Friday, July 25, 2008


Wednesday I was trying to figure out where I wanted to run Thursday’s long run. Should I just combine a couple of the loops I run near my house or possible run the out-and-back course I used for Boston? Then I thought, I’m not training for Boston, I’m training for TCM, so why not run the TCM course. I’ve run parts of this course numerous times, but it’s always good to get a sense of what that last 10K is going to be like on tired legs. In order to do that I started at the St. Paul Cathedral and ran the course in reverse to Minnehaha Falls and then turned around and came back – that’s basically running from mile 26 to mile 15 and back.

Ed was nice enough to join me for 5 of the first 6 miles. While those miles were faster (low 7s) than I planned on running, a lot of that was due more to running downhill than running with Ed. After Ed bailed the road leveled out and I settled in to 7:45 pace.

After turning around at the Falls, I tried to pay more attention to the course. From miles 15 to 18 the course really has a nice gradual downhill. Going up to Franklin and then over the Mississippi River around mile 19 breaks that up before flattening out until mile 20. That’s really where the “fun” begins. The next 3 miles are nearly all up hill – mostly gradual, but it’s still up. Maybe the most disheartening part of the course, if you’re not familiar with it, is that sharp left turn just around mile 22. You can’t see around the corner until you make the turn and then you see the steepest part of the course. But overall, I don’t think it’s that bad of a hill. I’m guessing it only takes 60-90 seconds to get up.

Sifting through Doubles two comments on my last post, one of the things he touched on was being able to really only race hard the last 3 miles or so of the marathon – most runners can’t go hard any longer than that at the end of a marathon. That comment combined with this course layout makes me believe you really have to be feeling good at mile 20 at TCM. That way you can increase your effort a little for the next 3 miles to get up the hills and then still be strong enough to race the last 3 miles and take advantage of the gradual downhills. Keep in mind there is one last uphill right around mile 25 that lasts about 2-3 city blocks.

Overall, I ended up running the 22 miles in 2:49, which is 7:40 pace. I was pleasantly tired afterwards, but by 8 PM I was ready for bed.

I’ll close the week with two more Team USA Minnesota journal entries; Chris and Jason. It's nice they have these journals because so far it's the only way I know what elites are running TCM. You'd think the person who will be writing press releases and the media guide for the race would be privy to that info.

Quote of the day;

“If you want to excel, really maximize your potential as a runner, you’re going to end up walking that fine line between optimal training and overtraining.” – Jason Lehmkuhle


Anonymous said...

Marathon tips:

- Do all your hydrating up to 2 hours before the start of the race. Then drink nothing, except about 8 ounces right before the start. Have a place picked out to go to the restroom as close to the race as possible.

- Double knot your shoe laces, but no to tight.

- Drink a little bit from lots of tables. If warm, be sure to stop or slow down and drink a full cup or two if necessary. The faster you run the more you tend to sweat out. If your sloshing a bit, either skip a table or take a small amount. I never was able to drink on the run well.

- If your racing hard, don't take in too much gel. I would think one or two is sufficient. If they were there I'd take a single one at mile 17. Space them 45 minutes apart. Racing hard never seemed to cooperate with digesting stuff.

- Take a few electrolyte pills. One per hour or two per hour if real warm.

- Wear shoes with less than 50 miles if possible. Get used to running in racing flats.

- Lube well before the run. Don't try new clothes, especially shorts and socks.

- On cold start days at 40 degrees an cooler. Wear throw away hat, top, and gloves. Some stick a gu in their glove and ingest it after a half hour.

- Consider running 10-15 seconds slower than pace your first mile.

- Talk little during the race.

- Run the tangents.

- Do a serious gut-check at the half marathon point. Evaluate your plan and make adjustments to the issues which have arrived.

- Try and settle in from 13.1 to 20 at a pace which is mildly uncomfortable. Control the brain wanting to push the pace because you are beginning to fatigue. When you begin to suffer a bit the automatic response is your slowing so increase effort. Don't, because your in shape and doing fine. Run more on instinct than the watch here. If your checking splits every mile your beginning to spike the "I'm concerned meter" pre installed in your head.

- At 20 the race unfolds, so if your tired it is normal. Sometimes it is just an extension of 13.1 to 20 so keep on rolling. That is the goal. Resist thinking about anything else than getting to 23 with your legs under you.

- At 23 your own your own. Mile to mile is what I'm thinking. This is were all the training unfolds.

Other notes:

- Race over shorter distances in the 2-6 week range before the marathon.

- Run on the course if you can or run routes similar to your race.

- On up hills, I like to use different muscle groups and try and relax as much as possible.

- On down hills, I liked to go faster, but always be in control. You can get winded easy flying down if not practiced.

- Towards the end, if your moving past people because you have run your race, people will recognize this and be cheering you on. Feed of that, but keep it in check.

- If you catch that feeling great let's roll feeling before 20, don't go nuts. If it happens past 20 then evaluate and see if you think you can carry it towards the end. It does happen.


Anonymous said...

This Double guy has good info, does he have a blog or does he just blog via your comment section?

Chad said...

Double, lots of great stuff there, as usual. I just have to be careful because these type of advice makes me think the race is a week or two away.

Mike, I think Double should start a blog too. You can learn more about him here.