Tag Archives: marathon training

Out Of The Box, Housing and Training

RAFinalLogo1 (1)

What does the typical builder/developer tract house have in common with most marathoners today?  If you are a runner you might see yourself in the answer!

Nearly every runner training for a marathon follows some sort of plan. There are hundreds of well intended training plans published by very reputable sources available to the runner. Typically these plans total about 16 weeks in training, prescribe how many miles to run on each given day, may prescribe how fast or slow to run without prescribing a time, and will more than likely include at least one 20 mile training run to be completed just before a tapering period before race day. Sound familiar?

My observation is that first time marathoners try these plans and they receive a result, they at least finish their first marathon. Then at some point they think they should try another.  Then there is the next marathon, followed by another, and yet another, etc. Before you know it four or more years have passed, the runner’s marathon performance has likely plateaued by now and they also may believe they have come to know everything there is to know about training for a marathon.  I mean, how many variations of the published training routines are there?  They all pretty much boil down to the same thing, right?

Tract house
Typical suburban tract house

Back to the tract housing scene.  Tract housing typically is designed to be constructed easily, it is aimed at a spectrum of the general marketplace, focuses on a myriad of features (i.e. stainless steel appliances, stone counter tops, etc.), and can be constructed on virtually any vacant parcel of land. Tract houses pay little attention to being unique and by definition, are not designed to meet all of the unique requirements of the individual homeowner.  It only takes less than an hour or two of viewing any HGTV show to realize that every house lacks something for a particular homeowner. Obviously there are many tract homes work very well for many people, but in order to satisfy a broad market segment, they loose some level of individualization.

Thus it is with the “Out of the Box” training program.  They do work, but do they work well enough for the widely diverse groups of runners? For all the hours of running, all the hours of other training, all the sacrifices the runner makes during a training period, why do runners SETTLE for only generalized, non-specific training when it comes to the total marathon experience? How can they break away from a plateau and make a significant improvement in their performance?

M-Ext-Lake-dock 5x7-300dpiBack to housing. Architects understand that homeowners, particularly homeowners seeking to construct a new house, can more often attain a better final result that benefits the specific homeowner in many ways than compared to tract housing targeted at the general marketplace.  Pictured is a custom home I designed in Novi, MI for a husband and wife. The husband was from Santa Monica, CA. The wife was from a coastal town in North Carolina. They were seeking a house that would look like it would fit on either coast. They were very pleased with the experience of the design process and the final results. I seriously doubt plans for this house could be found in any selection of a builder’s plan book.

Similarly for runners, especially runners that feel they face a challenging training session or unique race, or result. It could be the runner’s first 5K or the runner’s umpteenth marathon. The best advice to runners is to avoid the “Out of the Box” training program and seek out a qualified running coach who will work closely with the runner to help assure the runner’s success.

With a qualified coach the runner should expect regular feedback to help address the myriad of variations the runner faces during their training period. A good coach , like a good architect will provide personalized advice on not only how to much, far, and fast to run, but also many more topics in order to help assure the runner (or homeowner) achieves their targeted goals. It is nearly impossible to expect any runner to fully abide by the template programs available to them for 117 consecutive days!  How can a predetermined impersonal fixed schedule ever help a runner when the runner feels extra tired, or know when the runner may be over training, and many more variables that come into play during training?

So as an architect with 43 years experience who has successfully designed and constructed private residences for average homeowners, I urge you to at least talk to an architect if you are considering any change to your home or constructing a new house as an essential first step. Start at http://www.aia.org and seek out a local chapter in your area for further assistance.

As a certified running coach with over 50 years of running experience and if you are either in the midst of training or look to start training soon, I urge you to seek out a certified running coach that is as anxious to work with you are with them. Of course I would especially appreciate it if you would contact me. I can be reached at Therunningarchitect@gmail.com and you can also view my coaching services website to learn more too at http://www.therunningarchitect.com

Thank you for taking time to read this post and as always,  Run Happy 🙂

Coach Lee

When In Doubt

Finally!  Here it is my next post.  It’s been months since my last post and the reason has a lot to do with why I write this post. The two are related.  My last several posts were about my participation in the Chicago Marathon last October.  This post is about my participation in the Bayshore MaratTCBAYhon next week in Traverse City Michigan.

The marathon route is one of the most scenic routes of any as it travels 13 mile up the easterly side of Grand Traverse Bay then returns and finishes on the track at Traverse City HS. This is a flat and fast route, a favorite marathon of many runners.  It will be my first Bayshore.

Despite my diligent training last season preparing to take on Chicago I did not finish the marathon very strong.  That finish was my inspiration to enter the Bayshore Marathon.  My initial goal was to train diligently and finish the marathon in 3 hrs and 20 some minutes (3:28 would be sufficiently awesome).  Then reality hit.

Instead of starting my first month of training, I sat out most of November due to a small stress fracture in my foot.  There was also the tragic loss of my baby sister’s husband in late November.  In December I took advantage of a career opportunity and returned to a firm where I had previously worked several years ago.  This move was a very positive move in many ways including being training friendly, nonetheless, the new job keeps me very busy but all in a good way.  Before I knew  it two months of training opportunities were lost along with my waistline.

Then thereMinus14 was Mother Nature and our frigid winter (yes I did run outdoors at -14F).  It seemed like all winter I was never able to get into a training rhythm during the week and my long runs on the weekends were more like medium runs.  Then just as I was able to string together a reasonable training week or two, I stumbled on a patch of ice and needed to give my injured foot a week of rest. Following a week of decent running, I caught some form of a nasty bug that was going around.  So, you can start to see the picture of my training?

I was down to the bare minimum amount of training time required to finish a marathon. I can report that much of this time has been fruitful. I raced two half marathons and actually finished well but they were difficult efforts.  My week day efforts improved.  Still,  my weekly mileage of only 30-35 miles per week less than recommended minimums of 40 plus miles per week.

Racing towards the finish of the Martian Half Marathon

All of this adds up to the title of this post.  I do have many lingering doubts about running a marathon 6 days from now!  So why post this?  Because earlier this morning I read an article about overcoming negative thoughts during a marathon.   Among a number of methods was a suggestion to make your goal public. Tell as many people as you can about your marathon, your goals, your thoughts, your experiences. So I am putting this out to the entire world!

I may not run a 3:20 something marathon, I may not win my age group, but I will run a marathon, I will run a SMART marathon, I will enjoy the experience, I will celebrate afterwards, and I will anticipate the next marathon!

Stay tuned world and take a peek at this marathon: http://www.bayshoremarathon.org

See you back here sometime next week?  Be sure to sign-up to follow my blog posts for updates. In the meantime,  thanks for visiting and continue to RUN HAPPY!