Sunday, February 1, 2015


My friend and running partner for over 35 years, Brian Tonitis, once said, "It only counts when you pay your entry fee."

Training is all about challenging oneself, pushing the limits of one's ability, walking the tightrope without falling off.

In less than two weeks, many of you will toe the line at the 18th annual Myrtle Beach Marathon,

The course is flat, fast, and well-designed for you to achieve your personal best.

Over the course of the past few weeks, I'm certain that you've turned in the long runs in preparation for the grueling 26.2-mile race. You've probably braved difficult weather conditions, passed up holiday parties, and arisen from bed before dawn in order to properly train yourself for the big event.

So, as you reach the period of less than two weeks before the race, it's time to dial it back a bit, back off on the intensity, keep everything flexible and healthy, because now, "The money's in the bank."

Physiologically, any workout conducted within two weeks of your big event will not significantly improve your performance. In fact, if you choose to pound out a fast 20-miler ten days before your marathon, there's a good chance you will negatively affect your marathon time, leaving you fatigued and listless on race day.

Make sure, then, that you don't leave your race on the road, during a training run, in the days leading up to your event.

20-milers are the staple of a marathon runner's training diet, but not when one enters the two-week pre-race marathon window.

If I'm running a marathon or a half marathon, my last significant workout will be run eight days before the even. For a marathon, it might be a 10-12 mile run, at a gentle pace. Remember, the work has been done. Now, your objective is to feel rested and refreshed when the gun sounds to start the race.

Remember, workouts matter. They get you there, but it really only counts when you pay your entry fee.

Two weeks prior to your marathon, keep this mantra in your head: Train, maintain, but don't strain.

Train hard, but as your race nears, taper easy.

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