As autumn approached, fall marathon training cycles began for those runners targeting one of the season’s many prestigious road races. Over the years, Club Northwest has noticed an increase in participation among its athletes in road marathons, including those that take place in fall. In response, Club’s Vice President of Teams, Waqar Shaikh, and Team Manager, Mark Bloudek, launched a pilot program to assist fall marathon participants with race registration and travel expenses. Eligible athletes have met Club Northwest’s comp standards and agree to proudly don the signature orange singlet and black shorts on race day. Specifically, Club marathoners would participate in one of the marathons taking place the October 7th weekend. This includes marathons in Chicago, Victoria, and Twin Cities. Their rationale for targeting one date and certain marathons is “to foster a group training approach where each athlete can rely on their fellow Club members and seek guidance from Tom [Cotner] and Mark’s vast coaching experience.”
With their training now well underway, Club Northwest Fall Marathon Program participants Lana Lacey, Heather Tanner, and Nick Welch discussed with fellow Club member Julia “Jules” Reade their preparation thus far, race day, and post-marathon plans.
Jules: Is this your first time training for a marathon with Club Northwest?
Lana: Yes, it is my first time training for a marathon, but I’ve been training with the club under Tom’s guidance since 2013. Although my workouts have been different than what the rest of the group generally does on Saturdays and Wednesdays, I have still been able to find club members to do workouts with who are training similarly to me. Sometimes we’ll even meet at the same time/location as others, but end up doing our own thing. There is certainly strength in numbers, and just being among the group fuels my energy and provides motivation for those marathon workouts.
Nick: Second marathon overall and with CNW, but fifth year of competing for the club.
Heather: I joined Club Northwest in the spring of 2017 and this is somehow the 3rd marathon training cycle for me with the team. Not sure I meant to arrange it that way, but here I am.
Jules: What sets this training cycle apart from others?
Lana: Generally I have trained for shorter distances, such as the 5k and below, with the exception of a few half marathons thrown into the mix. Aside from running more miles and doing longer long runs, my workouts lately have emphasized sustained aerobic threshold effort, instead of the lactate intervals that I was previously used to on the track.
Nick: Last year my training for Chicago was very compressed, so I’m looking forward to having a more complete block this time. We also have a good contingent of guys running Chicago and other marathons that same weekend, so our training group is more focused on that goal compared to last year.
Heather: Each marathon cycle is different, just by virtue of what training came before it, what my motivation level is and what the goal is. I’ve run several marathons over a pretty long period of time, 15 years, and my purpose has been different for each one. For the last several years, I used to take a more all-encompassing approach, but the last year has been more about maintaining life balance but still setting goals that challenge me. One unique thing about this cycle is being able to train with my friend and teammate, Lana.
Jules: What marathon are you running? What factors influenced your decision to target this race?
Lana: I’ll be running Chicago. It’s the time of year I wanted to race, it’s pretty flat, I love the city, and a handful of other club members plan to race it, too. It will be more fun to have teammates there, and doing a marathon the same time of year as others gives me even more people to train with. Since it will be my first marathon, I want it to be as positive of an experience as possible so that I’ll want to do more! All of the aforementioned factors will hopefully make it a good one.
Nick: Chicago. I ran it last year and it was a very successful experience. In 2017 I chose it because it was fast, I’d have tons of people to run with, and I have family there. This year I’m returning for all those reasons, plus I’m eager to find out what it’s like not to be experiencing the course and the event for the first time.
Heather: Chicago’s on tap. It’s always been on my list, but I’ve never run it. After running Paris and being excited by the big race/big city energy, Chicago seemed like a good way to tap into the same feeling with less travel. Also, it’s flat.
Jules: Have you begun hatching race day plans and strategies yet, such as course support, nutrition, mantras, pacing, etc?
Lana: Setting a variety of goals (not just a finishing time) so that even if I don’t hit one, I can hit others and walk away with some sense of accomplishment. Timing breakfast and coffee the morning of. Taking in something every 3 miles - a variety of fluids/electrolytes/gels. Run conservatively the first half even if I feel great. Have some mantras to repeat to myself. And, having a really thankful and healthy “bigger picture” perspective on the start line makes a world of difference when I race. So getting in that headspace is just as important as the tangibles.
Nick: I have a tentative goal of under 2:26. I ran 2:29:11 last year with only five weeks of training and negative splits. But I’m holding back from setting a firm plan until I run the Labor Day Half and see where my fitness is. I want to go out more aggressively than last year, where my slowest 5k was my first. Once again I’ll be fortunate to have family supporting me on the course, along with several teammates targeting the same goal pace.
Heather: I always hope to enter a marathon feeling healthy, fresh and ready to execute my race plan. Until the race is closer, I can’t estimate my fitness well enough to pick the exact pace and race plan, especially since my training has been less speed-oriented than usual. That being said, I’m hoping to get my fitness far enough along that the trials qualifying time (<2:45) can be the appropriate goal pace. Qualifying for my 4th trials is meaningful to me, but not at the expense of running a well-executed race. In 2017, CIM was a disappointment because I wasn’t able to pull together the time that I wanted, but worse than that, I had a difficult 2nd half. Never fun. Then in April, I ran an under-trained (call it well rested) Paris Marathon in a slower time, but I was pleased with my attitude and execution and finished strong. Unlike fitness, attitude and execution are controllable on race day, and I’ll try to focus on that.
Jules: What is your tentative recovery plan?
Lana: Sleep. Yoga. Food. Massage. Wine.
Nick: Cross country.
Heather: Big break. Maybe transition to a new sport for the winter. Trail running and mountain treks are appealing to me for the future.
Club Northwest wishes all those training for marathons happy and healthy training cycles, and looks forward to toeing start lines with you this fall. For more information about Club Northwest, including it wide variety of programming, visit https://www.clubnorthwest.org/ Follow CNW athletes as they tackle events this fall on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RunCNW/ and on Instagram @club_northwest_running