Boston Marathon

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Tinman
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Boston Marathon

Post by Tinman » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:41 pm

Just a reminder: The Boston Marathon is held tomorrow, Monday the 17th of April. It will be televised, so set your recorders.

Good luck to Tom Hoffman, who is running the race.
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by ap4305 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:22 pm

Strong effort, guys.  Putting it on the line on a big stage is always worthy of praise. 
3:07 BoilerTom
3:05 Dwang

It was obviously a track meet up front for the elite men, but I know a few people who fell well short of their goal times despite the wicked hard tailwind.  Haven't had a chance to speak with anyone personally yet, but some of them (based on their splits) got a little too greedy and paid a very painful when they got to the Newton hills.     
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by BoilerTom90 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:10 pm

For once I can say I wasn't too greedy early on. There's no way I could have been as I was near the back of the first coral.  I think my first mile was in 7:15 or so.

Yes, I fell short of my goal, but I can't be disappointed with the results.  When reviewing my splits, I was still  slightly behind goal pace at the halfway point, and still felt very good.  I didn't start fading from the goal time until after the last big hill.

5k         10k         15k         20k         Half         25k       30k         35k       40k
0:22:23 0:43:48 1:04:39 1:25:54 1:30:27 1:46:56 2:08:39 2:31:47 2:55:51

Finish: Offl. Time Overall Gender Division
0:07:10 3:07:40 2529 2336 226

I'm still trying to figure out how to race a marathon, both physically and mentally.  Like how hard or easy should it feel early on? Fueling, etc.

It was a beautiful for day for racing and I really enjoyed the whole event. It was a race I've wanted to run since my first marathon at the age of 21. it was great getting to meet  Danny , and icing on the cake was having my picture take with Ryan Hall at the expo on Saturday. 

I have to give lots of credit to Tinman's coaching for making this experience possible!

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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by ap4305 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:07 am

[quote="BoilerTom90"]

I'm still trying to figure out how to race a marathon, both physically and mentally.  Like how hard or easy should it feel early on? Fueling, etc.
[/quote]

That's one of the beauties of the event.  Most of us only get two realisitic cracks at a peak effort per year, and if things don't go as planned we have to wait several months for another shot.  Makes you savor each one and realize how difficult it is for everything to fall in place on race day. 

Don't forget that Boston has so many nuances that it only adds to the difficulty of the distance.  Splits alone don't tell the whole story of how the race ebb and flows.  It's no surprise that Bill Rodgers excelled there...not only was he incredibly fit; he knew every inch of that course!   

What aspect of the mental side is causing difficulty?  A scene like the start of Boston (or any big marathon) definitely challenges your stress response mechanisms at the start.  It can be quite a shock go from quiet Sunday morning long runs to the mad frenzy of Boston.  Just trying to NOT burn too much emotional and mental energy can sometimes throw people off their games. 

During the race I like to think of the event like a performer: "I've rehearsed this performance many different times in training through long workouts."  For key workouts, I'll try to replicate the race scene as much as possible (racing shorts, singlet, flats, gels, Bodyglide, good socks...I'll even leave my timing thing on my shoes from local races to keep the feel of a real event...however, I've never gone to the extreme of pinning on a number!).  When the going gets tough I like to draw upon experiences in training that almost seem harder than the race (i.e. running half marathon pace near the end of a 20+ mile run).
Last edited by ap4305 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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dwang_71

Re: Boston Marathon

Post by dwang_71 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:03 pm

I wanted to Congratulate Tom for a great race. It was very nice to have met him in person, a great person and runner. Having run the course twice now, 2009 with a time of 3:10:44, I have more respect for the course than ever. It is a very tough course as AP pointed out, so many factors to the Boston course that no matter how much preparation you put into it and how prepared you feel, there are always factors out of your control. This is true for any marathon. I have gained more respect for the marathon these past 9 months than ever as I am starting to learn what it truly takes to train and then execute a perfect race.
I didn’t have any fueling issues, no leg cramping and my energy level was fine. I only ate one GU the whole race and probably stopped at 8-10 aid stations for water and Gatorade alternating between the two at each aid station. I felt that my main problem was that I took off too early towards the end. I held back and paced well in the beginning. I planned to run close to a 6:50 minute pace in the first few miles making sure to take small quick steps going down the hills and not forcing it, but rolling with the downhill like a tennis ball (I read this advice somewhere) and then move into 6:45 pace between 9-16.
I hit the half way mark right where I wanted and I skipped enough aid stations to not have to slow and speed up too much. I tried to find a line of sight path during the race to maintain pace and not take too much energy weaving through people. I think I took all the right advice from people.
I also took it easy up the Newton hills and dropped it down by 40s to 1 minute from marathon pace to conserve energy. As soon as I came up Heart Break Hill, I felt so good that I decided to take off and I ran a pretty fast 23rd mile, I think close to 6:30 and pounded the downhills at some points hitting 5:40. I think that did it to my legs. Around mile 24, my legs were not responding to me and I wanted to push it for the last two miles but they wouldn’t move faster than a crawl. Have people experienced this? It was mentally that I could have pushed, I think my legs were shot. It was not cramping, but I could move them, but they went numb for a bit and then I tried high knees but they wouldn’t faster than a 8:30 pace. As you can see that at the 40K mark, I had about 6:27 to cover 1.2 miles to break 3 and at that point, I knew I blew my race.
I can’t blame it on anything in terms of weather, fueling, or going out too fast(or maybe I still went out too fast). I think if I would have stayed conservative on mile 23 and held back to maintain my 6:51 average at the time, I would have been close to a 3:00 hour finish, maybe not break 3 but at least closer than my 3:05:13. Boston is definitely a tougher course than CIM.
I will post my training plan in a later post based on what I learned from Tinman training philosophy and all the advice I got on this forum.
I am still analyzing to see what I did maybe in my training where maybe if I trained more hard downhill running to train and strengthen my quads more or legs more maybe I could have survived the last two miles better. Or maybe more speed work in my training.
I will rest and recover for a few weeks then start planning to hopefully PR in the 10k building off my marathon training base to finish the year and rethink targeting a new marathon to PR next year. Thanks again to Tinman and all the wonderful and expert advice and support and friends I have encountered  here at The Run Zone!

:21:47 0:43:00 1:04:05 1:25:07 1:29:43 1:46:11 2:08:16 2:30:38 2:53:27
Finish: Start Offset Pace Proj. Time Offl. Time Overall Gender Division
- 0:07:04 3:05:13 2176 2021 1379

dwang_71

Re: Boston Marathon

Post by dwang_71 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:16 pm

Is it possible to have your quads fail and not have cramps or if what I experienced during the last two miles of the Boston Marathon was only psychological, meaning that if I truly wanted to push myself harder I could have ended up mustering 6:30 pace? I just don't want to sound like I made up any excuses saying that it was my legs that failed me and really, it was that I mentally failed myself at the end.

I remember pushing pass the pain at CIM to get a 2:59:53 but I didn't seem to experience the same kind of pain or exhaustion here at Boston on mile 24. So I am just curious especially with the expert physiology knowledge like AP and Tinman to explain what happened to me?

Thanks again!

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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by Tinman » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:54 pm

Quads or calves can lose elasticity, and they fail to rebound your body forward, during long race.


To Tom:  Great job! It is very tough training through Chicago-land winters for an April Marathon. A time of 3:07:40 at age 46 is worth a 3:00:32 at age 25, according to my calculations. Boston is tough! You have to a great cross-country runner - hilly cross country runners, that is - to race Boston well, I think.
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by ap4305 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:43 pm

[quote="dwang_71"]
Around mile 24, my legs were not responding to me and I wanted to push it for the last two miles but they wouldn’t move faster than a crawl. Have people experienced this? It was mentally that I could have pushed, I think my legs were shot. It was not cramping, but I could move them, but they went numb for a bit and then I tried high knees but they wouldn’t faster than a 8:30 pace.

I am still analyzing to see what I did maybe in my training where maybe if I trained more hard downhill running to train and strengthen my quads more or legs more maybe I could have survived the last two miles better. Or maybe more speed work in my training.
[/quote]

Been there before.  In my first marathon, my legs blew up around mile 21 and although my breathing was basically normal, the legs felt like they were disconnected from the rest of the body.  Reallyl weird feeling.  By mile 24 I think I was just resigned to laughter as more people kept passing by as I shuffled along at 10 minute pace.  I can definitely say I developed a great respect for the 26.2 mile distance...if only I had that respect before the race!

I don't know that I would specifically add isolated downhill running, though I would find rolling courses on which to do tempo runs/MP runs during your race specific prep phase.  What you're looking for is the ability to efficiently handle downhills, recover from that eccentric force, and then change gears to flatland or uphill running.  If you could drop down to 5:40 pace near the end of the race, your speed and downhill running capacity is more than sufficient for running in the 2:50s.  Added speed won't necessarily transfer into increased recoverability. 
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by ATimmins » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:44 am

were your marathon specific tempos on a rolling course or flat?  I don't think downhill running is something you need to isolate, but during your long slow tempos i would attempt to make the course as close to your goal course as possible. 

As runners we try to be as controlling as possible, i am guilty for this as much as anyone, IF we are suppose to run 5:20 pace we will find a flat course that has a tail wind the whole way to ensure we get it.  In reality a rolling course both in and out of the wing at 5:25 pace or slower would probably be greater to our developement.  It may take a little longer to hit goal paces, but i even try to find courses that i would say are slightly more difficult then the road courses im training for.
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by Tinman » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:51 am

ATimmins is right on the money!  During a track & field coaching clinic in Portland, Oregon a few years ago, Dr. Joe Vigil, a legendary coach, said that Deena Kastor and Meb K. trained on courses in Mammoth lake that very closely resembled the Athens Olympic Games course. They did 15 mile tempo runs on a course, wearing layers of clothes, too, in order to simulate the hot conditions of the Athens marathon race. What happened on race day? Two silver medals in the Olympic Games. They practiced over and over and over running on terrain and in conditions akin to the Athens race, and it paid off big-time.
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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by dwang_71 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:39 pm

I think you got it right ATimmins. During my training, I did train over rolling hills, however, when I needed to hit my MP miles during my long runs, I tend to do them over relatively flat terrain so I can hit goal pace. But as you suggested, I should have thrown in many more miles of MP slightly slower and built in rolling hills. This is definitely one area I will improve upon for next time. Thanks for pointing this insight out. Looking at my training logs, I overlooked that aspect.

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Re: Boston Marathon

Post by ap4305 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:24 pm

The Hanson's have long included a 26.2k "Boston Simulator" workout as part of their preparation on a course designed to mimic the terrain of Boston.  Kevin and Keith take things a step further in terms of the mental prep by putting up km markers and even setting up a Citgo sign and a sign that says "Welcome to Wellesley" (however, they don't bring in a bunch of college girls to scream when the runner pass by).  Prior to men's marathon trials in 2007, they created a 3 mile loop in Michigan very similar to the circuit the men would encounter in Central Park, which ultimately resulted in Brian Sell making the team.  They bussed all the guys to New York in 2007 to do their final dress rehearsal 26.2k simulator at Central Park on the marathon course. 

I think a big key is remembering that you still need to build general fitness first.  There's really no need to run 13 mile hilly MP runs in August if you are gearing for Boston in April (August is a better time for 10k-half marathon training), but as AT said, we shouldn't let our egos get in the way during the specific prep phase and avoid the tougher training courses if our race is also on a tough course.
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