Late as Always – Marathon Training Weeks 3 – 5

As always, my excuse is: I’ve been busy. I figured at the very least, I’d get my mileage posted.

Week three:

Monday – I was feeling pretty stiff after my 12 miler, so I cut it down to a three and a half mile run and added 20 minutes on the bike. I’ve found that sometimes it’s best to focus on preparation.

Tuesday – One mile warm-up, four miles at 7:15 pace (Avg HR = 175), one mile cool-down.

Wednesday – Six miles easy.

Thursday – One mile warm-up, six miles at 7:15 pace (Avg HR = 175), one mile cool-down.

Friday – Off

Saturday – I left my GPS at home and put it eight miles with my HR at 170.

Sunday – Fourteen miles nice and easy, about 8:15.

Week four: Every fourth week is scaled back a bit.

Monday – Off

Tuesday – One mile warm-up, three miles at 7:10 pace (Avg HR = 175), one mile cool-down.

Wednesday – Six miles easy. The weather hasn’t been great so the majority of my runs have been on the treadmill. I try and run at a 1% incline to better simulate outdoor running and to improve my foot strike.

Thursday – One mile warm-up, four miles at 7:00 pace (Avg HR = 175), one mile cool-down.

Friday – Off

Saturday – Six miles @ 7:30 pace.

Sunday – Eight miles nice and easy, about 8:15.

Week five:

Monday – I’ve been slowly trimming down my pace on every run. Six miles at 8:00 pace.

Tuesday – My first hill workout. It was pretty snowy out, so I ran this one on the treadmill. Eight miles of hills.

Wednesday –  My first big set back of the year came in the form of a trip. Even now I’m pretty disappointed.

Thursday – Off

Friday – Four miles

Saturday – Off

Sunday – Off


A Not So Rocky Start – Marathon Training Weeks 1 & 2

I’ve decided to use Dick Beardsley’s Advanced Marathon Training Program. The program is similar to ones I’ve used in the past, with one exception, it has quite a bit more speed work. This should be a good fit for a June race, allowing a bit more time for the weather to turn before the track work begins.

I’m not a morning person, but I’m going try fight my urge to sleep in and get an extra 20-30 minute workout in a few days a week. It should allow me an opportunity to get some of the extras in – stretching, yoga, core work, injury prevention, lifting, etc. This is my third week of procrastination, I’ll let you know if it ever happens.

I’m also going to be training with a heart rate monitor this year. It should provide a great gauge for how fast my fitness improves.

Week one:

Monday – Five miles nice and easy.

Tuesday – One mile warm-up, three miles at 7:30 pace (Avg HR = 175), one mile cool-down.

Wednesday – Four miles easy followed by a 20 minute bike.

Thursday – One mile warm-up, five miles at 7:35 pace (Avg HR = 173), one mile cool-down.

Friday – In the past, I’ve taken my rest days on Monday’s, following my long run. This year’s plan has rest days scheduled for Friday, before my two most difficult and most important workouts. Hopefully it will help me improve my performance on Saturdays and Sundays. Also, a nice easy recovery run on Monday should help to loosen up after my long run.

Saturday – Five miles nice and easy.

Sunday – Ten miles nice and easy, about 8:20.

Week two:

Monday – Five miles nice and easy.

Tuesday – One mile warm-up, four miles at 7:24 pace (Avg HR = 173), one mile cool-down.

Wednesday – Six miles easy followed by a 20 minute bike.

Thursday – One mile warm-up, four miles at 7:24 pace with hill intervals, one mile cool-down.

Friday – Twenty minutes on the bike followed by a good stretch.

Saturday – Seven miles at 8:00 pace.

Sunday – Twelve miles nice and easy, about 8:30.

Final thoughts: What’s 18 weeks in the grand scheme of things? It’s really quite miniscule, could be easily forgotten, or wasted. What better way to ensure it’s not wasted just another wasted block of time than preparing for an event so painful you’ll never forget it.

A Slight Delay

I’ve been pretty sporadic about lacing up lately. This past spring, I traded my shoes for a saddle (bike saddle) and turned into a serious trail junky. I’ve been trying to get back on my feet ever since the riding season ended, but it’s awfully tough to start from scratch on the treadmill.Maah Daah Hey Trail

I recently moved within an hour of some of the best mountain biking there is. If you’re into hardcore, the Maah Daah Hey is about as hardcore as it gets. There’s actually a 100 mile, 24 hour race, just in case you’re crazy.

To jump start things – and because my brother, who ran a killer marathon last fall has challenged me – I’ve signed up for a couple of races.

Fargo Marathon – I’m going to do the half as a tune up. I’m thinking……..1:2o-ish.

Grandma’s Marathon – It’ll be my first since a really disappointing race in Boston. I’d like to come in around 2:50.

If you’re interested, I’ll post my training plan shorty.


Today, I went for a run in the rain (I wrote this on Friday, so technically it was not today, but Friday, August 30, 2013.)

As my lung began to burn and my T-shirt clung to my thumping chest, through the gloom, haze and rain rebounding off the sidewalk, the muted, drenched colors began to fade. The browns to charcoal, the greens to grey, the blues to black. My present world of color – flashing fluorescent lights, catch-your-eye advertising, pop-ups, TVs, computers and smart phones  – transformed to an age void of color. A simple, yet intricate time of black and white when the harmonious natural balance of good and evil, love and lust, life and death endured. When mysteries where abundant, beauty and genius where not muted by limelight and people were honest and genuine.

I realize this time did not exist, as in my mind, but this dream is quite possibly a reality – somewhere for someone. And a guy can always dream, in fact it’s necessary. For when we cease to chase our dreams, we’re not living at all.

That’s why I run – for a short part of my day, I’m freed from the constant tether of responsibility – that’s always growing stronger. I escape into my mind, where all my dreams find fruition.

My Boston Marathon Experience – Athletes’ Village

Hopkinton Massachusetts

We off loaded the buses as the sun began to rise. It was a foggy, damp, chilly morning – bearable, but uncomfortable. We made our way from the offloading area to the Athletes’ Village. Thousands of runners, shoulder to shoulder, nervous, dazed and silent – we were a herd of cattle.


The Athlete’s Village was at a local school, and I was under the impression that we would be indoors. I quickly realized this was not the case. We made our way through a series of wide-open pastures, each with a large, circus style tent with no walls in the center. Under the tents were volunteers passing out coffee, Gatorade and Power Bars.Hopkinton


A shanty town quickly assembled. People emptied their drop bags, and laid them on the ground to form a barrier from the damp, cold ground. Others came prepared with blankets or chairs – clearly the veterans. I found a few empty Gatorade boxes and fashioned myself a bed, and settled in for a nap. (It was about 7:45 a.m. when I finally laid down. With the race starting at 10 a.m., I had a little time to kill.)


As I left the Athletes’ Village and headed toward the start line, my brain wouldn’t let my face stop smiling. The sun was shining, the skies were clear blue, the temperature had reached about 50 degrees. It was the perfect day for a marathon.

I kinda squeezed this post in. Happy National Running Day!

My Boston Marathon Experience – To Hopkinton

April 14, 2013 –  I lay sleeplessly in a hotel bed in Chelsea, Mass., beginning to feel anxious – anxious to run, compete, experience and finish. My thoughts drifted to my first memory of the marathon.

I vividly recall my father, three brothers and I huddled around a 19-inch television All in for Bostonone hot August afternoon watching the Olympic marathon (no doubt a replay). As we watched the race, my dad shared the story of Pheidippides. (The Greek soldier who ran from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens, announced the victory over the Persian army, collapsed from exhaustion and died.) His account, as all of his stories, may have been slightly embellished, but I’ve never forgotten it. From that moment on, in my mind, the marathon embodied the limits of human capability.

My day began at 5:00 a.m. with a quick shower, a power bar and a banana.

I hopped a cab to Boston Common around 5:30 a.m. I split a cab with three other runners who were staying in the hotel. One was from Nevada, another Ohio, there was even an international runner from the U.K. (That’s the beauty of Boston, it’s a chance to interact with like-minded people from all over the world.)  As we neared our destination we began to see a long line of yellow school buses. I figured we had arrived, but we continued continued on, city block after block, passing what must have been hundreds of buses. The enormity of the event was beginning to sink in.

I didn’t feel like making small talk, so I intentionally split from my taxi companions and weaved through the gathering crowds – a Hi-Vis, neon sea of spandex and windbreakers. I made my way onto one of the waiting school buses. I couldn’t help but think of all the times my nearly, skin-tight running pants have drawn odd looks in the supermarket. For once they were the norm.

The bus ride to Hopkinton (about 45 minutes) was rather uneventful. I briefly chatted with a local runner about to participate in his sixth Boston Marathon, before tossing in my ear-buds and catching some sleep.

Check back for the rest of my Boston Marathon experience.

Boston Marathon Training – The Final Week

I’m in my final week of training for The Boston Marathon. My taper is well underway and now it’s time to shift my efforts from physical training to mental preparation.

In less than 24 hours I’ll be crossing this line!

I didn’t get a chance to finish this post before leaving for Boston, but here it is a few days late. Hopefully I can get another post in tomorrow. I plan to stay off my feet as much as possible.

Course Study – A few years back, I was leading a 10k and accidentally ran through a turnaround. I was turned around before long and didn’t lose too much ground, but I learned a valuable lesson that day.  Always study the course. Here are some resources for course study.

  • Here is a great course preview from Universal Sports. It includes an overhead walk through and little course history.
  • This is a full course drive through with some helpful commentary. I am assuming that this is from last year’s race expo.

Motivation – The mind is a powerful thing and confidence has the ability to fuel greatness. In order to run a great race you have to prepare your most powerful tool. I, as most marathoners, am a great self-motivator, but a little help never hurts.

  • I’ve been reading “Marathon Man” by Bill Rodgers. The story centers on Rodgers revolutionary 1975 Boston Marathon victory. Along the way he interject a lot of interesting race history.

Tips – I’ve been bumping shoulders with a lot of Boston veterans and I’ve received a lot of great advise.

Boston Marathon course

Running Shoe Review – Brooks Racer ST 5

I don’t just love running. I also love the gear. So, I was very excited to receive my new racing flats the other day. Ideally, I would have ordered them a few weeks earlier, but it was a last minute decision.

Anyway here is my review of the Brooks Racer ST 5 and a little training update.

Boston Marathon Training – Two Weeks Left

With the big race (The Boston Marathon) just two weeks away, there is one thing that has me nervous. Boston is just over a month earlier than my two previous marathons. If your familiar with spring in North Dakota, you’ll know why this is a concern. The weather is just starting to turn, the snow has finally melted, and I may have time for one decent track workout. Last year, I had a month and a half of track work. I’ve had some great long runs and a few really good tempo workouts, but I’m not sure the speed will be there come race day.

With my mileage dropping, I’ll have plenty of time to deal with the nerves and work on building confidence. (Whenever a confidence boost is needed, I just take a look at my journals.)

This past week was relatively easy.

Monday – A much needed rest day following a high mileage week.

Tuesday8 mile recovery run.

Wednesday – Yet again, crappy weather forces me inside on a speed day. I tried to be as positive as possible, it was just 6 miles of speed. I alternated 400s and 800s with a one-to-one rest and the usual 1 and 1 warm-up / cool-down.

Thursday4 miles and 30 minutes of cross training.

Friday – This was supposed to be my big confidence building tempo run. That being said, I’m not feeling very confident. I planned a 10 mile tempo run at 6:15 pace, just under my race pace. (I’ve used this run as a gauge for my past two races and it’s proved to be pretty accurate.) I put in a one mile warm-up and eased into the pace. It started off rough, but I gave it time and toughed out the first 3 miles at 6:15 pace. After the three, It felt as if my legs had turned to Slinkys. (Yes, a spring is a marvelous thing, but not to have as legs.) So, I made a last minute change of plans and opted for 3×3.3 mile intervals and keep the same pace. I got my 10 miles of speed in, but it was a not quite the same. As always, I finished with a 1 mile cool-down for a total of 12 miles.

Saturday – My brother was in town for Easter, so I switched my long run to Saturday. The weather was decent and it was nice to have some company. (I really need to join a running club. Sometimes it’s nice to be alone in my head, but after 4 months of solo training, my thoughts are beginning to scare me.) We did a slow 12 – 14 mile run, but got a decent workout, thanks to the wind.

Sunday – If there’s a day made for resting, Easter Sunday is that day.

Final thought:tickle trunk

I am hoping for a mental shift this week. I enjoy my time spent running, but my day dreams  have been getting strange lately. (I’d elaborate but they’ve been creepy, Mr. Dressup’s Tickle Trunk creepy.)

Boston Marathon Training – Three Weeks Left

runners passport, boston marathon, marathon training

With just three weeks till The Boston Marathon my mileage has peaked and my confidence is on the rise.

Having this past week in the books provides a huge boost of confidence. It was miles from easy, and nearly 10 miles longer than last year’s longest training week.

A tip I’m trying: Last week, I began adding an extra .2 miles to the end of my workouts. I’m hoping that it will give me a mental edge on the homestretch.

Monday – Rest day – It wasn’t a scheduled rest day, but I had a lot of work to do. I’ve learned to be flexible.

Tuesday – I kicked off the week with a nice easy 12 mile run. I kept my pace between 7:40 and 7:00 minute miles.

Wednesday – Despite being the first day of spring, for the second week in a row, nasty weather confined my speed work to the treacherous treadmill. There are ups and downs to doing long and tempo runs on the treadmill, but I can see no upside to taking speed work off the track. That being said, it was still a successful workout. I did 24x400m  repeats, with about a one-to-one rest, and a 1 mile warm-up/cool-down.

Thursday – Just a nice and slow 8 mile recovery run.

Friday – Once again I found myself flexing my schedule. I was supposed to do a tempo run, but got stuck at the office and settled for a 6 mile run.

Saturday – Pushing this workout back a day turned out to be a blessing. I caught up on sleep and went into my workout rested, ready and optimistic. I started with a one mile warm-up, eased into a 6:15 pace for the next 10 miles, and capped it off with a 1 mile cool-down.

Sunday – As crazy as it sounds, I’d actually been looking forward to this workout. Once again, the weather was shit, and I ended up on the treadmill. There is one benefit to the dreaded machine, television. So, I spent just over 3 hours watching NCAA basketball and trying to keep my mind off the task at hand. It was a really solid 24 miler.

This weeks epiphany:

There are many factor that affect the quality of a workout. Diet, preparation and planning are all very important, but I’ve found the most important factor is attitude!