• Training For a Marathon in 5 Runs

    (Note from @ddn: I’ve written a more detailed article explaining how I made this possible and what you might be doing wrong in your marathon training. Human physiology tricks aside, Matt put in the work and was rewarded with a fantastic accomplishment.)

    When I signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon back in June, I knew that it was quite possibly a terrible idea. I didn’t have the free time or drive to train for a marathon, but thought that by circling the date on the calendar I’d somehow magically find my motivation.

    So what happened? I half-assedly trained for the next couple of months. Three miles here, five miles there – nothing intensive, just lazy runs. Then, this happened (jump ahead to the 2:00 mark).

    The result was a bruised or fractured rib (depending on which X-Ray you believe). Because laughing, coughing, sneezing, sleeping, stretching & well, breathing hurt – I figured I should probably take a break from running.

    Three weeks later (16 days before the race) I was feeling a little better and went into The Movement for a light workout. I told David Dellanave I wasn’t going to run the marathon. I had hadly worked out let alone put in the road work to be ready in time for Oct. 7th.

    His response was something to the effect of “You’ve run one before right? Then we’ll be able to get you ready.”

    Five minutes later this is what he came back with. You’ll notice there aren’t a whole lot of miles on that calendar. In the previous races I’ve run (six half-marathons & a full 26.2) I’d become used to running 4-5 times a weeks for months to get ready for a race. David’s plan had five runs – total.

    I was skeptical but followed the plan, because David looks like this… and I look like this.

    The idea was rather than tapering down heading into the race, we were going to build up towards it. The first four runs did not go perfectly, but they got a little better each time. Somehow, for the last run (a 15-miler along the marathon route), everything clicked. No soreness, no stopping to walk, just a nice easy run. David followed that up with a soul-crushing workout the next day. He said he wanted to “decimate me” so I would spend the next few days recovering & be peaking just in time for race day. (note from @ddn: this is the opposite of how we typically train people at Movement, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and I needed Matt’s body to over-compensate in recovery so he’d be ready for race day.)

    I thought he was just being mean spirited, but, it worked. I felt great on Sunday morning, and got off to a great start. I didn’t hit my wall until mile 23 – which, if you know the course, is essentially at the end of a three mile incline. My legs cramped up, but after run/walking for the next mile or so, they started to loosen up & I was able to run again. I ran the last two miles of the race, including sprinting the last ½ mile, and I still felt like I had something left in the tank.

    I ended up beating my old marathon time by over a minute & setting a PR.

    Not bad for a guy with two weeks of training & a bad rib. David might know what he’s talking about after all.

    Matt Brickman is the co-host of WCCO-TV Saturday Morning Show. When he’s not at WCCO-TV, you’ll find Matt out running with his wife Kate, or tending to their small zoo at home with dog Gus and cats Hot Sauce and Crash.