But after the 2:30:41 (2:30:40 net – I was up front), as well as a then five-mile PR of 26:18 a week before the marathon, I figured I was one to something and decided that the third week out from every marathon would forever be called Blast Week. It would be the week where I tried to incorporate every type of training possible every day.
A few months later, with the ’98 Marine Corps Marathon looming, Blast Week featured three two-hour runs, 57:17 10-mile tempo run and a personal record 131-mile week. Unfortunately, by the time the race arrived I was so burnt I was crispy. I got a cold a few days before the marathon and had difficulty breathing by the second mile of the race. By the time I crossed the Key Bridge into Georgetown not even an hour into the race, I knew I was cooked – it was all over.
Still, I blindly covered 21 miles in 1:55 only to finish in 3:02.
Yeah, it was pretty ugly.
Needless to say, I won’t break the record of 131 miles in this Blast Week. However, three days into my last full week of training before the Nov. 12 Harrisburg Marathon, two two-hour runs are already in the book.
Crazy? Not smart? Perhaps. But it’s what I like to do. It makes me feel strong and confident before a race. If things go well in a 5k I plan on racing in on Nov. 4, I’ll be bursting.
Just so long as I’m not crispy.
It should be noted that I love reading about marathon training. If given a chance, I’d read other people’s training logs and books on training principles all day long. Not only do I find it interesting and educational, but also it is entertaining. Simply, reading (and talking) about running is fun.
Almost as fun as doing it.
Over the past decade-and-a-half I’ve read a lot about training. Jack Daniels, Pete Pfitzinger, and recently, Arthur Lydiard, are just a few of the tested and true experts I’ve dug into in order to make myself a better runner. These men have produced results and plans that work. If one wants to be a better runner, just follow their plans.
Just don’t ask me – I don’t follow any plan. That much is obvious.
Actually, I guess that’s not entirely true. I do follow one plan – my own. The tenets are based on the principles gleaned from the masters, but basically follow a couple of basic rules.
* Run how you feel. If you want to go fast, go fast. If you want to run long, run long.
* Don’t run if you are hurt. If you have difficulty walking, don’t do something silly like run.
And my favorite:
* You can always do one more.
I got that last one from Floyd Landis.
Anyway, I have always thrived on high mileage, which is 100-miles a week or more. Of course it’s a slippery slope, too. The more miles a person runs, the better the chance for injury. That’s why I have cast aside track workouts (for now) and specific speed intervals in favor of fartlek and tempo workouts. This way, I can incorporate some time of speed work every day.
This might not be the best plan and I’m sure if I did something else – like work with a coach, etc. – I’d get a lot faster. But right now I’m having a lot of fun doing things my way. If I can run well in Harrisburg, perhaps it will be time to “take it to the next level.” Until then, I’ll go with what I know.
That means a 24 miler in 2:48 on Monday where I ran the first 13 miles at 6:35 to 6:40 pace. It was an easy, easy pace though it did take a tiny bit on concentration because of the hills and windy conditions. About 90-minutes in, I met up with Jeff Kirchner, who was out running at Baker Field with his dog, and I ran with him for about an hour. The pace dipped a bit, but wasn't slow.
But when Jeff left I ran for another 22 minutes by myself and I picked up the pace again.
The good part was that even after running for 2-hours and 20 minutes, I still had some turnover and could have taken the pace to 6 minutes.
One cannot have a Blast Week without running some hills. So after starting out slow and feeling a tad tight after the long run on Monday, I worked through the repeats and ran steady for 16 miles on Tuesday. Just like on Monday, I had a lot of turnover at the end of the run.
After recovering from the hills with some good sleep and a good cup of coffee an Clif Bar for breakfast, I spent the first 70 minutes of Wednesday’s run alternating between 5:50-mile pace and 6-minute pace.
I don’t know what this proves, but it was fun.
After the alternating drill, I ran at 6:40 to 6:50 pace through the hills for five miles before tying up a tad at the end of an 18 miler in 2:02.
So that’s the crux of Blast Week. If there is any science involved in it, it’s lost on me. Either way, tomorrow comes early and there is more running to do.