Indianapolis Monumental Half-Marathon
Saturday, November 9, 2019
Indy Buildup Statistics:
- Total Number of Days – 103 (14.7 weeks)
- Total Number of Runs – 106
- 88% Morning Runs
- 12% Evening Runs
- Average Weekly Mileage – 67
- Average Daily Mileage – 9.2
- Total Number of Workouts – 39
- Tempo Runs – 1
- Races – 4
- Track Intervals – 6
- Fartlek Intervals – 19
- Long Runs – 9 (16.5 Mile Average)
- Total Number of Easy Runs – 67
- Recovery – 50
- Recovery with Strides – 17
- Total Number of Days Missed – 0
- Number of Runs I Felt Good – 33 (31%)
My buildup started on Monday, July 29th. I asked Tom to coach me on Friday and I received my first schedule on Sunday afternoon. Seeing his training laid out for the month of August was extremely overwhelming; I knew I had only two options:
- Option A – Trust Tom completely and commit 100% to his training plan
- Option B – Try to blend Tom’s training with my own training ideas/habits
I’m not the smartest runner but I knew it wouldn’t make sense to hire Tom and then disregard his guidance (or try to mix it with mine). I decided to accept Option A as the only viable option. I knew I would have to make some adjustments to my training ideas/routines/habits, and I knew I would have to take it one day at a time. Additionally, I knew there were going to be some other changes I would need to make in order to take my running to the next level. For many competitive runners, these impacts are simply assumed, but below are what some of these impacts were for me (and my wife):
- Less flexibility on group runs (did most training on my own)
- Eliminated many running routes (focused on finding natural surfaces)
- Went to bed earlier (in bed most nights by 9:30pm)
- Went to less outdoor sporting events (too worried about getting sick)
- Complained a lot about being tired/stiff/sore (up until the last two weeks)
- Lost a belt size (did not change my diet, but I generally eat healthy)
- No buildup is perfect.
- Buildups are non-linear; you must know yourself, have confidence, and trust the process. You can see in my buildup statistics – I felt good on less than a third of my runs. That’s a LOT of runs where I felt slow, tired, and fatigued. For two months I was worried – I felt terrible almost every day – but by October I was starting to adjust to Tom’s training and the consistency of getting in my runs and workouts.
- Trade-offs are required.
- It’s important to have inner circle buy-in – you can’t just sneak being a competitive runner in on your family and friends. If you want to turn the dial up on your training, be realistic about what the impacts will be to your life and schedule. Most people will be happy to help support you if you ask for their help early on and engage them in the process.
- It’s okay to make selective sacrifices, but keep in mind that you can’t sacrifice your way to a new personal best. Some people focus too much on cutting back or eliminating certain things to prepare for their next race. There is little harm in having a glass of wine or a beer after a hard day’s work, and it won’t help your motivation or desire to run fast if you eliminate the foods that your body is craving after a long run or workout. Make sure you are training hard and the other things will fall into place.
- Having a clearly identified goal helps you remember each day what you are working towards, and it helps you remember that life won’t be like this forever. Make sure your goal is big enough, and don’t worry about how long it might take you to get there. It’s okay to share your goal with the people closest to you, but don’t feel like you need to let everyone in. Keep the pressure low and then go out and surprise people with your success.
- Consistency is king (feeling doesn’t matter).
- Competitive running is such a difficult sport to master because you must know yourself and your limits while constantly pushing yourself and putting yourself in position at races to allow for the possibility of a breakthrough. You push the line in training while also battling the risk of chronic fatigue, injury, or illness. You spend time on the roads thinking, feeling, speculating, and second-guessing your decisions. You must develop a very good understanding of yourself and what enables you to be successful; you must know that at the end of the day your performance is up to you.
- I followed Tom’s training plan with scrupulous attention to detail but I also understood that as the athlete I always needed to be in control of myself and to not make excuses for making poor decision-making regarding my day-to-day needs (such as rest, sleep, off-days, etc.). While I am proud of running 103 days in a row during my buildup to Indy, it was NOT my goal. Nothing good can happen during the race if you don’t make it to the starting line healthy.
- I learned a lot about myself during this buildup because of how terrible I felt for the first two months. I injured myself during an early tune-up race and I ran slower than workout pace at another. I trusted in Tom’s knowledge and experience, and I relied on my closest friends for guidance and support. I’ll never forget calling Brandon one afternoon when I was struggling with the decision of whether to run that day and he answered the phone during his 17-mile long run (you can probably guess what I did after that). It was a fun buildup and I am constantly learning how to not take things so seriously. Running and competing at high levels is extremely important but at the end of the day it also must be fun.
I wouldn’t be able to end this post without a shout-out to the people who made this result possible:
- My wife Becca
- Coach Tom Schwartz
- Katie and Chad
- Brandon, Jake, and ARP Elite
- Stacey and Mobility Fit
- The Circus Maximus crew
- The TrampsLikeUs (Up and Running) crew
- The 2-Hour Sunday Long Run crew (Walter, Brett, BP, Christina, Chad, Drew)
- My running friends on Instagram
- The other Ohio competitive runners (too many to name)
I’ve got a couple Spring races on my calendar for next year and I’m going to be training hard this winter to prepare for them. Racing is important and I encourage you to stick with it regardless of your pace or where you finish in the race. If you are running hard and pushing yourself then I consider you to be a leader in our tribe. Go out there and push the limits in your next performance, you never know which day will be your big breakthrough.
Email me firstname.lastname@example.org | Follow me @ohloru