Want to train with HOKA NAZ Elite for the Boston Marathon? Follow along each week as HOKA Northern Arizona Elite Coach Ben Rosario blogs about his athletes training for Boston. Every Monday Ben will share his thoughts on the previous week and dole out advice on how to tackle your own training in the week ahead.
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Wednesday, April 18
Wow. The 2018 Boston Marathon was one for the ages. I talked to a lot of people from the BAA on Monday and I really believe the conditions we saw that day were the worst in the 122-year history of the race. Of course, "worst" is relative. Technically a super hot day is more dangerous. But in terms of sheer misery, temperatures in the high 30s/low 40s with driving rain and a steady headwind of more than 20 miles per hour is hard to top. So let's talk about it.
I've blogged each of the last 10 weeks and tried to share our journey with you and give you some tips on how to train for Boston yourselves. So it's only right that I recap Scott and Kellyn's experiences and put a bow on Boston 2018. I'll start with Kellyn. I can't tell you how many times I've gone back in my head and imagined saying to myself on Monday morning, "this is crazy...we have to dress way warmer than planned and telling her to wear tights for her legs, mittens for her hands and a heavy waterproof jacket for her upper body." Of course, I am sure I'm not the only one thinking that. My guess is if you asked all of the pro runners what they would do if they could go back and do it again they'd all choose to dress warmer (even Des but maybe not Yuki--he's a madman!!). But, alas, hindsight is always 20/20. The bottom line is she got way too cold way too fast. Her teeth were chattering only a few miles in and at 20k she was essentially told to stop by one of the bike volunteers. She spent the next couple of hours in a firehouse warming up. It took about that long. Mostly I just feel terrible for her as she had trained harder and with more singular focus than ever before. Right now she feels like she has nothing to show for it but I know she'll be back and her next marathon will benefit from all of the work she's done these last few months.
On to Scott. First and foremost he finished sixth at the Boston Marathon. That's a huge accomplishment and it's forever. As happy as I am about it there is a little bit of that same disappointment I feel for Kellyn just because it would have been so cool to see what he would've done on a day that was even closer to normal. I'm just being honest. But I can also step back and realize that it's all about racing and that's what he did. We had talked going into the race about making good decisions. He decided not to wear a watch because he just wanted to trust his training and go by feel. He made a great decision not to go with the first break which happened almost from the gun. A lead pack of about 14 formed right away and that group proceeded to come through 5k in 15:01 (2:06:43 pace) and 10k in 30:15 (2:07:38 pace). That would have been too fast for him even on a normal day. He ended up forming a group with fellow Americans Andrew Bumbalough, Elkanah Kibet and Ryan Vail. They hit 10k in 30:40 (2:09:23 pace). So still a very fast pace, especially in those conditions, but in retrospect I think it did help in one way. It got them a little warmer than had they started at a jog like the women. I think the fact that the entire women's lead pack started so slow--19:18 at 5k (2:42:52 pace)--actually did them a disservice because their body temperatures likely dropped during that span. And once those body temps drop that low it's very hard to get them back up. And if you do it takes a ton of work on the body's part, thus you're burning way more glycogen than normal to do so, which could be a reason the lead women who didn't succumb to the cold instead bonked later on in the race. Anyway, back to Scott. His group slowed considerably after that 10k split and came across halfway in 1:07:36. Then they hit the hills and I know Scott said Tim Ritchie came by at this point and started pushing. That got the group racing again which was probably a good thing. Again, I just think back to all of our training for these very hills and while I think that training helped it was also just sort of a fight for survival out there. But he soldiered on and reached 30k still stride for stride with his group. Scott then struggled up Heartbreak and found himself 19 seconds back of Bumbalough at 35k, who had been joined by a hard-charging Tyler Pennel. Those two would go on to finish fourth (Pennel) and fifth (Bumbalough) with Scott hanging on for sixth. They all three passed most all the men who had started in that lead pack so many miles before. In fact, only the top three "survived" that hot pace into the cold wind and made it all the way to the finish still in the top 10. Crazy. Like I said...one for the ages.
As for those of you who also ran the race I just have to say congratulations!! I received a couple of emails from folks who used our Final Surge Boston Marathon Training Plans and, at least for them, things seemed to go pretty well. But really and truly--I think anyone who braved that weather is a champ. I am not one to change a workout to another day for weather but had that been a workout day I am not sure we would've done it. It was that bad. And to be out there for three hours, four hours or five hours+ takes a ton of willpower. I was impressed and inspired watching the thousands of finishers cross the line. I'm telling you--the 2018 Boston medal is a badge of honor. Great job to all and thanks for showing us that runners are among the toughest, most hard-headed bunch of you-know-whats on the planet.
And finally I have to at least say a few words and dole out a hearty congrats to Des Linden and Yuki Kawauchi. I've known Des for a long time and I have the utmost respect for her as a person and an athlete. She is so deserving of this win. When you have accomplished as much as she has it can sometimes be hard to keep going back to the well to drum up the physical and mental energy for another go at it. She herself admitted she needed a break after finishing fourth at last year's race. She listened to her body, took that break, didn't run a marathon in the fall, tried some races outside of her comfort zone this winter and then finally got back to marathon training a couple of months ago. The end result was a win at the world's most historic footrace. Lots of lessons to be learned from Des Linden. Then there's Yuki! The owner of 79 sub 2:20 marathons, including a 2:18:59 back in January in sub-zero temps at the Marshfield (MA) New Year's Day Marathon. Who does that? Yuki marches to the beat of his own drum that's for sure. He's turned down professional contracts in Japan so he can run the races he wants to run and train the way he wants to train. He teaches full-time and had to ask for an extra day off so he could stay in Boston on Tuesday for the winner's press conference. As I told a couple of people on Monday night, knowing what we now know about how bad the conditions were, of course Des and Yuki won. It makes total sense.
Thanks so much for following us. I enjoyed sharing our journey with you guys. Let's do it again next year!!
Monday, April 9
ONE WEEK TO GO!! Boston is really and truly almost here. In last week's post I gave you guys my thoughts on the "taper" or whatever you'd like to call it. This week I'll just talk a little bit about race weekend and what to expect in Boston for you guys who are running it. As for Scott and Kellyn...it's all systems go. Last week we ran a set of 800s, alternating uphill and downhill. On Sunday we ran a 14-miler on a hilly course. Tomorrow they will have their last hard session--a 2-mile tempo at marathon pace, 8 x 400 at slightly slower than 10k pace, and then another 2-mile tempo at marathon pace. We'll go down to a lower altitude for that one so we can feel actual race pace one last time before the big day.
For more thoughts on Scott and Kellyn you can listen to this week's Midday Treat with NAZ Elite podcast. I spoke about their training and what you can maybe expect to see from the pro races this year in Boston. LISTEN HERE.
Here are some thoughts for everyone running Boston this weekend...especially you first-timers. First of all, congrats. You qualified. You earned it and you should enjoy it. BUT...if you want to have a good race you should temper the excitement at least a little bit on Saturday and Sunday in order to save that much-needed energy and adrenaline for Monday morning. So give yourself a time limit at the Expo. That bad boy is pretty overwhelming and while I want you to hit up your favorite booths (especially the HOKA ONE ONE booth!) you probably don't need to spend more than an hour in there. I would also suggest hitting up some of the cool pop-up shops and events that happen all weekend long on Boylston and Newbury Streets. Scott, Kellyn and I will be recording a Facebook Live with Runner's World at their pop-up spot at 899 Boylston St. on Saturday at 2pm. Come on over if you'd like! Backwards chronologically you have to get out Saturday morning and watch the BAA 5k. It's going to be crazy fast. We have Scott Fauble and Matt Llano racing in a field that includes Ben True, Reid Buchanan and Eric Jenkins...just to name a few. The race starts and finishes at 8am on Charles Street between the Boston Public Gardens and Boston Common. Hope to see you there as well. Then do as little as possible on Sunday and I suppose that brings us to race day. You'll have to get up pretty darn early to catch the buses out to Hopkington. Once you're there it's just sort of hurry up and wait. Try and stay super relaxed. Hold in those nerves and don't let them come out until you're within an hour of the race. Make sure to wear plenty of layers that you're willing to part with (you toss them at the start and they are collected and given to local shelters). If it's going to be rainy, which the forecast says it may be, make sure you have a poncho that will keep you completely dry. You DO NOT want to start a marathon soaking wet! And then off you go. Be smart. Bank energy not time. You should know what you're capable of at this point so do not be one of the many that ruins their race in the first half by going out way too fast, which happens way more than at any other race because of the early downhills. Once you get to the Newton Hills a good thing to remember is that none of the four hills are actually all that long and each one is followed by a downhill. Remember that the final uphill isn't until AFTER the 20 mile mark. It stinks to think you've already run Heartbreak Hill when you haven't (speaking from experience). At 21 miles you can finally smell the finish because, save for a couple small rises, it's a pretty darn friendly last 5.2 miles. And whether you're having a good one or not please soak up the atmosphere as you near the finish. There are few things in this sport as satisfying as making the right onto Hereford and the left onto Boylston.
Thanks for following along these last 10 weeks. It's been a blast to share everything with you guys. I'll be back one more time to recap the race. Good luck to everyone running Boston!! Hope to see many of you this weekend. And thanks to Final Surge for partnering with us on this blog.
Monday, April 2
YES! Two weeks to go!! Does that mean all the work is done and we can just sit around until the race? Well, not exactly. I'll share my thoughts on the "taper" below. Hopefully you guys will find it useful. But first, as I've been doing each week, I'll give you an update on Scott and Kellyn. This last week was a doozy for sure--another 130-mile week with two really big sessions. But that's how we mapped it out as we wanted to be building fitness and making gains all the way to the last possible moment. Thursday they ran a tough session down in Camp Verde, AZ at 3300 feet that started with a three-mile tempo run at slightly faster than marathon pace (5:25 per mile for Kellyn and 4:55 per mile for Scott). Then, after a five-minute rest, they ran a fartlek where they went three minutes hard, one minute easy for 32 minutes. We took another five-minute rest after the fartlek and finished with another three-mile tempo but this one was slightly faster (5:20 per mile for Kellyn and 4:50 per mile for Scott). This was a tough one, mostly because of the context in which it took place. I believe the seven-day stretch that ended with this session was actually 139 miles total. But that's marathon training...running on tired legs. Of course you can't go overboard. They had three days (and 46 miles) before going hard again on Monday, our final really big workout before Boston. This one was our third of three marathon effort runs, our most race-specific workout, that we do in the final eight weeks leading up to the big day. And really it was the third of four as the race itself is the final test! And while that last one is the one we really want to ace we certainly wanted to pass this one as well. Kellyn, as I think she would tell you, was finally a little tired beforehand but didn't show it during the workout and averaged 5:45 right on the nose which was the goal. Scott really had it rolling and averaged 5:07 which was a little faster than prescribed but I think it came naturally and wasn't forced so I was good with it. And after all that--a day off on Tuesday!!
And that brings us to the "taper" and to you guys and to my thoughts on how to approach these last couple of weeks. Here's the thing: I don't think there's one perfect formula for the final two weeks before a marathon. It's important to establish that right off the bat. Some of it is how your training segment has gone or how you set it up in the first place. For us, we do a relatively short marathon-specific buildup of about eight weeks. It's essentially six hard, high volume weeks in a row and then we freshen up for two weeks heading into the race. This has worked for us many times now and though I read what others do just in case I might find something that sounds worth a shot, I feel supremely confident in our approach. It comes from plenty of anecdotal evidence from the last couple of decades, too many cases to list here, but I'll try and give you the nutshell version of the how and the why. The how is this; we do our last big session exactly two weeks out from the race. Then we take a day off to relax and re-set the mind as we head into the final two weeks. And for those of you who hate taking a day off--I am sorry but they work. After that we get back into our regular routine but we just shave a few miles off here and there. What were 10-12 mile morning runs become eight-milers. What were daily six-mile afternoon runs become four or they become an afternoon off here and there. And what were workouts that totaled 12-16 miles in total hard work become slightly less hard workouts totaling five-to-six miles of hard work. The pace of the daily runs doesn't change. We don't start shuffling at a ridiculously slow jog. We still hit the weight room at least once or twice. We run at our normal time, etc. Basically we keep giving the body what it's used to for the most part, just less of it. Some athletes will feel a little rusty or antsy or both during the first few days but by the week of the race the body tends to feel super good and ready to roll. That's what I've found time and time again. The why is this; in my experience I have never, not even one time, seen an athlete taper for a marathon in this manner and after the race say I think we backed off too much. Never. On the flip side I have seen athletes say they still felt tired on race day from not backing off enough (myself included). So to me it just sort of becomes common sense. Just notice I didn't say that this was the only way to do it. It's just the way that I have found to work. I do certainly know of athletes who don't back off this much and have awesome races. And, as I pointed out above, some of it is context. If you had a setback and missed a week or two of training then maybe you can't afford to back off. Maybe you need to train "regular" right up to race day to get in the work necessary to be at your best. No matter what, and if you take nothing else away from this post, take this; I believe it is important to stay locked in mentally during these last two weeks. It's not a vacation. That comes afterward. This is still training. You should stick with what has become your normal routine during the course of your training segment. Enjoy being fit. Enjoy the fact that the race is finally almost here, but don't slack on doing all the little things that got you to this point. Race day, and running really hard for 26.2 miles, should feel like the exact thing the body was meant to do on the day. If it does...that's when you've nailed the "taper."
For those doing Boston- talk to you guys next week when you're feeling fresher and antsy for race day!!!
Monday, March 26
People- We are three weeks out! For Scott and Kellyn that means they have one more monster week of training before we pull back a bit and freshen up for the big day. This past week was not their hardest in terms of intensity but it was certainly still hard. I think we sometimes dismiss certain efforts just because they are not the sexy sessions that we all like to talk about- repeats, tempo runs, marathon pace runs, etc. The marathon requires a lot of that work of course but it also just requires spending a lot of time on your feet. On Monday March 19 Scott and Kellyn ran 16 miles at marathon effort on a tough, hilly course at altitude that simulated what they'll face in Boston. Scott averaged 5:12 per mile and Kellyn averaged 5:44 per mile. Yesterday they both ran an easy 26.2 miles, also on a route that simulated Boston. This one served a different purpose, however. They ran it with no carbs before or during. We call it a depletion run. Without getting too "sciency" we are trying to force the body to burn fat throughout the run as opposed to glycogen. Because the body can typically use glycogen stores for 90 to 120 minutes it stands to reason we are going to need an alternative source of fuel in a marathon, an event that lasts more than two hours. That alternative source is going to have to be fat. But since we don't typically burn fat we have to practice. And by depriving the body of carbohydrates we can induce fat-burning. But fat is a slow-burning fuel so the run needs to be slow in order to burn the fat in the most efficient way possible. The cool thing is, fat is a way more concentrated source of energy than glycogen and we have an almost unlimited amount of it in relation to how much we could possibly need for fuel. So if the body can become efficient at using it we'll be much less likely to "bonk" in a marathon. This 2010 study by Karen Van Proeyen in the Journal of Applied Physiology goes much deeper into the science of depletion runs if you're interested.
For me, someone who likes to go more by anecdotal evidence, I'll just say that after analyzing our marathon training and racing over the last few years I actually added a third depletion run to our marathon segments for two reasons. First and foremost I do believe they helped our ability to burn fat and thus avoid the bonk. Overall we closed very well in our marathons this past fall. Even Aaron Braun, who had struggled from miles 18-25 at the Chicago Marathon was able to run his fastest mile of the race from 25-26. The second reason is they serve as a great way to break up the mental challenge the athletes would face if we gave them a hard, structured long run every single week. I've tried that before and found that often times, the athlete is mentally exhausted by the end of the segment and I don't want that. Doing a depletion run every other weekend means the workouts that are super challenging mentally, which the depletion run really is not, are spaced out that much more. So it's sort of that idea that even if somehow the depletion runs don't help as much physiologically as I think they do, they certainly help in our effort to be "ready on the day." Because when I look at our segment and add up all the cumulative work we do I know that we've put all the tools in the toolbox. And I guess I'd just add that doing a 22-miler, a 24-miler and a 26-miler every other weekend gives us three really long runs that, if nothing else, help us prepare for the challenge that the marathon distance provides.
Okay, so what are my tips for you guys this week? If you are following one of our Final Surge Boston Marathon plans you know that this week is still a tough one. As alluded to above I want the athlete to be on an upward trajectory headed into the last couple weeks, not dying for a break. If we've spaced things out properly that's how you should feel right now. You should still feel like you have a little room to improve this week. The mid-week workout in this week's plan is a classic that I like to use--the 3 x 3 mile at slightly faster than marathon pace. I suggested in the plan that you try to simulate Boston by doing the first 3-mile on a net downhill, the second 3-mile on a net uphill and the final 3-mile on a net downhill. Scott and Kellyn will be doing a version of this but instead of the middle 3-mile they'll be running a 32-minute fartlek to simulate the surging that will inevitably be taking place in the lead pack at Boston. The 3 x 3 mile is a great session at this point in training for anyone doing Boston and I'd suggest it if you're looking for something this week to challenge you. Then, for the weekend workout, I have a long marathon pace run with a fast finish. Basically, we're hoping that you've become so efficient at marathon pace at this point that you can actually pick it up late into a run off of that pace. Scott and Kellyn will run 11 miles at marathon effort and then pick it up for the last 3 pretty hard to simulate the racing they'll have to do at the end of Boston. Though not everyone is trying to finish as high as they are, Boston is certainly a course that allows, with its friendly last five miles, for a hard close if you have the energy for it!!
Thanks all. Talk to you guys next week...
Monday, March 19
Four weeks to go!! Can you guys believe it? It's starting to feel awfully darn real. Here in Flagstaff we marked the occasion with a 16-miler at marathon effort. We tried to simulate the Boston course as much as we could and I think we did a pretty nice job. The "Newton Hills" section of our makeshift course was much harder than the actual Newton Hills which you could argue was a good thing though I am not sure Scott and Kellyn thought so when they were slogging their way up the toughest climb. The altitude on this bad boy varied with all the ups and downs but probably averaged around 6,000 feet. Kellyn averaged 5:44 per mile and Scott averaged 5:12. Long story short...they nailed it! And the workout was on the heels of a 128-mile week for each of them. If I sound like I am bragging on them I am. I'm allowed to do that right? Seriously though--I was really proud of how each of them handled what was a brand new challenge (we've never run a steady state on this course before). New challenges have sort of been the theme of this segment, and by design of course because Boston poses a new challenge for both Scott and Kellyn...Boston newbies.
I hope you guys are also rolling right along in your own Boston training. If you purchased one of our plans we have a ton of smooth 300s for you this week. It's a literal change of pace from many of the workouts but I feel it's important to "wake up the legs" at least a couple of times during the heart of marathon training. This week works well with how we scheduled things for you guys with a long effort at Marathon effort one weekend and a super long easy run the following weekend. So you won't be lacking strength! Here's a note for you (or anyone running Boston)--even though I have 300s for you guys you could also just turn this into a fartlek where you alternate one-minute hard, one-minute easy. That's actually what we're going to do with Scott and Kellyn. Boston is so uneven in terms of pace that doing a fartlek and going by feel on a workout like this does make a lot of sense.
'Til next week my friends!
Monday, March 12
For the second week in a row I'm late getting this out there. Sorry about that! It's been a busy week in HOKA NAZ Elite land. But busy is good as they say. And no one has been busier in terms of training than Scott and Kellyn. Last Friday they ran a heck of a workout: a 3 mile net downhill tempo, followed by 3 Hill Circuits that each consisted of 2 miles of total running (including a long hill at half marathon effort, two downhill 200 meter strides at mile effort, a short/steep hill at 5k effort and an 800 meter repeat at tempo pace), and then after all of that another 3 mile tempo but this one on a (fairly) flat course. As has been the case most of this segment, they nailed it. Then they came back on Monday (5 weeks out from Boston) and ran 24 miles on a very "Boston-specific" course. And just this morning (Thursday the 15th) they ran 5 x 2 miles with a 1/2 mile jog recovery down at a lower elevation. Kellyn ran 10:43, 10:41, 10:40, 10:41, 10:38. Scott ran 9:51, 9:52, 9:42, 9:41, 9:38. It was a thing of beauty!
For those of you reading this blog and training for Boston yourselves I've got a couple of tips for this week. If you've been following our Final Surge plan you too had 2-mile repeats this week. I hope they went well! Coming up this weekend you have a big 16 miler at marathon pace. So my first tip is this (and you know this if you have our plan) but I highly recommend taking one of your easy days during the week and running a short "leg-speed" session. Something that doesn't really give you any cumulative fatigue but is fast enough to wake up the legs a bit. We do a longer than usual warmup, followed by some form drills and then 10 x 20 seconds fast (but no faster than mile race pace) with a 1-minute recovery job between each 20-second segment. Then we finish up with a longer than usual cool-down. These little sessions are a great way to avoid marathon staleness without compromising your overall mileage and marathon-specific work. My second tip this week is in reference to the 16-miler at marathon pace. I'll bet most of you are doing something like this whether you are following our plan or someone else's or even your own. I recommend not only the run itself being a race simulation but everything surrounding it. So that means the same or similar dinner the night before, waking up early the morning of the workout, the same or similar breakfast, and the same energy drink and/or gel. Do that and you can feel that much more confident on race weekend knowing that you've been through all this before!
Talk to you guys next week. We're getting there!
Monday, March 5
Sorry I'm a day late on this week's post but I have good reason...we made an awesome video of Scott and Kellyn's workout from yesterday!! You can check it out below. They had their first long run (of 3) at marathon effort and it went pretty well overall. Kellyn averaged 5:43 for 14 miles at 7,000ft--the fastest she's ever averaged for one of these on Lake Mary Road. Scott averaged 5:25 and that was with a minute rest at halfway. Sometimes you do have to adjust things on the fly and this adjustment (the minute rest) ended up working as you'll see in the video. The other update for these two was from last week when they ran a Boston specific workout where they did 3 x mile downhill, then 10 x 1k alternating uphill and downhill and then 3 x mile downhill again at the end. I loved how they looked on this one as they are both really mastering downhill running...a key to running well at Boston. Finishing the last mile in 4:35 (Scott) and 4:59 (Kellyn) helps the mind too. Even though those were downhill we just don't get to see those splits at 7,000 feet very often so it gives you a confidence boost for sure.
For those of you following our Boston Marathon Training Plans on Final Surge you have a doozy this week! The workout is described as follows:
Do the best you can to find a place you can run a 3 mile net downhill (ideally a 150 foot drop over the 3 miles). Then we need a place to do some hill repeats. Ideally a 6-8% grade. Then we want to finish with another 3 mile that's either flat or slightly downhill. 3 mile warmup. 3 miles at 10 seconds faster than marathon pace. 1 mile jog recovery. 10 x 60 second hill repeats (jog back down for recovery). Effort should start around half marathon effort and work toward 10k race effort, no faster or you won't have anything left. 3-5 minutes rest after the last hill. Then another 3 miler at 10 seconds faster than marathon pace. 3 mile cool-down.
If you didn't purchase one of our plans but you're looking for a workout this week try this one!! It's a great Boston simulator.
Monday, February 26
Another week gone for all you Boston Marathoners. Seven to go! The past seven days have been good to Scott and Kellyn. As I mentioned in last week's post, the way things worked out their true "Boston segment" started eight weeks out and they are both off to a great start. We ran 22 hilly miles last Monday to officially kick things off. Then they both ran 30 x 400 alternating up and down on Thursday with 3-4 "surge" 400s on the downs at about 3k effort. With 200 jog recovery after every 400 that was 18k worth of work. They followed that up with a medium long run (14) on Saturday and then this morning was 22 again but this time it was a "depletion run" so no carbs before or during the run. We simulated Boston as best we could on this one and got a lot of downhill in there. They'll both do everything they can to recover from said downhill so we can be ready to go hard on Thursday. Bottom line...so far so good!
Now for those of you who bought one of our Boston Marathon Training Plans you better be ready. This is definitely the hardest week so far! The midweek workout is 15-20 x 1k with short recovery and the weekend will see you tackle your first long effort at marathon pace. For the Ks I suggest finding a spot with a small incline so you can alternate 1k uphill and 1k downhill. And remember- this is practice. No different than basketball players doing layups so they become automatic you want to be running enough uphill and especially downhill during your Boston buildup that the form required to be efficient on the different grades you'll see on race day becomes second nature. So really focus on that during those Ks (or whatever you might be doing this week if you're on a different plan). Focus on letting gravity do a lot of the work on those downhills. Avoid "braking" meaning don't land on your heels and lean back. Land underneath yourself and stay nice and tall, even leaning slightly forward. I promise- practice this every week (it's not too late to start) and it will make a difference on April 16.
Thanks all. Keep taking this thing one week at a time. We're getting there!
Monday, February 19
Hey all...eight weeks to go!! For Kellyn and Scott this happens to be the week that officially begins our "Boston Segment." Since December we've been training hard, don't get me wrong, but it hasn't been specifically focused on Boston. We've done high mileage but not super high. We've done a variety of workouts and even raced an indoor mile of all things. If you've been following along you know all that work produced some good results including road 10k PRs for both of them as well as solid half marathons. But that training block has ended and the Boston specific work has begun. In between they had a very easy week to reset the body and the mind. How easy? They each had a five-day stretch after the Mercedes Half Marathon that included three days completely off and two four-mile runs. That's pretty darn easy. Think about a "down week" or "bounce week" or whatever you want to call it like this; it's a macro version of the hard/easy schedule we pretty much all subscribe to in our weekly training. We don't just do hard workouts day after day after day. We make sure we recover between hard efforts. That's the same thing with an easy week. It's a chance to absorb all the work you've done so far and re-charge the batteries for the hard work still to come.
So that's Scott and Kellyn. Let's talk about you guys. First of all, if you're someone who didn't purchase one of our Boston Training Plans (don't worry- I won't hold it against you) and you're feeling like you're really marathon fit right now and starting to think that eight weeks seems like a long way to go I'd suggest considering a re-charge week like the one I've described above. You may feel a little rusty at first but it'll pay off later, I promise. If you do have one of our plans you'll see this week you have a ton of 400s! Now when a lot of people see 400s (especially if you ran track in high school) you think that means hammer time. But not in this case. These are meant to be run at about 30-to-35-minute race pace. Not that crazy for one 400. But we're doing anywhere from 20 to 30 total! Go out in mile race pace on the first couple and you're going to be in a whole heap of trouble. So just hit the paces as prescribed and you'll end up getting several miles of work in at a very nice pace. With a 200 jog recovery on these you'll also end up wth a good amount of mileage overall on the day. Finally, you'll see we have this one marked as "Boston Specific." I would love to see you find a stretch with a slight grade so you can go "up" one way and "down" the other to practice your very best form on both uphills and downhills when running at a fairly fast pace.
And here's a little extra insight into how Kellyn and Scott will do this; because they may end up in the front pack on race day we want them to be able to handle some of the surges that will inevitably happen. So three or four times over the course of the 30 400s they'll do, I'll have them run closer to Mile/3k pace (60-62 for Scott and 68-70 for Kellyn). They'll have to not only handle the pace change but handle recovering from it and get right back to business on the next repeat with no extra rest afterward. After all, their competitors won't let them relax on race day!
That's it for now I suppose. Have a great week and I'll check in again next Monday!
Monday, February 12
Hey all! Nine weeks to Boston. How are you feeling? Hopefully still taking things one week at a time because we have a long way to go. In fact, Kellyn and Scott are taking an easy week to recharge the batteries before we get into our full-on Boston specific training next week. Last week they raced the Mercedes Half Marathon in Birmingham, Ala. We picked that one for a variety of reasons. Number one it fell at the right time. But in addition to that it was a fairly hilly course with unpredictable weather. Sound a little like Boston? For them it also came after two weeks of racing before that (an indoor mile in Boston and the Cardiff Kook Run 10k in California). So they were likely a little tired going in but that was also by design. When a marathon is the end goal I like anything you do in the build-up toward that to be done with at least some cumulative fatigue in the legs. I love that sensation of the marathon itself being the day you feel better than any other day in the entire training segment. Anyway, all that to say, I thought they did a great job. Scott won the men's race in 1:04:20 and Kellyn was second on the women's side in 1:12:29. That's actually 45 seconds faster than Kellyn ran in a similar half marathon before she began her NYC Marathon specific training last fall. So I'd say we're in a good spot!
For all of you who purchased our HOKA NAZ Elite training plans through Final Surge you have two big sessions and one light leg speed workout this week. The mid-week workout is 1.5 mile repeats at marathon pace/effort. This one is not particularly "hard" in the way you would normally think of something as being hard. Meaning, to run 1.5 miles at a time at a pace you want to hold for 26.2 straight miles in nine weeks shouldn't be overly difficult. But that's the point. What we're trying to do is be super efficient and relaxed at that pace. This then serves as sort of a prerequisite for longer efforts at this same pace as the training moves forward. So be smooth on these! Same goes for the leg speed workout. On this one you do a longer warmup than normal so you're nice and loose (and to get a little extra volume on the day). After the warmup, make sure you get even looser with some easy drills and dynamic stretching exercises. The workout itself is just alternating 10 x 20 seconds fast, 1minute easy. The track is a nice place for this one if you have one available. But that doesn't mean you're trying to be Usain Bolt out there. Run each 20-second burst at one-mile race pace and do it with a relaxed face and shoulders, with your feet landing underneath you and popping off the ground. Basically imagine Runner's World is there doing a photo shoot with you. The idea is to eventually master that form and begin transferring it to longer and longer efforts. I always think of Scott Smith and how he was running even in the last mile of his 2:12 marathon last fall--looking smooth and fast--no different than he looked at mile one.
The final session of the week is a long run with eight 2-minute surges during the second half of the run. Again, this one is a prerequisite for what's to come. It's a chance to do a "normal" long run but introduce some faster running into it. The little trick there is that on the last surge of the day you're running half marathon pace (the prescribed effort for the surges) at the end of 16-18 miles of running. You'll likely end up with a very nice overall time for the entire run.
So there it is. Time to start prepping that body for the biggest weeks of training which are yet to come. Talk to you guys next week!!
Monday, February 5
We've arrived at 10 weeks to go!! For some reason 10 weeks, to me, is when a marathon starts to feel real. And from a training perspective it's about the time I usually suggest things start getting a little bit more marathon specific. Our HOKA NAZ Elite athletes running Boston, Scott Smith and Kellyn Taylor, are both finishing up a block of training that I suppose you could call a "pre-marathon" phase or a "base" phase where they worked on a lot of different things- some speed, some hills, some fartlek work, etc. And they've gotten a chance to put that training to good use here these last couple of weeks. They both ran indoor miles at the end of January in Boston. Kellyn ran 4:33 and Scott ran 4:03. This past weekend they both ripped a 10k on the roads at the Cardiff Kook Run in California. Scott ran 29:01, won the race and broke the course record by 31 seconds. Kellyn ran 32:34, set a road PR and finished second to Canadian Olympian Jessica O'Connell. Now they'll have one more race this weekend, the Mercedes Half Marathon in Birmingham, Ala. before hunkering down and training specifically for Boston. Can't wait!
As for those of you who purchased one of our Boston Marathon Training Plans, you'll have a fartlek workout this week to kick things off and then a "regular" long run this weekend. This first week isn't particularly difficult but don't worry...it gets harder! The idea is that things build and build and build toward Boston so that you are at your absolute best on race day. For that fartlek, the effort on the hard segments should be about 30-40 minute race pace. No faster. That way the recovery jog stays at a decent pace and doesn't turn into a shuffle and you get a fairly good overall pace for the entire session. For the weekend's long run no need to hammer it. And I didn't ask you to run a Boston-specific course for this one (like I will later) but if you find a hilly route for this one I certainly don't think that's a bad thing. The bottom line is that even though we're at 10 weeks to go and the race is starting to seem closer I encourage you to try your best to stay in "one-week-at-a-time" mode. I really believe that's the best way to train for anything but Boston, especially, because there's so much emotion involved in it. You worked so hard to get there and you want to run well on this famous course. But thinking about it and talking about it all the time won't boost your fitness. Training will! So focus on the training and the race will be here before you know it.
Thanks all. Have a great week and I'll hit you back next Monday...hopefully with good news from Scott and Kellyn in Birmingham!!
Monday, January 29
Hey everyone! Welcome to the first of my weekly blog posts leading up to the 2018 Boston Marathon. Each Monday for the next 11 weeks I will be releasing a post right here on Final Surge. The content of each week’s post will have two main components. First off, we have two HOKA NAZ Elite athletes, Scott Smith and Kellyn Taylor, who are running Boston. I’ll update you on their previous week. The three of us just went out to Boston last week actually and toured the course so we’ll be gearing our workouts specifically for everything we saw. And therein lies the second component of each week’s post. I wrote three Boston Marathon training plans available for purchase on Final Surge. They are based on exactly what Scott and Kellyn will be doing, with volume adjusted for ability/experience level. So…in addition to telling you about all the cool stuff Scott and Kellyn are doing, I’ll also be previewing the coming week’s workouts for those of you who purchased our Boston plans. Or if you already have another plan (don’t worry- I won’t hold that against you!) hopefully you can gain some ideas that may help as you train for Boston.
So the bottom line is I am hoping this blog will be fun for fans who just want to keep up with Scott and Kellyn and super useful for those of you training for Boston. I will try really hard to accomplish both. And of course for those who are gearing up for Boston…I wish you the best of luck!!Check back on Monday for more...