Monday, October 15, 2012

CIM Training Week Eight & Footfeathers Coaching

After the Bizz Johnson 50K, the legs felt much better than I had anticipated. My marathon training schedule had around 45 miles planned, including an 18 mile long run on Saturday. Even though I felt like I had it in me, I ended up throwing it all out the window:

Sunday: 9.13 easy along the waterfront (HR<140)
Totals: 9.13 miles, 102'/98' elevation ascent/descent

Obviously I have not been able to complete every week (or many weeks) as planned, and even though I know it is the long runs that will ultimately contribute the endurance I need for the marathon, I have been hard on myself for not sticking to my plan. An old friend of mine from high school came into town last weekend for his 40th birthday, and he, his fiance, and I went to the Treasure Island Music Festival to celebrate. The plan on paper looked like I could get my 18 miles in on Saturday morning before we headed to the festival, but the plan on paper failed to account for the carousing we planned to do on Friday night after I picked them up at the airport. Added to that minor detail was my performance at the Bizz Johnson. I am happy with my finish, and my time, given my primary goals of having fun and finishing, but the late race pain has me re-evaluating my training strategies. Trying to fit so many races into a training cycle is difficult, and I lack the experience necessary to truly optimize my training around these race efforts.

Enter Tim Long.

Tim caught my attention when he won the American Canyon 50K this year, the same event that I ran my first trail race in the 15K. I discovered he had a blog and began following his adventures around the Bay (he was a transplant from Colorado, a home to which he has since returned). His writing style is at the same time snarky, witty and genuine. A very entertaining and educational read, and as I read more, I realized he was the kind of guy that I could get along with and learn something along the way. He offered clinics on running hills, which I knew would benefit me, and eventually one was convenient for me to attend. At the clinic, I met some athletes that were being coached by Tim, and I got more background on his approach, and ultimately, his accessibility. I had never considered a coach before, but I found myself thinking seriously about what I might be able to get out of such a a relationship. 

I had decided to wait until after the marathon to enlist his help, as I figured I should stick with one training plan and not "change horses mid-race". While trudging along the Bizz Johnson trail, I realized I wasn't doing a very good job of sticking to my training plan. I needed a schedule that incorporated my race days better. I needed someone to hold me accountable for missed mileage. I needed someone with more experience at what I was trying to accomplish. I needed a coach.

Serendipitously, Tim had two spaces open up last week. I took it as another sign from the running gods, and sold my soul to the devil. I threw out my training plan, took the week off from running (except for an easy 9 miles on Sunday) and put my fate into Tim's hands. I'm really looking forward to the change in my approach, and the dividends my investment will pay in the months to come. Tim's athletes range from elites to middle/back of the packers like myself, and the community he has built around his coaching services and clinics is one in which I already feel welcome. These people rock!

With two 10K's, the US Half Marathon and California International Marathon all in the next eight weeks, I know Tim's guidance will help me achieve my goals while having fun. He is offering a race nutrition clinic this Saturday which, after my GI issues at the Bizz, is perfectly timed.

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