Semper Currens III: Horses for Courses

Week Two Training Wrap-Up

After running hard at the Boilermaker, I figured I would start the week gently, so I didn’t run run until Wednesday. Then I went long and slow on a very humid Saturday–one of my favorite routes through Durand-Eastman Park and Arboretum in Irondequoit–and made up the rest of my 20 miles on an even more humid Sunday. Nice and easy does it this week. There’s lots of hard work ahead.

The Week Ahead

Week three will be a repeat of weeks one and two in terms of effort and mileage. I may take it up a notch and go a little longer on one of the runs, but we’ll see what the week brings.

Feature o’ the Week: Train for the Race You’re Going to Run

The title of this edition of Semper Currens is an old saying from horse racing: some horses are more adept at racing on certain courses than others. So it’s not to early to be thinking about the course we’ll be running and what kind of horse we need to be. For one thing, it will tell us what kind of training we should be doing. For another, it will help us visualize splits and landmarks, which will come in useful later when we begin our long runs.

A quick look at the Marine Corps Marathon course elevation map tell us that it starts off with a fairly tough climb that extends to mile 3. There’s also another nasty, but not awful, elevation starting around mile 21 to about mile 23, and a few other rolling hills. But everything between mile 7 to 17 looks pretty flat. So some hill work is going to be a must.

2014 MCM Elevation Chart

Course reviews and a look at the course map also give us plenty to ponder during training. The course is unbelievably scenic in points, with stretches along the Potomac, around the monuments and along the Mall towards the Capitol being among the memorable highlights. But there are also dead spots, such as the mile-long slog along the 14th St. Bridge at mile 20, which is quiet and spectator-less.

Add that to the challenge of the sheer size of the race (30,000 runners), and it looks we’re in for an emotional rollercoaster. I have the feeling that the Marine Corps will require more focus and mental toughness than my previous races.

Team Fox Update

We’re off and running! The first two contributions–from a long-time fan of the Flat-Footed Fox and from the incomparable Team Love Nugget–have given us a great start toward our $1,500 goal. Ready to join them? Go to my fundraising page and make your gift today!

What challenges are you anticipating from your virtual or real marathon? And what are you going to do in training to prepare for them? Leave a comment here, and I’ll feature it in the next Semper Currens.

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About Bruce Pegg

I write about running, music and spirituality.
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