How They Train #2: Matthew McInnes 2007 Houston Marathon

Steve Weiler said 4 months ago
This is the second edition of ‘How They Train’ in which athletes and/or coaches will post an interesting block of training, provide some context and relevant detail, and avail themselves for an interactive Q & A in the Community Forum. This offers a great opportunity to learn the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of different training. Over time, we plan to host a variety of How They Train segments with friends and colleagues.

Please read through the posted training block, register an account if you haven’t already, and post your questions for Matthew McInnes. Starting Friday at 8pm, he will start answering any posted questions, checking in periodically over the subsequent 24 hours, and will aim to wrap-up by responding to any posts made by Saturday evening.

https://www.enduranceodyssey.ca/original.php?id=20

This post was edited by a Moderator 4 months ago .  
Leslie Sexton said 4 months ago
For the youngsters who may not be familiar with Matt McInnes, allow me to point you to the classic "Doctor McInnes Rules of Order" thread on the old TnF North:
http://tnfnorth.proboards.com/thread/4684/doctor-mcinnes-rules-order
Reply #1
Steve Weiler said 4 months ago
Matt, I was fortunate enough to have been shadowing coach Cameron right around this time and made several trips to Toronto, including the Holland Marsh, to observe workouts. One of the most impactful parts of that learning experience was observing how efficient you were, not simply within the act of running but in every (truly, every) aspect of what you were doing. Your sense of purpose impressed me and overall taught me that runners can achieve a very high level within our sport while full-time in school or work and even combined with a growing family. Can you go into some detail regarding how you juggled such a busy life, with residency/fellowship and a youngster at home, while developing to a 2:18 (at this point) marathoner?
Could you briefly outline what your daily routine looked like on a workout day back in 2007?

This post was edited by a Moderator 4 months ago .  
Reply #2
Matthew McInnes said 4 months ago
Can you go into some detail regarding how you juggled such a busy life, with residency/fellowship and a youngster at home, while developing to a 2:18 (at this point) marathoner?
Could you briefly outline what your daily routine looked like on a workout day back in 2007?

--> Good question Steve. I think it boils down to the old adage of work hard, dream big and surround yourself with good people. If you think about it, training at a high level involves about 2 hours per day (for running-- ironically, as a mediocre amateur cyclist I now often do much more than I ever did as a runner!). A huge staple of my training was a 'run commute' in Toronto. I had two great mates in Toronto (Alistair Lawrence and Mike Midmer) who I would meet every day to run downtown from the Yonge-Lawrence area with. We would typically run home together (often with a workout mixed in on the run home). This made for a minimum of 12 miles/ day just in commuting, but was typically more in the 15-20 mile range. Most people I worked with spent about the same amount of time driving/ taking public transit so it didn't seem like a huge time commitment.

My typicaly day would be up at 6ish, meet the boys at 645 am and run 6-7 miles to work to be at my 'desk' at 8am. I would work until 5-6pm ish. I would run home another 6-7 miles. Get home, eat dinner with fam, put kid(s) to bed, hang out a bit, in bed by 10. If need be squeeze some studying in there. On workout days rather than run home I would usually run to UTTC workout, do the workout and run home (typically 15 miles).

Weekends were long run Sunday morning, and Saturday was typically an easy shorter run with time for family and studying. My work usually involved 1=2 days a week of being 'on call' which meant that I stayed at the hospital from 8am until 8amish the next day. We usually got 0-4h sleep those nights. I would run home after call, sleep 4h and then usually do a workout that afternoon.

Life was fairly simple, but with a good crew of teammates it never really felt that hard. It was fun to be outside, running, and striving to run faster with a great group.
Reply #3
Steve Boyd said 4 months ago
Hey Matt,

Your level of focus and determination was, of course, legendary. But, did you ever have any regrets about, say, not taking a leave of absence from your studies to see what you might be able to do with 6 months of "full time" training? I know this was definitely not the "done" thing in medicine in those days, but it may be an option for some meds students today (in any case, asking for a friend!). Also, at what point, and for what reason, did you finally decide you couldn't keep it going-- or was there ever a discrete decision to let it go?
Reply #4
Ben Burr said 4 months ago
To follow up on that, how did you typically set up your run commute? Matt Setlack has posted online the last few years some of what he does to make it work, but situations vary, for example. For me, I generally work in office jobs and run with a 12-18 litre pack where I carry extra clothes, food, pack towel, etc. It's better when I can store extra stuff in a locker at work, and pretty much impossible for most of the year without a gym or something else where I can shower (heavy sweating + dress clothes doesn't work great). I have been lucky enough to have that option most places I've worked, and if not I plan to only run home. Did you have a setup that allowed you to run without carrying much/anything? And did you just get lucky with the distance you lived from work or did you plan it to make it work? I'm 23km from work now and can't handle that much running daily, so I have to bus part of the way and run the rest.

I find the easiest part is getting out the door. Making the logistics work is the challenge!
Reply #5
Ben Burr said 4 months ago
Another follow up: Did you always do your workouts by warming up to the workout, doing them with UTTC, and then cooling down by running home? Or did you ever incorporate them into the actual commute? With my current setup, I sometimes just try to work tempo or fartlek into the middle of a continuous run home and was wondering if you had any tips or input into ways to make it work better.
Reply #6
Tim Hain said 4 months ago
Thanks for sharing your training and answering some questions, Matt!
Some runners talk about having a 'key workout' that they use to assess their fitness and give them confidence for an upcoming race. You mentioned your 10x1k workout before Stanford that sounded like it would be a key workout from that block. Your marathon training block, in contrast, was incredibly consistent without a lot of variation between your workouts. What do you think about the idea of a key workout? Does that opinion change for a marathon-focus versus, say, a 10k focus?
Reply #7
Leslie Sexton said 4 months ago
Hi Matt, you mentioned that you trained through your two half marathons in your buildup (and your mileage on those weeks was pretty much the same as your other big weeks). Did you treat these half marathons more as workouts at marathon effort or still as a race effort that you went into tired? Personally I've found it hard to run a great half within a marathon build, even when backing off a bit beforehand, so I'm curious as to how you treated these races both in terms of your mental approach and your effort on the day.
Reply #8
Steve Weiler said 4 months ago
Matt, as you're already at 35k for the long run at the start of this block - typical for Hugh's coaching, as I recall - could you very briefly outline your build-up to this marathon specific training block? You mention coming off summer track; was most of August through mid-October 'training to train' prep for this build?
Reply #9
Steve Weiler said 4 months ago
As a quick aside, the "Smith/Nakluski controversy brewing across the nation" mentioned at the start of the old TnFnorth thread Leslie linked to originated at the London 10,000m where, in windy conditions, one athlete drafted for ~24 laps before kicking in for the win. Haven't seen that happen again since, at least domestically.
Reply #10
Matthew McInnes said 4 months ago

Your level of focus and determination was, of course, legendary. But, did you ever have any regrets about, say, not taking a leave of absence from your studies to see what you might be able to do with 6 months of "full time" training? I know this was definitely not the "done" thing in medicine in those days, but it may be an option for some meds students today (in any case, asking for a friend!). Also, at what point, and for what reason, did you finally decide you couldn't keep it going-- or was there ever a discrete decision to let it go?



None whatsoever. I was comfortable mixing two parts-- school/ sports. Perhaps I could have run faster with an extended time off, but I was always very happy mixing the two. I am the type of person who tends to thrive with multiple things on the go-- my brain can't tolerate singular focus for too long.... in addition, in the back of my mind was the knowledge that many of the top guys at the time (I'm not accusing any Canadians here, just a broad generalization) were using drugs (and probably still are). For that reason, I knew that I was never going to be willing to do 'whatever it took' to get to the top. The other fact in the mix was the always arbitrary and political Olympic selection system. I would have been much more upset to have not been selected in 2008 (despite having IOC standard) if I had given over my entire life to it. Athletics Canada was always very late publishing the standards and at the time they were always much harder than the IAAF/IOC standards. As it stood, I could just go back to me (very enjoyable) 'day job'.
Reply #11
Matthew McInnes said 4 months ago

To follow up on that, how did you typically set up your run commute? Matt Setlack has posted online the last few years some of what he does to make it work, but situations vary, for example. For me, I generally work in office jobs and run with a 12-18 litre pack where I carry extra clothes, food, pack towel, etc. It's better when I can store extra stuff in a locker at work, and pretty much impossible for most of the year without a gym or something else where I can shower (heavy sweating + dress clothes doesn't work great). I have been lucky enough to have that option most places I've worked, and if not I plan to only run home. Did you have a setup that allowed you to run without carrying much/anything? And did you just get lucky with the distance you lived from work or did you plan it to make it work? I'm 23km from work now and can't handle that much running daily, so I have to bus part of the way and run the rest.

I find the easiest part is getting out the door. Making the logistics work is the challenge!



I had a dry cleaner beside work that I would use-- so I'd have 5 shirts at work and cycle them through the dry cleaner. I'd roll up pants to exchange every once in a while and take socks/ underwear in a small pack as needed. I'd leave shoes/ belt at work. And yes I was lucky to have access to a shower/ locker (and still do!).
Reply #12
Matthew McInnes said 4 months ago

Another follow up: Did you always do your workouts by warming up to the workout, doing them with UTTC, and then cooling down by running home? Or did you ever incorporate them into the actual commute? With my current setup, I sometimes just try to work tempo or fartlek into the middle of a continuous run home and was wondering if you had any tips or input into ways to make it work better.



I rarely would do the workout as part of the commute. Anything but easy running with a pack is tough and I would typically want some racing flats to change into. I would typically 'stop' somewhere in a park or wherever the workout was, put my pack down, do the workout and then run home.
Reply #13
Matthew McInnes said 4 months ago

Thanks for sharing your training and answering some questions, Matt!
Some runners talk about having a 'key workout' that they use to assess their fitness and give them confidence for an upcoming race. You mentioned your 10x1k workout before Stanford that sounded like it would be a key workout from that block. Your marathon training block, in contrast, was incredibly consistent without a lot of variation between your workouts. What do you think about the idea of a key workout? Does that opinion change for a marathon-focus versus, say, a 10k focus?



The way I have presented the data blunts some of the within week variability-- but in short, yes it was pretty consistent. You'll note that typically the weeks after races or a 42 would be lighter. The 'key workout' for the marathon was always the 25k+ long run at 30s slower per km than goal race pace. The real 'tests' were the 42.2s with an 'execution' of 2-3km faster than race pace at the end. First and foremost was prioritize the long run and everything else was secondary.
Reply #14
Matthew McInnes said 4 months ago

Hi Matt, you mentioned that you trained through your two half marathons in your buildup (and your mileage on those weeks was pretty much the same as your other big weeks). Did you treat these half marathons more as workouts at marathon effort or still as a race effort that you went into tired? Personally I've found it hard to run a great half within a marathon build, even when backing off a bit beforehand, so I'm curious as to how you treated these races both in terms of your mental approach and your effort on the day.



Good question-- in the past whenever I've gone all out in a half in a buildup it has been with mixed results and generally would discourage it. In both of these races I definitely went 'hard' but I probably won them by minutes with no competition so it was basically a workout to dial in fueling etc. I was never one to run super well without competition. They really ended up being race pace runs (in pretty bad conditions). We did, however, make sure to recover a bit more the weeks after with respect to workout intensity (but not volume).
Reply #15
Matthew McInnes said 4 months ago

Matt, as you're already at 35k for the long run at the start of this block - typical for Hugh's coaching, as I recall - could you very briefly outline your build-up to this marathon specific training block? You mention coming off summer track; was most of August through mid-October 'training to train' prep for this build?



5000m champs was in August so after that would have been a few weeks of recovery. I can't recall exactly but I likely did some weeks in the 120-40km range with some 25-30k long runs as build up.
Reply #16

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