The photo above is me finishing last year's Philadelphia Rock N Roll Half Marathon race in a personal best 1:08:39. It was pretty much the race of the year for me. I ran a gutsy race, going out in 5:00 the first mile, and averaging 5:14 pace. Looking at my training log, and one year later, one would think I am ready to PR. There are plenty of workouts I've done over the past year averaging 5:00s and 4:50s, which I think, over time, the system adapts to. The question is when it finally does. Hitting a 4:39 split during a workout helps too. When getting down to the science, it's also all about using a higher percentage of my VO2 Max as my lactate threshold, which the best marathoners and half marathoners in the world do. This, I hope I have done-and hope the race shows for it. For instance, this past Spring, I got my 5K pace down to 4:48, and my 10K pace down to 4:58. The 10K(which uses part lactate threshold training and part VO2Max), which was also on road, is still the better performance when compared to the 5K on the track. Taken a step furthur, when racing longer than 30 minutes(my 10K time), the faster I get, the gap between my half marathon pace and my 10K pace diminishes(even as I get faster in the 10K). What does this mean? It means my top potential lies in the half marathon(full marathon still in progress), not the 5K. The 10K is somewhere in the middle-and a race I love. Yes, I can get better at the 5K. If I could claim a lifetime goal for the 5K, it would be under 14:00. But I am not a 5K runner. There are many runners like this, who show good example, of exponentially getting better and better in performance as the distances get longer. This is why also it is very rare to see someone's mile time equivalent to their marathon performance, OR to see a top miler like Bernard Lagat race a half marathon equivalent(although I'm sure he could do pretty well!). One of my runners, Tracy Heichelbech, who got into the 2013 Boston Marathon, is a lot like this too. The longer the distance, the better her performance. But she has a lot of potential, and worked hard on her 10 mile time this past spring which will help her future marathon. I am excited to coach her to her first Boston in April.
Conditions are also important of course, and, thankfully, they look quite similar to last year. Temperatures should be in the mid 50s during the race, which is pretty optimal. So, things are looking quite good.
I do think patience is one of the best things runners can learn. And that is what I have learned-letting the races come to me, naturally. Some are meant to be hard-some are meant to kick my ass, some are meant to humlbe me. I train and train, and keep adapting the body, and all it takes is for that right race comes around, and everything shows for the hard work. It doesn't come around often, but when it does, its when you MUST STRIKE. Lucinda is a great example of this, when last year, she ran 1:20 for the half marathon, and then pretty much ran that time during the 2nd half of her marathon race in twin cities, qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in 2:43. She struke when the iron was hot. She is now preparing for the Chicago Marathon, which I think she can make a statement as what a national class runner she has become.
I am excited to get out there Sunday and see what I'm capable of. I fear nothing. I will do my absolute best, and am excited to debut my Mizuno Wave Ronin 4s(pictured below). Good luck to Maria who will be running as well. Maria will be peaking for the Army 10 Miler, but she is still ready to run a very strong race this weekend.
What I find more interesting is what is still to come."