Melissa White - Olympic Marathon Trials
by RunMichigan Staff, Apr. 20, 2008
Melissa White - Olympic Marathon Trials
MW: The weather in Michigan has been cold and snowy over the past few months. It hasn't affected our training much except that we know we will be ready for just about any condition that can be thrown at us on race day. We have had snow, ice, and wind in Michigan. We also spent the last 10 days in Florida to get some warm weather training in too. I think we are prepared for anything.
RM: Do you think training with a group gives you an advantage(s) over the women who train solo? What are some of the draw backs of training in a group that you have encountered?
MW: I think group training is an advantage because it helps get you out on those miserable days and keeps you on track. It also helps in a race situation because I think it can be intimidating when you see a group of people in the same uniform coming up on you. The one tough thing about group training is that you have to be smart enough to know when you need to take an easy day or push it a little harder. Sometimes you get so caught up in what everyone else is doing that you forget to listen to what your own body is saying, and that is important.
RM: What workout has given you the most confidence as the trials are almost here?
MW: I think our 2x6 miles at 5 seconds faster then pace has given me the most confidence. During the really snowy workouts it was hard for me to tell what kind of shape I was in because I always feel tired and sore from sliding. As the footing got better I felt the stronger and stronger in every workout. The 2x6 is one of our tougher workouts and I hit the workout feeling like I could maintain that pace. That workout always comes after some tough weeks of mileage so it gives me confidence to feel strong while still running high mileage.
RM: What would you say is your greatest strength/advantage going into the trials and why?
MW: I think my greatest strength is the training I have put in. I've put in more miles in this training then any other marathon, and trained at a faster pace then I have for my last two. I also think being able to hit the workouts in some not so ideal conditions means I am more fit and ready to go.
RM: What do you think is your biggest weakness going into the trial and what are you doing to limit that weakness?
MW: I think the biggest think I need to work on is the last 10k of the marathon. I have adjusted some of the fluids and gels I will be taking, and I think I am more mentally prepared for the last 10k. Making some mistakes has helped me learn what I need to focus on more.
RM: What would it take for you to walk away from the trials happy/content? If you are willing to say, what is your goal for the trials?
MW: My goals are of course to PR and be top 10 at the trials. Top 3 would be the best, so I will give it all on Sunday and we will see the results.
RM: What are your thoughts on racing in Boston? How big do you think the crowd will be and what do you think the overall atmosphere will be like?
MW: I'm really excited to race in Boston because I think the crowds are going to be amazing. Having the Boston Marathon the next day is huge advantage because we will already have a huge group of people who have a good amount of knowledge about the marathon in Boston to cheer for us. I went to watch the men's trials and it was so exciting just to be a spectator. Having the loop course is going to be very spectator friendly which means we should have a pretty crazy atmosphere for most of the race. I have a lot of friends and family coming and I am excited to see them out there.
RM: What are some of the foods that you just cannot get enough of during this heavy training phase? Are there any foods that you try to avoid during such a heavy training phase?
MW: I'm pretty flexible with what I eat and I like almost anything so I try to make different things for dinner to keep things interesting. I think one of my favorite things we have been making is burritos. I also like guacamole a lot, so we have chips and guacamole to start. I don't avoid too many foods but I guess I usually don't eat things that are too greasy.
RM: Have you had any setbacks with your training leading up to the trials and if so, what were they and how did you deal with them?
MW: I've been healthy this whole training segment and haven't had any injuries. The only thing I struggled with was some of the workouts in the snow, but even if I didn't hit the pace I was still putting the effort in, probably more effort then was needed. I've learned that I just tend to slide all over in the snow so even if I'm not hitting pace to just put the effort in and get passed it. Those workouts helped challenge me mentally.
RM: When do you see your last hard workout heading into the trials being and what will it be?
MW: Out last workout is a 3x2 miles at 5 seconds faster then race pace. We ran this on Monday, April 14th. This workout isn't that tough, its more of a workout to shake out the legs without stressing the body too much. Our two toughest workouts are the 2x6 miles and the 26.2km simulator.
RM: When will your last long run be heading into the trials and what will it be? How long has your long run been so far?
MW: Our last long run was Thursday, April 10th. This was an 18 mile run with miles 13-16 run at faster then race pace. This run went really well because we were in Florida so there was clear footing and the weather was beautiful. Our longest run has been between 21 and 22 miles.