Friday, October 31, 2014

My New Long Run...

Change tends to be hard, I think we can all agree on that. When I started working with Katie last November, I would start training using the Maffetone Method. Training this way would mean getting back to the basics, and building my aerobic capacity from the ground up. For me, it translated into SLOWING THE HELL DOWN when running. And when I thought I had slowed down enough? Slow down even more. The first six months of MAF training required a tremendous amount of patience from myself, and trust in the process. I struggled a lot (and still do a little) with the judgment piece; the paces my watch were spitting at me, how "slow" I felt I am now compared to when I used to do all my runs at X min/mile pace, etc. In time, however, I was finally able to see progress. My pace at MAF started to come down, first my seconds, then by minutes.

I chose to close out my 2014 season with a marathon, so Katie and I have been working closely together to allow for both proper recovery from Lake Placid, and a solid marathon build (This is the part that those who know me well just fell off their chairs seeing the word "recovery" in a post written by ME. Miracles do happen, my friends...).

When my first long runs started popping on the schedule, I couldn't help but laugh a little, while simultaneously scratching my head. It was a lot of "wait - you don't want me to just go out and run at a steady pace for 2+ hours?" mixed with "I have to start off at what pace, and do how many 15 minute repeats, and then end up with a FAST mile? You DO know that I own fly and die method, right?". I have been running marathons since 2004, and I would guess 95% of my long runs have always gone like this: Run hard, scream to the world how awesome I feel at mile 10, sit on the side of the road and throw my shoes somewhere around Mile 16, and walk home. I looked a whole lot like this. Always.

And today, my long run looked like this:
60mins building to/hanging out around MAF
4 x 15mins at MAF+10/5 mins easy
20 mins building down to X:XX min/miles
10 mins FAST
10mins easy/cool down

Wouldn't you know, I finished the run feeling like I could keep on running. It's amazing what happens when embrace change, trust in a process, and 100% believe in your coach's plan.

While I don't know what's going to happen in terms of time when I go after that finish line in December, I do know that despite the finish time on the clock, I have made more progress this year as a runner and athlete than ever before. And as long as I'm patient, and maintain vision of the long term plan, I will continue to grow and mature as an athlete.

Its that time of year where athletes are building their 2015 schedule, and searching for a coach. My advice to those athletes? Find someone who you can trust, one million percent. You must believe in the philosophy and the plan, if you ever expect that athlete/coaching relationship to work. Find someone who you click well with on a personal level. Having that coach know you and your life inside and out is essential to success. Transparency is key - feel comfortable over communicating with your coach. Think long term - can you BE patient? Are you willing to take 1-2-3 years to achieve your goals?

Change is hard, absolutely. However, I believe that some of the best things can come from closing your eyes, and taking a gigantic leap outside your comfort zone.

Happy training or off-seasoning!

Obligatory picture of Caitlyn and I, because why not?!


  1. Great post! I need to follow your lead.... Someday

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