How to Break Huge Personal Records in Your Forties (A Behind-The-Scenes Coaching Call)

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Running a marathon faster than you have before needs commitment, concentration, and the ability to enjoy the training process. If you’re currently a sub-3 marathoner, slicing almost 15 minutes off your PR will need you to push yourself to new limits.

Our podcast guest this week is someone I’ve had the pleasure of working with for over four years. Thomas Shanabruch is a natural runner who came to me wanting to take his performance to the next level while maintaining his health at the master’s level.

Tom has been a runner off and on for much of his life, but he was more of a “play all the sports” guy growing up. It wasn’t until after he finished college that he started jogging regularly and became hooked on the amazing sensation you get after you finish a workout.

Tom didn’t start racing until nearly a decade later. He signed up for the local half marathon after discovering that his street would be blocked for the event. Although (or maybe because to) the agony of losing the race’s downhill sprint to a kid, a fire was started. Tom improved his time to a remarkable 1:23 the next year because to his increased dedication to training.

It was in Tom’s hometown of Chicago that he ran his first marathon in 2010. A sub-3-hour finish seemed possible as he got off to a fast start, but he hit the wall at mile 20. He put off running another marathon until 2014, when a few months of dedicated preparation allowed him to finish in time to qualify for Boston.

I hope I never have to go through this again…”

Tom felt the draw of Boston even though he said “he never had to do this again” after his first two marathons. He ran a series of amazing sub-3-hour marathons while facing obstacles like the Boston hills.

The only problem was that Tom’s race timings eventually stopped improving. On the cusp of reaching 40, he realized he needed to step up his efforts to maintain his running career. His dedication to his sport necessitated that he take care of his body for the long term. Tom first hired me as his coach because he needed a personal record (PR) race plan for the 2018 New York City Marathon.

Get out of your safe zone

If you want to take your running to the next level, you need to be game for some tough challenges. Tom’s new plan called for him to run more miles and sessions than ever before, as well as incorporate regular weight training. As a result, I set a new personal record by more than six minutes and ran a race in which I felt powerful from the beginning to the end.

Tom, as you will hear on the episode, has only gotten quicker since New York City. To suggest that he now has a quicker marathon personal record than I do makes me feel a mixture of anger and pride.

Tom, in your opinion, what has been the most important factor in his success?

Tom ran more miles each week than ever before, establishing a massive aerobic base.
Tom’s increasing work load was sustained by his regular strength training sessions.
Tom and I talk about what may have led to his recent run of PRs.

  • Paying equal attention to both your exercises and your rest is essential.
  • Setting Big Ambitious Objectives
  • Challenge yourself by doing something you’ve never done before, like running a 5k or lifting weights.
  • How to fit in regular strength training
  • The significance of attitude, or how seriously to take the training without making it a chore.

In what ways will Tom be developing further? In 2022, he plans to run the Boston Marathon and the Berlin Marathon to round out the world’s big marathons. We can all take inspiration from Tom’s enthusiasm for running and racing and his dedication to become better, even if we aren’t as quick as he is.

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