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Saturday, January 12, 2013

David is tapering!

David almost getting beaten in a half marathon by a ten year old
After 16 weeks of training (during which he did not overtrain or tear a hamstring like I did, lucky dog), David is out on his last long run before his marathon next week.
The only running I'm doing, however, is running a fever. If you ever want incentive to definitively take a break from running, no cheating or temptation even, I recommend you contract the flu. Just the thought of moving like that is making my head throb (and the mild backlight of my computer screen is still so painful to my eyes that I'm actually not looking at the screen, so please excuse me if I leave any typos).

When I signed David up for this marathon, he had just run a 10k in 1:02. Yet he insisted that he didn't want to "just finish" a marathon,he wanted to break four hours. I accepted the challenge!

To get there, I created a plan with a consistent schedule and consistent mileage (just upping his miles, I knew, would cause big improvements in time). Then I added easy speedwork (nothing timed, mostly fartleks) and some goal races to check his progress. As he improved I edited his digital schedule to have him doing more and more miles at goal race pace, including most of the finishing miles of his long runs.

So, his progress? Excellent. He ran a 10 miler in 1:23:29 and a 5 miler in 38:33.
I amended his goal. Four hours? Too easy. New goal? 3:40. 

Well, but then we hit the two snags I expected - and, in fact, that I experienced with my first (terrible!) marathon.
1. He hurt his knee. After his first 20 miler, he had to limp home the next day mid-run. He sheepishly admitted it had hurt the day before, but he though he could run through it. I dealt with this by canceling the next three days of running, icing, and prescribing quad stuff. It was simple runner's knee, and it did go away with ice and rest, but because of the timing he ended up taking almost a full week off prior to a half marathon.

2. He got sick. So common at the end of training, especially with a winter race! He got a cold right as taper started and I made him run through it. End of story. Taper runs are short enough not to kill him and a mild cold will be fine, especially with three weeks to heal. Running matters more at this point.

But with those two set-backs, has there been another goal revision? No. I actually thought this fall that he could do a 3:30. But his December half-marathon was a 1:47 - although this was a warm day, the race started at 8:30, and he had taken a week off. Regardless, that's not predictive of a 3:30. So we are sticking with 3:40.

His longest long run was 22 miles and he hit race pace for the last three. So I feel like he's ready for next week. What do you think?


  1. Sounds exactly like my husband's first marathon last year. Original goal was under 4 but changed to 3:40 mid-way through the training plan. He ended up with an overuse injury 2 weeks before the race and we weren't sure he would be able to run at all. A few trips to the PT and he did run the race and finished in 3:56. Go David!

  2. I think wow. He's lucky to have such a smart wife.

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  4. EXCITING!!! At least someone is getting to race LA as you and I both nurse our dumb legs. Wishing him a great day!!! Can't wait to hear how it goes!

  5. Pretty sweet that he has such a knowledgeable coach. Good luck, David!

  6. A. I'm glad I'm the faster one in our family, or my wife would taunt me mercilessly and make fun of me for almost losing to an adolescent as well.

    B. David, you'll no doubt do well next weekend - start slow my friend! Finish strong, it makes the experience so much better!

    C. Feel better both of you - as a pharmacist, I have no idea how you're not sick 24/7 with all the zombies you encounter everyday.

  7. So cool that you are coaching him! I have made a couple of attempts to encourage my husband to run, but I failed miserably. He has no interest. I hope that he gets the 3:40. What is the weather forecast? I feel like having mild weather is a major key in hitting a goal time.

  8. It sounds like he is ready! Good luck David!