Friday, March 18, 2016

Colorado Marathon Training Update

Wow, I've had zero motivation to blog lately. I started writing this blog to document my journey through training, experimentation, and lessons I learn along the way. Perhaps I am just running out of things to learn? With each passing year I am certainly experiencing fewer journeys, instead focusing on spending more time around the house. I think that is a normal pattern for an endurance athlete. Or, maybe I am just lacking motivation right now as I wait for Winter to pass and Spring to begin in full? Eh, time will tell...

Anyway, the one thing I have been doing is training hard for the Colorado Marathon. I've run half a dozen marathons (counting "races" only) and this is the most I've stayed with a plan and consistent training yet. I typically get bored and run out of motivation to put in the hard work each day. This goal (3:12) feels so large that I cannot afford to slack. And, I had a rough patch that lasted three weeks due to a nasty, long-lasting illness. While I kept my head above water during that period, it definitely heightened my sense of urgency after getting healthy.

I am averaging around 60 miles a week these days without much vertical gain, but with tons of structure. A typical week has me doing 2 workouts (intervals, Fartleks, or tempo variations) plus a long run, of course. I've used my long run to do way more pace work than previous training cycles. Being so far out of practice from running hard for that long, I feel very adamant that I need that type of work. My long runs are far from fun -- I much prefer adventures at places like Indian Creek or Deer Creek -- but I am committed to my goal. Three more of these long runs and then I can see if it has all worked.

One thing that has stood out about this cycle is the number of times per week that I run between eight and twelve miles. About five days a week I run eight miles or more. While some of that is with pace and a bit faster than when I ultra train, each day is a pretty big commitment to running, rarely squeezing my workouts under an hour. When I consider what it takes to apply the appropriate stress and get to an appropriate weekly mileage (without B2Bs to rely on the weekend), this makes sense. But it isn't easy! I have enjoyed my journey back to the marathon and experiencing the contrast in training, but it certainly isn't the type of training that stimulates me over a long period of time. I'll be happy when trail season is officially here. In the meantime, I'll continue attack this marathon the best I know how.


  1. Hi AJ,
    I wanted to introduce myself and to let you know that your dedication and consistency in training has been inspiring for me. Thank you for continuing to post not only here but also describing in detail your insights on a daily basis as a part of Strava activities. Following you there (and by extension - your crew of friends) has been truly motivating for me - to know what types of things are possible (running ultras, fast marathons, great camaradarie) while still fulfilling your responsibilities as a family man. It's very impressive and clearly takes a great deal of sacrifice and discipline to execute. Reading some of your posts of years past, you've been doing it for years. Congrats, keep it up - and I'll be rooting for you to perform your best at CO Marathon and beyond.
    Cheers - Russell Ditsworth

  2. Hi Russell -
    Thanks for the kind words! I enjoy putting that kind of detail in my workouts and my blog hoping that others will find it of value. I know I find value in reading similar things from others! So, thanks for reaching out.