Boston Marathon Training 2014

Thursday night I finally sat down and updated my Boston Marathon Training work sheet.

I was doing okay with the training ramp up until my treadmill/knee incident on January 19th. My goal miles for January were 122.3 but I only managed 81.09. A lot of those miles were on the treadmill so I could avoid the cold weather and stay healthy.

Due to my injury, I took the week from January 19th through January 28th off completely. This was my heavy ibuprofen and icing phase. On medical advice I did not run at all. I even DNS the Derry 16 Miler. I couldn’t even give the number away! It’s a tough race right on the Merrimack river. So it’s cold and windy. On the 28th I finally started using the elliptical.

If it weren’t for the elliptical I would not have had any miles for almost a month. The elliptical took a bit of getting used to. One of the positives that I’m taking away from my injury is that I finally learned how to use an elliptical. This machine does work different muscles, so it will be good for cross training, and it does give you a good cardio workout.

On February 16th I finally went for a Sunday run with the MRC. Since it was my first real run since my injury, I cut my run short and only did 7.91 miles. Just about everyone else did 16 miles that day. Mine was not a #SLR.

I managed to pick up a flu bug and was sick on Monday and Tuesday. Monday was Presidents Day, a holiday. Getting off of the sofa for a glass of water felt like running in the last 0.2 miles of a marathon. Less painful, but just as draining. Tuesday was better but I did not have the energy to go to work. Wednesday was better, but I did not run all week.

Saturday I ran The Half at the Hamptons. I must have been the best rested runner that day. No running for a week! I managed to come in under 2 hours. Under the circumstances that is pretty good. My knee never bothered my the entire race. My hips bothered me for the last few miles. I need to work on that.

My goal miles for February were 142.8. I ended up with 42.47! I am screwed! My goal miles for March are 189.2. There is no way I can more than triple my miles this month. Well, maybe.

The New Deal

Eastern States 20 mile, Boston Marathon training

I have a 5K, a Half Marathon and a 20-Miler in March. I also have  four Sunday Long Runs of 18.1, 20, 17.8 and 20. Those will get me over 110 miles if I can finish all of those long runs. I have to finish the races, but I can cut the SLRs short. I may hit 150 miles this month if I am careful and take it easy on my long runs.

April miles are 88.2, including the Boston Marathon. I’ll probably fall a little short in April also. I traded a 14.8 SLR for the Over the Rainbow 5K, part of the LOCO series.

I love races and I’ll get to hang out with friends and drink beer while all of my other friends are out running The Great Bay Half. I think trading the Half for a 5K was a good move. Great Bay is one of the toughest half marathons I have ever run. With only two weeks to Boston, I wasn’t going to race at all. A friend talked me into the 5K and beer drinking. Gotta love friends!

Any thoughts of a PR at Boston are out the window at this point. This year it is about

Boston Marathon training

more than just running. Not having any pressure to have certain times at certain points of the race will allow me to enjoy the festivities more. It’s always a great time, even when it hurts. It’s Boston. What’s not to love?

Run well my Friends.


My First DNS

After speaking with a medical professional on Tuesday, I’ve decided not to run the Derry 16 Miler this Sunday.

My first DNS

As I said in a previous post – what ever it takes to get to Boylston Street. Right now that means giving my knee time to get better. If it doesn’t get better, then I may not get to Boylston Street. I need to give the healing process the time it needs and see what happens.

I’m still a runner, even though I can’t run. I’m still thinking about how I’m going to get back on track. I’m still thinking about the races I’ve signed up for. Mostly I’m thinking about getting an ice pack on my knee several times a day and making sure I don’t OD on  ibuprofen.

It is difficult to know I’ll be sitting at home when my friends and thousands of other runners will be running a race I paid for. The not running part will be the most difficult part.

Being Flexible

For me it’s more important to get to the start line in Hopkinton than it is to run any other race. Boston is a goal for so many runners and I have yet another opportunity to run the race that is a dream for so many runners. Why would I put that in jeopardy by being foolish?

Sometimes what ever it takes means doing nothing. I cannot race and I have to significantly alter my training plan. I can’t just push through the pain and expect everything to be alright.

A DNS is a small price to pay to run the Boston Marathon.

I’m still a runner!

Run a mile for me my friends!


The Road to Boston Continues

Today was Sunday Long Run (SLR) number three.

Yesterday we had a modest snow fall of about 2-3 inches in our area. It was the heavy wet stuff and left a coating of water that produced a glaze of ice on the roads over night. The MRC always has a SLR no matter the weather and we always have a good turn out. I usually do not let the weather deter me from my running, but this week I made alternate plans.

road to boston, sunday long run
Melrose Running Club SLR Program – join us!

I did my SLR on the treadmill at the gym. Our treadmills have LCD TVs so you can watch the news. If you are smart and bring head phones you can also hear the news. I ended up looking at the news and eventually just shut the TV off.

Crazy Guy Hogging the Treadmill

I’m sure many people who walked by, or who ran next to me, thought I was crazy spending over two hours on the treadmill without a TV, iPod or iPhone stuck in my ear. How can you run two treadmill sessions in a row and not have entertainment?

As I ran I thought about this a few times. The only thing on the screen in front of me for most of two hours was my own reflection; from my shoulders down to my belly. How interesting could that be? Does this guy think he looks that good?

Most of the time I went to the place that many runners go to when they are on a long run or running by themselves: deep inside that bucket of neurons sitting on my shoulders. You can get lost in that bucket!

I always get a lot of good thinking done during a solo long run. You have the time to realize that a thought process is a dead end and that you need to think of another path or solution. Today was no different. As I mentioned the other day, I have a 14 item “to do” list. Two items are done, two are started and the rest are still on the list.

Running for two hours gave me time to think through some of the items on my list. I reevaluated what I thought would be solutions, thought of alternatives and thought of more things that need to be done.


I managed to run 12.8 miles in 2 hours and 4 minutes. The treadmill only goes up to 60 minutes, so I had to shut the system down completely and re-start to get the 2nd half of my run in. The system automatically gives a 5 minute cool down period after 60 minutes. I cut these cool downs to 2 minutes each and then spent 10 minutes doing a good stretching routine when I was done running.

It’s definitely more fun to run with the crew outside. Since I am in training for a major marathon and have committed to an aggressive time, I need to stay focused on staying healthy. Last year I had two weeks where I did not run or ran less than 10 miles during my training for Baystate. My goal for Boston is to avoid injury and illness and not miss any weeks.

What ever it takes to get to Boylston Street at 3:45, I’m going to do it.

Run well my friends.

© 2014 anagelin

Janathon Day 13 Boston

Today I start a week of training at work.

With formal training I have less control over my schedule than usual. I can’t get up and walk out of a presentation at 1PM because it’s time to run 10K. I’m going to try to run before work since training starts at 9:30 and I don’t need to eat a bucket of pastries for breakfast (8AM) – because that’s the way I like ’em!

If traffic is bad, I’ll show up at work with my suit in a bag and my hair in a mess. Hopefully I wont have time just to grab a quick shower in the gym and sneak into training late. That’s never good.

The Road to Boston continues!

This little beauty showed up in the mail a few days ago! Whooo-hoo!

BAA, marathon
My 2014 Boston Marathon application has been accepted!

I realized last week that I was in week 2 of my Boston Marathon training program, and woefully behind in my miles. Now it is week three and I have training all week. Focus and discipline are required. I get that pre-race feeling in my gut just thinking about it.

Have you ever had that dream where you are in school and walking into a classroom to take a final? But you’ve never been to the class, or never read the book? I know I have weeks to go, but I get that feeling sometimes.

I need to get my spreadsheet going and register for some races.

Do you have a spring marathon yet? How is your training going? Is it difficult for you to get out of the holiday lazy mode and back into disciplined training?

Run well my Friends!


© 2014 andrew nagelin

Tanita Body Composition Analyzer

Who is Tanita?

Tanita is a 70-year old Japanese firm that has been making precision scales for over 55 years. In 1992 they introduced the first body composition/analyzer scale to the professional market. In 1994 they started selling scales to the consumer market.

While their commercial scales are approved for industrial use, their consumer scales are FDA approved.

A few months ago I tried the Tanita TBF-410 Body Composition Analyzer.

The Tanita scales uses Bioelectric Impedance Analysis (BIA) technology to determine body composition. When you stand on the scale, a 50kHz, 800 micro amp current passes through your body. By measuring the impedance, or resistance to current, the system can measure body mass and composition.

I had the measurement done by a local physical therapy practice at a street fair in a local town. They were looking to drum up business with free measurements and I was looking to try one of these machines. In August 2012, I wrote a post, “What’s Your Number” about obesity and the methods of measuring body composition. In that post I wrote about Bioelectric Impedance Analysis (BIA) and the Tanita scales.

If you own a Garmin watch, you will be happy to know that Tanita scales are compatible with some Garmin watches.

Methods of Measurement

There are a variety of methods to measure body composition. They all have good and bad points.

The BMI test is widely ridiculed as being in-accurate and not worth the effort to calculate. While BMI does not account for body types the only cost to calculate BMI is a few minutes and some simple math. The NIH has a free calculator on-line and all you need to do is plug in your height and weight.

I still think the BMI calculator is a good place to start for most of us. The other methods of measurement are not as accessible.

The “gold standards” of body composition testing are the Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) and Hydrostatic Weighing. These “gold standards” are not generally available to the public and can be expensive. Please see my previous post, “What’s your Number”, for more details on these methods.

I tried to find a DEXA scan in the Boston area. Being the hub of medical research and having so many hospitals and medical professionals, you would think it would be easy.

I found one office that offered it only to their patients and a research facility that offered it only to research subjects. DEXA is commonly used to measure bone density, and as a diagnostic tool for women who may suffer from osteoporosis.

I didn’t qualify for any of the studies and do not have a condition that requires my bones to be scanned.

I haven’t found anyone offering the Hydrostatic Weighing procedure. It requires special equipment and as such, is probably expensive.

While BMI is easy to calculate, it is inaccurate. The “gold standards” are accurate but generally not available. I have studied and written about the Tanita system, so I knew it would offer some interesting data for me . The accuracy of the process may be disputable, but it was FREE and AVAILABLE.

The weigh in

They have different modes on the machine for different types of people. These include, Adult, Athlete and Wrestler. To qualify for Athlete mode you must get 10 hours per week of intense exercise and have a resting heart rate of 60 or less. Mine is usually around 50. As a runner I get 3-5 hours of intense exercise weekly, so I only qualified for the standard setting. I took of my shoes and stepped onto the scale.

I am 6’1″ and weighed 176.2 at the time. This gave me a BMI of 23.2. The Tanita gave me these additional details:

  • Fat %                     14.3%
  • Fat Mass               25.2lbs
  • Fat Free Mass      151lbs
  • Total body Water 110.6lbs

My desirable ranges are: Fat%  11-22% and Fat Mass 18.6 – 42.6lbs.

My results and analysis

While the accuracy of the Tanita system may be debatable, the system is FDA approved.

The measurement showed my fat % (14.3%) and pounds (25.2lbs) were on the low end of the desirable range. As a runner I was happy to see I that my hard work was paying off.

My fat-free mass is 151lbs, which means it would be very difficult, and probably unhealthy, for me to get near 160lbs. I would need to get my body fat down to the 5% range.

Over the summer when I was in marathon training mode I hit 165 on the bathroom scale a few times. I rarely hit 170 all summer and into the fall. Only around the holidays did I get over 170.

I know that my bathroom scale is not as accurate as a doctor’s office scale or the scale built into the Tanita. My weight is probably 2-5lbs more than what my home scale shows. With this assumption, I probably did get into the 11-12% body fat range over the summer. I’m probably in the 12-13% range now.


Using a single data point is not a valid method of determining anything. I think that access to one of these scales over time could be interesting and useful to me. A basic Tanita scale starts at $89.99 and range up to $632.99. I paid $24.99 for my current scale and my weight changes slightly depending how I arrange my feet on the scale. Maybe this year I’ll upgrade to one of these more accurate scales.

Tanita, BMI,

As a runner I tend to keep an eye on my weight. It would be nice to know how much of my weight is fat and how much is muscle added through marathon training.


Have you ever had a DEXA or Hydrostatic measurement?

Have you ever used a Tanita system?

Would you pay over $100 for a scale?

Is your weight at the doctor’s office significantly higher than your weight on your bathroom scale?

Disclaimer – I did not receive compensation from Tanita or the physical therapy office that performed my analysis.

Run well my Friends,


© 2014 Andrew Nagelin

Sunday Long Run

I have begun my 22 week quest for a Boston Qualifying Time at the 2013 Bay State Marathon. It is a challenging goal and one that I will not achieve easily or without sacrifice.

I know that qualifying in October of this year will not get me into the 2014 Boston Marathon, but that’s okay. This is a personal goal that I have thought about pursuing for the past few years. This year feels like the right time.

Focus and Determination

I am determined to reach my goal and have decided to work a plan. My goal is to hit 40 miles in weeks nineteen and twenty and then taper to 30 in week twenty-one and 20 miles in week twenty-two. My total training miles should be 685.5 if I stick to the plan.

I have a good training base of about 20 miles per week to start from. I’m dealing with a few aches and pains such as my piriformis and my Achilles that started acting up after the Twin Lights Half Marathon. So, I’ve decided to start below my weekly number and work up slowly.

Boston Qualifier, sunday long run
Twin Lights Half-Marathon 2013

Last week (week 1) my goal was a cushy 7 miles, I ended up doing 8. It’s hard to go from 20 to 7 miles! For this Sunday my long run goal was 6 miles so I did not run with my club. Instead I ran a route here in Medford that I’ve run several times and ran 9 miles. My goal for the week is 14 miles, which I will easily hit Tuesday night.

I’m hoping that by backing off on my miles for the first few weeks my body will be able to heal and be ready when the mileage starts to go over 20 miles per week.

I obviously need to reel back a little more  on my miles over these next few weeks, or this plan will not work. I need to give my body a few easy weeks to heal.

I have Hal Higdon‘s “Marathons for Mortals” and will be modifying my plan to include some of his advice. I’ve found that I’m not very good at following’s  training plans. So I’ve decided to focus on miles per week and not get too wound up about how long I ran on a particular day. Miles and consistency are the hall marks of my plan.

I’ve never worked a plan as aggressive as this one. I’ve never wanted to achieve a running goal as much as this one. I’m hoping I wont fall apart.

It’s All In for Boston. Because this time, it’s about more than just running.

© 2013 anagelin