Archive for November, 2010


Never Too Late to be Great – Report #4

11.21.2010

CIM – 2 Weeks Out and Counting

Rod Waterlow with 2010 Olympic Torch

Rod Waterlow

 This series is about and by Rod Waterlow who has been invited as a senior elite athlete to compete at the California International Marathon (Sacramento) on December 5.  We are following Rod’s approach and process as he prepares for and runs this popular and still growing event.  For more background on Rod and the Race, see the first post in the series.

Have you ever run CIM?

No, this will be a new experience for me and I’m really looking forward to it. 

 

What are you doing to mentally prepare for a course you haven’t seen before?

Since deciding to run the CIM, I have talked to other runners who have run the race and I have a pretty good idea of what to expect.  Although the course profile makes it look as if the whole race is downhill, I have been told that the first ten miles is quite challenging and that I should prepare for a fast second half.  I’m always very wary of the word “undulating” – some “undules” are bigger than others!

CIM is now just over three weeks away – how is your training and are you ready for the taper?

I ran a slow 22 miles (35km) on Saturday and felt pretty good.  This will be my last long run before the CIM and I have to admit that the past few weeks have been quite tiring.  My total mileage this past week was 38 miles (61km), a little more than I had planned but not excessive.  I was a last-minute substitute in the Haney to Harrison relay [Ed. Note: 100km relay with 8 legs] a week ago and my normal running schedule was disrupted.  However, at this point in my training it’s not an issue, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being a member of a team in my first relay.  The remaining three weeks before the CIM will be less demanding as the weekly mileage decreases, but my Monday night speed training sessions with the clinic are still quite strenuous – hopefully, all this extra effort will pay off with a good result in Sacramento.

At the time of the present post, Rod had completed all but three weeks of preparation.  Because the editor has been travelling himself, the post is a bit tardy.  CIM is approaching fast and Rod is now into the taper phase.  We will be watching the countdown and then the outcome of the race itself.  From the reports to date, it sounds like Rod is well prepared for the challenge.  CIM is reputedly a fast marathon, but infrequently, the have been known to have a glitch or two with the weather.  If the weather and the training come together, CIM can give you a nice result.

Never too Late to be Great – Report #3

11.11.2010

CIM – 4 Weeks Out and CountingRod Waterlow with 2010 Olympic Torch

 This series is about and by Rod Waterlow who has been invited as a senior elite athlete to compete at the California International Marathon (Sacramento) on December 5.  We are following Rod’s approach and process as he prepares for and runs this popular and still growing event.  For more background on Rod and the Race, see the first post in the series.

What are you doing to prepare for CIM?

I’m a firm believer in the old maxim, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.  After over twenty-five years of running, my marathon training has settled into a fairly typical routine.  I like running with other people and I am currently involved with two different running clinics.  These provide me with the structure and support, both technical and social, which I need – I’ve never quite bought into the “loneliness of the long distance runner” image.  My schedule includes increasingly longer runs on the weekends, at about 30-45 second/mile slower than race pace, supplemented with two shorter but more intense runs during the week.  One change from the way I used to train is that one of my mid-week runs now includes speed training techniques (e.g., High paced 400 and 800 meter repeats) which I believe have help me to maintain my running times, which have remained fairly consistent over the past five years.

As a seasoned runner, how do you feel about high mileage training?

When I first started running in the mid 1980s there was a much greater emphasis on high mileage.  I remember being told that it was important to get the extra miles in, even if it was just one more three-mile run each week.  Some of my running buddies bought into this philosophy so much that they were running 70-75 miles per week.  The result was that, contrary to the conventional wisdom of the day, their marathon times were slower.  However, I think that this had more to do with their increased expectations of better times and the inevitable tendency to go out too fast.  In my own case my total mileage peaked at 52 mile in one week and I really didn’t feel any benefit – it just made me feel very tired!  In recent years, although I still keep track of my weekly mileage, the focus of my clinic training has been on quality miles, rather than how many miles I run each week.    At this stage in my running career, I seem to have found the right balance between not training too hard and still training hard enough to maintain good race results.  Currently, my total weekly mileage leading up to a marathon peaks at about 34 miles, and this seems to work for me.  I am sure that the speed training, which I started about five years ago, has helped me to maintain my performance level.  For example, my time in the 2006 Royal Victoria Marathon was my best in ten years.

Never Too Late To Be Great – Report #2

11.01.2010

CIM – 5 Weeks Out and Counting

Rod Waterlow with 2010 Olympic Torch

Rod Waterlow

This series is about and by Rod Waterlow who has been invited as a senior elite athlete to compete at the California International Marathon (Sacramento) on December 5.  We are following Rod’s approach and process as he prepares for and runs this popular and still growing event.  For more background on Rod and the Race, see the first post in the series.

Which of your marathons were most memorable?

Obviously, running Boston in 1997 and New York 2008 were pretty special, particularly the latter because I got to be in Times Square on election night – what an experience!  But running a marathon is always a challenge – the 26.2 miles doesn’t get any shorter or easier the more you run them!  Every race is unique, not only because each course is different but because there are so many other variables, particularly the weather and how you are feeling on race day.  I will always remember my second marathon, twelve months after my first, because it started so well and ended so badly.  Both races were in Vancouver, but it was a different course.  Being unaware of the basic principle of “baby steps”, I was confident that with an additional year of training under my belt I could run a 3:10:00, eight minutes faster than my previous time.  In fact, I was right on pace for the first 20 miles when I started to feel a little strange.  Naturally, I had heard about the dreaded “wall” but I thought it was just part of the mythology of running a marathon.  But this was for real, like someone had thrown a switch and my body was shutting down.  Within minutes all my confidence had evaporated, my running was reduced to a shuffle and I was terrified that I would fall down and hit my head.  I collapsed at the finish line having taken a mere 50 seconds off my previous time!  This was certainly a memorable race, but it was also a great learning experience which taught me to place far less reliance on the time on wrist and far more on what my body is telling me – after all, it’s the only body I have and it has to last me a lifetime!