Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Speed, speed, speed. Everyone wants to add speed. It doesn’t matter if they have a sufficient base or not. Quality over quantity – that’s the key. So and so is doing a track workout. I’m in.

Someone wants to get a Boston Qualifier and is “willing to do whatever it takes.” Then they add their own qualifiers; “I’m busy, so quality over quantity is a must. And oh yeah, my goal race is this fall.”

Well, which is it; are you willing to do “whatever it takes” or not? Are you willing to build your mileage up; week after week, month after month, year after year? Are you willing to skip certain races or at least train through them? Are you willing to focus on your own training and not someone else’s? Are you willing to train year-round (with structured breaks)? Are you willing to stick with this goal, even if it takes years to achieve?

Seriously, I think the Boston standards are something that every healthy adult, who puts their mind to it, could achieve in their life.

And it’s NOT about speed. The “someone” above needs to run 7:15 pace and says “I need sufficiently faster leg speed.” Meanwhile, they just ran sub-7 pace for 10 miles. Hmm, it sounds like they can handle the pace. What they’re lacking in the endurance to hold that pace.

If that makes sense, why would you focus on quality? Sure quality is important, but quality on top of quantity is much more important.

I keep hearing that mileage causes injuries. But how come I rarely hear that speed work causes injuries? Sure you can increase your mileage and get injured, but I think injuries are more likely to occur if you jump from easy miles into hard speed sessions.

Daws says it’s all about smooth transitions. There shouldn’t be any clear-cut lines between the base, hill, and speed phases. Towards the end of base-building you start adding in some hilly runs. The hill phase prepares you for speed, especially if you add in some strides. In the speed phase you start out with slow reps with short repeats and progress from there.

With all that said, I understand that I put a lot into my training. Running is near the top of my priorities. If it’s not as high a priority for you, then your results will vary.

Tonight was a beautiful 55 degrees, fairly calm and sunny. I re-joined my training group for a hill session. While it’s not springing, running with the group is more intense. We did 15 minutes of repeats on 3 separate hills in St. Paul. A nice cool-down with Jenna gave me 85 minutes or about 11 miles.

During the hills, coach Matt filmed us running and then played the tape back afterwards. For some reason all he taped was butt, boob and groin shots – no head or legs. It was kind of funny and a little disturbing.

Quote of the day:
“There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.” Unknown


Trisaratops said...

Hmmmm...good thoughts...really, I could make it to Boston? And before I'm 80? That's the only qualifying time I thought I might have a shot at...ha ha Good to think about! I gotta break 4 hours first though...:)

Unknown said...

You know as well as I and many other people that we are trained as a society to always look for the quick fix, or the easiest way to get the results we want. I agree with you that almost anyone can reach the Boston standards if they are really committed. The problem is that most people are not that committed, which is why a relatively low percentage of people qualify for Boston. I am not that committed right now, which is why I am happy that I have a BQ in the bank for 2007, my only BQ so far, but I am happy that I got it nonetheless.

Having the dedication that you have is what is going to set you apart in the races that you run.

Unknown said...

I have to agree with Rob. This is America, there's a lack of people who want to have to work for anything.

Mike said...

Nice post Zeke- totally agree. So many runners out there are concerned with how fast they can run during training without throwing down the base!

Chad said...

Sara, yeah, it's really no different than you telling the check out gal that she can do an Ironman.

Unknown said...

great post, zeke. the higdon, galloway, etc marathon plans really cater to the quick fix desire. they train you from zero to race, but their goal is only to get you across the finish line.

i followed them for a couple years, trying desperatly to break four hours and it wasn't only until this past year that i saw real gains. and that was after i abandoned the plans, sought a coach and got smart about the quantity of miles.

long story short, i went from just barely squeeking under four hours to pulling off a 3:15. almost a 40 minute pr in one year. how? big base, slowly working on speed and asking myself, "did i really give enough?".