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21 Weeks to a BQ

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21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:10 am

Well, it is that time of year again. Time to tell the friends good bye and start getting serious, because it's marathon training time. My goal is to qualify for Boston. This will be my third attempt at a BQ with the first two coming up short. In 2010, Chicago swallowed me up and spit me out , as I was on pace 13 miles into the race. Unfortunately both my gluteous minimus and medius gave out on me and I found my self hobbling around the second half as the sun baked the course (if you recall it was 87 in 2010). Then came the second attempt in 2011. I traveled to Scranton, PA to run the Steamtown Marathon. The race was great, but once again the weather did not cooperate and by mile 20 the shaded areas of the course were gone and the upper 70 degree weather started to eat away at me. I did finish that race with a new PR (3:13:30), but fell short of the 3:05 I was on pace for.

So, what did I learn from my last two attempts? Well for starters, I have found that you can not trust the weather at the beginning of October. It is just hit or miss with the last two years being warm. Second, I know that my training has been awesome and right on target. In both 2010 and 2011, I set new PRs in the half marathon. So, I know that the conditioning is there...

Now we enter 2012. A new year and another chance to capture that elusive BQ. I decided to change things up this year. I decided to go with a race in November instead of October. I am hoping that weather conditions will be on the cooler side 4 weeks later than my normal race weekend. I am also heading outside of the United States to race. Heading north of the border for the first time in my life to run the Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon in Hamilton, ON on November 4, 2012. The course itself is said to be the fastest course in Canada and with the race being in November, I am hoping that all of the stars will align for a magical race day.

My race day goal is once again to run a sub 3:05:00. This is the minimum time that I need for a BQ (that's what I get for being 32 on race day). Since this race is four weeks later than my normal race weekend, I am starting this cycle a little later than normal. Last year I followed a 19 week program, but this year I wanted to step up the training a little. So, I am implementing a 21 week program that started yesterday. Starting in week 7 of the program, I am implementing two a day training runs twice a week. This is the first time that I will be attempting two a days in a training cycle, but it will allow me to get closer to 80 mile weeks. Last year, I peaked at 70 miles in a week. I think those extra mile will hopefully give me the edge that I need to push me past 3:05:00. After completing a good base building program this spring, I think that I am in a good position to come out and kill my goal...Only time will tell...

I hope that you will enjoy following me along this journey. I know that everyone in these forums have helped give me the strength and guidance to be the runner that I am today. I truly appreciate all of the support, encouragement, and advice...You guys are the BEST!!!!

- Nick

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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:14 am

06.11.12 -

The first day of training started out with some weight training and then some cross-training. And by cross training I mean playing softball. We played a back to back doubleheader and won both games, giving us a share of first place in the first half of our season. Tomorrow (6/12) is my first actual run of the training cycle with a four miler scheduled...
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Jerry on Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:16 am

You still haven't BQ'd? lol!
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Mark B on Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:21 pm

Good luck, Nick! I think you're smart to push your race date back a bit to take advantage of cooler temperatures and maximize your chances of success. (I think that's one reason the California International Marathon in early December is so popular.)





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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Michael Enright on Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:24 pm

I hope Canada treats you well!

I understand the desire to push past October - I flamed out on a hot day in Chicago in 2008. On the other hand, when I ran Cape Cod at the end of October in 2011, it was in the tail end of a Nor'easter that came up the east coast early - so 40 and windy - fortunately, the snow they'd forecast didn't fall on Cape Cod, though the course was flooded over in a few spots). So, I hope you don't end up running in winter conditions by trying to avoid summer conditions!

Good luck, and we will be pulling for you (and for good weather)...
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:50 pm

Looks like we've both got aspirations for late fall. Hope you don't mind if I steal an idea or two from you, since you'll be about 6 weeks ahead of me! Smile
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Chris M on Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:07 pm

Good luck this cycle, Nick. I sure like the sound of a cool and fast marathon. I'm signed up for Chicago but if that ends up being even moderately warm, I think I may back off from racing it and either join you or find some other cooler place to go for it. Introducing doubles is great but my recommendation is for you to truly throw out pace for the first couple of weeks you do that. Don't be a slave to the Garmin. You know your routes/mileage and don't need the watch on so leave it on the table and go without. When you start doing doubles, change the goal for those first two weeks to be "two runs, x total mileage, any pace". Two weeks of doubles at 9:00 pace will help you more than 4 doubles all done at 7:30 and then you bring on an injury. So leave the watch at home and just don't know or worry about pace for those runs. Run whatever feels easy because the purpose of the run is to run more and be able to do it again later that day.
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:19 pm

Mike MacLellan wrote:Looks like we've both got aspirations for late fall. Hope you don't mind if I steal an idea or two from you, since you'll be about 6 weeks ahead of me! Smile

Be my guest Mike!!
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:24 pm

Chris M wrote:Good luck this cycle, Nick. I sure like the sound of a cool and fast marathon. I'm signed up for Chicago but if that ends up being even moderately warm, I think I may back off from racing it and either join you or find some other cooler place to go for it. Introducing doubles is great but my recommendation is for you to truly throw out pace for the first couple of weeks you do that. Don't be a slave to the Garmin. You know your routes/mileage and don't need the watch on so leave it on the table and go without. When you start doing doubles, change the goal for those first two weeks to be "two runs, x total mileage, any pace". Two weeks of doubles at 9:00 pace will help you more than 4 doubles all done at 7:30 and then you bring on an injury. So leave the watch at home and just don't know or worry about pace for those runs. Run whatever feels easy because the purpose of the run is to run more and be able to do it again later that day.

Thanks for the advice Chris, always appreciated. I was planning on not running the two a days for time, but I have no experience to base a pace off of. I know that I wan to get some miles on my legs, but I also don't want to end up with an injury. I'll never BQ if I don't make it to the start line Smile

I plan on coming down to Chicago to watch the race and cheer everyone on. Let me know if you end up signing up for the race. The finish line is on Lake Ontario and the average race day temp is 49 degrees...
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Chris M on Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:31 pm

Live by the McMillan calculator. If you are running paces too fast outside of those zones, that's a potential red flag in marathon training and you should tread carefully running that fast especially when you are looking to up the mileage to higher than you have done before. Don't seek to "beat" the pace zones.

Long run pace is 7:30 to 8:35

Recovery runs (and your doubles should BOTH be recovery) is 8:30 to 9:05

Daily/GA runs 7:30 to 8:05

Fast Continous Runs (my preferred style of tempos) 6:20 to 6:45 pace
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:52 pm

Looking forward to following along, Nick. I've run two marathons in Canada - both in late October, and both times the weather was glorious - so hopefully that will continue for you! I'm running NYC again as I have a bone to pick with the course and I love NYC - so I hope the weather is great there as well.

As for the weather, add in some hot weather miles if you can. Before Boston when it got warm in Atlanta, I did at least one 1 hr run a week in the heat. Did it help me run a faster race, no, it was 89 degrees, but it did help me with my confidence in handling the heat.
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:59 pm

06.12.12 -

First official run of the training cycle. Completed an easy 4.20 miles at a 7:40 pace. It's nice to have the first one under my belt. Since it was my first run of the cycle, I was finally able to break in a new pair of shoes. I have two new pair to alternate during my training, in hopes to keep both them and my legs fresh. I broke in the Mizuno Elixir 7s tonight. They are a little bit lighter than the 6s, but seem to have the same cushion. They also feel like they have a larger toe box.
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:01 pm

Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Looking forward to following along, Nick. I've run two marathons in Canada - both in late October, and both times the weather was glorious - so hopefully that will continue for you! I'm running NYC again as I have a bone to pick with the course and I love NYC - so I hope the weather is great there as well.

As for the weather, add in some hot weather miles if you can. Before Boston when it got warm in Atlanta, I did at least one 1 hr run a week in the heat. Did it help me run a faster race, no, it was 89 degrees, but it did help me with my confidence in handling the heat.

Thanks Michele!!! If this summer is anything like last year, then I shouldn't have a problem getting in some warm runs Smile
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:02 pm

Michael Enright wrote:I hope Canada treats you well!

I understand the desire to push past October - I flamed out on a hot day in Chicago in 2008. On the other hand, when I ran Cape Cod at the end of October in 2011, it was in the tail end of a Nor'easter that came up the east coast early - so 40 and windy - fortunately, the snow they'd forecast didn't fall on Cape Cod, though the course was flooded over in a few spots). So, I hope you don't end up running in winter conditions by trying to avoid summer conditions!

Good luck, and we will be pulling for you (and for good weather)...

My fingers are crossed...The average temperature in Hamilton on race day is 49 degrees. If it stay pat, I will be extremely happy...
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:03 pm

Mark B wrote:Good luck, Nick! I think you're smart to push your race date back a bit to take advantage of cooler temperatures and maximize your chances of success. (I think that's one reason the California International Marathon in early December is so popular.)






CIM was on my list of possible races, but ultimately Canada prevailed...Thanks Mark!!
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:13 pm

06.13.12 -

Day #2 (Day #3 overall) of running in the books. That means I got to break in another new pair of shoes tonight. Mizuno Elixir 6s tonight (my third pair of these). Six miles on the schedule and I completed 6.27 miles at an easy 7:45 pace. I am happy that I am felling easy comfort at this pace so soon in my training. Definitely a great bi-product of my spring base trainging program. I have got to keep reminding myself though that it is extremely early in the program and I need to save myself for the middle to peak weeks of the schedule. Conserve...conserve...conserve...
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:23 am

06.14.12 -

Four miles scheduled for today. I got in a total of 4.20 miles at a 7:44 pace. The whole time that I was running today, I kept telling myself nice and easy. And that is what I did...I hope that I have this much enjoyment 15 weeks from now Smile
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  fostever on Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:33 am

Good strategy to go North and later in the fall. Just hope you don't get a freak snowstorm! Have a good summer, you're incrementally getting there and once you break that barrier who knows, young dude!
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:47 pm

06.15.12 -

Scheduled off day Smile

Gotta get up early tomorrow morning to beat the heat
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Julie on Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:58 pm

Heat makes things tough. I hope your long run goes well.
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:10 am

06.16.12 -

Today was scheduled to be a six mile run, but I have a wedding that I am in this afternoon. Knowing that the reception is going to probably run late, I decided to move my LSD to this morning and run the six miles tomorrow. So, that being said, I was up at 4:45 this morning to get in a 14 mile LSD before the heat could set in. It was 71 degrees at 5:30 when I headed out the door, but I got lucky, as it stayed cloudy the entire run (thank you running gods What a Face ). With the temp up, I decided to stick with my early training theme of conservation and keep the pace relatively slow. I was able to maintain an easy average of 7:57 for the entire 14.11 miles, which is about 10 seceonds per mile slower than my normal LSD pace. Even with the slower pace, I was still feeling the affects of the warm temps. My heart rate average 148 which is about 10 beats per minute higher than normal. So, I can only imagine what it would have been like if the sun had come out. Well, time to get ready to head to the church for pre wedding photos...Have a great day!!!
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  JohnP on Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:38 pm

Good luck, Nick, the third time is the charm! I think a November marathon, especially north, should offer you a really good chance.
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Kenny B. on Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:00 am

Sounds like you have a plan to make it happen! Wishing you a well received journey to BQ!
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:16 am

JohnP wrote:Good luck, Nick, the third time is the charm! I think a November marathon, especially north, should offer you a really good chance.

Thanks John, I am hoping so!!
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Re: 21 Weeks to a BQ

Post  Nick Morris on Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:16 am

Kenny B. wrote:Sounds like you have a plan to make it happen! Wishing you a well received journey to BQ!

You too...Thanks KB!!
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