Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Chicago Marathon Preview and under 2 weeks out from STWM

Hey folks! How goes it? I'm sure your all training hard, or for some of you the taper crazies are starting to set in! Fear not, it's normal, when you start to overthink things and doubt yourself, look back over your training logs and find confidence in what you've done. Know that you can only hurt yourself by trying to squeeze in more work before your goal race. It's better to get on the line 10% under-trained then 1% over-trained. This is ESPECIALLY true for all you beauties taking on the marathon, get those legs fresh and enjoy the reduced volume. When in doubt, always do less. Anyway, things over here on the east coast are going great. I'm feeling sharp for the first time in a long time, there's pop in my legs and I'm about as lean as I can get without people asking me if I'm doing OK haha. We are in the homestretch of the training for the Scotiabank half. My goals are pretty strait forward. Chop a little over a minute off my time there last year. I'll find a group of guys going after 2:14/15 and roll with them. 5:07-5:10/mile or 3:10-3:12/km. I've done a ton of work in that zone over the last 6-8 weeks so it should feel good. I've got the confidence to know that even if I go out a little hot I can still grind out 3:15/km when I'm tired so it'll be fun. I'll break down the full marathon for STWM 2016 next week. But the half should be pretty solid. Last year I was 4th in 68 minutes and 1 second behind 3rd. I can already tell it'll take a lot faster then that to crack the top 3. Matt McNiel is in unreal shape right now so don't be surprised if he runs 5 minute miles the whole way and goes 65 mid to high. There's also Josh Bolton who's in phenomenal shape and has already gone 67:40 this year so he's looking to go 66. Also in the field is Trevor Zimak who's at least in 68 minute shape himself (Split 70 in his last marathon and routinely splits sub 70's during training). Needless to say the kid here is going to have to dig deep, channel my inner Kipchoge and just grind it out. Regardless of the outcome, I know I've trained incredibly hard and I'll be able to walk away from the race knowing my preparation was excellent. After that It'll be all eyes towards XC nationals in Kingston. So without further rambling I'll look at the Elite Field for this weekends Chicago Marathon.

2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

So, the second of the fall majors is upon us. Full disclosure I was not happy they took out the rabbits from this race. We have NYC for a tactical fall marathon and Boston in the spring. Chicago was way more exciting when you had E. Mutai and Kimetto both going sub 2:04 in an epic battle in comparison to a sluggish race like last year. But I guess they want to save some money and make it so more Americans can be competitive until the last move is made (Like Puskedra last year in it all the way until 40k).

With that said, looking at the men's start list and what the major players have done this year I expect we will see a mid to high 2:08 race with a strong move coming around 35k. There are 4 major studs in the field and 3 of them have run fast marathons before. Dickson Chumba should be considered the favorite going into this followed by the always consistent Tsegaye Kebede, now Kebede hasn't really shown the magic as of late but this guy has run about as many sub 2:10 marathons single handedly as every american ever combined. He's a beast over 26.2 so look for him to wait it out, hope for a couple people to expose themselves early and then close hard. Then you have veteran Abel Kirui, 2012 Olympic silver medalist coached by the famed Canova. He really hadn't done a whole lot since 2012 until this year where he came back with a solid 2:08 in Tokyo as well as a decent 46 minute 10 miler. If he's found his 2012 form he can be in the mix for sure. The last big guy I'd keep an eye out for is Micha Kogo, this is a guy who really hasn't figured out the marathon yet. He's run 2:06 on Chicago before but he's a complete stud over the shorter stuff. The guy has broken 27 minutes on the road for 10k. Run 26:35 for 10000m and 59 flat for 13.1. He's been average this year running 62 minutes at the always fast RAK half marathon and 2:08 flat in Paris. If he knocks one out of the park he could win the race, or he could blow up and go over 2:10. He's hard to judge but has all the tools to win. 

Now, the one X-Factor is the debut of former Arizona state standout and sub 27 minute man Stephen Sambu. This guy is an assassin on the roads. He trains with Coach James Li in Arizona with the likes of Lalang, Lagat, Chelanga, Abdi et al. Since going pro he's been utterly dominant on the roads from 5k to the half marathon so there's no reason to suspect he won't excel over 26.2, he may be the guy to put your money on.  

As for the American field, Luke Puskedra should lead the way here, if the pace up front is fast enough he could very well dip under 2:10. Elkanah Kibet is another guy who sort of came out of nowhere last year and dropped a 2:11 mid so he may also threaten that 2:10 mark. The last american of note is Diego Estrada. He's definitively got the talent to run well over the marathon but I don't like this sub 2:10 talk when he's yet to finish one. his half PB is impressive but I hope he runs smart and knocks out a 2:12 or so and then really gets after his next one.

As for the women's marathon, it's much more of a 1 women race. Originally I saw both Edna and Florence Kiplagat on the start list but it appears Edna has withdrawn. So the safe bet is on Florence she's far and away the best in this race. She's run 2:23 this year, (Has a 2:19 PR) and dropped a ridiculous 65:09 half marathon last year. She's going to take the win here but if she falters look for Kipketer or Baysa to contend as well.

The women's American field isn't very strong as the marathon event in general in the US is very top heavy. You've got about 5 girls who can consistently break 2:30 by a strong margin then a whole crew of 2:30-2:35ers. I suspect Serena Burla will come out on top as first american in about 2:30-33.

My week in training.

Monday - 92' with 4X15" strides

Tuesday - 75' with 4X15" strides

Wednesday - 64' with 12X200m worked down from 32" off 90" rest.

Thursday - 77' Farlek on the trails 15X1'/1' @ 5:00/5:30 a mile continuous. (Hard on trails)

Friday - OFF

Saturday - 75' with 4X15" strides

Sunday - 120' Long Run with 4X15' mid run @ 5:15/mile on the hilly Blvd Loop 

So that's another one in the books, we started taking my volume down a bit to freshen the legs for Scotia. Before I get out of here, if anyone hasn't read my boy Micheal Rochus's piece on the homepage go give it a read (Junk Miles). It's important our sport starts to attract more casual fans and he's got some ideas that can really work. Give it a read!

Until next time keep those sticks on the ice guys, and go jays!


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