Finally feeling good

Disneyland for Thanksgiving with my crew!
There was a few weeks there when I was SLOWLY jogging along around 9 min pace and was seriously wondering if I could do this big goal of mine. I started back over a month ago and didn't think it would take this long to show some signs of progress.

Every run seemed to be the same 8-10 min pace run and none of them felt very good. Then just as I was doubting, I had a few forced day offs - Disneyland for Thanksgiving! Then I started back up again this week and what do you know - the magic is coming back!

So what do you do as a coach/athlete when you see something like this happen? You duplicate it. So I'm going to be going 3 weeks on then 1 week easy/recovery week. Friel really believes in this strategy...I do to a certain extent - however, I don't think there's such thing as a "one plan fits all" kind of approach. Each athlete is SO different and responds to training in their own unique way. Then when you get older, you still need to make adjustments. I have 20+ years of running experience under my belt and I know what works for me but again, making adjustments from the signals my body gives me (not just copying what I have on my training plan) is going to be key in hitting sub 2:40.

So feeling better is coming at just the right time -next week starts my second block of training. Here's how I've split them up:

Block 1
Lose weight/get in shape/consistency - 7 weeks

Block 2
Add speed components, lengthen long runs and raise overall mileage - 10 weeks

Block 3
Marathon specific training - 12 weeks

Race Orange County Marathon - May 6th

You can follow along with my training on Strava!

Thanks for reading!

Fitness in sight

View from some trails out my front door
Five weeks of fitness in the books. That first month was miserable but I deserve it for neglecting my fitness for so long. I coach adults and high school athletes and I always tell them how miserable those first several weeks are for getting in shape. This was a good taste of my own medicine.

Fitness is sight though. I can feel it coming on and my patience is paying off. I'm also being very diligent with rolling, massage, rest, diet, etc. I'm not waking up incredibly sore and seem to be bouncing back from workouts easier then I have in years. This is also my first time training seriously for something with Hoka's on my feet. I get jokes all the time that they are for old men...Well that's kinda the point! I'm turning 40 in just over a year so I'll take any advantage I can! I can feel noticeable differences in running with Hoka's. That's saying a lot with 20 years of running experience under my belt. Everyone that knows me, knows that I'm very susceptible to injury - all of those years of abuse and hard mileage leaves me very vulnerable to injury. I truly think the Hoka's will be my secret weapon in this goal of mine to break 2:40 in the marathon.  

It's very surreal to dive back into the sport of running. Even though I did triathlon for 4-5 years, I really haven't immersed myself into the sport since 2002 when I left my dream of qualifying for the Olympic Trials in the 5000 meters while training/competing for Bob Schul's Olympic Development team in Ohio. Back then I lived and breathed the 5000 meters - reading and watching everything I could...

I'm doing the same thing now, but for the marathon. No, I'm not trying to qualify for the trials! It's just that I'm an all or nothing kind of personality, especially when it comes to athletics. I'm just obsessed with trying to get the most out of my body and this goal is no different. 

Olympic Trials, came close...Qualifying for IM 70.3 WC's, check...Qualifying for Kona in my "Kona Journey, nope... Breaking 2:40 in the marathon before I'm 40? TBD!

Thanks for reading.

Long Road Back

Being patient is going to be my biggest challenge. The 20 something James thinks he can train and get fit without getting hurt. I've done a good job so far at ignoring those voices and just focusing on the plan I have written out. I guess you do get wiser with age? Still, TBD...

So far mileage has looked like:

Week 1: 17 miles
Week 2: 26 miles
Week 3: 26 miles
Week 4: 26 miles
(all with one day off each week)

I'll be bumping up to 30 next week and just slowly raising mileage with no intensity to 45 miles a week by the end of the year. First week of January will be my first block of two where I will slowly add intensity and continue to build up mileage.

Depending on now the body reacts, if all goes well I plan on maxing out around 100 miles/week, something I haven't done since I was 20! I highly doubt I'll get that high but you never know if I continue to stay disciplined, consistent and healthy.

Just a short three years ago I was backing up a 70.3 triathlon races with low 1:20 half marathons so, although the marathon is a different animal, the idea of going 6:06 pace doesn't seem that all fair fetched. I actually may be changing my marathon debut to the Orange County marathon in May as to make sure to collect on some bets that are in the process of being made...

2:40 or bust!

2:40 before 40

I have this void that I cannot avoid. 

For the past several years I've been "forcing" myself back to the sport of triathlon. I enjoyed those 4 years of training/racing so much and I think I was chasing that. It seemed like every time I started getting into a training groove I would run into big life changes and I would put it all on hold for months at a time, get out of shape and do it all over again.

As you can imagine, that became exhausting and frustrating. During these past 3, 3 years since I last raced - I have always thought about the idea of doing an open marathon. But not just for fun and games but to actually train for one and RACE it. I've thrown down a decent half marathon of 1:14 about 4 years ago and a bunch of sub 1:10's in regular lactate threshold training runs in college lol (I never even knew that was very fast at the time).

So fast forward to now! I started my own business, our baby girl Juliet is one and after discussing it with Amy - we think now is a good time to go after my new goal of breaking 2:40 in the marathon before I'm 40 years old which gives me 1 year and 4 months to train and accomplish this goal. I always tell my high school team that you have to have big goals to accomplish big things. 2:40 isn't necessarily super fast but for how out of shape I am right now and the little time I have, it really is.

It's not going to be easy. I'm definitely out of shape and have years of abuse on these legs. So lots of aches and pains as I get back to speed...pun? In the past my build up has been pretty aggressive as I think I'm still a young kid chasing dreams. This time, I'm putting on my coaches hat and training myself the same way I would train one of my athletes while incorporating key workouts that I know I respond well to.

I'm 3 weeks in back to training. Just easy 30-45 min runs each day ~20-25 miles a week (you can follow all of my workouts on Strava - link on the left). Mileage will slowly increase each week for the remainder of the year with zero intensity other than occasional runs where I feel good and increase pace a bit. Basically, giving what my body craves, whether that means taking a day off or going a little longer/faster - it's smart that way.

I'm targeting the San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon in June. I don't run well in the heat so that's not in my favor with a time goal but it's a local race where I can train and sleep at home during race week which will give me my best shot of doing it in my first attempt. I will have 2 build phases starting in January with some 5k, 10ks and a half marathons leading up to June. I'm excited to race in the local scene again - a lot of familiar names/faces are still racing and I can't wait to line up with them again like old times, with old legs and gray hair slowly starting to show.

So 2:40 before I'm 40. That's 6:06 / mile pace. Back to my first love. Let this new journey begin!

Thanks for reading -