Friday, April 9, 2010

mzungo exclusive: Troy Harrison and the quest for Houston

We enjoy hearing of "subelite" athletes who e.g. aim to break 2:30 in the marathon or shoot for the elusive 2:19 to be part of the 2012 Olympic Trials in Houston. How do they train? What spurs them on?
If you or your mate have a story to tell, let us know.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Today, we are happy to continue with Troy Harrison, 34 and like Nate Pennington member of the US army team.

Some stats first

18th Place 2010 LA Marathon
2nd Place IMS 2010 Arizona Half Marathon
11thPlace 2009 California International Marathon
Personal Record for Half Marathon 1:09
Personal Record for Marathon 2:22

Troy, with a 2:22 at Cal Intl. and a 2:26 just recently in LA, you now aspire to get the 2:19 Olympic trials standard at Grandma's in June. How do you tweak your training and racing until then to make the next step up?

I am going to work on a little more speed and quality tempos. I feel I was a little over trained for LA. I think I added to many miles for to many weeks in a row and perhaps peaked a little to early.

What would you suggest a 2:40 guy who wants to become a sub 2:30 guy?

I was that guy for quite a few years. I had my biggest improvement from 2:35 to 2:27 by increasing quality miles. I put a lot of extra miles in workouts, tempos and surges during long runs. While running consistently in the 2:40-2:35 range for a few years, I was running a max of 70-75 miles at my peak weeks.
When I ran 2:27 I increased to 100 miles for my peak week. I had a nice slow build up like 65-75-75-80-85-90-90-95-98-80-100-90-70-65 miles per week then the race.
I also swam 2 times a week (half hr to an hr) and biked at least one day a week (20 to 45 miles). I really like the idea of backing down miles one week before my max week.

Do you cross train?

Yes, as said before, mostly swim 2 days wk 20-30 mins and lift weights 3-5 days wk


Yes, about 5 days a week.


Yes, daily, but not enough.

Are you training on your own or do you have running partners?

Workouts and long runs mostly on my own. I have a few friends that I do easier recovery runs with.

Have you ever gone crazy on mileage just to see what happens?

Not really, I try to follow the 10% rule. I really don't want to get injured.

What shoes are you training and racing in?

I'm training in Brooks Ghosts 2 and racing Brooks T-6.

What's your favorite training session?

5*3/4 with 1/4 recovery or 2mile - 1mile - 2mile.

What's your favorite running route?

I like to explore new routes as much as possible. Perhaps Red Rocks Las Vegas or The Appalachian trail along the river between PA and New Jersey.

List the five races you want to do before you die.

Boston marathon, Ironman Hawaii, London marathon, Snow shoe race, Biathlon race. I like to try new things.

How much can you bench?

Its been a while since I tried to max. Best ever 230lbs probably now 200lbs if I am lucky.

Have you ever thought of doing an Ironman?

I would love to!!!

What's on heavy rotation on your iPod or your car stereo?

I am a little behind the times. I only have a cassette player in my truck. Mostly 70's-early 90's rock. ACDC, Gun's and Roses, Motley Crue, Kix.... But I listen to a little of everything country, bluegrass....

Watch out for Troy at Grandma's - mzungo wishes best of luck!