I am of the opinion that when a Marathon World Champion tells you to do something related to running a marathon, you do it. So if Mark recommended we eat at midnight or wear flip-flops during the event, I’d be one midnight eatin’, flip-flop wearin’ mofo. ~ Me
If there is one thing I have learned in this life, it’s that there are times to rely on experts. Plumbing comes immediately to mind, as does brain surgery and airplane construction/design. And though I am establishing a fairly deep knowledge base about certain activities, I am smart enough to realize that when it comes to running, one of the reasons I know so much is that I have relied on experts to provide guidance throughout my adventures. And when running the Boston Marathon is concerned, I feel I have placed my race preparation and strategy in the very skilled hands of one of the best. I am not about to fuck that up by doing something stupid like relying on my own, somewhat limited, experience at this juncture.
Mark Plaatjes has run Boston a number of times and was the first US finisher in 1993 (6th place overall) on his way to winning that year’s World Championship. I have been fortunate to be able to train under his tutelage for the past 5 months and can’t say enough good things about his approach to the sport. He is a competitor and clearly knows the joy of going 110% on one’s way to a personal best but he is also incredibly smart about how to actually achieve those “bests”. His experience at Boston has been invaluable in outlining a race strategy that I am confident will produce results.
Mark and I discussed my goals early on (a conservative, sub-3 finish) and he outlined a plan of training and racing to achieve that goal. Then we looked specifically at Boston and he created a plan for the Gijima team to achieve solid results on April 18th. His advice has consistently been, “Don’t run more than 5-seconds per mile faster than your target pace on any of the downhills in the first 20 miles of the race.” This is advice I plan to heed and am really looking to start my race at the top of Heartbreak Hill (mile 20). From there, I’ll have 10K to run. Most of it trends downhill and I plan to have my legs under me to really punch those final 6.2 miles to finish strongly and with a big smile on my face.
So for those of you watching at home on Monday (baa.org bib #5135), here are my target splits:
- 10K: 42:21
- Half: 1:29:21
- 30K: 2:07:04
- Finish: 2:59:07
That actually outlines even splits so I could be a smidge slower at 30K and a little faster at the finish but that is the general plan of action. As of right now, I plan to turn off my brain, enjoy the remainder of my taper and then kick some ass next Monday.