Monday, January 12

Eric's Race Report

This is a guest post by Eric on running, training and the Las Vegas Half Marathon.

After my first 5k at the age of 21, a distance that was a personal longest at the time, I felt myself becoming interested in running distances longer than regular two mile jogs. Ages 22-27 have now been spent running a variety of distances greater than 5k, including three half marathons.

Two themes have arisen during my running career so far: learn from mistakes and learn from others.

My mistakes came in the form of poor quality training, poor quality shoes which caused injury, and lack of sufficient hydration/nutrition on race weekends.

Most of these mistakes were redeemable, they were my own after all. The learnings certainly help all of this in hope of running faster and faster times.

After a pair of 10k’s and two half marathons, the first of which was littered with rookie mistakes, my times were in the mid-40s for the 10k and 1:47 & 1:44 for 13.1. I created personal goals, bucket list items rather, of completing a 10k in less than 40 minutes and a half marathon in less than 90 minutes. Goals which would require me to change my pace from above 7:00 min/mile, to well under 7:00.

My third half marathon was in 2013 at the age of 26. It followed a training season which was the most I had personally run yet for any race (progressive 3-4x weekly run over 16 weeks). A sub-90 min time was the goal, but alas, 1:35 was the final result, 7:17/mile.

In mid-2014, I decided to pursue training advice outside myself and the internet. I had made good progress, but the levels of fitness I needed to obtain were outside my own knowledge and low level self-taught skills. I needed to go to the next level. I called on a co-worker and experienced runner/triathlete, Brian Wellman.

The benefits of a running coach, and actually taking his advice, were almost immediate. I purchased a GPS watch with a heart rate monitor, instantly improving the way I was able to understand my body’s performance. My training plans had a complete makeover, with workouts I had never experienced at levels I would probably never push myself to without direction like this.

Within six months of training under Brian, I achieved both a sub-40min 10k and a sub-90min half marathon. The training plan focused on strength/speed rather than running progressively longer distances. it made me anxious that I wouldn't be ready for race day. However, Brian would quickly talk me out of it and ask for my trust; which I reluctantly gave him.

The physical core and leg strength gained during my coach’s training plans catapulted me to the next level. Most of it was not easy, sometimes extremely inconvenient, but 99% worth it when one crosses the finish line with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment in achieving goals thought to be nearly impossible. Every bit of coaching from Brian paid off. Every. Bit!

What I learned:
  • Advanced hydration techniques
  • How to run faster
  • How to know when to rest
  • How to recover better, stretching & foam rolling
  • How to trust others better informed than I, even though I doubted
My biggest piece of advice to runners seeking to improve is to hire a running coach that fits the budget. I know I will be for my next goal, completing a full marathon.

Eric (left) and his brother, just after running a 1:29:05, beating his goal

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