Breaking the Wall

July 14, 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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Tyler. He is a business/finance major so it was fun to talk to him about the economy. We did quarters. I did 5, he did 10. 200 meter recovery between all.

Times: 69.4, 70.3, 69.4, 69.8, 69.4

Subjective: Consistent, quick recovery, faster than last week, but still slow. They all felt hard, like in all honesty I could not do them any faster even with infinite rest. Question - is the problem in the power, or in the turnover? If turnover I need to run downhill. Otherwise uphill.

Total distance - 10 miles.

P.M.  1 with Julia in 10:42, 2 with Benjamin in 17:35, Jenny ran the first 1.5 in 13:15.




Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Phoenix on Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 09:12:19

Faster than last week is good. Last week you dropped to 33.x 200s instead of a fifth 400--obviously faster than 69-70 second pace. You clearly have more power. So, what would happen if you went out in 33 and just kept going?

From seth on Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 14:32:15

Hey Sasha,

I decided to focus on the Utah Marathons next year. I am having Demetrio write up workout plans all the way through St George. I was curious if you would also show me how you would coach me through this next year with the goal of peaking for the Salt Lake Marathon and St. George, with the other marathons having small tapers but no real peaks. I just want to gather information now, and then I will decide which method to use. Please let me know if you are willing to write something like this up.

Thanks, Seth

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 16:10:30

Eric - funny you asked. Tyler timed a few 200 splits and they were 33. So I was going out in 33 and then not holding it. This was faster than last week, but slower than two weeks ago. However, two weeks ago Derek was pushing the pace, and I was sitting on him.

Seth - I would say the key workout for you is 15 mile tempo at 5:30 pace on a flat surface in ideal conditions at 4500 feet. Do that once a week. Adjust for the conditions as necessary. Some variation is possible - e.g 4x4 miles or 3x5 miles at the same pace. The other key element is not to skip days, run at least 10 miles per run once a day (the second run can be shorter). The third element is speed maintenance/development, and that will depend on where your speed is currently at, and on some individual qualities of your body that I am not familiar with. You need to be able to run 800 in 2:00, the mile in 4:15, and a course like the current Draper Days in 14:45. You definitely fail right now on the 5 K, but the question is - do you pass the 800 test, and how about the mile? This will provide the insights as to why you fail the 5 K test. If you fail the 800, shooting from the hip I would recommend 5x400 as close to 60 as you can with as much rest as you need. If you pass 800 but fail the mile, 3x800 in 2:07 with as much rest as you need. Or a ladder - 1000 (2:40), 600 (1:34), 400 (60), 200 whatever you can with as much rest as you need. If you pass the mile, 4x1 mile in 4:40, or 3x2000 in 5:50, or 2x1.5 in 7:00. One speed development/maintenance session a week.

Pay close attention to how you are feeling, and to whether you are improving in the areas of speed and endurance. The training must be adjusted if your body is not handling it, or if it is not producing improvements.

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