By Tim Ritchie
Last we left the Level Legion: Boston Edition, they were telling you a bit about why they are racing the Boston Marathon. Now, let’s take a look at how they are doing so far. We are 8 weeks away from the big day and everyone is well underway with their training. Each of our runners has a unique approach to training and our hope is that you can find some comfort and encouragement in their responses. We have here a quick check in on our runners’ general outlook on their training to date and a sample of what their weeks have been so far. Enjoy and keep up the good work, runners!
This year, I decided to return to what worked for me back in 2011, which is the Hansons’ training plan. The key feature of this plan is that the long run tops out at 16 miles, but because the week leading up to it includes hard workouts, you feel you’re running the last 16 miles of the marathon. It’s great in theory and works really well for the Vermont winters (who wants to run 22 miles on the treadmill?!). I think it worked well for me last time because I was really focused in on the speed work, tempo runs, etc. And I ran a marathon PR without having done longer than a 16-mile run in training.
It’s been tougher this year. I’m older and slower and busier, the winter’s been bad, and the foot injury that’s been nagging at me for more than two years has lessened my mileage. I almost made it through the whole winter without being sick, but this week (a pretty critical one in the ramp-up before tapering) I’ve been miserably sick with a cough and fever, and running only minimally. Overall, I’ve been averaging 35-40 miles/week this winter, where ideally I’d be at 50-55. That said, I’ve gotten in some good speed workouts and hill workouts. But it sums up this Vermont winter to say that my best long run was during my week in California! I’ve also been busier than previously work-wise, so my cross-training (nordic skiing and indoor rowing in the winter) has not been as consistent as I would like.
I’m a “streaker” (I’ve been running every day for more than three years) and I’ve run so many marathons (30), that I’m confident I can run a smart marathon without ideal training. But it won’t be a PR year (or anywhere close). At age 47, I’m coming to grips with the fact that PRs may be behind me, and I’m working to just do the best I can on any particular day. And, I made an appointment to get my foot looked at (after two-plus years, I guess it’s time!) and designated some comfy shoes for the marathon. I may also finally try some Hokas this weekend; my age-group and older running buddies were talking them up last weekend on our New Bedford Half Marathon trip.