 mile warmup. 5 x 2 mile, 2:00 rest. 3 mile cooldown. 16 miles total. 6 miles 22
Saturday 12 miles 6 miles 18
Sunday 26 miles, with 10 x :30 on / :90 off during last 5 miles. OFF 26
      140
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Marathon of a training week

When I posted my previous update last Sunday evening, I was somewhere above Colorado en route from Falmouth back to Eugene.  I wrote about how much I was looking forward to finally sleeping in my own bed and getting back to a regular routine.  Well, United Airlines had other plans for me.  Rather than arriving in Eugene late Sunday night, I didn’t make it back until Monday afternoon around 3:30pm thanks to 2 cancelled flights and a lengthy delay on flight #3.

Certainly not the most ideal way to kick-off the biggest training week of my marathon block, but some things are out of your control.  Running 150 miles in a week is hard enough, so I wasn’t thrilled about beginning the week unnecessarily behind schedule.  I readjusted my goals for the week and chose to turn my focus to my two main workouts and if I ended up reaching my mileage goals, then great.

What followed this week, surprised even me.  I went to do my hill circuit in Hendrick’s Park on Wednesday and ended up doing the most repeats I’ve ever done before (13 loops) then yesterday’s 30-mile long run / workout ended up being probably the best workout of my life.  The plan was to try and run 30 miles as follows: miles 1-5: easy, relaxed; miles 6-16: @ 6:00 pace; miles 17-18, relaxed; miles 19-24, alternating 5:00 / 6:00; miles 25-28, @ 5:10 average; 29-30, easy.  As you can see below, it went pretty much as scripted…maybe even better than planned.  30 miles @ 5:53 pace, with the last 12 averaging ~5:30 — now that’s a marathon workout!  Being able to nail a workout like this gives me a lot of confidence as the Chicago Marathon draws nearer.  Most importantly though, I woke up this morning feeling fine and the legs were good for an easy 14 miles.

And despite the rough start to my week, I ended up reaching my goal of running 150 miles (*as long as I make it out the door for my afternoon run).  A lesson in life: you can either complain about the cards your dealt or you can work your ass off to change the narrative of the story that’s being written.  You get to control your attitude and outlook; make them performance enhancers, not inhibitors.

I became tougher this week.  And a better runner.  One step closer to a breakthrough in Chicago.

Distance Split Time Elevation Gain Elevation Loss
1 mile 1 06:51.1 24
1 mile 2 06:40.1
1 mile 3 06:41.5 10
1 mile 4 06:30.0 7
1 mile 5 06:14.7 5
1 mile 6 05:59.7 3 8
1 mile 7 06:02.9 32 34
1 mile 8 06:02.4 20 65
1 mile 9 05:51.5 56
1 mile 10 05:52.6 9
1 mile 11 05:44.3
1 mile 12 05:54.6 7 11
1 mile 13 05:55.3 9
1 mile 14 05:52.5
1 mile 15 05:53.6 24 29
1 mile 16 05:54.5 16 76
1 mile 17 06:07.1 64
1 mile 18 05:59.4 9 12
1 mile 19 04:56.6 5
1 mile 20 05:55.9 6
1 mile 21 04:59.1
1 mile 22 05:56.4 6
1 mile 23 04:50.5 11 13
1 mile 24 06:17.3 20 75
1 mile 25 05:17.5 52 23
1 mile 26 05:07.3 27
1 mile 27 05:08.7 5 10
1 mile 28 05:06.2 2
1 mile 29 06:19.3 6 3
1 mile 30 06:13.3
0.01 31 :04.2
30.01 Summary 56:20.0 389 407
5:53 avg.

 

8/18-24 AM PM Total
Monday OFF 16 miles; 45 mins S&C 16
Tuesday 14 miles 7 miles 21
Wednesday 4 mile warmup. 13 x Hendrick’s Hill Loop. 5 mile cooldown. 15 miles total. 7 miles 22
Thursday 13 miles; 45 mins S&C 8 miles 21
Friday 13 miles 7 miles 20
Saturday 30 mile long run / workout OFF 30
Sunday 14 miles 6 miles 20
150
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