Friday, April 21, 2023


I’m trying to determine which is a harder concept to define/capture; confidence or motivation. In my last post I mentioned gaining confidence and fitness. It’s true, I have been gaining confidence, but it seems like such a slippery concept. If I build my weekly mileage for weeks on end and include a couple workouts each week, my confidence will build over that timeframe. However, miss one workout or catch a slight cold and confidence starts to slip. Meanwhile, motivation can be just as elusive. This really occurred to me last weekend when it I entered a 25K race with the intention of running 5K easy, then 20K at MP. It was typical April weather in Minnesota, meaning, 40 degrees and light rain. I thought nothing of the weather and went out and executed my plan. Where motivation comes in is when I compare this to a low-key 4-mile race last 4th of July. After getting my packet I went to my car where it started raining – keep in mind it was probably 75 degrees. After sitting there for a few minutes, I talked myself out of racing, started my car and went home. The point is, motivation was definitely lacking in July, but it’s currently very high.

Looking at a recap of week #8 below, you’ll see a lot of easy days after my 10-mile race. My friend Evan and I have debated this over the years. He adheres to the rule of no workouts after a race for the number of days equal to the number of miles raced. Therefore, a 10-mile race would be followed by 10 days without a hard workout. My rule is slightly more lenient. No workouts after a race for the number of days equal to half the number of kilometers raced. Therefore, 10 miles equals 16K divided by 2 equals 8 days without a hard workout.

I think both formulas work. The key being that you take time after a race to really recover. Honestly, that can be very hard to do when you’re in the middle of a training cycle and just coming off a great race. The first instinct is to get back out there and keep working hard – especially when your pre-set plan doesn’t know you raced, and it already has workouts slotted for the following week. It takes discipline to skip those workouts and just run easy.

Here's a little bit about the Ron Daws 25K. If you’re not familiar with Daws, he was a 1968 Olympian in the marathon. He wrote a couple of classic books; Self-made Olympian and Running Your Best. He was from Minnesota and the claim is that he used to train on this 25K route as preparation for Boston. It’s a multi-loop course that includes two rather significant hills. One you go up 4 times and the twice on the other one. The main reason I bring this up is that it’s difficult to get consistent splits on this course. My 20K at MP ended up being anywhere from 7:35 – 8:13 per mile. In the end, I averaged 7:48 pace or roughly 3:24 for the marathon. While I think I can run faster than that, it was a very good test run after -back-to-back high mileage weeks. Also, after checking splits on the first couple of miles, I just ran by feel and was pleasantly pleased with the results.

That means I’m halfway through this training cycle and still feeling confident, motivated and ready for more.



RECAP OF WEEK 4/2 – 4/8

Sunday – 13 miles, including Goldy’s 10-mile race in 1:10:59

Monday – AM: Strength, PM: 4 easy miles

Tuesday – 4 easy miles

Wednesday – 6 miles

Thursday – 5 miles

Friday – 7 miles w/ 12 x :20 strides

Saturday – 20-mile-long run w/ Derek

Summary: 59 miles and 1 strength training



RECAP OF WEEK 4/9 – 4/15

Sunday – 4 easy miles

Monday – AM: Strength, NOON: 7.5-mile Structured Fartlek, PM: 3-mile shakeout during track practice

Tuesday – 6-mile foundations run

Wednesday – 6.5-mile foundations run

Thursday – AM: Strength + 3-mile shakeout, NOON: 6 miles, including 8 x 1:00 HILLS w/ 2:00 jog

Friday – 7-mile foundations run w/ Scott

Saturday – 17 miles total, including Ron Daws 25K (5K easy at 8:40 pace, 20K at MP ~7:48 pace)

Summary: 60 miles of running and 2 strength training


Quote of the day;

“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.” – Jane Austen

Wednesday, April 05, 2023


 An 18-week marathon program sure seems like a long time. But then I blinked, and I was already done with 6 weeks of the training. At the start of this 80/20 program, I was a little concerned with having 2 workouts per week, plus long runs. But, as of right now, I’m really happy with how the program is going. I basically hit all of the workouts in the first 6 weeks (except for one workout in week #5). There is a lot of variety, and I don’t feel like I’m doing the same workouts over and over. And, best of all, I’m seeing results. Despite all the shitty weather, and running by feel due to snow and ice, I’m feeling much more fit and I’m gaining confidence. What more do you want from a program?!

At the end of week #6 I pushed my long run from Saturday to Sunday because I was at an indoor track meet Saturday morning. This worked well too because I had a 10-mile race planned the following Sunday. The Monday of week #7 I was thrown my first curve ball as I woke up not feeling well. The only thing that comes to mind is that I ate some homemade sprouts that had been in the fridge for over a week. No big deal, I took the day off – my first unscheduled day off this cycle – and then bounced back with a great workout on Tuesday. I skipped my second workout of the week – substituting in some strides instead. Mainly, I didn’t want 2 hard workouts and a race all in one week.

I was a little concerned about Sunday’s race because we received another 10” of snow Friday night and into Saturday morning. Luckily it was enough time to clear the snow and let the sun dry out the pavement. The course ended up having some slippery spots, but not nearly as bad as it could have been. Sidenote: we are now up to the 3rd snowiest winter in Twin Cities history. Yay us!

I’m happy to report that the race went very well. I started this recent journey with a Thanksgiving 8K at 7:12 pace. I was able to manage 7:10 pace for 10 miles last Sunday. That’s according to my watch. The official results had me one second under 1:11, which is 7:06 pace. If you believe all the pace charts out there, that means my marathon fitness level has gone from 3:30 to 3:20. I’m really pleased with that progress. I initially set my “B” goal as 3:25, which is my BQ, and my “A” goal as 3:20. To have race results in early April that point towards my “A” is quite reassuring.

Honestly, I don’t know if I’m in 3:20 shape quite yet. The pace calculator that I’m using says I’m in about 1:36 half marathon shape. If I double that to 3:12, I only have to add 8 minutes to get to 3:20. Looking back at my race history leading up to marathons, my results are typically an additional 12 minutes more than double my half marathon times. That means I’m in more like 3:24 shape. In any case, I still have 10+ weeks of training left to keep improving.  

Back when I was training a lot and racing more frequently, it seemed like my fitness never changed. I could always predict my race times within a couple of seconds – marathons within a minute or two. Race fitness was one of those things I took for granted, until I didn’t have it.

This time around, starting the process out of shape, it’s been really fun to feel myself improving and see my race times getting faster.


RECAP OF WEEK 3/5 – 3/11

Sunday – 4 miles

Monday – AM: Strength + 2.5-mile shakeout, NOON: 8.5 miles, including 6 x 4:00 @ CV

Tuesday – 6-mile foundations run

Wednesday – AM: Strength, NOON 7-mile foundations run

Thursday – AM: 7.5 miles, including 3 x (10 x :30)

Friday – AM: 5.7 miles w/ Pat, PM: 2.8-mile shakeout

Saturday – 12-mile-long run, including 3 x 2 miles @ HMP – first 2 reps w/ Evan

Summary: 56 miles and 2 strength training


RECAP OF WEEK 3/12 – 3/18

Sunday – 4 miles

Monday – AM: 8.5 miles, including 4 x (3:00 at Z3, 3:00 at ZY, 3:00 at Z1)

Tuesday – AM: 2-mile shakeout, PM: 3.2-mile foundations run

Wednesday – AM: Strength, NOON: 7-mile foundations run

Thursday – Feeling out of sorts, skipped main workout; PM: 3.7 miles, including 8 x 1:00 hills w/ track team

Friday – 5-mile foundations run

Saturday – 18-mile-long run w/ Scott on pack snowy trail

Summary: 55 miles and 1 strength training



RECAP OF WEEK 3/19 – 3/25

Sunday – Scheduled day off

Monday – AM: Strength + 2.5-mile shakeout, NOON: 7-mile Progression Run (12:00 @ Tempo, 6:0) @ TH, 3:00 @ CV)

Tuesday – 5-mile foundations run

Wednesday – 7-mile foundations run w/ strides

Thursday – AM: Strength + 2.5-mile shakeout, NOON: 8 miles, including 12 x (:45 w/ 1:45 jog)

Friday – 5.2 miles foundations run w/ Scott

Saturday – 4-mile recovery run

Summary: 41.2 miles of running and 1 strength training



RECAP OF WEEK 3/26 – 4/1

Sunday – 11-mile Fast Finish, including last 10:00 @ Z3

Monday – day off – not feeling well (sprouts?)

Tuesday – 10-mile run, including 8 x 1K @ 10K pace w/ 1:00 rest

Wednesday – 6-mile foundations run w/ PRG group

Thursday – 6.5-mile foundations run w/ Scott

Friday – 5 miles foundations run w/ 8 x :20 strides

Saturday – day off (race tomorrow + shoveled snow)

Summary: 38.5 miles of running


Quote of the day;

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop