Marathon Training : Week 3: A New Phase in the Game

Working With A Trainer

It has been about 2 weeks since this happened but I am officially working with a personal running coach.  I am taking this journey into 26.2 miles very seriously and for the longest time I thought about working with a coach. I also thought for a long time about working with this particulate running coach. His name is John Goldthorp and he hosts a running blog called ‘Fix Your Run‘, that I have subscribed to for some time. Back in February I had emailed him just to introduce myself. We have had a few exchanges over email. He twice gave me great running advice, which I needed, especially during the frozen tundra period we had this past winter. I always appreciated him giving me this advice for free since he gets paid to so so.

As I began my training the thought of calling this guy loomed in the back of my mind. I was not prepared for my last 2 races, which are only half distance of what I am setting out to do at the end of November. John recently won Best Of Philly for running trainer so, after a long (not too long) discussion with my wife we decided I would benefit greatly from this guy’s services. We talked for almost an hour and I felt immediately confident that this was the guy to work with. He told me to carry on with my Hal Higdon training program until he sent me a schedule.

Without giving away too much, I can tell you that I am already seeing a difference in my performance and stamina. I am taking a different approach to my running. My Garmin watch now displays my heart rate instead of distance or pace. My weekday runs are for mileage but my weekend long runs are for time, not distance. he even personalized a pre and post run stretch routine that caters towards the health of my knees. He was even kind enough to make sure I run on Thursdays since that is one of the two days that Erin and I run together. I am truly lucky to have a great running coach and running partner to keep me on track. I am now finishing each run feeling strong and like I could carry on for a few more miles.


My week In Review : Running


I felt strong for 3 of the 4 runs I did this week. I will gladly take those odds. Monday saw me running after work. I even left a half hour earl to get my 4 miles in. It was already raining when I left my office but I didn’t care. the rain felt great and refreshing on me. I did a basic loops that took my to the Race Street Pier, under the Ben Franklin Bridge, down Penns Landing to the new Spruce Street beer garden. I’m guessing that rain was helping the beer garden grow? From there I crossed over on the South Street Bridge, back north through Center City and back to my office.

I found myself playing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The Ode To Joy part came on as i was running down Spruce Street Beer Garden along the Delaware. I was so pumped by the music that I flung my arms out (looking behind me first to make sure no other runner was coming up) and by my side. I lifted my head towards the heavens and smiled like a maniac. THIS is one of those moments I’m sure some of you have had. I was lost in all these great emotions and feeling wonderful.

Tuesday’s run was my worst run. I was extra slow, my heart rate was high but I finished. I have a few ideas why this happened. I did not sleep well the night before. I had my first, official screening of one of my short films that day and I was excited. It was mid day and the sun was quite hot. I had black on. My heart rate was high from all the excitement. I did finish my 3 miles and this is why it’s called training.

Thursday was quite unique. Erin, who’s marathon is a month before mine, was due to run 13 miles. Normally she would do so over the weekend but switched days to accommodate her schedule. She mapped out a running route that had her at my place by mile 6. From there we headed north and into the Fishtown neighborhood where we then crossed into Penn Treaty park. I’ve lived in this city for 24 years and I have never been to Penn Treaty Park. It was after 7pm when I met Erin so the sun was going down. We stopped,briefly, to enjoy the view at Penn treaty park, which is right on the Delaware. Seriously, you can touch the river waters from there.

We started to feel intermittent rain drops on us as the sky over the Ben franklin bridge looked ominous. A huge storm was coming in. We both remarked that we did not hear about rain in the forecast. As we started back up and running the rains came down,hard! It was one of those heavy, sideways rains that was relentless. Neither one of us cared. As we carried on we were both laughing in hysterics. I think we laughed for 10 minutes but the rain felt good. Later we learned that we both ran a wee bit faster in the rain, almost like it gave us a new energy. I left Erin after mile 5 for me and she carried on her running to South Philly where she finished her half marathon for training. Good job, kiddo!

Saturday was unique. I had to run for 2 hours but there was a bit of walking my coach has me doing in between. How would I do this? Where would I run? I’m acclimated to mapping out my route by distance and landing me as close to home as possible. If I headed towards the Art Museum, along west river drive, I would turn around after 1 hour. It ended up being the same distance I ran with Erin last weekend and almost the same pace, considering I did a certain ratio of walking compared to just running last week.

My favorite part about this run was getting up and leaving before 7 am. This city does not wake up early on the weekends. I’ve seen weekends that felt dead until noon. I counted 2 people on the Art Museum steps, which is typically packed with tourist and runners. On my way back through West River Drive i started to see a crowd of runners, walkers, cyclists, as I gave myself the proverbial pat on the back for getting an early start. I know that while I was eating my breakfast, some people were just leaving their house to start their run. I like that feeling.


And now, the view from these runs:




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