Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Coach's Corner with Coach Bob... 5 Tips for a Speed(ier) Boston!

The Boston Marathon is only about 5.5 weeks out-- are you pumped? I know I am! You have your training in... you've logged your miles... maybe you've even done a practice race or (in my case) about 15-20 practice races. But, c'mon now, this is BOSTON! One of the fastest marathons out there. Is it possible to shed a few extra minutes this late in the game? Of course it is! I talked to Coach Bob and got some tips as well as a training plan -- that I'll share with you later-- but I thought some of you may want to hear Coach Bob's tips as well. And hey, if you're not running Boston, it's ok-- use these in the last few weeks of any goal race! 

Coach Bob has graciously offered his knowledge and advice to us over the next 5 weeks on Steph's Coach's Corner. Check back every Wednesday for most Boston Marathon Tips from Coach Bob! 

You're probably saying... who is this "Coach Bob?" That's a very good question! I've mentioned him before in some of my speed workouts. You may remember him better as the fool guy that thinks he's going to beat me in a combined time double marathon weekend. Pshhhh More about Bob? For one, he runs the speed workouts at Mojo Running-- a local running group/store. Last fall, after just a few of his workouts I pulled 10 minutes off my prior PR of 3:35 and nailed a 3:25. He also gave me my workouts that led to my 3:21 at RnR Phoenix. Not good enough? Well here is more on Coach Bob...

Name: Coach Bob Fritz
Years Running: 30!
Years Coaching: 18!
Runners: Junior High through Adults
Boston's Run: 2 (2008 and 2009)
BQ's Attempted/Made: 2/2 (show off)
Coach Bob and I after the RnR Phoenix
Finally... Coach Bob's 5 Tips for a Speed(ier) Boston in 5 Weeks:
1.  Speed will help with leg turnover and running efficiency.
2.  Speed will help with the last part of the endurance/base building phase
3.  Speed will train your form to run smooth when you are tired, and even on uphills and downhills.
4.  Some speed workout examples:
     ~3 - 6 x 1 mile repeats done @ 10k race pace with 3 minute rest between each.
     ~8 - 12 x 400 meters done @ 5k pace with 1:30 rest between each.
     ~6 - 10 x 30 sec uphills.  These hills should be done on a gradual incline and done at about 85% effort with an easy jog down the hill for recovery.
     ~6 - 10 x 30 sec DOWNHILLS.  These will allow for the leg muscles to be teased for the downhill portions of Boston.  Plus, they do help with leg turnover.
5.  Most importantly, speed allows a runner to feel mentally and emotionally stronger.  After weeks and weeks of long runs and just base work, speed will really fine tune your muscles into feeling great about your goal race pace on marathon day!

What are your favorite speed workouts? Leave a comment or shoot me an email and I'll post them later this week! 

Happy Running,
"Run to Win" -Meb


  1. I like doing tabata intervals on the treadmill - I think they're a great way to get used to a fast pace, and there is a lot of science behind how they generate a longer afterburn and burn more fat (and less muscle) than steady state cardio. Of course, you can't train for a marathon with just these little short bursts... but I think it's a great way to at least break out of your usual pace and get used to something faster. Once you've done 6 minute miles (even in short bursts), an 8 minute mile for a longer distance doesn't feel so bad :)

  2. Ooooo I've been having a huge discussion with two of my guy friends about speed and what workouts to do. Def sharing this link! Thanks for the advice Coach Bob! :)

  3. Mmmmmm, speed... I run 5-7 miles worth of 800m to 1 mile repeats every Tuesday at 5k pace -- or faster if I can handle it. I think it's great way to improve race times, when included in a balanced running diet of hills, big miles, and pace runs!

  4. Tabata does nothing for running faster, faster not 8 min miles

  5. 6 x 1000s at I pace will be in my training.

  6. Anonymous: actually, tabatas are great for helping you get used to quicker turnover and therefore running faster. If you're stuck in a rut where you keep running at the same pace and can't seem to break through to something faster, tabatas on a treadmill are fantastic because they don't allow you to slow down to your usual pace. As for the time, while I can do 8 minute miles for a short distance, that's too fast for me for a full marathon - but you can sub in whatever pace is fast for you.