Thursday, September 20, 2012

Who's knocking? The Mercedes Marathon, that's who?

"The hardest thing to get is going" - unknown, but every runner's creed

As the Marathon Training Director for the Mercedes Marathon here in Birmingham, Alabama (2/17/13), I try to write a weekly blog directed at the new marathoner, TRAINING WITH AL for the runner whose main goal is to finish in good shape. I will continue to write this other blog, RUNNING WITH AL, that reflects my thoughts about running marathons and ultras over the past 30+ years (and whatever else crosses the recesses of my brain), and I certainly hope you will subscribe to both blogs. TWA will have weekly common sense tips as we train towards the Mercedes starting line. I began TWA a year ago, and some of my new posts there will be sort of redundant if you go back and read my earlier blogs. I did a lot of thinking (Ok, during one run, it briefly crossed my mind) about how I would make this year different from last year. Well, basically, I'm not making it philosophy about basic marathon training has not changed, so I decided to frequently plagiarize myself and present aspects of training in a timely way over the next 5 months, but essentially, except with a few new twists, it's training the laid back Al-way (to be a better runner, you have to run...nothing fancy). So, here is what I wrote on this week's TWA. You can head on over there or just read it here.

If you are in the Birmingham area, Join me, along with Ken Harkless, as we will have an easy running group. We are very relaxed and gear our program towards the beginning half/full marathoner. Training will begin this Sunday, September 23rd, and we will meet every Sunday until the marathon in February. We meet at the NBC Building, formally the Brownell Building (813 Shades Crest Parkway, Mt Brook). Here are the particulars:

1) We leave the parking lot at 6:30AM sharp every SUNDAY morning.

2) I'll usually make a few comments about distance, etc, but nobody listens. The colder it is, the shorter I talk.

3) I run about a 11:00-11:30 min/mile pace and encourage most runners to surround me and ask questions. If we can talk while we're running, then it is a good pace. We talk about everything along the way, but the object is to have a good time, SO NO POLITICAL ARGUING.

4) Ken does his run a little faster (as do most of my "friends" lately), but Ken is more of a politician - he whoops, hollers, tells jokes, kisses the girls, and will gladly talk to anyone about running.

5) We put coolers of Powerade or water out about every 2-3 miles, and if you really want to become an endurance athlete, learn to drink at EVERY water stop! You might want to carry a waterbottle with you when we get to the longer runs (>11 miles).

6) We have many runners training with us for different marathons, some coming up soon, some many months away - BUT we're all in the same boat. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

7) We are not a hand-holding group. We are a fun-oriented group with the philosophy of "26.2 miles is not THAT far". We will give you the pearls of experienced wisdom, on the run or through my blog, without getting crazy technical. There will be several training groups for the marathon around Birmingham this Fall. The Trak Shak is a good resource to find out about all the other training groups and when they train (several will train on Saturday). If you're looking for a more formal training experience with a Certified Running Coach, contact Danny Haralson. He will hold your hand while kicking you in the butt at the same time, BUT, he will get the results that YOU want.

Also, on the right side of this web page of both my blogs, I have the schedules and most of the maps of the course we run. Also, our training schedule can be found under "training" at

Hope you decide to join us - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"

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