How They Train #2: Matthew McInnes 2007 Houston Marathon

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. McInnes will return for a future How They Train to share a block from his peak racing season.

Training block Intro

Going into Houston, I had a 218 pb and was aiming for a 214 or 15 there. I had just finished residency and was doing my radiology fellowship at u of t. At the time, I had a 1 year old. Most basic mileage was to and from work in toronto ~6 or 7 miles each way.  My coaches at the time were Hugh Cameron and Ross Ristuccia, and I was running for BCMP (Brooks Canada Marathon Project).  Workouts would vary between intervals with u of t group, and the Brooks guys (at that time really only Andrew Smith).  Long runs were up in the Holland Marsh every other week and solo or with Danny Kassap.
Other pbs 64 half, 2930 10k, 1417 5k, 823 3k, 357 1500.

I had not run a marathon since 2005 fall (won Niagara in 221 on absolutely hideous weather day when Deere and I were.going for 217 for Commomwealth).  Did not happen because of nasty rain and headwind on p2p course.  As stated, focus in 2006 was track, culminating in 5000pb in August.

As an aside I was in the shape of my life that April.  I had a plane ticket and entry to stanford but had to bail because of nasty ilness that knocked me out for a month.  Did some crazy workouts like 10x1k with 90s rest in sub 250 solo... I swear I was ready for sub 29.  One regret I have is never running a 10000m in peak form!

Time Period 12 weeks prior to taper week (taper week was ~100k with 1 light workout of ~15 minutes of threshold pace work) so is not included.

  • *12 week average volume 176km.
  • *Weekly Long Run Average: 36.4km (range 30-42.4km, average pace 3:35-3:40/lm).  Most long runs were ‘steady’ aimed at ~30s per km slower than ‘goal’ marathon pace.  Every few weeks there would be an ‘execution’ of at or faster than race pace at the end for 2 (rarely 3) km.
  • *Usually 1, and rarely 2 ‘workouts’ per week on top of the long run, other runs typically at 6-7min/ mile pace running by ‘feel’
  • *Workouts are a combination of ‘threshold or T’ (about ½ marathon race pace) and ‘quality or Q’ (1500-10km pace).  I didn’t record workout details beyond volume and pace but they would generally be from 1-3km with ½ or less rest for threshold, and 400-1km with equal rest for quality.
  • *Workouts all done on road, often with hills, no snow until mid Jan that year.
  • *Races all ‘trained through’, both were very low key half marathons that I won easily
  • *I was coming off a spring/ summer of track racing (no marathon in 2006 because of residency exams etc.) so was building back up to marathon training volume.
  • *5000m pr set summer of 2006 @ Nationals in August (14:17).  Had planned on taking a stab at my 10,000pb in Stanford in the spring but got a terrible flu leading into it and had to scratch.  PB was 29:30 at the time; based on my workouts I was in shape to threaten 29 (coulda shoulda woulda!)

The end result at Houston: 7th in 2:17:39, a tough solo, positive split!



Long run (avg pace)

Workout 1

Workout 2/ Notes

Oct 16


35km (3:37), 6:05 last 2km

8km T 3:09, 1.2km Q 2:50


Oct 23


35km (~3:40)

10km T, 3.11

7km T 3.11, 1k Q 2.47

Oct 30


35km (3.39), 6.11 last 2km

15km tempo run @3.20


Nov 6


36km (~3.40)

5k T 3.03, 1kQ 2.49

Race 21.1k, 1.07.44 (1st)

Nov 13


35km (~3.40)

10k T 3.09


Nov 20


42.2km (3.39)

10k T 3.09

4k T 3.09, 4k Q 2.52

Nov 27


35km (~3.40)

8k T 3.09, 2k Q 3.00


Dec 4


35km (~3.40)

8k T 3.05, 2.4k Q 2.54

Race 21.1k, 1.08.54 (1st)

Dec 11


42.2km (3.36) last 2k 6.03

7k T 3.05


Dec 18


35km (~3.40)

7k T 3.09, 1.5k Q 2.44

15k tempo 3.09

Dec 25


35km (~3.40)

5k T 3.10, 3kQ 2.47

4k T 3.10, 3.6k Q 2.47

Jan 1


31km (~3.40)

10k T 3.10


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