Hanson/Brooks - Melissa White
Melissa is one of the several Hanson/Brooks runners heading out to Boston this weekend for the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon will be her second marathon. She debuted at Chicago this past year in a very competitive 2:39.21 and looks to improve on that time and effort. Read on to find out about how Melissa's training has been going and what her thoughts are on the Boston Marathon.
RM: This is your second marathon. What have been the biggest changes in your training for the Boston Marathon over your first marathon?
MW: My biggest changes in training have been higher mileage and a quicker pace for workouts. I consistently ran over 100 miles a week, and I had three weeks of 118, 117, and 120 which were higher then my mileage from my last marathon segment. I also ran my workouts at a slightly faster pace then I trained at for Chicago. Another change was that our workouts were geared specifically towards the Boston Marathon course. We ran some downhill workouts to beat up our quads, and our 26.2k simulator had u hills and downhills placed in similar locations to the marathon course.
RM: What do you see as being the biggest hurdle with you having a great race at Boston? Why do you feel that way and how do you plan to overcome that hurdle?
MW: I don't think I really want to put my focus on something that might or might not be a hurdle for me on race day. There are a lot of things that can happen in a marathon and I am well aware of what some of those things are. During training we face a lot of things that aren't always perfect and I think that helps us learn how to face adverse conditions. I don't want to use my energy to focus on negative things. At a certain point I think you need to have faith in the training you've put in month after month and not worry about what else you could have done. Not every race you run will have ideal conditions so to be competitive you need to learn how to adjust to the things thrown at you and not focus on the negatives. My training has gone well, I'm not injured, and I'm going to go into Boston and give it everything I've got.
RM: With all the different training that you have been doing for the Boston Marathon, what have you liked the most and what have you liked the least amount?
MW: I really enjoy the high mileage and my favorite workouts are tempo runs and longer repeats. I think its exciting to see the mileage add up during marathon training. Tempo runs and longer repeats go hand in hand with the longer events so that may be another reason I like marathon training. I feel like I handled the mileage in this segment better then I did in my Chicago segment. There were days when I would finish my afternoon run and want to run further. I think the thing I liked the least was training in the snow and ice not because of the conditions, but because it is harder to gage the type of shape you are in and sometimes that is tougher mentally then physically. One reason we picked Boston as a marathon to do this year was because it will work as a practice round for the trials next year. The timing for training this year will be similar to what we will do next year for the trials.
RM: When you were running for SUNY Geneseo, what events did you see yourself running after you graduated college? Was running marathons, let alone the Boston Marathon even a consideration and why?
MW: I never ran before college, and I found out I liked the distance events pretty quickly. I was never and 800 or mile runner and moved up, I was always a 5k and 10k runner and I ran the short events once in a while just for fun. I never ran my first mile until I was at Hansons. Since I began running I have always wanted to run a marathon. I graduated in 2003 and I had to decide to either run a marathon right away to have a chance to make it in the marathon trials, or wait until the next trials. I decided I wanted to concentrate on the 5k and 10k and move up in distance over the next few years. I think I needed to get some more experience under my belt before I moved to the marathon. My dad ran the Boston Marathon a few times when I was growing up so it was the first marathon I knew about. He ran a 2:39:27 so one of my goals is to break that time. I know he wants that too though!
RM: What would have to happen for you to be able to walk away from the Boston Marathon satisfied?
MW: For me to walk away from Boston satisfied I need to know that I ran a smart race. I wasn't completely satisfied with my debut in Chicago. A few outside factors played a role, but I feel like I was in better shape then my time showed. I think Boston is a tough course and I want to make sure I don't go out too fast. Boston is also the US women's marathon championships so I want to place well and run a PR. I think this race is going to be the best practice we can get for the trials next year. We start 25 minutes ahead of the men so we will only be running with the other women and this means it will be even more important to be able to run your own pace.
Thanks for the great interview Melissa! (Interview conducted by Nick Cordes)
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