Friday, October 14, 2011

The Last Long Run (Preview)

When I put together my training program for New York, I had two dates circled on the calendar. The first obviously being the marathon itself. The second, however, was not last weekend’s tune up race. Rather, I highlighted tomorrow morning’s 20 miler. My last long run.

In many ways, this workout has always been on my training plan before I tacked the whole thing on the fridge 10 weeks ago.

I call it the "Ryan Hall workout," and I remember the day it came into my life. I started scouring the web looking for new workouts when I wound up where I always do for these types of scouting missions: Flotrack. I came across a video called “Ryan Hall last major workout before 2011 Boston Marathon.” I couldn’t click play fast enough.  The workout goes like this:

2.5mi easy + 3mi tempo + 3mi easy + 2mi tempo + 2mi easy + 1mi tempo + 1mi easy + 1200m tempo + 1200m easy + 800m tempo + 800m easy + 400m tempo + 400m easy + 200m tempo + 200m easy + 2.5mi cool down
This looks awful, I thought. Then, I have to do this.

The workout ultimately fit in with the ZAP Fitness philosophies handed down to me at running camp, i.e. a long run will never just be a long run anymore. My friend Paul -- who's in the middle of Philly training -- captured its essence when describing one of his workouts this week:

“I have nine on Thursday mostly easy with some kind of torture thrown into the middle.”

But it’s that “torture” that has ultimately made us stronger runners…that and learn to appreciate a good cool down.

Typically, I try to stay away from letting my race hopes hang on one workout. But I’d be lying if I said I never placed special emphasis on particular runs. I can still remember entering the woods at Manassas Battlefield – my last long run before Boston a year ago. I had two miles to go before hitting that magic number 20.  I was hurting. My hips tightened and my quads shook knowing the series of hills that awaited them. I started to take the first hill, the one that coincidentally crests at a cemetery, and I said or rather huffed aloud, “This is where we find out.” I drove on to drop the fastest two miles of the 20.

If for some reason things don’t click tomorrow, I know that all hope is not lost. Nevertheless, I’m reminded of the scene in Once a Runner after the infamous “Interval Workout.” Denton walks quietly over to Cassidy who has just wrung himself out on the track. He feeds Cassidy from a blender before letting him submit to exhaustion. Denton tries to find the words to tell his protege that he’s ready:

“'Quenton, you…'
'I know,' Cassidy said. His eyes were still moist; he turned away. 'But it is a very hard thing to have to know.'”

Tomorrow morning, as the sun begins to crack the darkness, I’ll set out on the Mt. Vernon Trail. Following the Potomac, I’ll try and pretend that I can take in the autumn colors while my legs and lungs consume the unrelenting hills.

Ten miles out. Ten miles back. And some kind of torture thrown into the middle. Tomorrow I find out.      

1 comment:

  1. OK, so now I know what torture really looks like. Good luck tomorrow, amigo. - Paul


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...