Boston Course Run

Last week was very intense training wise. After making the decision to not run L.A. Pete had penciled in this week as the stretch to really see if I would be ready for Boston. The plan was to do 2 hard sessions in 3 days which is pretty unique for how Pete normally structures my training.

Washington Crossing towpath in Lawrenceville, NJ.

Washington Crossing towpath in Lawrenceville, NJ.

On Monday I did a steady hilly 13 mile run with some strides with the intent to make my quads a bit sore heading into my workout the next day. On Tuesday, I went to Washington Crossing State Park to do a 1,000 meter repeat session on the towpath. Luckily, New Jersey is full of lots of flat, dirt trails that run next to the Delaware River and are a great place to get in some faster running off the pavement.

The plan for the day was to run 7x1k then 6x1k. The rest between each 1k was 1:45 seconds and the rest between the sets was 4 minutes. I wheeled out a 1,000 meter section and did the workout back and forth on it. The stretch was mostly flat, however I did notice that the second half one way ran about 3-4 seconds slower as I got into the faster second set. The goal for set 1 was 3:03-2:59 and the goal for set 2 was 2:59-2:53. Here’s how it went:

Set 1: 3:00(up), 3:04(down), 3:00(up), 2:58(down), 3:01(up), 3:00(down), 2:58(up)
Set 2: 2:54(down), 2:59(up), 2:57(down), 2:59(up), 2:54(down), 2:58(up)
All in all, it was a good session. I was really working hard on the second set in the slightly uphill direction but I did run a few 2:54’s which is faster than I’ve run in a long time!
After a very easy 7 mile run on Wednesday with Esther (58 minutes!) I made my way to Boston, MA to do a marathon specific long run on the course. Brian Harvey, B.A.A. runner and 2:17 marathoner, graciously let me stay with him on Wednesday night AND committed to doing the long run with me the following morning.
On Thursday, Brian and I were up and out the door well before 6am and caught a commuter train out to Framingham, which is around the 6.5 mile mark of the course. The plan for the workout was to run 4 miles-3 miles-2 miles-1 mile with a mile float between each harder piece. Brian knows the course very well and suggested starting the 4 mile piece at mile marker 11 so that the latter part of the workout would be over the tough Newton Hills. Here’s how it went:
mm 6.5 – mm 11: 4.75 miles warmup
mm 11-mm 15: 5:08, 5:18, 5:08, 5:12
mm 15-mm 16: 6:19 float
mm 16-mm 19: 5:15 (I-95 hill), 5:20 (Firehouse hill), 5:04
mm 19-mm 20: 6:30 float
mm 20-mm 22: 5:18 (Heartbreak hill), 5:09
mm 22-mm 23: 6:50 float
mm 23-mm 24: 4:46
mm 24 back to Brian’s apartment (1.75 mile cool down)

Boston Marathon course elevation

Boston Marathon course elevation

A few things…I wore my Soleus GPS watch and he worse his Garmin and our splits were off from one another by quite a bit. Also, we were not running any of the tangents because of traffic and stayed on the sidewalk for the entire run. The mile markers are actually permanently in the middle of the road and Brian split his watch when we passed each one but depending on the mile our true splits might be off by .01-.02, or 3-6s. Either way, the splits above are a rough average of the feedback from each of our watches. Neurotic runner rant over.
Overall, it was a good session. I ran up and over the 3 main hills very well and if I can do that on race day it will be a very good day. I will say that even though the early miles are net downhill they are still rolling. Everyone talks about the flying fast opening half marathon but I think it’s fast mostly in comparison to the tough 2nd half. Don’t get me wrong, the course is fast on the front end but it is not a mindlessly straight downhill journey.
I’m glad I was able to run the heart of the course and it gave me confidence that my fitness is still very good. Lastly, and most importantly, my calf felt good after this tough 3 day span! Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (3/29-4/4):

Sunday: AM: 9 miles

Monday: AM: 13 miles

Tuesday: AM: 14 miles (13xk workout)   PM: 4 miles

Wednesday: AM: 7 miles

Thursday: AM: 19.5 miles (4-3-2-1 Boston course run)

Friday: AM: 8 miles   PM: 6 miles

Saturday: AM: 11.5 miles

Total: 92 miles, 9 runs