Pittsburgh Marathon Runner Profiles: Derek

This week I'm starting a weekly series of profiles of different Pittsburgh Marathon and Half Marathon runners. I'm always interested in what training people use to prepare for races, so I'll be profiling people using different training methods. After the race, I'll follow up with everyone to hear how the race went for them. I've really enjoyed reading these profiles and getting to know other runners, so I hope you do too!

The first runner is Derek L, a Pittsburgh high school teacher who is running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. Derek created and follows his own training plan.

How long have you been running and how did you start? 
I have been running consistently for almost 6 years. I had to run in high school and college to train for basketball, and I hated every minute of it. My wife was registered to run the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon in 2010 to raise money for the Pittsburgh Promise. But because of her nursing school rotations, she wasn't able to. So I told myself, "I hate running, but I love my students more." So I raised money for the Promise and ran the Pittsburgh Half in 2010. One of my teaching friends at Oliver High School told me that if you can run a half, you can run a full. 4 fulls later, I guess he was right.

Is this your first full marathon (I'm guessing no)? If not, how many others have you done (and what were they)?
Haha. I have done Pittsburgh 4 other times. Each time raising money for the Pittsburgh Promise.

If you have previously run Pittsburgh, any advice on the course for people running it for their first time? 
Enjoy all the spectators! The North Side is great, and the West End rocks. Homewood is tons of fun. The hills that always get me are the long rolling ones through Highland Park and East Liberty. And always grab a beer at the Church Brewworks!

Are you trying for a specific goal for the marathon?

I was registered for the full marathon, but I recently dropped down to the half-marathon because of a nagging ankle injury. Not sure what I did, but the doctor told me to take it easy. I was going to try to get under 4 hours. But instead, I am just going to enjoy running the half with my wife and make sure I get lots of high 5s from Pittsburgh Public Schools students along the route.

How did you come up with your own training plan? You say it's loosely based on back-to-back long runs--do you mean Hansons? Did you follow a particular plan and then just pick the elements you found worked for you? And how is your own plan preparing you to meet your specific goals?
It might be Hansons. I just Google searched "full marathon training plans." I try to get a long run in Wednesday, and then try to get a fast run in on Saturday, and then my long run in on Sunday. I run everyday, so Monday and Friday is usually just a mile or two. Tuesday and Thursday are 3-6 with some tempo runs or hills. Wednesday is the long midweek run. The back to back long run plan gets me used to running on tired legs. I am hoping to be ready for an ultra in the fall, and that is one of the ways you prep for a 50k or a 50 miler.

Anything else you'd like to share? I am a member of the United States Running Streak Association. I started a couple years ago with the Runners' World Holiday Run Streak. Then I just kept going. It is good motivation to get out the door and get something in. Some days are easier than others. Today was day #840.


Thanks, Derek! I've heard the same thing from so many about getting beer at Church Brew, so it sounds like a must. I think it would be pretty cool to be a student and see your teacher out there running. Also, 840 days of running?! Kudos to Derek! Please join me in wishing Derek a fun race in May!

Labels: , , ,