Spring, Where Art Thou?

Eight weeks to go, but where is spring?  I mean really, it's 17 degrees right now.  If it's not cold and snowing, it's cold and raining!  Spring, where are thou? This "sprinter" season that we've been exposed to has made the path to the starting line a slipper slope... literally and figuratively.  For me, these final eight weeks are where I earn my PR and another trip to Boston.  It just so happens that my PR is being built on the back of my treadmill.  

So far I’ve rounded out my long runs at 18 miles, including a few 16 milers.  My weekly mileage has peaked at 60 miles thus far, with a planned peak hovering in the high sixties or low seventies.

My biggest worry right now is staying healthy. My body is accustomed to peaking around 70 miles for training, but not while averaging five hours of sleep a night.  My little guy is still a light weight.  Checking in under ten pounds at 11 weeks has equated to frequent feedings.  His feedings are like clockwork, chiming in every two hours.  Every. Two. Hours. For. Eleven. Weeks.  Punching my ticket to the 2016 Boston Marathon at the Buffalo Marathon is going to take a village.  My amazing wife, Celia, and a babysitting grandma (who may not know I run before coming to pick him up) have let me sneak my runs in mid-week.  I’m lucky enough to be kind of fast (relative).  My mid-week runs of 10 miles only consume 70 minutes or so, which can still be snuck in during a feeding.


Here's a picture post run, dark circles under my eyes and all.  Apparently William is doing well though.

Training for the Buffalo Marathon this year just seems harder, doesn’t it?  Multiple snow storms and a February that would make hell freeze over have left me (us) a little bitter.  I miss the days of walking out the door, absent to the ritual of donning every piece of clothing before hitting the start button.  I don’t think we’re asking for much… maybe an average temperature or two?  I long for the day of training in shorts and a t-shirt.  Right now, though, I’m happy to have made it through the worst that winter had to offer.  I’m ready to move forward with training and fine tune the engine for race day.

Powered on coffee, accountability, and a fear for failure, I’m excited to transition to the next phase of training.  As I’ve discussed previously, most of my running has been fairly easy, ticking miles far slower than goal pace.  I discussed this in prior posts, but I’m a true believer that too many runners train too hard, too soon and too often.  My goal is to peak for May 22nd, not three weeks before or two weeks after.  The first phase of my training was to build a foundation, preparing my tendons, muscles, and joints for the harder work to come.  The second phase, which begins today, will aim to build speed on said foundation.

My plan moving forward is to build speed through descending intervals that gradually increase in speed.  I will continue to use RunSmartOnline.com for my strength workouts to prevent breakdown.  Here’s how the next four weeks are going to shake out:

Weeks Remaining Interval (On / Off Ratio) Minutes No. of Intervals
8 16:4 3
7 16:4 3
6 12:3 4
5 12:3 4

My intervals are run at threshold pace, or a little faster than half marathon pace.  As the intervals get shorter, the pace increases by 5-10 seconds / mile.   My recoveries are run at easy pace or slower (think shuffle or walking for active recovery).  Coach Vicki posted a blog on using the V-dot calculator earlier.  You can use this calculator to estimate your appropriate paces.  I sneak the above interval workouts in midweek, while maintaining a long, slower run on the weekend.

Looking to my long runs, I plan on logging a few more 18 milers and sneaking a moderately-hard effort at the Grand Island Half Marathon in early May. What gets me most excited is getting outside.   

As for now, I’ll keep slugging the coffee, changing diapers, logging miles, and sneaking in a nap or two where I can.  I’m told everything gets easier when the baby starts sleeping longer.  Is it weird that I’ve learned to function effectively with five hours every night?