We asked Team USA Minnesota's Jason Lehmkuhle (pictured) a few questions about his preparations for Monday's Boston Marathon. After a disappointing Twin Cities Marathon last fall, the 9th place finisher at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trails looks for marathon redemption on Boston's famous course.
DtB: How has you training gone for the race?
Lehmkuhle: Overall, it's gone really well. The whole build up hasn't gone exactly like it was drawn up on paper, but I guess it never does. In January I went to Flagstaff in preparation for USATF Cross Country. I haven't done much training at altitude, but I had, what I thought was a really good month out there. After cross country, I lost a whole week with the flu. A little later in March when we got all of that snow, I had to modify a couple of workouts and a long run, moving them indoors or onto a treadmill.
Overall though, as I said, it's been really good. I've had 5 or 6 weeks in the 125 to 150 range, and I can count on one hand the number of workouts I've finished in the last three or so months where I didn't finish feeling pleased.
I know you were confident about your fitness going into Twin Cities last year, have you trained similarly to that this time around?
I think what I took from my training last summer though is that good workouts and good showings at shorter races, 10K to half marathon, don't automatically make for success at the marathon. I wasn't happy with TCM last fall, but I can't say definitively that my performance there was at all function of the training I had done.
There were a number of things that went wrong or I did wrong on race day that can at least partially explain why I blew up. I feel like I mostly covered all of my bases in training. With that said, the training is/has been fairly similar. I am tapering a little more, you could say, assertively. Dennis [Barker, Team USA Minnesota coach] has been stressing that. I've historically had problems embracing the notion that more time on my butt (in the last two weeks) will help me run faster. I go a little stir crazy. So we'll see if trading mild mood instability for full glycogen stores is sound policy this go around.
What do you think the key will be for running a good time on the Boston course?
As it's my first trip to Boston, I really don't have a fix on what "the key" is. I have talked to a lot of people who have run, though. My plan is to run through the first half conservatively, 1:07-ish, with hopes to do minimal damage to the legs during the long downhill sections.
Everyone says you are going to bleed a little time in the Newton hills, but you have to remain relaxed. Once you get over Heartbreak Hill at 21 you can supposedly make up a lot of time and/or at least get back on goal pace, but if you've red-lined it in the hills there's a pretty good chance you'll be in survial shuffle mode by 22 or 23.
So my rough plan is to run even splits... or with a little help from the marathon gods maybe I can get a few seconds back in the second half.
Also: Check out Runner's World's "Brief Chat With" Brainerd High School alum Turena Johnson Lane who is running in Boston's USA Women's Marathon Championship.
Photo by Victor Sailer, courtesy of Team USA Minnesota.