Boston Marathon 2018 Training

Boston Marathon 2018 Training so far

I’ve run The Boston Marathon seven times over the past fifteen years. The Boston Marathon was my first marathon and the second race I’d ever run.

For my first Boston I trained less than three months and was absolutely clueless about running. I managed to finish in 5:11 in 2003 and somehow that experience hooked me on running for life!

It’s advised that first time marathon runners take up to a year to train. This is especially true for people like me who literally did a couch to marathon! I would advise six months at a minimum for most people.

In 2009 I joined the Melrose Running Club and finally started to train properly. I ran Boston in 4:45 that year and in October ran The BayState Marathon in 4:10. I really thought I was on to something.

Many years I have tried to train properly for the Boston Marathon. Inevitably, something comes up. I’ve been injured or had a lingering cold. The weather never seems to cooperate with marathoners in January and February.

Boston Marathon 2018 Training Plan

I had a pretty good running year in 2017. I ran The Eastern States 20 in March and discovered how out of shape I was. I spent the rest of 2017 working my self into shape.

Honolulu Marathon 2017In August I signed up for The Honolulu Marathon. This race was December 10th. I was in pretty good shape in August and I had about four months to train for Honolulu.

I figured that I could handle a reasonably rigorous training plan and have a fun if not fast run in Hawai’i.

Then life got in the way. I spent a lot of August and September travelling for business. While I was able to jog around Baltimore a few times, most of my runs were 5 miles or less on a treadmill. There were also far too few of those treadmill runs!

I still managed to run over 89 miles in August. Then I got sick in September, missed two significant Sunday Long Runs and only managed 53 miles.

From October 1st to November 19th I ran four half-marathons and was getting back on track. In October I ran just over 100 miles and in November I ran about 85.

My Boston Marathon training plan was to get in shape for Honolulu, get through the holidays without gaining weight and maintain my fitness through the winter.

My left knee started to bother me leading up to Honolulu and then during that marathon it blew up. I actually had to walk even when I had the energy to run. I’ve never experienced that before. You can read all the gory details in my Honolulu Marathon Recap.

December miles were just under 54, with 26.2 of them in Hawai’i. I did manage to keep my weight in the normal range over the holidays, which for me was a big victory.

On January 6th the Sunday Long Run program began. Through the end of January I made all of the long runs, except for January 28th when I ran The Great Stew Chase 15K.

My knee was still acting up for the Stew Chase, so my buddy Derm Cahill and I limped along like two old men and managed a 10:36 pace.

Then on January 29th I got a call that my father had a heart attack. The next morning I was on a flight to Florida and spent the next two weeks there.

My father survived and is having a remarkable recovery. It was a very stressful few weeks for all of us and I only ran one 2.4 mile run. While running is a great way to burn off stress, sometimes there is just too much to do and think about.

Sunday Long Runs and the Treadmill

I missed the Sunday Long Run the day after I came back from Florida. I wasn’t really in the mood and it was a cold, rainy day.

Sunday Long Run Week 7, Melrose Running Club, boston marathon 2018 trainingOn February 18th the Sunday Long Run was 14.3 miles. As an officially registered Boston Marathon 2018 runner, I should have been all over that.

But, after missing the previous two weeks long runs, I decided to play it safe and only ran 10 miles. Derm Cahill and I took it easy at a 9:33 pace. Derm is running the Hyannis Marathon in February 25th and was in taper mode for that race.

Since getting back into the swing of things my training is getting back on track also.

Since February 12th I’ve done three treadmill runs, two Tuesday Night Club runs and a Sunday Long Run. Six runs over 10 days for total mileage of 33.36 miles.  With an 18 mile long run this weekend and a few more runs I could get close to 70 miles for February.

Over the 15 years I’ve been running I’ve learned a few things. One is that when you take time off, you can’t pick up where you left off.

I took two weeks off, so it was smart to only run 10 miles for my first long run. My previous long run was 12.5 miles.

The other big lesson is that people get hurt running. Running is a repetitive action and even a well-trained runner can get a repetitive motion injury.

Part of avoiding injury is not ramping your miles too quickly and listening to your body. Most people recommend increasing your miles no more than 10% per week. This is a good rule of thumb that I generally follow.

My left knee is still bothering me a bit and could turn into a painful problem again. So with this in mind I’m trying to run more frequently but shorter distances. When I do run long I try to be careful and not push it.

I’m also doing everything I can to take care of my knee. This includes stretching, rolling and occasional ice and anti-inflammatory meds.

I know that if I don’t do long runs I wont be ready for Boston. On the other hand, a long run could cause my knee to flare up and derail my training. It’s a delicate balance!

How is your Boston Marathon training going?


Tuesday Night Hard Easy Run

Even though I’m on vacation this week, I still went over to Melrose for our Tuesday Night Club Run.

About a dozen people showed up and I think six of us ran. It was the smallest club run that I can recall. Even when we had sub-zero wind chill and blowing snow, we still had more than 20 people show up for a Sunday Long Run one February day a few years ago.

We had a white Christmas in much of New England and 3-4 inches in the GBA. While sidewalks may have been shoveled or plowed, the sun turned many areas into patches of treacherous ice.

With narrowed slippery streets, we had to switch between roads and sidewalks for safety sake. We did not take any chances with cars. If they had the light, we let them go even if we may have had time to cross. I know that’s a little unusual for Bostonians!

Tuesday Night Hard Easy Run

Tuesday Night Hard Easy RunI called this a hard easy run because we ran about a 12 minute pace, but we had to be very careful. Several times my running mate and I slipped on a patch of ice.

We had to be constantly on the look out for ice. If we were on the side of the road we had to be vigilant of any cars. Even with lights and reflective vests, we could not be sure they saw us, cared, or were capable of seeing us.

With hard packed snow and lumps of frozen snow and ice everywhere we also had to pay attention to where our feet landed. This stuff makes it easy to twist an ankle or just go down. I’m not a kid anymore so there’s not as much bounce and give in these bones as there used to be.

After eating and drinking for an extended Christmas weekend, it felt good to get out in the fresh air and stretch the legs.

We didn’t go fast and we didn’t go far. But we got out, had a nice run and a bit of conversation.

This was probably my last run for 2017, and definitely my last out side run for the year. I may go into the office on Thursday or Friday and use the gym. A good 10K on the treadmill and a core workout would be a great way to finish off the year!

Run well my Friends, and be careful out there!


Sunday Long Run Season is Over

Sunday Long Run 15

This year the Melrose Running Club made a few adjustments to accommodate our Chicago Marathon runners. Their race was on October 8th, so Jim Carson had to accelerate their schedule to get a 22 mile run in on September 17th, and still have time for an orderly taper.

Everyone else is running the Bay State Marathon on October 22nd. They had their 22 miler on October 1st. With Chicago over we had a noticeably smaller group today. Maybe 20 runners in total.

My marathon isn’t until December, so I’m totally out on sync with the program. I missed a lot of long runs this year, mostly due to work. Some runs I missed so I could go and run races.

This is a map of the route, but we headed north and not south from the start. And I added almost two miles to my run.

Sunday Long Run, MRC, Spot PondThis week we headed north on Main Street in Melrose from Bruegger’s. At Melrose Street we turned left and then left again onto the Lynn Fells Parkway. I ran with a few people early on, but no one was doing my pace.

Before the first hill I passed everyone at the back of the pack and could see the lead pack off in the distance. The lead runners were long gone.

By the time we turned left onto Highland Avenue I was running alone. I wondered where my usual gang was, but figured they were racing or climbing a mountain somewhere.

Right after I got onto Highland Avenue I took my first salt capsule and two Hyland Cramp tablets. As I got them out of the packet it occurred to me that I was practicing getting them in my mouth without dropping them as much as I was testing to see how my system tolerated them. The conditions were not that harsh.

All went as planned and I took a drink from one of my running bottles to wash them down. I saw three club runners ahead on the other side of the street. I decided to cross to get into position for the next intersection.

As we approached the first water stop the three ladies stopped, but I kept on going. I was trying to practice race conditions which means no stopping unless absolutely necessary.

For this run we were running through the intersection by Flynn Rink and heading down Woodland Road past Spot Pond and the MWRA water plant.

As I ran past Flynn Ice Rink it dawned on me the The Irish were in the right place at the right time. Boston and the area have a high concentration of families with Irish ancestry and almost every thing has an Irish name. Flynn Arena, Callahan Tunnel, Tip O’Neill Tunnel, The McGrath and O’Brien Highway, The Boston Celtics.

There are plenty of public facilities and infrastructure named after people without Irish ancestry, but the Irish seemed to lock down a lot of them many years ago.

As I ran past the Boston Boating parking lot I could see two people down by the docks and a rack full of kayaks. I knew they were closed, but did they leave the kayaks there all winter?

Sunday Long Run Running Long

Since I am at least a month from my taper time, I decided to add to this run where I could. When we got to New South Street which hugs the shore of Spot Pond I went strait down South Street to the intersection with the Fellsway West and turned left.

It probably added about a tenth of a mile, but they all add up.

The Fellsway West goes behind Spot Pond and crosses over Rt. 93. There is also an exit off of Rt. 93 that we need to negotiate. You have to run across the exit ramp and watch for cars coming towards you headed east on Fellsway West.

I didn’t have any cars to deal with this week, but it can get hairy. Drivers don’t expect to see runners. And I don’t think most of them see us when they do see us. You gotta look sharp.

I met a few runners and a cyclist as I ran the Fellsway West. As I was running up the hill I could see a woman running down the hill towards me. It was one of our regular Sunday Runners, Amanda. She was just gliding along and made it look so easy.

We said hello as we passed and I was on my own again.

Shortly after Amanda passed I took my single gel. It was a Honey Stinger Gold. I think it is pretty much pure honey with a few vitamins and electrolytes added. It tasted like honey, which is much better than some gels I’ve had.

I’m trying to keep things simple and as natural as I can. It’s a challenge.

As I took the left onto Elm Street I thought about how much better I felt this time. I was now past mile 8 and I was still running 9 minute miles, give or take. Earlier in the year and in the heat I walked part of this route.

Now I felt fine. My energy was good and my knees and quads were holding up nicely. I pushed up the hill and considered that I may be pushing too hard since I still had to run the Fellsway East hills one more time.

I crossed the road near the rotary and took a right onto Highland Avenue. There was supposed to be a water stop there. I didn’t see it and I hadn’t planned to stop any way.

The route this week took a left up East Border Road. To add on to my run I continued down Highland Avenue to the Fellsway East and turned left to face the hills.

When you make that left off of Highland onto the Fellsway you are going up hill immediately. This was just after mile 10 which came in at 9:04. With the hills, Mile 11 came in at 9:43. Not bad and some good training.

Over that mile I had gained 101 feet of elevation. This is similar to what I will face at Diamond Head in Hawaii. I think Diamond Head is steeper, but any hill work will help prepare me for that.

For me running down hill is always the toughest part of the hill. I try to run like I’m on egg shells, but it takes a lot of concentration and I always loose it. I have some tendentious that down hill running aggravates. So downhill is no gift for me.

As I got to the bottom of the last hill I crossed the street and considered taking a right down West Wyoming Ave for one last mile, and calling it good.

Instead I crossed that intersection and headed for Main Street. Across from Melrose High there was youth soccer going on, which brought back many fond memories!

As I crossed West Wyoming I calculated that squaring the corners had added about a mile to my run so far.

When I got to the intersection with Main Street, I went to the intersection and not up the Melrose Street short cut. I had gone this far to lengthen my run, why start cutting corners now?

As I turned right onto Main Street, I knew I was on the home stretch. When I got close to the finish I realized I was going to be short of 14 miles. So I went down Essex Street, ran around the block and around the Shaws parking lot a bit.

I hit 14 miles and jogged a bit more to where I wanted to stop.

I ended up with 14.05 miles at an average pace of 9:23. This was only about 0.7 miles longer than a half marathon and slower than my last one, the BAA Half. It was still more than the 12.5 on the schedule for this week, so I was happy about that.

Now I need to find ways to get long runs in by my self for the next 55 days!

The Plan for the Next 55 Days

Honolulu Marathon 2017

As of today, there are 55 days to my marathon in Honolulu. It’s both exciting and terrifying!

I haven’t run a marathon since the 2016 Boston Marathon and I’m dealing with issues.

I’ve got two half marathons, a 10K, 5 Miler and three 5Ks scheduled.

I’ll be stretching my Tuesday night Club Runs past six miles and my lunch time runs will have to be no less than 5 miles. Getting in an 18 or 20 mile run is going to be a challenge.

I find that consistent running seems to work well for me, but for marathon running, you do need some long runs in the schedule.

Let me know if you have any weekend long runs coming up or know of a good long trail race.

Run well my Friends and good luck at Baystate!


Sunday Long Run Number 8 for 2017

Sunday Long Run Number 8 was a step up in distance to 18.1 for the long run. The short run was 9.1 and for our friends running the Chicago Marathon there was a 20 mile run.

My race isn’t until December 10th, so I did the 18.1 mile run.

Like all Sunday Long Runs, we started at Bruegger’s on Main Street in Melrose and headed north to Green Street which lead us to the Lynn Fells Parkway. The Parkway can be a busy street and as you get into Saugus the breakdown lane gets narrow.

I ran the Lynn Fells Parkway with Daniel Deoliviera all the way to Breakheart Reservation and our first water stop.

Sunday Long Run Number 8 – Breakheart

Sunday Long Run Number 8, Breakheart and Lake QuannapowittThis run has two parts. The first is getting to Breakheart and surviving the hills. The park is a great place to run with a wide and well paved path. There are always people in there walking, some with their dogs. I hardly ever see a cyclist, which is good. The place just isn’t set up for cycling.

While the park can be peaceful and cool on a warm day, there are those hills! I believe there are five of them all in a row, but they always seem to add a new one. It’s great for building your legs, but you do have to be careful.

If you have been away from hill running, you can get hurt in Breakheart if you push the hills too hard. Most of us have been running hills consistently for about two months by now, so most of us were ready for the challenge.

I ran the loop by myself and in the opposite direction of everyone else! As I ran the hills I ran on my fore-foot and focused on lifting my legs and pushing off. Often I just land a foot and lean forward. Today I thought about pushing my body forward and not wasting energy bouncing up and down.

It definitely takes more effort to run like this. I could feel the sweat rolling and my heart pounding as I ran up each hill. This is good training for a race where I will want to maintain my pace on the hills.

As we finished the loop and came down the hill into the parking lot, we hit the water stop one more time. A great thing about using this location is that there are clear bathroom facilities available.

I took water and a few Snickers minis at this stop, both times around.

I ran down Forest Street and took a left onto the Lynn Fells Parkway headed west with a few other runners. The sidewalk on The Parkway can be rough, but you really can’t run in the road here.

Our next turn was a right onto Main Street in Saugus for about a two-mile run to Wakefield High School and our next water stop. About half way up the road I passed Diarmuid Cahill and Don Keren.

From the high school we ran down to Rt. 129, took a right and then a left onto Montrose Ave.

We only run this part of the route twice a year. It’s a little hilly at the start of Montrose but I like the change of scenery. Montrose is a cut through street to Rt. 129 so traffic can be heavy and sometimes fast.

At the end of Montrose we took a left onto Salem Street. This is right by the exit off of Rt. 128/Rt. 95 and there can be a lot of traffic here as well.

Sunday Long Run Number 8 – Lake Q

We run Salem Street for about two miles down to Lake Quannapowitt for the second chunk of this run. Usually we run Rt. 129 and loop the lake. On this run we approach from the east at the north part of the lake and then go through the office park area and then down North Street.

We have our fourth water stop in the parking lot at the top of the lake and caught our breath. I was running with Don, Durm and Stephanie.

Stephanie is running her first marathon and this was her first run with the club! Don and I saw Stephanie and her husband at the Melrose Starbucks last Sunday and told them about the Sunday long run. We must have been convincing!

As we ran down North Street I gave Stephanie a few tips on marathon running and we had a good chat.

We took a left onto Church Street at the bottom of the lake and then made our way to Main Street in Wakefield for the run home.

We had our 5th water stop at about mile 15 at Nick’s Pizza. Stephanie’s Garmin was off by about 0.7 miles. Other people had distances off by about 0.1 or 0.2 miles.

With tight muscles we headed up the hill for the final slog. It’s a nice strait run back to Melrose. The road is in great shape and in many places the breakdown lane is actually for parking. This gives us plenty of room to stay safe.

As we run into Melrose we pass several restaurants serving breakfast. Sometimes there are people waiting outside and you can always smell the food. Being 16 miles or so into a long run it is just killer!


All’s well that ends well.  As we approached Brueggers we were short of 18 miles, so Stephanie and I continued around the corner until my watch beeped. Then we headed to Starbucks and parted ways. I had to run home to shower and catch my plane to Indianapolis.

I got home in plenty of time but got to the airport with little time to spare. While waiting to go through security my boarding time came and went. When I got to the gate, we were delayed 30 minutes!

Run well my Friends!


Sunday Long Run Number 6 for 2017

Sunday Long Run Number 6

Now that I’m committed to a 2017 marathon, the training must go on.

I rely on the Sunday Long Run program to get in my weekly long run. If it wasn’t for this program, getting in my miles and these long runs would be much more challenging.

This week the official course was 16.2 miles for long and 8.2 miles for the short course. Since I’m in full blown marathon training mode, I opted for long.

It felt warm when we started out and I think more than half of the runners only did the 8.2 mile course. At our first water stop on  Eugene Drive, just after the Rt 93 over pass, I was roasting. In the few minutes I stood there I sweat so much my shorts were drenched!

Durm Cahill and I hooked up a few miles before the stop and we decided to stick together through thick and thin, and the air was pretty thick with humidity.

Sunday Long Run, marathon training

We kept up a pretty good conversation until the hills began when we turned up Reservoir Street in Winchester. It was cool running next to the forest surrounding the reservoir, but the hills continued.

We run this route twice a year. I know it just well enough not to need a map. I am unfamiliar with the course just enough to need a map.

Durm and I managed to keep a runner in view for most of the run, but followed the wrong person one time and added about a quarter-mile to our run.

Do to our screw up we entered an intersection from the wrong direction and were not certain which way to go. Fortunately we chose the correct direction.

By now my shirt and shorts were completely soaked through. While I don’t have six-pack abs and a great tan, I decided to take my singlet off. I felt much better.

I tucked it into my running belt, but it was so heavy with sweat that it pulled on my belt with each step. Eventually I had to just hold onto it.

As we made the loop behind Spot Pond I asked Durm if he wanted  to walk, and luckily he said yes. As we walked along Jessi Marquardt passed us looking very fresh. We were both shot and just wanted to survive.

When we crested the hill on Fellsway West, we ran down to Elm Street, took the left and started walking some more.

We looked like two old dudes out for a Sunday stroll dressed in ridiculous out fits. Only runners wear the colors we had on, and we were walking. I’m hoping we looked like hell and people realized it was a hot day.

Silent Running

You know that a run has become a run when everyone shuts up. When all energy is focused on moving legs and lungs, you know you have a kick-ass run on your hands.

We were almost totally silent. Besides checking directions and asking if the other guy wanted to walk, we were pretty quiet for a lot of this run.

There were four water stops for this run. The last water stop was like finding an oasis. We were running on fumes and a few times I thought I might be getting heat stroke. I felt funny and my head wasn’t too clear. But I snapped out of it and realized that’s pretty much par for the course!

Durm and I walked and jogged the rest of the way in. When we walked we could talk, when we ran that was about all we could do.

We ended up running 16.62 miles at a 10:46 pace. A little long, but we made it. Jeff Rushton said he cramped so bad abound mile 9 that his foot was actually twisted a bit and not landing right. Now that could be dangerous.

The heat and the distance made this one grueling. I hit my goal and am on track to hit my mileage goal for the month. So, I’ll take it.

As of this run I’m at 37.21 miles for August.

Run well my Friends!


Senior Circuit Running

This past week I have been away for a business and visiting with my parents.

While I did a lot of walking, I also did a lot of eating, a fair bit of drinking and got no proper exercise.

Senior Circuit

My parents live in a development in Florida. It seems theses developments are everywhere in Florida. There’s is for people 55 and older.

After a day or so to rest and recover from a super busy work week, I decided I should go for a run. The road that loops around their development is a little over a mile long, so I figured I would do a few loops.

Unlike a native Floridian, I didn’t go out for my run before the sun came up. I went out around 10AM and it was already about 80°. I had my running shoes, socks and shorts. I did not have a running shirt, hat or sun glasses!

I started out on my first loop and shortly felt like I was ready to put down a deposit. The last time I ran it was 40° out and very low humidity. It’s winter in Massachusetts!

This felt like July in Massachusetts and I was not acclimated. After a half mile I felt a little better, but was already sweating. My Boston Red Sox hat was roasting my head and my t-shirt was way too much clothing.

I saw a family of five casually rollerblading and a few old folks cycling or walking. I think I was the only person breaking a sweat! The folks were out doing the circuitous route around the park.

Probably the last time they saw someone sweating and breathing like me they called 911! I felt like crap and I’m sure looked like a ponchy middle-aged man.

I completed my first loop at about 1.4 miles and had to do another. I decided to slow down and even walk a bit. The distance was more important than speed.

Surviving the Senior Circuit

As I started my second loop I passed a guy in shorts and Florida shirt holding back two little dogs. The dogs were yapping furiously at me and it looked like the old guy was working to hold them back. “That’s me in a few years” I said to my self. And not too many years!

A little further down the road I took my first walk break. It was so hot and I was sweating like July. My sun screen and sweat had trapped little bugs on my arms and legs. They seemed to be dead.

As I started to run again, I looked for any shade to help me along. There was none. All of the trees were only about 8 to 10 feet tall and the sun was high in the sky. On the far side of the park I found maybe 50 feet of shade to run in but it was still hot and not enough.

As I came around the bend to complete my second lap, I decided that was enough. I’m not in great shape and this was extreme conditions for me.

I managed to get in 2.75 miles. While I felt lucky to have accomplished that much, I also felt like I was being a wimp. Sometimes you have to eat your pride and do the smart thing.

Run well my Friends,