Meet Kevin, my virtual coach

My friend Kevin is a strong runner. Last year, he qualified for the Boston Marathon twice. In his spare time, he ran two 50K’s.

Kevin is also a computer whiz. He is finishing up his Ph.D. in computer science.

What does this have to do with me?

A lot, I’m happy to say.

Even though we live 300 miles apart, Kevin has offered to coach me through the fall marathon season — by e-mail and a shared web site.

We’ve agreed to run the Columbus Marathon together on Sunday, October 17, to give us a common goal.

Between now and then, we’re going to train together, in separate cities — Indy for me, Cleveland for him. We’ll keep in touch several times a week by computer.

At Kevin’s suggestion, I’m going to customize a marathon training plan from Runner’s World SmartCoach site. Kevin swears by it, and he’s got the results to prove it, so that’s good enough for me.

Here’s the crowning touch: We will upload and record all of our daily training on a web site, RunningAhead, using our Garmin GPS devices. That will allow us to compare workouts and motivate each other.

Three weeks before our marathon, we’ll run the Akron Marathon on Saturday, September 25, as our long last training run. It will give us a chance to share a few miles in person before the big race.

I know I’m in good hands. Kevin and I have put in some miles together. In 2007, we ran three marathons together. Last year, we ran our first 50K trail race together. And we’re the same age and have been running for about the same number of years.

Needless to say, Kevin is into this high-tech, long-distance training. In fact, it was his idea. It grew out of a conversation we had after the Cleveland Marathon on Sunday, as we were walking back to our cars. We were talking about our fall goals and I was asking him for coaching advice.

We continued our discussion  for a few more days. Finally Kevin — the marathon and computer expert — came up with this plan.

“The idea of a parallel training partner is really cool,” he told me (by e-mail, of course). “If we play it right, we can both hit the Columbus finish line around 3:30 and head for Boston next spring.”

That’s my plan, too, Coach!


Bike to Work Day

This Friday is Bike to Work Day in Indianapolis. It’s part of a national effort to  reduce traffic congestion, provide cleaner air and encourage fitness — goals I whole-heartedly support.

But I won’t be biking to work on Friday.

Why not? Because I’m not working on Friday. I’m taking the day off to watch my younger son graduate from elementary school and to catch up on yardwork.

At first, I was bummed that I would miss out on this event, which includes riding with thousands of others into downtown, from all directions, followed by breakfast with Mayor Greg Ballard on Monument Circle.

But last night I decided: Why is Friday so important? Ride your bike to work tomorrow, Butthead.

 So that’s what I did.

This morning, I pedaled the 12 miles downtown in an hour and eight minutes — not speedy, but not slow either.

The weather was perfect for a bike ride: partly sunny, mid-50s, low winds.

It was my first long workout since running the marathon on Sunday, and it felt good to stretch my hamstrings and calf muscles, which were still tight and sore.

I took the usual course — backroads and the Monon Trail — into downtown. It was a bit of a lonely ride; I saw only a dozen or so other cyclists during the whole hour.

But I had a good time, and remembered why I like to do it: the warm wind in my face and the pleasant burn in my legs of cranking the pedals for an hour or more.

I do this about a dozen times a year. I run to and from work another half-dozen or so times.

This morning, I got to work energized and upbeat.  I hit the showers, changed into my work clothes, and got busy. It was a good way to start the day.

Even if I didn’t get to have breakfast with the mayor.


2 Responses to “Meet Kevin, my virtual coach”

  1. Well now, this is interesting.

    What Trail Boy has done here is commonly known as “putting on the whammy”. I am normally not a superstitious man, but with a buildup like this, it is a virtual certainty that I will suffer some kind of season-ending injury between now and race day.

    Nevertheless, I will do my best to live up to the kind words and great expectations laid out by Our Hero, T.B. So stay tuned!

    — Kevin Cartier

  2. Very cool, this cyber-training. So, is this true – you’ll run three marathons this year? Yowza!

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