Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Zachary Lewis is writing a series of articles about his preparations for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 2008, and his goal of qualifying for Boston. The first of these appeared in today's paper. I have e-mailed Zachary, expressed my support for his goal, and invited him to join Cleveland SouthEast Runners Club. See his article, and my e-mail below.
Begin training now, and you'll be in the running for summer-fall marathons
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Plain Dealer Reporter
Our own Zachary Lewis starts readers on a training regimen for the Cleveland Marathon's races.
Three hours, 10 minutes, 59 seconds. That's how long I have to run this year's Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.
It may sound like an arbitrary number, but it isn't. As a 31-year-old man, I have to limbo beneath that bar to qualify for the Boston Marathon, the most prestigious and storied footrace in the country.
Right now, I have no intention of entering Boston, even if I qualify. Then again, who knows? And as any serious runner will attest, simply earning the right to lace up is itself a milestone.
Happily, I'm on my way. At my last marathon, in Columbus last October, I finished in three hours and 35 minutes, and since then I've been working hard to improve by running shorter, faster races and devoting equal time to cycling, lifting and swimming.
The first significant test came this month, at a 30K (18.6-mile) race in Avon Lake. Although lately I've been running at a 6:30 pace for long periods, on that chilly morning I slipped back to 7:17.
As it happens, though, that's exactly the pace I need to keep in Cleveland to qualify for Boston. Down to the second.
Now it's a matter of holding or topping that speed an additional 7.6 miles. Those are the hardest miles, of course, the territory past the proverbial "wall," but at least I've been there before and know what to expect.
Which brings me to my point. Plenty of you haven't been there before and are trying to get there, and we want to help you. We want to help you cross that life-changing, 26.2-mile threshold or complete that also-momentous 10K (6.2 miles).
To both ends, we'll be posting fresh, timely tips in this space every Tuesday from now until race day, Sunday, May 18, beginning with this:
If you're new to running or haven't run in awhile, it's probably too late to start preparing for a marathon safely. Most marathon-training schedules demand the ability to run 13 to 15 miles comfortably by this point, and trying to cram can lead to injury.
The good news is, with nine weeks left until the race, you're right on schedule to tackle a 10K. Start this week by logging a few hours in the pool or on the bike and working your way up to a two- or three-mile run at a steady pace.
Don't lose heart, aspiring marathoners. Late starters still have several marathon options this summer and fall, including the Buckeye Trail, Akron, Towpath and Columbus races.
Here's another friendly word of advice. If you can't remember the last time you bought running shoes, it's time to go shopping. Running a long race in worn-out or brand-new shoes is never a good idea. Trust me, I've done both.
You know my goal. Now let's help you reach yours. See you here next week and at the starting line.
Here's my e-mail to Zachary
I've enjoyed your articles in the Plain Dealer, and I was particularly interested in you article today, "Begin training now, and you'll be in the running for summer-fall marathons". You are making great progress. Your should be really proud of your 7:17 pace at the Catch A Leprechaun 30k. And at 31, your best times are still ahead of you...for many years to come.
I want to encourage you in your goal of qualifying for Boston. To that end, I also want to extend an invitation to you to join Cleveland SouthEast Runners Club (SERC). We are a vibrant local running club with runners of all levels.
Last August, I joined SERC and began running with the group on Saturdays and Sundays. I, too, had the goal of qualifying for Boston. With help, advice, and support of the SERC runners, I qualified in Columbus last October and I will be in Hopkinton on April 21st. We would love to have you join our club, and I am sure that you would find, as I did, that running and training with the support of the group is more productive, rewarding, and fun, then going it alone. Let me know if you have an interest, but regardless, I hope you do make it to Boston.
2 hours ago