Friday, January 13, 2006

Add it Up

Day after day
I will walk and I will play
but the day after today
I will stop
and I will start
-Violent Femmes, "Add it Up"

Tomorrow the training stops, and Sunday the race starts. Saturday will probably be busy at work, so this is my last real chance to publicly reflect on the training I've done for the race ahead.

-2,246 miles in 25 weeks and 5 days
During this time:
-24 mile runs: 1
-22 mile runs: 16
-20 mile runs: 3
-18 mile runs: 9
-17 mile runs: 2
-16 mile runs: 19

18 miles at 6:01 pace (12/18)
15 miles at 6:02 pace (12/11)
11 miles at 6:02 pace (11/27)

I've been trying to faithfully follow master coach Arthur Lydiard's 26 week marathon program, and I've dedicated half a year to chasing a marathon best of sub 2:40. My best marathon to date is 2:47:51.

Along the way I've run new personal bests at 5K, 10K (unofficial), 10 miles, and the half marathon. I managed to win one race outright (the 10K), and I placed 4th overall at the Tucson half-marathon where I improved my previous best by more than 2 minutes and 30 seconds. I'm typically not one to blow my own horn, but I am encouraged by my progress thus far so I'm posting it.

More importantly, I've discovered the limits I've previously set for myself with regard to mileage and times were nothing more than artificial constructs I'd imagined through comparing myself to the runners around me and interpreting my previous race times. Through reading Arthur Lydiard's "Running to the Top" and Running the Lydiard Way", as well as Ron Daws' "Running Your Best" I'm learning that most runners, including myself, never get close to realizing their ultimate potential. As cliche as it sounds, THERE IS SO MUCH MORE WE CAN DO AND SO MUCH FASTER WE CAN RUN.

Along the way I have met numerous supportive athletes and coaches who have been kind enough to share their wisdom and encouragement, including Nobby Hashizume, Glenn McCarthy, Mark Coughlin and many others, and my wonderful wife Kiera has been exceedingly patient, accommodating, and supportive of my endeavors.

Now it's time to add it up. I've done the work, I've tried to be smart, and I have six months of effort in the bank that indicate I can achieve my goal if I give everything I have while racing intelligently. With this in mind, whatever happens Sunday will only spell the end of the first chapter. As much pressure as I'm putting on myself, regardless of the outcome I am only 1/6 of the way there. The ultimate goal is three years of Lydiard training to try to get as close to my ultimate potential as possible. At that point I will be 37, and hopefully by that time this race will be just a fond memory, much like the first date with your future spouse. A beginning.

Training: 5 miles, 35:08, 7:09 pace


tb1 said...

I think that you have inspired the majority of people who visit your site. I realize now that my training will allow me to finish on Sunday, but probably well short of my potential. Thanks for taking the time to share your training and racing experience and I look forward to celebrating your results.

kconnor said...

definitely inspiring stuff. Best of luck to you.

Scooter said...

Ask Kiera for tonight. If the kids wake, they're hers. Get a good sleep. It is the single significant thing she can do to help you at this point. You won't sleep well tomorrow night, so dealing with the kids won't be a big deal for you then.
I wish you the very best on Sunday. My suspicion is that you are going to PR by a margin bigger than you thought possible. Know that Arthur will be watching and smiling.

Paul said...

You said it perfectly. You have 3 more years of Lydard training to continue your improvement until you reach your peak. Relax and enjoy this race. If you start feeling too much anxiety just remember that this is the benchmark against which the next three years of training will be measured. This is not the 'all that' race... not yet.

Zeke said...


I totally agree with Paul. If you look at it that way, you won't put too much pressure on yourself.

Also, you're not asking anything of yourself that you haven't proven in training that you can accomplish.

I love this statement...

"More importantly, I've discovered the limits I've previously set for myself with regard to mileage and times were nothing more than artificial constructs I'd imagined through comparing myself to the runners around me and interpreting my previous race times."

You hear this stuff all the time and intuitively know it's true, but to "see" it first hand through this blog has been awesome.

Your awesome race performance will be just in time for me to ramp up for another 3-week mileage building stretch. It'll be just what I need for motivation.

Have a great race.

Andrew said...


Good luck Sunday. You truly have been inspiration in relating your training. You'll run your best I have no doubt. We will all be pulling for you Sunday!

robtherunner said...

Well said Mike. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, preparation, and your progress with the rest of us. Have a grest race.

brian said...

You've definitely done the work, Mike. Have a great race Sunday.

Love2Run said...

Looking forward to a great race on Sunday. I'd love to be there but it might be tough to decide whether to watch Meb or you blast along the course. BTW the website has a great video tour. Have fun!

Dallen said...

Those numbers clearly point to a sub 2:40 matathon. If you can do 6:01 pace for 18 miles in a non-race situation you should be able to do it for 26 miles on the well-tapered race day.

Obviously all runners are different, but I didn't put up those types of numbers when I did a 2:40. Sunday I will be envying your new PR.

Don't go out too fast.

Eric said...

Echoing tb1, your efforts are very inspiring, and are about to pay off.

Run smart, run fast, and be well, Mike.

Thomas Sørensen said...

Go go go go go! Mike. Don't eat a big hamburger tonight though :-)

Thomas said...

I'm totally confident that you will have a great race. You have prepared so well, and the number of lung runs is just mind boggling.

You have certainly inspired me.

I'm already looking forward to your race report.

GH said...

Enjoy your race!

Dudi (Israel) said...

Good luck on Sunday !!! I'm sure that you'll have a good race/result.
I must tell you that you're already a WINNER - succeeding to follow the demanding training way of Lydiard and to keep a stable family/job/etc. is (IMO) the real big achievement.

Huge Respect...

Christine said...


Good luck on Sunday! I've been really inspired by your blog and I look forward to your posts to keep me motivated on my path to my first half marathon. It's changed the way I think about my own running and everything I was taught through the years of running cross country. You said it perfectly, "like the first date with your future spouse". Enjoy it.

Mike's wife said...

I don't always read these comments, but I just have to respond to Scooter: He didn't ask. He didn't *have* to ask.

And if he doesn't sleep well the night before the race, it's not the kids' fault, as they will be 100 miles away from him (and I'm pretty sure even Finn's screaming doesn't carry THAT far).

Anonymous said...

Well put, Keira. Well put.

Anonymous said...

Aggghhhh! The suspense is killing me!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Mike, your post gave me goosebumps. I love the "first chapter" part. Totally inspiring. did it go?!?!?!?!

(PS yay Keira!)

Dallen said...

Mike, I found you in the results. Congratulations on your great race.