As I mentioned earlier this Summer, I started taking on new coaching clients. This was the first time I’ve ever coached someone who I’d never met before and so far I have three new ladies who you’ll get to know over time. Leah was my first client and her email to me made my eyebrows legitimately shoot up (and if you know me I have very expressive eyebrows). She wanted to do a marathon in twelve short weeks. This would be fine, but add to this that she had JUST DNF’d (did not finish) in Boston due to injury.
So this was a build up from virtually scratch. It was an aggressive plan with little recovery but emphasis on easy days EASY and a lot of work on controlling speed. I don’t seem to have a shortage of really damn fast female runners, but controlling speed and reeling it in in a marathon is often a game changer. And, after reading Leah’s blog a bit, I determined she would likely fall into this category as well.
Turns out, I was maybe a little right. I made sure to check in after each workout (even if she didn’t know it) to make sure she wasn’t going too fast and often lefts notes to slow down…or else 😉 Her race plan was very different from a usual marathon because this race was 10 loops of 2.62 miles (sounds deadly right?!). But to be honest, it made it easier to keep her paces in check because she had a virtual check in every 2.62 miles!
You’ll notice quickly that I am a big fan of the negative split. This means that your closing 13.1 miles is faster than the first 13.1 miles of the race. I figured I needed Leah to run the race in about a 7:55 or faster average pace to safely BQ. If you take a look at her blog, you can see how her splits were broken up from starting at around 8:10-15, and closing in the low 7 min mark. She may have shocked herself, but this is EXACTLY what should have happened and she had a virtually flawless race.
A big take-away I want people to see here is that it is A-OKAY to start slower than you expect in a marathon. My splits in Boston and my other best marathon (Philly) started much slower than anyone would have expected and not going out hard in a race is one of the hardest things to learn…I’ll admit I struggle with it a lot still! But, I think I can confidently say, Leah mastered it in this race. Take a read on her blog here.
Next up…sub 20 5k??