Breaking the Wall

January 24, 2021

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Orem,UT,United States

Member Since:

Jan 27, 1986



Goal Type:

Olympic Trials Qualifier

Running Accomplishments:

Best marathon: 2:23:57 (2007, St. George). Won the Top of Utah Marathon twice (2003,2004). Won the USATF LDR circuit in Utah in 2006.

Draper Days 5 K 15:37 (2004)

Did not know this until June 2012, but it turned out that I've been running with spina bifida occulta in L-4 vertebra my entire life, which explains the odd looking form, struggles with the top end speed, and the poor running economy (cannot break 16:00 in 5 K without pushing the VO2 max past 75).  


Short-Term Running Goals:

Qualify for the US Olympic Trials. With the standard of 2:19 on courses with the elevation drop not exceeding 450 feet this is impossible unless I find an uncanny way to compensate for the L-4 defect with my muscles. But I believe in miracles.

Long-Term Running Goals:

2:08 in the marathon. Become a world-class marathoner. This is impossible unless I find a way to fill the hole in L-4 and make it act healthy either by growing the bone or by inserting something artificial that is as good as the bone without breaking anything important around it. Science does not know how to do that yet, so it will take a miracle. But I believe in miracles.


I was born in 1973. Grew up in Moscow, Russia. Started running in 1984 and so far have never missed more than 3 consecutive days. Joined the LDS Church in 1992, and came to Provo, Utah in 1993 to attend BYU. Served an LDS mission from 1994-96 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Got married soon after I got back. My wife Sarah and I are parents of eleven children: Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, Matthew,  Mary,  Bella.  and Leigha. We home school our children.

I am a software engineer/computer programmer/hacker whatever you want to call it, and I am currently working for RedX. Aside from the Fast Running Blog, I have another project to create a device that is a good friend for a fast runner. I called it Fast Running Friend.

Favorite Quote:

...if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie


Favorite Blogs:

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 266.81 Year: 266.81
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Neon Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1438.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff. Benjamin joined us for the first 2 miles in 16:28. Jeff and I finished the run in 47:24 with a fat 0.5 in 2:54. Julia ran 1 mile with Sarah. I think I am getting pretty good at feeling that 87 quarter pace, we'll see how well I can do it on Saturday.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 18:27. Julia ran the first 0.5 in 4:52.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 6.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
From Mike Warren on Fri, Jun 12, 2009 at 01:45:28 from

Good luck this weekend!

From Nan Kennard on Fri, Jun 12, 2009 at 11:15:46 from


Thanks for the analysis. I would be amazed with myself if I ever train hard enough to run sub 2:40 in the marathon. I know I have the potential, but my 1st priority is my family, so running takes back seat to that often. My best times in track are 2:09 in the 800M, 4:30 in the 1500M, 9:59 in the 3,000M Steeplechase, I think around 9:30 in the 3,000M, (oh and I ran a 57 second 400M in high school). Anyway, I know I have the speed, but like you said, its a matter of staying healthy, doing solid base mileage (which I'd love to hear your opinion of what that is for an elite marathon runner?), and doing race pace long runs. I would love to join a running group, but haven't been able to find one here in Westminster, CO that does long runs on Saturdays instead of Sunday (Sunday is my rest day) at the pace I want to run. There are many in Boulder, but that is a 20 minute drive for me and I can't rationalize paying child care for my kids for something that is currently just a hobby for me. So I run in the mornings alone before my husband starts work. Anyway, long story short, I'd love advice on marathon training and appreciate what you've set up here as a virtual training group where I can get encouragement and input from others.



From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Jun 12, 2009 at 13:19:45 from


Optimal weekly mileage depends on the runner. But I would say for men it varies from 90 to 180 and for women from 70 to 150. Some ideas for your situation.

- Figure out a way how to get a run in while you are with the kids. E.g go to a park and loop around while they play. Or put the younger ones in the double stroller, and have the third one ride a bike or even jog. This will solve the kid stress to a point, enough to run 70 miles a week with occasional doubles.

- Figure out a way to take a nap while you are with the kids. Something like a family nap time. The top safe volume and intensity of your training is determined to a great extent by how much you sleep. Lydiard used to say that miles make champions, but it requires clarification. It is the beds that make champions, miles just get them ready for bed.

- Healthy diet. Fruits, vegetables, and grains in abundance, meat in moderation, no junk. Junk food reduces the top safe volume and intensity, and is particularly dangerous when consumed on a whim and the training is not adjusted to account for it.

- Ease off on your base mileage runs. Do not run faster than 7:30 most of the time, but when you do, make it count, and do not run slower than 6:20. For you this would be particularly important because you cannot afford to wear down your nervous system and adrenal glands day after day while building base mileage since your opportunities for recovery are uncertain. Thus a base mileage run needs to become a nervous system builder rather than consumer. When the pace is slow enough, you build, when you start speeding you begin to consume, so if you are consuming anyway you should run at race pace, otherwise the resource is wasted.

- Once every two weeks run either a race or a time trial tempo run to see if your current training routine is doing you any good. E.g you run 3 miles, the first one in 6:20, second in 6:00, and the last all out always on the same course, going off landmarks, not Garmin.

- Run a good portion of your long run at race pace, do not just jog it. Renato Canova once said that you can go and run for 3 hours, and you will be no good for the marathon, and I firmly believe that from personal experience. To be competitive in the marathon you need to run for 10+ miles at race pace frequently.

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