US Marathon Championships with Malcolm Richards and Becca Wheeler
2017 US Marathon Championships
California International Marathon
December 3, 2017
You’re workouts on STRAVA are off the charts, just noticed you ran a solo 30:06 10K! What are some of your favorite workouts that gave you a confidence boost?
MR: Hey, you got to give me an extra few seconds there, I had it at 30:03! That was a good confidence boost in terms of recent workouts, though admittedly I used the wind to my advantage a bit for that one.
Usually the longer tempo efforts at MP or thereabouts are my bread and butter type workouts. This year I got in a very solid 16 mile tempo @ goal MP, which is the longest straight tempo I’ve got in at that effort. I also usually get in something like 3 x 4 mile, also at MP, with rest miles in between that are still at a pretty brisk pace (5:25-5:45).
What tips do you have for men & women with a PR close to Olympic trials qualifier that want to dip under? Men: 2:19, Women: 2:46
MR: I mean, the most simple answer to me is to just put in the work/miles over a consistent period of time. I think that if you can build up the mileage over time, and continue to up the ante a bit on your workouts then the results can come. That being said, there are several factors on a race day for the marathon that are somewhat out of your hands (weather, competition, illness, etc.) and so there’s definitely a needed element of patience in knowing that it could take some time.
As a vegetarian, you must have an awesome cook book! If you were hosting a post-race party with a five course meal, what dishes would you serve?
MR: Wow, putting me to the test on that one. For a post-race party I’d probably be too tired to cook much of anything. But if pressed, I guess I’ll give you a cheese-centric menu: start w/ a nice salad with mixed greens, beets, goat cheese and walnuts, then a nice bread and cheese spread, followed by a dish of roasted cauliflower dusted w/ Parmesan. Main dish would have to be my mom’s specialty stuffed shells (kind of like lasagna), and let’s end w/ some cheesecake!
After two decades of racing, how do you keep a competitive racing mentality? What’s your mentality & motivation going into US Marathon Championships?
MR: It can definitely be a challenge to keep that competitive mentality going over the course of many years. For me, one thing that is helpful is just the fact that I work full-time, and while running is a big focus in my life, it’s not the only thing, so I feel like I’m able to bounce back from when races don’t go as well as I would like. It’s also great to have a fellow community of runners around to make it fun and to keep the social element of running alive. That, and I’m just wanting to continuously push myself to achieve more, and be the best runner I can be. I know I need to expect the times to start slowing very soon at my age, but as of yet, I still don’t think I’ve quite hit the ceiling on my potential capabilities. So, yeah, my mentality going into CIM is to still PR, and to run competitively in the front group of the race.
You’re going to have a lot of people following you during the race, what can we expect from you? Possibly top five?
MR: I’m going in telling myself anything outside of the top 10 would be a bit disappointing, and the aim is for a top 5 finish. I’ve been humbled by the marathon, though, and with a recent family situation, I also know there will be some difficult things for me to handle emotionally heading into this race.
I’ll rattle some stuff off and you tell me what is your favorite. Go!
Music: I’ll just say I’m currently very much digging The War on Drugs new album. Wilco has been a long-time favorite.
Running Book: That one with the Buffaloes for how impactful it was at the time
Training Shoe: Hmm, changes too often to really say
Racing Shoe: Nike Zoom Streak LT
Long Run Location: Half Moon Bay
Workout Location: Lake Merced (clearly!)
Coffee Shop: The Beanery
Pre-Race Dinner: Some good pasta & bread, broccoli rabe
Post Race Beer: I’ll go w/ a solid pale ale of some kind
City: San Francisco of course!
What type of training plan have you used and what are some of your favorite workouts that gave you a confidence boost?
BW: I followed the outline of Pfitzinger's 18/70 plan, but substituted our XC workouts for the interval work and stuck to Jack's recommendations for A, B, and C long runs and tempo. The workout that is giving me the most confidence is the extended tempo at marathon pace that I did two weeks ago. Holding the pace I want to run my marathon at for a third of the distance was hard, but not as hard as I had thought.
What tips do you have for women that want to dip under 3:00 in the Marathon?
BW: I haven't broken 3:00 yet (ask me after the race). The training that helped the most with improving my half marathon time was tempo work. I had not thought it was important before and focused only on mileage and a weekly run long. Perhaps not surprisingly, this only made me good at running long, easy miles. To really improve muscular endurance at faster paces, continuous tempo runs at lactate threshold have been the best for me. These runs have helped with my improvement in the half marathon and, hopefully if this race goes well, the marathon.
If you were hosting a post-race party with a five course meal, what dishes would you serve?
BW: Chocolate Ice Cream x 5
After 2 years of racing, how do you keep a competitive racing mentality? What’s your mentality & motivation going into US Marathon Championships?
BW: One of the ways I might differ from many people running at the US Marathon Championships is that I am relatively new to competitive racing. While I ran in high school on the varsity team, it was mostly just for fun and to stay healthy. My mom was a fairly serious road runner in the eighties. One thing I admired most about her, and that inspired me to run when I was younger, is that she managed to be a fast runner at a time when women were not encouraged in the sport. In fact, I have yet to beat her 10K time. This inspires me to keep training and pushing myself.
I joined West Valley 2 years ago when I discovered that there were many people in the club training themselves to be fast despite not having the traditional collegiate running background. I ran my first marathon last year at CIM. I have progressed a lot since then and I am motivated to run it again to see how much I have improved.
You’re going to have a lot of people following you during the race, what can we expect from you and what’s your plan?
BW: I'm going to try to run the first 18 miles at 6:50 pace and then see what I have left for the last part. I bonked at mile 18 last year by going out too hard. Hopefully, by starting off conservative, I can avoid that.
I’ll rattle some stuff off and you tell me what is your favorite. Go!
Band: The Lumineers
Running Book: Running with the Buffaloes
Training Shoe: Nike Pegasus
Racing Shoe: Nike Elite
Long Run Location: Marin Headlands
Workout Location: Kezar Stadium
Coffee Shop: Peet's dark roast
Pre-Race Dinner: Chicken salad
Post Race Beer: Guinness
Thank you Malcolm and Becca for the interview and best of luck out there!