Thursday, February 02, 2023


In past marathon training cycles, I’ve almost exclusively followed Jack Daniels or Pete Pftizinger’s training plans. I don’t really know why I never mixed it up more. I know people who’ve had success with Kevin Beck’s program, and I have a buddy that keeps using the Hanson’s Marathon Method. I’m sure there are other programs out there, but honestly, I don’t know what the latest craze is.

As I’ve been mentioning a lot lately, I’ve been on a Matt Fitzgerald kick lately. If you combine that with my affinity for the professional team, NAZ Elite, you get the following list of books that I’m going to rely heavily on for this training cycle;

Run Like a Pro (Even if You’re Slow): Elite Tools and Tips for Runners at Every Level by Matt Fitzgerald and Ben Rosario. This book takes Matt’s 80/20 Running program and includes some Coach’s Tips from Ben. I really like the program, at least as it is on paper, because it focuses on volume, but 80% of that volume is easy running. As for the other 20%, it includes a variety of workouts that seem manageable (again, on paper). By “variety” I mean, tempo, fartlek, hills, fast-finish, long runs w/ progression, steady-state, leg speed, 5K and 10K pace intervals and so on.

80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald. This came out years before Run Like a Pro, but I read it afterwards, so I included it second. It’s probably not necessary to read both of them.

Running the Dream by Matt Fitzgerald. This book follows Matt as he spends an entire 13-week training cycle in Flagstaff, AZ as a “fake pro”. During that time, he’s coached by Ben Rosario, he works out with NAZ Elite, and he has access to everything the pros use. Spoiler alert: after years of training and 40+ marathons under his belt, Matt makes a huge breakthrough. Oh yeah, he was 47 years old at the time.

Inside a Marathon: An All-Access Pass to a Top-10 Finish at NYC by Scott Fauble and Ben Rosario. This is perhaps one of the most unique running books on the market. It follows NAZ elite athlete, Scott Fauble, and his coach, Ben Rosario, through a 20-week training cycle leading up to the 2018 NYC Marathon. After each week of training, both Scott and Ben write a recap from their perspective – without the other knowing what they wrote.  

Yesterday I mentioned that my plan was to document this 18-week session as best I can – ala Running the Dream. In addition to blogging about it, I was thinking I would add a lot more color to my Strava posts, however, now I’m reconsidering that second part. I was listening to a podcast with Steven Pressfield about his creative process. He mentioned that it’s bad luck to talk about what he’s working on before it’s been released into the world. Not that I believe all that, but most of my Strava followers are my high school athletes, so they probably don’t need to know the details of my marathon training. I’ll limit exposure to my dozen or so blog readers.

Quote of the day;

“The past is a memory, the future is an idea, all that exists is the moment.” – Scott Fauble, Inside a Marathon

Wednesday, February 01, 2023


I’ll start with a random thought I had on Monday, which is trash collection day in my neighborhood;

Why do we make it easy for mail to be delivered – 1 mail carrier with all the mailboxes on the same side of the street – but make it difficult to get our trashed picked up – 5 trash collectors that need to drive on both the odd and even sides of the street to collect trash?

The plan after Sunday’s race was to take some time off (up to a week) from running, which will give me a week of easing back into things before jumping into the deep end of training. Being in the middle of a cold snap makes taking the time off easier, but it’s still weird when you go from 50 MPW to 0 MPW. You realize how much time running takes up.

I’m trying to fill some of that time by determining what ancillary training routines I’d like to include during this marathon build-up. As I get older, I find myself looking for more and more non-running activities that will help with my running performance. Of course, it would have been smart to include these things 20-30 years ago, but you do what you can at the time. My time commitments and responsibilities were a lot different back then. Heck, COVID alone changed a lot of this for the better for me. By only having to commute 1 day per week, it’s freed up about 5-6 hours per week. That time can be better spent by running in the morning, cooking dinner in the evening, including more ancillary work, or any number of things not related to my job. Perhaps my favorite thing about working from home is the ability to take a nap at lunchtime. Anywhere from 20-40 minutes is perfect for me. It allows me to recharge, without keeping me awake at night.

I’ve already added 3 ancillary things to my routine and am excited to see their combined impact on my training; 1) Strength training twice per week – this isn’t in the form of 1980s gym class with curls, bench press, and dips. This is at a gym built with runners in mind and the workouts are specific to functional running movements, lunges, planks, split squats, hamstring curls, sumo squats, banded walking and so on. I work out with my buddy Scott - on Monday’s we have a trainer, Jacob, and then we repeat that workout on Thursdays, without Jacob. 2) The aforementioned naps – especially important if I’m going to be logging mileage, workouts and long runs unlike anything I’ve done in years.  3) Not really a routine, but I’m including super shoes in the mix. My PRs were set in the era before super shoes were a thing. If they truly give you 4% improvement, that like 7-8 minutes over the course of a marathon at my goal time.

Other things that I plan on adding include, 1) Self-massage through foam rolling, Roll Recovery, and work with a lacrosse ball to help loosen up my glute, piriformis, hamstring, IT band, quads, etc. 2) Flexibility work, especially for the hips and back. 3) More dynamic warm-up before easy runs and workouts in the form of drills (skipping, high knees, butt kicks, etc). 4) Mental skills training along the lines of progressive relaxation, visualization, confidence journaling, etc.  

Obviously, this is a lot and it’s likely that some things will be easy to include, like naps, while other things, like drills before an easy run, are more likely not to happen. But as the saying goes, “Plan your work and work your plan.” Without having these things in mind, they’d definitely NOT happen. Whereas, by sharing them on the interwebs, there’s a chance that I could be held accountable – and therefore more likely to include them.

That’s where my head is at as I sit in limbo before training starts. My plan is to document this 18-week session as best I can – mainly for my own benefit as I look back on what worked and what didn’t work, but also maybe someone else will find it useful.

Quote of the day;

“I don’t try to block out the pain in hard workouts or races anymore, if you want to be in charge of the hurt, you have to let it in. That’s the key to being able to endure a lot of pain, it’s to know it intimately. The discomfort is coming along for the ride, but it doesn’t get to drive and it sure as shit can’t pick the music.” – Scott Fauble, Inside a Marathon