Pittsburgh Marathon Runner Profile: Matt C.

This final Pittsburgh Marathon Runner profile features Matt C. from a rural area near Scranton, Pa. This will be his first marathon. He has relatives in the Pittsburgh area, and this will be his first trip to the area. Also, he has been a welder for 36 years so the Runner of Steel mantra appealed to him. He has been following the Hansons marathon training method. I read the book for the Hansons half marathon method (my reviews here and here) so was really interested to see what he thought of it.

1. How long have you been running and how did you start?
I started running about 3 years ago; my goal was to be able to run around Lake Scranton which is 3.5 miles. I want to maintain a healthier lifestyle and it seems that running opened the door to better eating and sleeping habits also. I run mostly solo but I did do a few sessions with a local running club called Barrier Breakers; they have knowledgeable coaches who refined my training quite a bit.

2. How did you choose the Hanson Marathon method?

I did a half marathon using Hal Higdon  plan and I did pretty well. When I decided to do a marathon I guess I am like a lot of people I searched the internet and must have looked at a dozen plans. One plan that stood out from the crowd to me was Hanson. I bought the book and read it in a weekend.
First, for each "something of substance" run in their plan they give studies to back up their claims. Even the easy runs, which many people think are "junk miles," have studies to show the benefits of this aspect of their training. On a personal level they tell you how far to go on each run and exactly how fast each run should be based on your goal marathon time. I don't have a lot of time or experience so to have all my runs laid out for me just made sense. Lastly I just believed in the plan and that made running 6 days a week for a majority of 18 weeks much less stressful.

3. Did you feel that Hansons has prepared you well for your first marathon? Would you recommend it to others?
Training plans are such individual decisions. It is a huge amount of running. Yes there are no 20 mile long runs but in the last weeks of training on Tuesday you are doing a 10 mile run with intervals under marathon pace, Thursday is a 10 mile tempo run,  and Sunday is a 16 mile long run, plus 3 more days of easy runs ranging from 5 to 8 miles. Hanson talks about "cumulative fatigue"--running on tired legs all the time. You will know intimately what that term means by the time you are finished. Would I recommend it? I will tell you this, running through this winter in the Poconos doing this training has not only made  me a stronger runner but a stronger person! I will save a detailed review of Hanson's plan after the marathon.

4. I have the Hansons Half Marathon Method book, and I know how much time and dedication it involves. How did you find the time to fit in all the miles and workouts?
When I decided to do a marathon I sat down with my wife and best friend Jackie and showed her the whole plan. I told her I not only needed her approval but a huge amount of help to cross the finish line. She has been my greatest supporter the whole time. Sacrifices had to be made, overtime was passed up, and walls didn't get painted. I hope it is all worth it.

5. Anything else you'd like to share?
I have heard so many good things about Pittsburgh and the people who live there and the marathon it sponsors . Do I want to have a good finish time, of course. But I want to embrace the whole thing, I want to high five kids and thank volunteers and acknowledge as many people as I can who cheer and support the race. I want to see the beautiful City of Pittsburgh from a vantage point not many get to see it from. I will even get to see family I should have visited before. I am a 55 year old  who has been welding for 35 years, what better marathon medal to have first than " Runner of Steel."
I can't wait to get there. Pittsburgh, I hope to see you soon!

What a great story! I love that he is a welder and will be earning the Runner of Steel status, plus visiting relatives and Pittsburgh for the first time! I know that Pittsburgh will welcome him and all other runners from outside the area with lots of love like we usually do for the marathon!

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