when the training works

As we roll through December, it can only mean one thing. The 2018 race season is coming to a close. So, with that, I am going to write this post with a ton of bragging about my athletes and maybe a small hint of self-promotion.

Jess came to me over the summer because she wanted to run her second marathon. Her first marathon had gone okay, but she was convinced she could run faster and enjoy it more. She crushed all her workouts despite fitting training around a busy, odd-hours job at the same time. Unfortunately, sometimes the weather just isn’t on your side (right, BAA?). Jess faced rain and wind, which is better than the heat that Chicago can be know for, and while she wasn’t able to hit her goal – mostly because of the weather, in my opinion – she did go out and set a 30 minute PR! I tried to convince her to take a shot at another one a few weeks later, while her fitness was there, but instead she opted for taking a shot at a fast half. AND SHE DID IT! She knocked over 5 minutes off her half marathon PR – with a time that is much faster than what McMillan said she should be able to run, based on her marathon time.

Scott has been strength training with me for over three years. He has always participated in a running program (not offered by me). On that program, Scott qualified for Boston two years ago, but because of the sliding scale, he did not get accepted to run. Shortly after that race, he started experiencing some hamstring pain and his marathon times dropped dramatically the next year. He was struggling with speed and decided this past year to work exclusively with me. Our plan is to work our way back to where he was, and faster, in a way that is methodical and sustainable. This fall, he ran a marathon more than 15 minutes faster than his previous two attempts. While it is still a bit off of Boston, it is in the same vein. He has been a great athlete who trusts the process, and it is paying off. Over this winter, he will continue to strength train, as well as picking up some cross training. He is definitely on the right track.

Deb has run a few marathons, with her last one over six years ago. This summer, she decided to not only run another one, but to aim for a goal faster than she has ever run before. Again, she is six years OLDER than her previous marathon. So, we got to work on a plan to achieve that goal. Among other time and family constraints, Deb has been dealing with some Plantar issues for the past few years. We focused on proper strength and rehab exercises for that, while still challenging her distance and speed in training. One month ago, Deb went out in perfect running conditions and knocked over 5 minutes off her previous best – see above about being six years removed from that run! What’s more impressive, she did it mostly without looking at her watch or “racing” the clock. While she ultimately “missed” her goal by a few seconds, I think she actually surprised herself with how much faster the training made her, despite it not really “feeling” that way.

Finally, Tom, my client for whom some races have no age group (80+), just ran his marathon this past weekend. Tom started training with me a few years ago because he was plagued by some running injuries that he just couldn’t seem to shake. A previous Boston qualifier and entrant, he was frustrated by the multiple set-backs. Over the past few years, we have introduced some focused strength training and rehab exercises to get him back to running injury free. Last fall, he ran a marathon and narrowly missed running a BQ. But more importantly, he stayed healthy. This year, we continued to work toward the goal of getting him back to Boston. While we aren’t quite there – and are actually a little further off because of the recent drop in qualifying times – he still ran FASTER than last year. Going into the run, he said he didn’t quite feel as good as the previous year, but then he went out and proved himself wrong. He is crushing his training, and is fighting the traditional bell curve that says he should be getting slower.

As you can see, I get super excited about my athletes. When they commit to the schedule, are open and honest about constraints, and work hard, well, the results speak for themselves. Are you eyeing a goal that has been eluding you for a while? Have you been fighting a persistent injury that you cannot seem to shake? Are you new to running and want it to be an enjoyable experience, whatever the distance? Contact me today and let’s get to work on getting you to where you want to be!