Breaking the Wall

February 25, 2020

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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: 155.37 Year: 492.80
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1576.28
Neon Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Total of 13 miles in 1:42:43. All with Jeff. Benjamin joined us for 3 in 23:26. Jeff and I did a wild workout. 3x300 fast + 100 all out with full rest between 300s and 300 jog before the 100. The first one was 46.4 for me, Jeff was around 45.8. Second, I got 45.0, Jeff was around 44.0. On the third one we hit 200 in 32, and then sprinted wild for the last 100, except there were some ladies that stood over our mark, and we were too worried about running into them, so we missed the mark. But I figure it would have been around 47 for me, and 45 for Jeff. We jogged 300 (or actually a bit less), and then did 100 all out. I got 15.1, Jeff 13.4.

The purpose of the workout was for Jeff to get used to the idea that 60 second quarter is his target 800 meter race pace. For me, it was just to learn to relax while sprinting. A wild workout for marathoners, but I do believe 800 meter speed is as much of a foundation of your marathon success as is aerobic endurance. Not to be misunderstood, a guy that cannot break 3:00 in the marathon should not worry about his 800 meter speed, he should just run base mileage. Maybe a woman that runs 3:05 marathon should, if she struggles cracking 2:50 in the 800, but 99% of the runners are not yet limited by their 800 meter speed because they have not yet trained enough. But somebody who runs high mileage consistently will eventually get to the point where his marathon performance would be limited by his 800 meter speed.

P.M. 0.5 with Benjamin, Joseph, and Jacob.

Eva Clogs Blue Miles: 13.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
From Jason McK on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 18:00:29 from

I suppose this has to do with Yasso 800's. I ran some last year and they made me think I could achieve a BQ. I ended up a little ill for the marathon, but also think they were probably a little optimistic. A month or so ago, I decided to take your advice on base mileage - I hope you're right, I haven't done much besides base work...

From Jason McK on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 18:02:27 from

Oh yeah, what's a 'fat' mile?

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 19:24:03 from

Jason - for the "fat" mile see the message board.

Regarding the 800s, those are not Yasso 800s. Yasso 800s is in essence a popularized training for a 5 K, more particularly with the focus on converting the mile speed to make it last over 5 K. It will do little for 99% of marathon runners with only one disclaimer that it will do more than sitting on a couch. For 99% of the runners, the time and energy spent on such a workout should be invested into base mileage.

What we are doing here is trying to raise the 800 meter speed period. Done once, not 6 or 8 times with breaks. It shows how much power you've got in the legs and how good you are at using it. If the power is not there, endurance takes you only that far. However, as I said - most runners lack the endurance to use the power they already possess. Thus, increasing the power is not going to help them. If your car keeps running out of fuel, increasing the size of the engine will only make you run out of fuel sooner.

From Jason McK on Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 00:42:27 from

Sasha, I found your 'fat mile' message - interesting. Is this something widely accepted, or a personal theory of yours? Seems like a good one. Nice analogy with the car. Thanks for the help and info.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 11:23:18 from

Jason - the fat mile concept is an intuitive experiment that Jeff and I have tried.

From steve ash on Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 13:34:06 from

Sasha, I have noticed that your best marathons always had a fair amount of 400m intervals along with short fast downhill tempos. Now, not so much.. Why don't you go back to doing quarters to build your 800 meter speed?

From MichelleL on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 11:11:19 from

I would say that doing shorter speed should be part of a local elite/elite training schedule, but I'd be hesitant to do all out type of speed. More like strides for working on your form and to maintain quick turnover. I'd be scared that any all out sprinting would cause an injury.

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