Seebo's Run

A running commentary on my training and whatever else emerges from that.

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Legs of Jelly

In an effort to keep the momentum going, I headed to the track.

I took a page out of my old McMillan workouts, and looked to do 4 x 2000m (5 laps) in 7:17 or less (5:48 1600 or 1:27 400 pace) with a 400m recovery. I did this only after promising myself two things: I didn't have to work down to 7:05 as McMillan had me do, and under no circumstances would I tack on any extra reps after those four.

Reps went well: 7:13; 7:11; 7:14; 7:16. To get the last one I had to sprint the last 100m, much the same way I did at the end of PDR, but I still felt that I held back some. That's okay, just running these reps 2 days after PDR is probably not the smartest thing. And bottom line, the workout was harder than last week and still went well.

Pulling out the old McMillan training programs got me thinking that I never really wrote about my dropping McMillan as a coach after Boston last spring. Greg McMillan is probably the best regarded coach on the internet, and his website is very impressive and I still go to it to help in planning workouts even now. Back in the spring I signed up for his coaching for the last part of my Boston training and, although he is a little pricier than other coaches, I hoped that it would work out well enough to extend the coaching through a fall marathon.

The coaching didn't last much past Boston, however. In retrospect, I think the main reason was that, even back then, I sensed that his approach, start out slow and then finish the race hammering, doesn't match the way I run. In this respect his program is a one size fits all approach. My greatest skill in racing is my ability to hold a pace, seemingly by instinct, once I establish it. The key is for me to set it so that its fast enough but won't tire me out late in the race. The downside to this pacing is that once I'm in a rhythm its hard to speed up unless its on a screaming downhill such as on the Cesar Rodney course.

The second reason I got disenchanted with McMillan is that I think he's got more folks than is optimal to coach. He's good about getting training schedules out and responds if you email him, but I never got the feeling that any kind of one-to-one relationship was building. I'm not a high maintenance guy to coach, but I need to feel that my coach has an awareness of how I'm doing and the issues I'm facing. Instead, I saw seemingly endless announcements of PR's (personal records) set by people he coaches, which is great for the people who get the pr's, but implicitly (at least to me) suggests that not getting a pr is somehow failing. This seemed the case as, while he announced the times of a bunch of other people he coached who ran Boston, he omitted mentioning my race. I don't know if this was intentional or not, but it didn't help with feelings of disappointment I felt after the race that lingered despite the less than optimal racing conditions.
And so, when the automatic email popped up a few weeks later telling me it was time to pay up for another three month installment, I figured this wasn't my program. I emailed him to that effect, and never got a reply back from him. That kind of told me I made the right choice.

So I have my eye out for another coach, but its not a very active eye. I think my favorite part of having one is having someone else plan my hard workouts.

My legs are more sore now than they were on Sunday. The 1.5 mile run back to USP after the workout is always hard and really slow, and makes me appreciate the challenge slower runners face. Reminds of when I ran the last 12 miles (at about a 12 minute pace) with C in the only marathon she ever ran. I tell people that was the hardest marathon I ever ran, but it is a story for a different day. Today, the same 1.5 miles seemed a whole lot farther going back than going out.


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