VCM Preview: David Berdan

We continue our lightning round of Vermont City Marathon elite runner previews with David Berdan. We basically just asked one simple question to many of the elites: Are You Ready? They had free reign to answer in any way they saw fit. Here is David’s response:

I guess I can give a quick introduction for those of you who do not know me. My name is Dave Berdan and I live in the Baltimore, Maryland area with my wife (Amanda) and two boys (Evan-5 and Colin-3). I am currently a middle school science teacher and varsity cross country coach at the Garrison Forest School. In a few weeks I am excited to be starting a new position as the Head Cross Country and Assistant Track (Distance) Coach at Stevenson University in Owings Mills, Maryland.

Am I ready for Sunday’s Vermont City Marathon? I think I am as ready as I can be… I have had a shorter buildup for Vermont City than previous marathons, but it has gone really well. In March I went to the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach with the hopes of running under the 2:18 Olympic Trials standard, but a case of the norovirus and later a cold that turned into a sinus infection ended that goal as I dropped out half way into the race.

I would say that I have two goals for tomorrow. Goal number one is to run under 2:18 (qualifying for the Olympic Trials) and if sub 2:18 does not happen I want to be competing for the win. I do not care about place if I run under the standard. Qualifying for the Olympic Trials has been a goal of mine since graduating from Elizabethtown College in 2004. Unfortunately USATF keeps making the standard a little bit faster. Back when I first started marathoning the standard was 2:22, now it is 2:18. During the fall of 2011 I was able to run 2:21 at the Baltimore Marathon. 4 years earlier that would have been enough to qualify, but in 2012 they lowered the standard to 2:19.

I feel like I have yet to figure out the marathon, or at least the specific training for myself when it comes to the marathon. I have completed buildups where I feel like I did too many marathon specific workouts and not enough shorter workouts, ones where I did the complete opposite and did not get in enough marathon specific workouts, and this time around where I feel like I have had a good mixture of both. Coming off of dropping out at the Shamrock Marathon I took one week completely off and then started building back up the following week….this left 9 weeks of training before Vermont City. I started the buildup with some shorter workouts touching on paces that I had neglected in my buildup to Shamrock. You can check out the details of my training on my blog at or from updates on Twitter @Dave_Berdan. In the beginning I did some shorter workouts like 200s, Renato Canova style hill circuits, and vO2 max workouts. From there I started adding in some longer workouts that had a higher volume and had a lot of miles at marathon race pace or faster. Races during my buildup included a 10 mile race in Alexandria, VA (George Washington Parkway 10 miler) on April 13th in 51:24 and the Frederick Half Marathon on May 4th in 1:07:17. I was happy with both races as the first one was only a few weeks after starting training again and the 1:07 included splits of 4:55-4:54-5:05-4:54-5:00 for miles 2-6.

I have also spend some extra time paying attention to some details that I have not cared about in the past. The number one detail that I changed was my diet. In the past I would eat like most other marathoners, not caring about anything because of all the miles I was running. This time around I focused on a diet that was higher in “good” fats and on the lower end carbohydrate wise. With that being said, I did adjust my diet based on the length of the workout completed that day or scheduled for the next day. I also took out pretty much all processed carbohydrates and sugar from my diet. I did “cheat” sometimes, but overall this was a HUGE change to my previous diet. I also completed nearly every single run and longer workout without eating any carbohydrates before or during the workout. Now, with all of this being said, I did make a complete 180 degree change to my diet in the past two days. I have been eating a significant amount of carbohydrates with hopes of topping off my muscle/liver glycogen stores before the race. I am hoping that in doing all of this my body has become more efficient at tapping into my fat stores and will benefit me in the later stages of the marathon.

Another detail that I have added is massage. My previous experience with massage was a random one after a race sometimes. This time around I scheduled a massage 4 times with my massage therapist Nic Ebright. My last massage was yesterday morning and I feel like they have had a significant impact on my recovery from training/racing.

I am looking forward to my time in Burlington! I have never been there before, but have heard a ton of great things about the city and the race!

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