Choices - by Shelly Glover
Prologue: Gotta Break Four Hours
Breaking barriers is about making choices. Ultimately, the pick
of training pace and distance have less impact on race time then
our jobs, family and general life. Brunhilda's running is
a classic example of the conflicts between ideal training schedules
and real life.
Bruni wanted to break four hours in the New York City Marathon,
towing along two kids, a work-at-home job, a tennis habit, commuting
and all the baggage and bragging rights of a typical marathoner.
She was facing a lot of choices. The right choice is always
a challenge. When making any choice, as my Dad says, You
have to have a plan. So,
we devised the Gotta
Break Four Hours Plan.
Bruni and I worked one-on-one, via email and at NYRR Running Classes.
Heres our story. Her emails are bold-faced type mine
are in italic. Most of this story is true. I smoothed a few edges
for flow and privacy. Thanks for sharing Bruni.
Thanks for the schedule. Im very excited about it. It
looks great. I should be able to run one more race before I leave
for Montauk. Ive been unable to make it to class. Between
the Ice Hockey Playoffs and Baseball my Tuesday and Thursday running
classes came to a halt.
I have been able to run. This week if I run tomorrow I will have
run 24 miles. My longest run being 6 miles twice and the other
runs 4 miles each. Im feeling better since Im not
playing as much tennis and my running is improving. I took myself
all the way to The City and got two new pair of sneakers. I'm
so excited. Warm regards, Bruni
Leave a little time for yourself! That family of yours really
keeps you hopping. Ill give you some speed sessions to work
at on your own.
Maybe the kids can pay you back for all those Mom duties
by riding along on their bikes when you run long runs. They could,
you know, carry a water bottle or something.
Glad to hear youve cut back on the tennis. Although
it helps your running, six hours a week on the court is a whole
lot of time. Id rather see you running more. Gotta break
four hours. Gotta break four hours. Coach Shelly
p.s. remember to change those shoes every 300-500 miles
and its a good idea to have two pairs going in case
something happens to one of them.
Here were our first two big barriers to a sub-four hour
marathon: tennis and family.
Tennis helps Brunis speed, but it isnt exactly running.
Just like a good runner doesnt automatically make a good tennis
player, a really fit tennis player doesnt always make for a
The second issuefamily s a priority call.
I don't coach runners on family life, unless I think things are
getting obsessive on the running end. But hey, that's a judgment
call. Bruni is a former nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital's
Intensive Care Unit. She knows all about triage and priorities.
Her family is important. Losing her father as a youngster, Bruni
is careful of running and family balance. Caring runs in the
genes. Her Uncle John, a Sloan-Kettering volunteer, traveled from
his 106 Street and Broadway home in Manhattan to watch her two young
sons in New Jersey, while Bruni tackled long runs.
Breaking four hours is an entirely manageable goal, depending
on what else one has going on in life. For sure, Bruni had other
commitments, but her advantages included the all-important family
support and a year lead-time to train.
Compound her gumption with a New Years resolution or two and
marathon ambitions are in hyper drive then it starts to snow.
Bruni lives in the New Jersey outback and quickly got the drift
of what competitive winter training is about.
Were they able to have the race today? I tried calling the New
York Road Runners Club but could not get through. We did not get
plowed until late. I have a treadmill and dont like it at all.
However I did go on it today and ran seven miles in one hour and
one minute. I like the fact that I'm running at a consistent pace.
I ran a total of 21 miles for the week. I also played tennis
on Tues. for one hour and on Thurs. for one hour. I took the boys
sleigh riding today (walked up this very steep hill about four
times) and shoveled snow for two hours. I think that is why I
couldn't put in more mileage this week. I'm a little tired. Talk
to you soon. Hope youre well. Bruni
Tired! Yeah, I would be tired too with that avalanche of winter
But its not only the snow that sets marathon preparation
drifting. Ski season precipitates a steep fall in available
running time. While some runners rationalize it as cross-training,
down-hill skiing has little fitness value for marathoners. To
further frost training, runners often get hurt skiing. Torn knee
ligaments, soreness, bumps and bruises from the down hill thrills
can stall your training in a snow bank.
I hope you are well. I'm still recuperating from that ski vacation.
My shins (the backs of them) are still sore from the snow
I really feel it when Im running and after. I'm icing
them. Last week was not great. I was so sore.
I ran Tuesday (speed workout) and then on Wed. 4 miles. I then
played tennis on Thursday and Friday and took the weekend off.
This week Im looking to get back. I ran four miles today
and plan to attend running class tomorrow. Thanks for all. Bruni
Snow boarding?! Thats not on the
training schedule! You are 46 years old. Get off the snow
board! Geezzz the last client that did that broke his
leg. Break four hours, not your leg! Gotta break four
hours. Gotta break four hours. Coach Shelly
Generally cross training is equal minute for minute to running
of the same effort level. So a hard game of tennis for 45 minutes
would be about 45 minutes of hard running. For Bruni thats
maybe 8-minute pace or about 5 1/2 miles. On the other hand 45 minutes
of easy lobbing the ball around would be about her easy run effort
or 10 minutes per mile for 4.5 miles. Get it?
List cross-training in your training diary as running equivalents
or R.E. for RE 5 miles.
Be A Runner First, then...
If youve raced 5 10k distances, a year is plenty of
time to prepare for a quality marathon. In November anyone can get
fired up after watching the New York City Marathon. An event of
this magnitude spawns an equal magnitude of good intentions to train
for next years run.
The seasons moved along to summer and Bruni switched to early morning
runs before work, meals, chauffeuring and childcare swamped her
day. Oh yeah, tennis was still eating a big hole in her free time
too. But I digress.
Running alone can get boring and slow. Bruni used the heart rate
monitor to stay on pace. If she slowed down, it beeped her back
into the zone.
The monitor comes in handy on trips where measured courses are
hard to find. While visiting Florence, Italy she was due for a 20-miler. Now, wherever you go, they have
20 miles, its just a matter of measuring it. Got roads? Got
running shoes? Get running. Check Run
The Planet for international running routes.
Bruni knew her 18 20 milers should take about 3:00 -3:15 hours
at 9:45 pace minutes. When traveling, she ran three
hour runs and used the heart rate monitor to keep her pace even.
Go Bruni. Gotta break four hours. Gotta break four hours.
Back in the U.S. the training was tough not the 40
50 miles per week part, but the solitude factor. She traipsed solo
through the hills of Montauk during the summer moving back to New
Jersey in the September. Occasionally she sojourned to Central Park
for a half marathon or group run.
I ran the 18-mile race in Central Park today as a training run.
I was very lucky. I ran it with Diane and Barbara. They were
also doing it as a training run and went real slow just for me.
They were great! It helped me so much. I wore my heart monitor
and did not get ahead of myself.
My heart rate was between 141 and 153. What do you think? I was
afraid to go over the 150 for fear of not finishing. My time according
to my chip was in the 2:56 range. I was happy with that. My feet
are not well. Blisters are still a problem. I am going to see
the podiatrist hopefully this week. Thanks, Bruni
Regarding Long Runs
Brunis pace was about 9:42 pace for an 18 miler. Not bad.
Most long runs for competitive in-shape runners should be about
1 minute per mile slower than what they want to run in the marathon.
Folks that are going to run the marathon slower than the pace of
their long runs should keep runs at conversational speed or 1.5
to 2 minutes slower than 10K race pace.
Bruni I liked the sounds of your training.
I like the sounds of having your Mom come out and cook family
dinners on weekends too. Yeah, her rice and beans will really
replenish your glycogen stores and get you ready to train next
week. Go a little easy on the pork sausage.
Uncle John was a doll to watch your kids while you ran. Between
Gods Love We Deliver and volunteering at Gay Mens
Health Crisis hes a busy man. Since hes already doing
the AIDS walk, maybe we can turn him into a runner. :-) Keep to
your training schedule best as you can. Gotta break four hours.
Gotta break four hours. Coach Shelly
After a long run its important to replenish your body.
Bruni did it with Moms classic Puerto Rican rice and beans,
but pancakes, potatoes and pasta will work fine too.
Come September, the kids went back to school. Brunis choices of
when and where to train got easier. She picked up the training
tempo, driving into Manhattan twice a week for running classes
What a beautiful day. I ran for fun and did another loop of
Park . Monday and Tuesday of last week I did not run. I ran
on Wed-4; Thurs-class tempo: 4-mile run with 1/2mile warm-up and
1/2 mile cool down.; Fri-tennis; Sat-12 and Sun-5. Total for the
week - 25-26 plus tennis.
This week we are leaving for Washington DC on Friday AM so I'm
trying to figure out when I'll get my long run in. Probably on
Thurs. and do speedwork tomorrow. See you then. Warm regards,
Dear Bruni Kakuzo Okakiwa writes, The art
of life lies in constant readjustment to our surroundings. Adjust
and get that long run in. Check
Cool Running for running links in Washington
D.C. Gotta break four hours. Gotta break four hours. Coach Shelly
But even the best-planned marathon training is a drain by October.
Hope you are having a nice weekend. I ran 40 miles this week.
I cant believe it. I ran 5 on Monday and Wednesday,
went to class on Tuesday and Thursday, did my long run on
Friday morning (15
miles in two hours and thirty minutes), took off Saturday and
ran 5 today. I'm feeling pretty good. I felt the groin
pull the next day. m doing the ice.
My blister problems are so much less. This week is pretty
tough too. I used Gretes Great Gallop as
part of my 20 miler. I'll be happy when I start to taper although
I feel pretty good. See you on Tuesday. Warmly, Bruni
Brunis months of good training choices started paying off. The
first reward was a 1:54 Staten Island Half Marathon. S.I. Half is
traditionally the last hard race for many marathon hopefuls leading
up to the NYCM. Some use it to predict marathon pace.
Here are two methods to determine marathon pace from a half marathon
The World Association of Veteran Athletes or
the World Masters Association calculators
Brunis Staten Island Half Marathon start was a little crowded
so well say she ran a 1:53:00 which the WAVA tables predict a
marathon time of 3:59:24. The prediction charts are available in
the back of The Runners Training Diary by Bob and Shelly Glover.
The other standard predictor, doubles the half marathon time and
adds 10 to 15 minutes. We add 10 minutes if the marathon course
is similar to the relatively flat Staten Island Half Marathon such
as Marine Corp Marathon or 15 minutes if the course is hillier as
in New York City Marathon. Double the half marathon would be 3:46
add 15 minutes for the New York course giving Bruni a 4:01. It was
gonna be a close race.
Dear Bruni Hang in there! Training is almost
If there is no dull and determined effort, there will be
no brilliant achievement. Hsun-tzu. Gotta break
four hours. Gotta break four hours. Coach Shelly
How Bruni handled the Taper the last two to three weeks to the
marathon could mean breaking or not breaking her four hour barrier.
The Gotta Break Four Hour Plan reduced weekly mileage by
30 percent one week then 60 percent the following week. Its a great
time for the runner to heal minor injuries, catch up on sleep and
laundry. We both felt the rest would peak Bruni for her marathon
and that she was really getting in shape.
There is one way to know for sure if you are fit, its
Mom. When your Mom starts saying things like, Arent
you doing too much? You look thin. Do you think you are overdoing
it? Yes folks, this
is usually a good sign and Bruni's Mom was no exception.
As Bruni slimmed down to that Gotta Break Four Hours marathon
body, her Mom started lacing the rice and beans with slabs of
pork sausage to
put weight back on her daughter. Uncle John didnt really
notice, he just chatted up a storm about how proud he was of
Big family gatherings with glorious food are the weekend happenings
for her clan. The emphasis is food and family. In November the
gathering was on the New York City Marathon courseto watch
Bruni. With the throngs of spectators, her brood, husband, kids,
cousinsbraved wind, rains and chills to watch the Marathon.
Meanwhile, Bruni was doing some battling of her own to get to
them. The start in New York City Marathon - or any marathon
- is rough. Even with the chip, crowds slow
a runners progress considerably. The weather wasn't
helping. But somehow, months of training and planning were coming
Bruni was on pace to break four hours running her first 10K in
54:29, an 8:45 pace a 3:49 marathon pacethrough the relatively
flat Brooklyn. She was trying to build up a few minutes of buffer
against the slower second half the marathon course with its turns
and hills in Central Park.
At the half marathon she was still at her 10K pace of 8:45 turning
in a 1:54 - just about the same time as her Staten Island Half Marathon.
Could she cruise the rest of the marathon at the same pace?
She battled through Brooklyn and Queens rocketing toward Manhattan
where her family waited with cameras, banners, cold hands and feet.
Gotta break four hours. Gotta break four hours.
At 20 miles the hysterical crowds of First Avenue melted away and
the long slow grind of an uphill was starting to wear on her. She
slowed hitting 3:01 at 20 miles an average pace of 9:05
heading for a 3:58 marathon. But the last 6.9 miles had taken her
1:07 to cover or about 9:42 pace, a 4:16 marathon.
Mile 23 - The Choice
Bruni has what it takes to make a runner good. She has heart. You
cant coach that. You have it or you dont. She rallied and picked
up the pace. Gotta break four hours. Gotta break four hours.
She was making up for lost time. She caught site of her Uncle John
and his partner waiting at 23 miles as she first entered Central
Park. Its a nasty hill that's been since axed from the
course. Her hair caught drops of rain and sweat. Her family cheered
and snapped pictures.
Suddenly, her 80year old Uncle John stepped out on the course
and reached for a hug. He pulled her close while the family snapped
pictures. Precious seconds slid away, but Bruni smiled. What can
you do? Push away your 80year old uncle? After all Family is Family.
Bruni smiled for the camera, hugged her uncle, while her mind sung
away, Gotta break four hours. Gotta break four hours. Gotta break
What are you doing? she laughed. Im not finished yet!
As any marathoner knows, the only thing harder than keeping going,
is starting again after youve stopped. With the flashbulb
stars still popping in her eyes, Bruni tried to grind her tired
into the four-hour rhythm. But the muscles quivered, stalled and
faltered. It was a half mile before the blood was pumping right
again, and she fought to be back on pace. Gotta break four hours.
Gotta break four hours.
She got to the 25mile mark and heard the announcer at the
finish line on the other side of the park If you are within the
sound of my voice you can break four hours. She hammered. She struggled.
The crowds roared for every runner as she turned onto Central Park
South, You can do it,they called. Go! Go ! Go! She made the
turn into Central Park only a few minutes to go. Go! Go! Go!
she thought. Gotta break four hours. Gotta break four hours.
She pushed lead legs up the last hill of the park 3:58
tick tick tick the clock tocked ( yes, a digital race clock does
make a ticking sound as the numbers change ), Gotta break four
hours. When she looked again just before the finish line, there
is was 4:02:00. Her chip time was 4:01:17.
Icing should begin immediately after an injury. Apply for 10 to 20
minutes longer than this recommendation increases circulation
in the area. The purpose of icing is slow circulation and swelling.
The area should become red and numb, not white. Alternate 10 to 20
minutes on and off for the first 3 to 4 hours after an injury. Later,
ice for 10 to 20 minutes, three times a day for up to a week. Ice
after each run until there is no further pain or tenderness.
For large areas, try soaking a towel in ice water. and placing
it on the injured area. As it warms, re-soak and reapply. Continue
this process for 15 to 20 minutes. An ice towel is good for lower
back and hamstrings.
A bag of frozen peas is another option. It molds to the body
allowing you to ice both sides of the shin, Achilles tendon, or
the entire knee. Frozen peas dont melt like ice, and stay
cold longer than frozen gels.
Ice massage is recommended by Physical Therapist Ted Corbitt, a
1952 U.S. Olympic marathoner and former NYRRC president. He suggests
freezing water in a paper cup for easy application; using a rubber
glove or towel to protect hands while applying; and peeling back
the paper cup and gently massaging the area on and around the injury
for 10 to 15 minutes. Keep the ice moving to provide a massaging
effect. Dont allow the ice to touch bare skin for too long
or you could give yourself frost nip. Oh geez how embarrassing!
Try various types of ice packs:
Crushed ice between two towels
A plastic bag filled with ice
Reusable frozen commercial gel packs
Chemical bags that mix to produce cold.
Be careful not to apply chemical packs directly to the skin
Now about those blisters. The best way to avoid blister pain is
not to get them. Try putting powder or petroleum jelly on your feet
for protection. Thatll give your sock something to slide
against besides your skin.
The late great Murray Weisenfeld foot doctor to the dancers,
runners, movers and shakers gave us four rules for avoiding
blisters. In his book The Runners Repair Manual
he wrote Shoes that fit
Rub out friction with lubricants
Daughter and heir to the practice Lori Weisenfeld
suggests if you get a painful blister thats interfering
with training pop it. Boil your tools razor blade
or nail clipper for at least 15 minutes and wash the blister
with alcohol first. Make a small slit in the blister and milk
the fluid out. The cut is usually painless as the blistered skin
in not attached to nerves. Clean the cut with antiseptic and cover
with gauze and fabric tape so the wound can breathe and drain.
At night take the bandage off and let the air get to it. Of course
you could just go to the podiatrist
Oh those first few long runs can be so exhilarating! Moving,
sweating, a huff here, a puff there and at last you are finished
with the workout and basking in the athletes afterglow!
Oh, but there's a price to pay! Its soreness!
Sore thighs and lower legs are especially common. This discomfort
doesn't necessarily mean youre injured, but it can make running--even
walking-- uncomfortable, slow you down, and may increase the risk
of injury. DOMS often makes walking down stairs or sitting difficult.
DOMS usually appears 2-24 hours after your workout and lasts
from 4-10 days after a marathon. Peak discomfort is usually 48
hours after your run. Cut back mileage and pace while sore, allowing
damaged muscles heal.
Causes: Activity to which you are unaccustomed, improper
warm up or cool down, inflexibility, improper recovery after hard
runs, sudden increases in mileage, speed or hills.
Treatment: Try light exercise to flush away waste products
out of muscles. Walking or non weight-bearing activity such as
swimming or biking help recovery. Dont try to run if pain alters
your form. Experiment with icing, massage, running on soft surfaces
and stretching for relief. Warm baths or showers before workouts
passively warm and loosen muscles.
Intervals and formwork are an important weekly workout. Runners
should get in 3-5 miles of fast paced-running with intervals generally
ranging from 800 meters to 3,000 meters (about 2 miles). A common
training flaw is that runners in marathon training do their interval
workouts too fast and do not fully recover for their other workouts
during the week. The pace of the intervals should usually fall
between your current 10K and 5K race pace. Speed training should
include form work on hills and some marathon paced work which
especially benefits first-timers.
Speed work improves the bodys economy of movement, ability to
handle a fast pace, and boosts confidence. Join
NYRRC Running Classes for organized
marathon speed and form sessions.
Races As Long Runs
By adding a few miles before and a few miles after an event
you can turn a half marathon into a long run. Remember , donor
caught up in the race excitement and run too fast. Stay at a
nice steady pace you can maintain during the whole run. It sure
a pleasure having water stations and company. Remember to register
for all races that you participate in whether you are running
your hardest or just training through for the camaraderie.