A blog about my journey as an athlete and a woman. Come step into her shoes...

Monday, January 5, 2009

No One Plans to FAIL

I can’t believe I will start training for Boston on Sunday, I can not wait to blog about my journey to one of the biggest thrills as a runner! I believe it is a must to train with a PLAN!

This post is co-written by Rachel and Bobbi.

Rachel’s history..prior to St. George Marathon in October 2008.

I have trained for and completed four marathons in my lifetime. The first two marathons: Las Vegas and Big Sur Trail Marathon were done on little or no training. Let’s just say I decided I wanted to run a marathon, gave myself ten weeks and for each race, and did one 3 hour run per race. The weekday runs were mild to say the least- I was a bit lazy and did very little. Both times were the same 4:11. Then, in 2004, I joined Team in Training for the Rock N Roll Marathon in San Diego in June. I again gave myself twelve weeks to train, donated tons of personal money to the cause and completed my third marathon in 4:10. Longest run was 18 miles, once. No significant plan and or training schedule for the TNT marathon-simply one long run a week and two short runs during the week.

Bobbi’s History…prior to the St. George Marathon 2008.

She had one run the St. Jude Memphis Marathon. She followed a Runner’s World plan that had TONS of running in it and even completed a 24 mile run two weeks prior to the race! She ran and ran and ran during the week, lots of 5, 6, and 7 milers then a long run on the weekend. She did zero strength training, zero speed work, and very little stretching.


I knew that for the St. George Marathon, I needed a plan to train. I wanted to “do it right” this time. My husband had been following the cycling plans written by Coach Al and had seen tremendous progress, so when it was time for me to train, I contacted him for a plan. Coach Al is a serious endurance coach in all levels of triathlon, cycling, running, swimming and strength training. He knows his shit business.

What I loved about Coach Al and the marathon plan was that it was SMART. We did not ever run any junk miles. Each run had a purpose, a goal and there was strength training and or stretching designated for each day. We were required to do strength training at least once per week and sometimes twice and they were NOT easy workout days. Most of the runs had SOME component of speed in them. You can not get faster running a marathon unless you train your body to run faster. On average we ran only 3-4 days per week and on the off days- it meant yoga, stretching or an OFF day. No cross training at all. Part of his plan is the Runner-Core DVD which I own and highly recommend. On the DVD, he demonstrates specific workouts designed to improve the speed and strength of a runner. There are three workouts that take approximately 15 minutes plus two bonus workouts- one called Fix the Hips and Bonus Killer Abs. These workouts are NOT something you will find anywhere else. Coach Al has spent 25 years perfecting endurance sports and both Bobbi and I IMPROVED A TON using his plan. I completed the St. George Marathon in 3:59 following a month off due to injuries, spent the better part of ten minutes during the marathon stretching and it was pouring rain for the entire 26 miles!! I was happy with my time to say the least.


I have been a runner my entire life, but didn’t get serious until college. I ran my first marathon with a 4:20 time in 2006. I thought I trained well until I trained with Coach Al’s plan. I started training for my second marathon in June 2008 with Coach Al’s plan. I loved the way Coach Al mixed up the workouts, lots of core strength training, and track work outs. I never thought I could get faster until I kept sticking with the training plan and being pushed harder and farther then I thought I could go. I really liked how we only ran 3 to 4 days a week and every work out was meaningful and had a purpose. I ended up running the St. George marathon at 3:24 my personal record!!! I qualified for Boston, and I have Coach Al, to thank! I am now running an easy 7 minute mile, with no sweat. I was not born a natural fast runner, Coach Al taught me how to train SMARTER not HARDER!

To wrap this up, both of us feel very strongly about having a good solid marathon plan in place when training. We treat running with respect and we love it, but, we are not out running daily in the off-season! In fact, both of us have done barely any running since St. George. Me even less due to tendonitis…Long breaks help us become remotivated for new goals, new races and new faster times in the future and you better believe we will be following a Coach Al plan.

P.S. This is not a paid endorsement.  We felt we needed to share our testimony regarding our success with the plan here.


Anonymous said...

You guys both really improved your times. Glad you found a plan that works for you. I can't wait to read about your Boston journey.

Denise said...

I ran my first marathon in 3:51 and need a 3:40 for Boston. I think I might go for it in the Fall when I run Philly again. I'm definitely going to check out that plan!!

MizFit said...

Im gonna check it out as well as your sincerity and passion and BELIEF so comes through in this post and in my emails with Rachel as well.

Anonymous said...

Not a paid endorsement? It sure smells like one. Perhaps it could also be due to the 2000 ft net downhill? Just saying..

Rachel said...

Dear Mr. Annoymous,
The downhill had nothing to do with 16 weeks of training. If you are going to say snarky comments, you should leave your name and web address.

Paul said...

RE: Anonymous
I PAID for a Coach Al training plan, won a state cycling crit championship, and now race competitively against former pros and olympians. It's OK to gush bout something that works for you. I certainly do. Not so OK to belittle an accomplishment by "just saying" oh, easy course, or low competition level. They held a race, YOU were invited too!

Lacey Nicole said...

WOW! only 3-4 days of running????? i'm super curious!! you'll be posting your daily workouts right??? and what kind of track workouts for marathon training???? so impressed :)

Mica said...

Ooh, Bobbi! You're so speedy! I can't wait to see how training for Boston goes.

Bobbi said...

Dear Mr. Annoymous,

I understand that this might look like an endorsement,but why wouldn't we endorse something that worked for us? It's not even this marathon that has improved but so has my running all together. My fastest 5k before the speedworkouts was 22:10. Right after the marathon I ran a 19:36. I also ran a 1:37:19
half on a hilly course, a lot faster then a 2:25. Even when I just go out for a run now, I run 8min miles instead of ten. Not because I am just physically in shape but because I LEARNED how to be a true runner. But if you think it was because of the down hill, I would beg to differ, down hill is just as hard too. I encourage everyone to endorse what works for them.

Leah said...

Wow, what improvements! Great work!! I would love to be able to run under 9 min miles (i'm still working on it!). I've never been able to run under 8 minutes/mile but my ultimate goal is to be able to do that and keep is constant!! I'm excited to see how your training goes!!

RunToFinish said...

That was an excellent testimonial..and darn it now I'm reconsidering my plan again...I'll find something!

joyRuN said...

Wow. 3-4x /week with no cross training?

It's not the first time I'd heard of Coach Al. Might have to check him out...