Training Recap: 2/17-23 – The [Wellesley] Hills


Another week in training for the 2014 Boston Marathon is in the books and I think I managed to largely pick up where I left off after the Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler.  I ended up taking a whopping 2 days off after the race, one prescribed 4 miler on Sunday, and then my scheduled day off Monday.  Where I’ve felt guilty in missing workouts before, I think my body just needed those two days after a hard effort in the 20.  Here’s how the week shaped up.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday and Wednesday – 8 miles on the treadmill.  I definitely felt my legs struggling on the Tuesday run and then a little bit more solidly under me for Wednesday.  I pushed Wednesday’s pace a bit more than usual, knowing I’d have a tempo run on Thursday but, because it was a group run I might not hit the target pace.

Thursday – I warmed up with a jog from my office over to Lir for our Hub Running Club group run, getting in 2.1 miles, much of it with difficult traction on ice-covered sidewalks.  For our group run, we went on a slightly different course than usual, at least in the sense that we reversed our normal longer route, headed up Comm Ave to Cleveland Circle where we turned back down Beacon towards Boston.  It was a casual pace, except for the hills, which I tried to push, and made for a great social run of 9.8 miles.

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – I mixed up the training schedule a bit this week to accommodate plans to do a new group run, see Sunday, so I ran a hard 8 miles at 7:49 pace at the gym instead of my usual Saturday long run.

Sunday – This week I mixed things up, taking a field trip out to the City Sports in Wellesley, which just happens to be on the Boston Marathon course.  Adidas has partnered with City Sports to put on this great opportunity on Sunday mornings, giving all runners, not just charity team runners, the chance to run the Boston course with a group.  You can check out the runs for yourself here.  There was a group of about 25 ready to go at 8:30 a.m., a fairly good mix of folks on the speedier, and less speedier, side.

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While most of the group was doing a 15 mile route, comprised of a quick loop before running the marathon course to the City Sports Boylston Street store, I decided to do an out-and-back course, mostly for time reasons.  I had 16 miles on my training plan, but figured that 15 wouldn’t be so different.

It was refreshing to be on a part of the Boston course that I hadn’t run since 2012.  As many know, the midway point of the marathon comes in Wellesley center, shortly after the Scream Tunnel that is Wellesley College.  What many don’t really realize is that there is a lot of downhill that comes after the halfway point, all leading up to the beginning of the Newton Hills.  Check out this elevation chart of the entire course, followed by my run’s elevation chart, as shown on Strava.

boston_marathon_elevation_chart_from_garmin

 

16 Miler Elevation

 

See that big spike down after Mile 15 on the course, and right before Mile 2 on my run?  That’s a helluva hill, with many parts around 5-6% decline, and one part that even comes up at -8.9%!  Now, for many of us midpackers, we are squarely in maintenance pace at this point in the race, holding back for the Newton hills.  What this means, at least for me, is that I’m not going to push the pace on downhills.  I may notice that things feel easier, but where in a 5K I’d open up my stride and let gravity work, I am going to be sure to lean back in Wellesley to try to save my quads as long as possible.  The trick is to be aware that the downhills are there, and longer and steeper than you’d think.  I didn’t realize just how crazy the hills were until I was on my way back to City Sports and had to climb back up those same hills, which, if I’m being honest, really, really sucked.  To make a long story short, Beware The Hills Of Wellesley on race day.  Unless you are supremely trained on downhills, guard your quads for the upcoming miles and don’t let yourself get carried away by the tempting terrain.

Coming into the water stop.

Coming into the water stop.

I thought that the hardest part of the run was going to be having to run the Newton Hills forwards and backwards in short succession, but they actually didn’t end up being so bad.  I was actually fairly pleased with my splits throughout, especially given that there were only 2 water stops (technically one stop, twice), and I ran without any fuel otherwise.

16 Mile Splits

 

But, even more than the splits, what made me proudest was that i didn’t turn around at mile 7.5, which would have been the target for the 15 mile run.  Instead, I kept going the extra half mile needed to make it a 16 mile run.  I would have been the only person to suffer in the long run if I ran 15 instead of 16, and I wasn’t going to let that happen.  Achieving the goals I’ve set for myself isn’t going to happen by cutting long runs short, even if only by a mile.

Thanks, City Sports!

Thanks, City Sports!

Now, what I’ve entirely neglected to mention is that this was the second time I’d run in my brand new Adidas adistar Boosts, my first time on the roads.  I will have an in-depth review to come in the future, but first impressions are largely positive!

adistar boostThat brings to an end a longer than usual training recap, it was more like a run recap plus some other details about other runs, I suppose.  Final weekly mileage total was 51.9 miles, certainly the most I’ve run in a week in a long time, if ever!

Boost your run!  And do it happily!

 

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