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Countdown to CIM

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Countdown to CIM

Post  Tim C on Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:43 pm

Well, I figure it’s time to start a blog as I have a big race on my calendar right now.  I’ve entered the California International Marathon (CIM) in December with the hopes of qualifying for Boston.  A little background is in order:

I’ll be 59 later this month, taking up running about 8 years ago and having no idea I was going to enjoy it.  After a couple of years I ran my first marathon in 2009 and have run 3 more since.  I have some very experienced runners I run with, including several that have run Boston numerous times, and I’ve always felt the qualifying standards were well beyond my reach.  In fact they were, although the combination of me running better and my advanced age equating to slower standards to be met, I may be at a point where I can actually do this.

Next year I’ll be 60 and my BQ time will drop to 3:55 for the 2017 race – assuming they don’t lower them between now and then…  My PR is 3:59 and I figure I’ll need something under 3:53 to actually make the field.  Seems a bit of a stretch but I’ve run 3 halfs at 1:58 or better, including one earlier this year.  McMillan equates this to a 3:48 full so I’m optimistic, but realize everything will pretty much have to go right on race day.

I’m following Hal’s Intermediate 1 program again, with a little bit of Daniel’s speedwork thrown in.  Running 5 days a week with tempo runs on Wednesday, MP runs on Saturday and long slow runs on Sundays.  Tues / Thurs are just easy runs.  

The big question in my mind is:  how does one know if they are truly fit enough to run a goal time?  I’ve read Daniel’s book, I feel good, my weight is good, I eat well, (I enjoy a little too much beer but I’m not doing this for a living – lol).  And while there are many days where I feel confident I can do this, there are many days when I just don’t know.  An 8:50 pace feels so easy some days… other days I hear this voice telling me ‘yeah it feels easy now, just try hanging on for 26 miles’.

Anyway, I’m trying to be smart and not get hurt.  Had a little bout of PF a few weeks back but nothing bothering me now.  I know that a big key for me is to log more miles while remembering that many of them should be nice and easy.  Thus, I’m mixing it up more now which is fun.  I’m lucky to have a great group to run with on weekends and we do a lot of hilly trail runs which I really enjoy.

So, thanks for reading and, as usual, I appreciate everyone’s support here.  My wife is putting the pressure on me saying she REALLY wants to go to Boston (I’ve never been although she was there for a few days once).  If the stars align, maybe I’ll get to meet some of you there in 2017…


Last edited by Tim C on Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:55 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  nkrichards on Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:28 am

Good luck Tim.  Your running journey sounds very similar to mine and I'll share that I believe the key to me being able to hold that pace into the end of the marathon was adding core and strength work to my training.  I did increase my running miles slightly but not significantly.  I'm convinced the core/strength work was my ticket to a BQ.  My workouts were only for 45 minutes 3 days a week so it didn't take a lot.

Good luck with your training...
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Mark B on Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:33 am

Good luck, Tim! I was never quite able to get fast enough to hit that BQ standard, but I was able to get a lot faster through lots of aerobic work, core training and a judicious amount of up-tempo work. I found the 3:1 fast-finish long runs were a great confidence builder (the first 15 miles of a 20 miler at a regular long run pace, then the last 5 miles closer to MP), as were steady state tempo runs where I'd target a higher level heart rate (below my LT) and try to maintain that HR intensity for an hour or more. You slow down with time in those runs initially, but the more you do it, the less you slow.

My 2 cents, anyway. There are some Boston pros around here who can probably offer even better advice.

One last thought: If you feel that this is your time to go for it, have you considered hooking up with a coach? If this is important to you, it might be well worth the investment.

ps. CIM is a great race for a BQ attempt. And their pacers are the best.

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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  mountandog on Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:10 pm

Similar story.  Started running at 52 and will be 59 for this yr's CIM which is tentatively my goal race this fall.

I'm a big fan of running on tired legs -- Hanson Method.  If you haven't read the book I recommend it.  If you can run MP on tired legs in training you can do it on rested legs in a race.  It's a bit more sophisticated than Hal's stuff and I think it can "up your game" for the same mileage.  I like MP runs of up to 10-12 miles as I feel they build the endurance and strength necessary to run at pace and give you the confidence to do so.  I've always felt that a mid week longer run of 10-15 miles in addition to the weekend long run gave me the aerobic improvements I was looking for.

Maybe I'll see you at CIM.
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Thu Sep 03, 2015 3:08 pm

I do MP runs of 10-12 miles as well, and even though I bombed my last one (it was too warm and my legs were too tired), I still feel pretty fit and my goal in in mid-October.  You have plenty of time between now and December and you are very close.  I also like the Advance Marathoning schedules that Pete Pfitzinger has in his book.  They combine a midweek longish run (which I have incorporated this summer) along with longer MP runs and a little speed.  Since I'm a "combo-speedster" according to McMillan, the speedwork suites me well (almost too well), and I have found that I can still do those medium-long midweek runs after speed which makes me think I'm pretty fit.

I age up for 2017 too (I'll be 55), so if I run sub 4 this fall, I'll see you in Boston in 2017 too.
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Tim C on Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:55 pm

nkrichards wrote:Good luck Tim.  Your running journey sounds very similar to mine and I'll share that I believe the key to me being able to hold that pace into the end of the marathon was adding core and strength work to my training.  I did increase my running miles slightly but not significantly.  I'm convinced the core/strength work was my ticket to a BQ.  My workouts were only for 45 minutes 3 days a week so it didn't take a lot.

Good luck with your training...

Thanks Nancy.  I just knew someone would mention core work and it didn't take long.  I hate it but I do know that it would be beneficial.  Gotta figure out how to do it on a regular basis...

Mark B wrote:Good luck, Tim! I was never quite able to get fast enough to hit that BQ standard, but I was able to get a lot faster through lots of aerobic work, core training and a judicious amount of up-tempo work. I found the 3:1 fast-finish long runs were a great confidence builder (the first 15 miles of a 20 miler at a regular long run pace, then the last 5 miles closer to MP), as were steady state tempo runs where I'd target a higher level heart rate (below my LT) and try to maintain that HR intensity for an hour or more. You slow down with time in those runs initially, but the more you do it, the less you slow.

My 2 cents, anyway. There are some Boston pros around here who can probably offer even better advice.

One last thought: If you feel that this is your time to go for it, have you considered hooking up with a coach? If this is important to you, it might be well worth the investment.

ps. CIM is a great race for a BQ attempt. And their pacers are the best.

Thanks Mark.  I actually like the 3:1's myself and have done several.  You're right, being able to knock those last few out at race pace is a huge confidence boost.

Haven't thought about a coach... No clue on even finding one...

I've heard nothing but great things about CIM.  I'm hoping for a really nice, cool day as I've had not so much good luck in that department weather-wise.  I've run LA 3x and one was decent while the other two were just hot...

mountandog wrote:Similar story.  Started running at 52 and will be 59 for this yr's CIM which is tentatively my goal race this fall.

I'm a big fan of running on tired legs -- Hanson Method.  If you haven't read the book I recommend it.  If you can run MP on tired legs in training you can do it on rested legs in a race.  It's a bit more sophisticated than Hal's stuff and I think it can "up your game" for the same mileage.  I like MP runs of up to 10-12 miles as I feel they build the endurance and strength necessary to run at pace and give you the confidence to do so.  I've always felt that a mid week longer run of 10-15 miles in addition to the weekend long run gave me the aerobic improvements I was looking for.

Maybe I'll see you at CIM.

Michael,

We may be about the same age and running for about the same amount of time but the similarity ends there.  You are way fast and I am not...  Although the fact that I actually have an outside chance to qualify for Boston after smoking for 30 years is pretty darn amazing to me.

Interesting on the MP on tired legs.  I've been doing just the opposite for my last 2 races in that I run MP on Saturday and then do my long run on tired legs.  I'll find the book and read it though as I'm up for anything that may 'up my game' at this point.

I'm for sure going to be there - if you go I would love to meet up at some point.  

Thanks for the input.

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:I do MP runs of 10-12 miles as well, and even though I bombed my last one (it was too warm and my legs were too tired), I still feel pretty fit and my goal in in mid-October.  You have plenty of time between now and December and you are very close.  I also like the Advance Marathoning schedules that Pete Pfitzinger has in his book.  They combine a midweek longish run (which I have incorporated this summer) along with longer MP runs and a little speed.  Since I'm a "combo-speedster" according to McMillan, the speedwork suites me well (almost too well), and I have found that I can still do those medium-long midweek runs after speed which makes me think I'm pretty fit.

I age up for 2017 too (I'll be 55), so if I run sub 4 this fall, I'll see you in Boston in 2017 too.

Thanks Michele.  My MP runs are usually 6-8 miles so maybe I should up them a bit.  I've had 3 left knee surgeries over the years and it talks back to me sometimes so while I recognize the advantage of upping the miles, I have to balance over-doing it.  It's a fine line sometimes...  The nice thing is, I feel really, really good right now.  I definitely have a better base than I ever have had.

If I'm lucky enough to BQ, I would absolutely love to meet up with you, and others, in Boston '17.
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:44 am

I totally get the balance of overdoing it - having been there many times.  In fact, I was there this past February.  Keep us up to date!
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Mark B on Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:30 am

Once you build a solid base, it's surprising how much benefit you can get from even a relatively limited amount of up-tempo work. So don't worry too much that you need to schedule in a ton of hard stuff to BQ - a little bit can have a big impact.

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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Tim C on Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:33 pm

mountandog wrote:Similar story.  Started running at 52 and will be 59 for this yr's CIM which is tentatively my goal race this fall.

I'm a big fan of running on tired legs -- Hanson Method.  If you haven't read the book I recommend it.  If you can run MP on tired legs in training you can do it on rested legs in a race.  It's a bit more sophisticated than Hal's stuff and I think it can "up your game" for the same mileage.  I like MP runs of up to 10-12 miles as I feel they build the endurance and strength necessary to run at pace and give you the confidence to do so.  I've always felt that a mid week longer run of 10-15 miles in addition to the weekend long run gave me the aerobic improvements I was looking for.

Maybe I'll see you at CIM.

I was just reading online a bit about the Hanson method. Do you actually max out at 16 mile long runs??? You're faster so maybe you run farther and still stay in the time window, but I wonder how confident I would be going in with only 16 mile runs under my belt. Of course I haven't read the book yet to understand why they recommend that.
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Tim C on Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:15 pm

So I picked up the Hanson Method book Friday and finished reading it Saturday afternoon...lol... it was good reading obviously.  Decided to take the plunge and started on the beginner plan yesterday as the speed work starts on week 5 and, as luck would have it, when plugging the dates in I'm at week 5...

I've never followed a plan as structured as this - or as high mileage as this - so it should be interesting.  Moving from 5 to 6 days a week running will be a bit of a change but the length of the mid-week runs will be a HUGE change.  It all makes sense, however I absolutely detest running after work.  I typically try to get to the office by 7:15-7:30 which is fine after a 5 mile run.  I see I have a bunch of 8, 10 & 12 mile weekday runs ahead of me so I will be starting really early a couple of days a week.  Was out the door before 5am this morning for my first speed session - 12 x 400's.  MUCH tougher than I expected but was able to knock it out, 8 miles in total, and still in the office well before 8am.

I will be anxious to see how this plays out over the next few weeks but it sure makes sense.  The higher mileage than I've ever run has to be a good thing, as long as I stay healthy.
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  mountandog on Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:17 pm

Tim C wrote:So I picked up the Hanson Method book Friday and finished reading it Saturday afternoon...lol... it was good reading obviously.  Decided to take the plunge and started on the beginner plan yesterday as the speed work starts on week 5 and, as luck would have it, when plugging the dates in I'm at week 5...

I've never followed a plan as structured as this - or as high mileage as this - so it should be interesting.  Moving from 5 to 6 days a week running will be a bit of a change but the length of the mid-week runs will be a HUGE change.  It all makes sense, however I absolutely detest running after work.  I typically try to get to the office by 7:15-7:30 which is fine after a 5 mile run.  I see I have a bunch of 8, 10 & 12 mile weekday runs ahead of me so I will be starting really early a couple of days a week.  Was out the door before 5am this morning for my first speed session - 12 x 400's.  MUCH tougher than I expected but was able to knock it out, 8 miles in total, and still in the office well before 8am.

I will be anxious to see how this plays out over the next few weeks but it sure makes sense.  The higher mileage than I've ever run has to be a good thing, as long as I stay healthy.
Be careful not to up your mileage more than 10-15% from where you are now.  If you have to cut back a bit on the 6th day to make that happen, take a rest day.  Don't get yourself injured by packing on the mileage too quickly.  BE CAREFUL!
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Tim C on Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:12 am

mountandog wrote:
Tim C wrote:So I picked up the Hanson Method book Friday and finished reading it Saturday afternoon...lol... it was good reading obviously.  Decided to take the plunge and started on the beginner plan yesterday as the speed work starts on week 5 and, as luck would have it, when plugging the dates in I'm at week 5...

I've never followed a plan as structured as this - or as high mileage as this - so it should be interesting.  Moving from 5 to 6 days a week running will be a bit of a change but the length of the mid-week runs will be a HUGE change.  It all makes sense, however I absolutely detest running after work.  I typically try to get to the office by 7:15-7:30 which is fine after a 5 mile run.  I see I have a bunch of 8, 10 & 12 mile weekday runs ahead of me so I will be starting really early a couple of days a week.  Was out the door before 5am this morning for my first speed session - 12 x 400's.  MUCH tougher than I expected but was able to knock it out, 8 miles in total, and still in the office well before 8am.

I will be anxious to see how this plays out over the next few weeks but it sure makes sense.  The higher mileage than I've ever run has to be a good thing, as long as I stay healthy.
Be careful not to up your mileage more than 10-15% from where you are now.  If you have to cut back a bit on the 6th day to make that happen, take a rest day.  Don't get yourself injured by packing on the mileage too quickly.  BE CAREFUL!

When you say not to up mileage more than 10-15%, I assume you mean 10-15% per week. The plan shows me going from 36 per week now to mid-50's, but that will take several weeks to get there.
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:08 am

I switched to running those mid-week long runs this summer and after the first couple of weeks, it became routine, and I was surprised as to how well I actually handled the transition.  Hopefully you will have the same feeling.  I do have the benefit of working from home, but in the summer, I have to be at my volunteer job by 8:45, so it made for many early mornings as well.  I'm just grateful that my commute is by bike.  

Have fun with the Hanson plan.
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  nkrichards on Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:15 pm

I think you'll like the Hanson plan.  Don't be afraid to cut back on a little bit of the easy mileage if necessary.  I followed the general plan but cross trained instead of running on the easy days when I ran my BQ.  Loved the plan and it worked well for me.

Good luck...enjoy!
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Tim C on Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:07 pm

I've been remiss in my not posting but have been very busy and now am in Colorado for a week.  Last week was my first week following the Hansen plan and it went well:

M - 5 easy
T - 8 mi with 12 @ 400
W - off
T - 7 with 5 @ MP (8:50)
F - 4 easy
S - 8 easy - fly to Colorado
S - 8 easy

I thought the altitude  would bother me more than it did, although a couple of the uphills got my attention pretty good.

This past Monday I ran another 4 and then I went looking for a place to my interval work on Tuesday because I knew doing that on rolling hills just wasn't going to work.  I found a fairgrounds / park that was dead flat so drove over there and figured 10 seconds slower than I'm supposed to do (8:00) would be good given the altitude.  Turns out I was able to do the 8 @ 600's right at 8:00 so I was happy.  Today is an off day and I plan on going back there tomorrow for my MP run.

Feeling good right now...
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Tim C on Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:42 am

7 miles this morning with 5 @ 8:48 MP.  Nailed it but I sure hope this feels easier next week when I get back to sea level...
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Tim C on Sun Sep 20, 2015 12:04 pm

Week 2 on the Hanson plan:

M - 4.2
T - 7.1 w/ 8 - 600 repeats @ 8:02
W - off
T - 7 w/ 5 @ MP 8:48
F - 4 Fly back to Cal
S - 10.1 trails
S - 8.5 easy

Week - 40.9
MTD - 116
YTD - 1135

Back to work tomorrow and back to running at 0 dark thirty...
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Tim C on Sun Sep 27, 2015 3:21 pm

Week 3 on Hansen plan for Sacramento. 10 weeks to go:

M - 4.4 easy
T - 6.9 with 6 800 repeats @ 8:00 with 400 recoveries
W - off
T - 7.4 w/ 5 mi @ 8:48 MP
F - 5.6 easy
S - 7.9 trail easy - didn't feel easy though...
S - 12.2 long - felt good but sure looking forward to this heat wave going away...

44.4 for the week. Next week is my first 15 miler in some time.
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Tim C on Sun Sep 27, 2015 3:28 pm

Question for any of you Hansen Plan followers out there: I like the plan and it makes a lot of sense. However, while it's still a ways away, the last couple of weeks don't look like much of a taper to me. 49 miles the week before with 2 hard workouts and then the 6 days leading up to the race are 5, 5, off, 6, 5 & 3 the day before. That's a LOT more miles the week before and the week of than I've ever done before. I get tired just looking at that schedule leading up to the race.

Any of you run that much the last 2 weeks???
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Tim C on Sun Oct 18, 2015 2:50 pm

Update time. 6 weeks on the Hansen plan with 7 weeks to go until race day. I'm running more miles than ever with more quality miles as well and I've never felt stronger. I worry a bit that I'm going to tweak something yet everything feels good and I attribute at least some of that to making the easy miles easy and just being fitter than before.

I've been running easy on Mondays, Tuesdays were speed intervals and now strength intervals. Wednesdays I take off and then Thursdays have been 10 mile MP runs - 8 miles at MP plus warmup and cool down. These will increase in length the next couple of weeks. Fridays are easy runs, easy runs on trails on Saturdays and then long on Sundays.

Other plans I've followed had me maxing out in the low 40's per week. My last 6 weeks have been 39, 41, 44, 49, 48 and then 54 this week. Today's 16 miles put me over 50 for the first time ever, I believe. It was nice that I was able to fast finish the last couple at better than goal pace and it felt relatively easy.

I'm trying to stretch and do core work on a regular basis, with only limited success so far. Haven't missed a mile of running yet find it WAY too easy to blow off doing core stuff. Have to get better at this....

At any rate, I feel good and I've got my fingers crossed that my knee holds up and praying for a nice cool day in Sacramento.
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:36 am

Keep it up, Tim - nice job so far.  I ran more miles than I had in a long time this cycle as well, and it paid off.  So it will for you too.  Stay smart.
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  nkrichards on Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:19 pm

Nice to hear the increased miles are agreeing with you.  Stay healthy!
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Tim C on Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:33 pm

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:Keep it up, Tim - nice job so far.  I ran more miles than I had in a long time this cycle as well, and it paid off.  So it will for you too.  Stay smart.

Thanks Michele,
I noticed in your blog you were logging a lot of miles.  This is a big increase for me but 'knocking on wood' it seems to be agreeing with me.
Nice run in Columbus yesterday - here's to hoping I can put the hammer down for the 2nd half...

nkrichards wrote:Nice to hear the increased miles are agreeing with you.  Stay healthy!

Thank You!  Trying to be smart, eat right and do all the right things...
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  Tim C on Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:33 pm

So training is going really well but one of the things I've been obsessing over is:  just how far under my BQ time will I have to be to actually get into the race.  I just did some checking online and was surprised to see that it has gone from 1:38 under in 2014, to 1:02 under for 2015 to 2:28 under for 2016.  The past few weeks I've been thinking if I can run anything under 3:53 i should be good - now not so much.

I have no idea what to target for the race.  There will be 3:55 pacers but obviously I have to run faster than that.  There's a 3:45 pacer but that's too fast for me and there is no 3:50 pace group.  Following the Hanson plan I've plugged my paces in between 3:50 and 3:55 and while I've been able to hit all of them, I wonder if I'm doing this ass backwards.  Meaning, I have no idea if I can actually run the paces I need, but that's my target regardless.

So I'm thinking I need my goal to be something in the 3:50-3:51 range.  Would like to run with the 3:55 pacers for a while and then pick it up but probably won't be able to run with them very long or I'd have to pick it up too much.

This whole 2:28 under thing has me bugged.  It would suck to be under by a couple of minutes but miss by a few seconds of getting in.  Maybe I need to forget the pacers, go out at an 8:47 pace (3:50) and hope for the best.  Last nights 11 miles @ MP was at 8:35 without any issues so maybe I'll be alright after all.
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Re: Countdown to CIM

Post  ounce on Fri Oct 30, 2015 11:02 pm

Not trying to add to your woes, but do you factor in to your pace the added time for running the course long?
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Re: Countdown to CIM

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