29 January 2018

My Breaking3 Project

Could 2018 be the year?

When I first started running I connected with a number of faster athletes here in the Barrie area through our local Running Room, and one of the first guys that I got to know was an ultrarunner named Keith.  It was awesome to pick his brain and learn from his accumulated wisdom and knowledge, but one of the things that stuck with me even then was how he noted that it wasn't until he was 47 years old that he finally managed to break 3 hours for the marathon distance.

Hey ... I'm 47!

And so here I am, after a few years and several (failed) attempts at completing 42.195km in less than 180 minutes, hoping to finally crack that barrier.

But you know what they say - if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got.

Which this year led me to begin working with a coach again.

At the end of the 2017 running season I knew that I had to/wanted to shake things up for me and try to stimulate some different physiological development so I embarked on a bit of a research project to assess what would be my best option for a coaching relationship.  I explored a number of options, up to and including initial conversations with some of the best coaches that I could think of:
While I'm confident that any of the coaches/services that I'd contacted would have provided phenomenal guidance and accountability, in the end I decided that I would work with my friend and fellow Barrie RunNinja Mike MacInnes.  Mike has had experience as a strength trainer, is studying currently for accreditation as a marathon coach, and has proven his own mettle by bettering his marathon time from 3:11 to 2:45 in just a couple of years.  I liked the idea of being able to work with someone locally (that I could actually spend time running alongside) as well as hopefully providing some mutual benefit to him by being just his second or third coached athlete.

The experience so far has been good, and different - Coach Mike has me focusing much more on strength workouts (lower body, upper body and core) and less on mileage.  This is definitely a departure on my previous approaches to marathon prep, but as an aging athlete I know that muscle mass is easily lost and focusing on getting stronger will not only help my speed and endurance but also will go a long way in terms of injury prevention.  Besides that, Mike has indicated to me that when we hit my peak training week my mileage will probably be hitting somewhere in the 160km department, so that'll be more mileage than I've ever put in in one week's time.  Gotta trust the coach and the system.

For now I'm getting just a couple week's worth of workouts at a time, and providing a weekly log back to my coach so that he knows what workouts I'm getting in, if I'm feeling good/bad/otherwise during them, and what else might be playing into the big picture life-wise.

I've got a few 'test indicators' coming up in the next couple of months (including a third trip to the Chilly Half-Marathon as well as another go at the Around The Bay 30k) which will serve as tune-ups in advance of my planned Breaking3 attempt at the Mississauga Marathon.

This will be my last shot at going sub-3 while I'm still 47 years old.

Let's just see whether or not I can keep up with my pal Keith in this respect.


  1. Love big audacious goals! Good Luck Patrick!

  2. Love this. Good luck dude. If there's anybody that can put their heart into something, and is well-deserved for a sub-3, then that's gotta be YOU. Can't wait to root for you!