October 10, 2014
After the main 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon press conference we talked to American Olympians Amy Hastings and Lisa Uhl one-on-one. Hastings is the top American in the field with a 2:27:03 PR from her debut at Los Angeles in 2011. Uhl on the other hand will be making her marathon debut here in Chicago. Highlights and video from their interviews are below.
Hastings Going For 2:26
Hastings is feeling very good about this marathon as she said her training has been extremely consistent and has been progressing for the last 9-months. She doesn’t take any confidence from one killer workout, but rather the whole buildup of consistent workouts.
She has struggled in her last two marathons as she DNFd at the 2012 Yokohama Marathon and only ran 2:42 in NYC last year. However, this time around she feels she’s finally adapted to the faster training she has been doing in Providence under coach Ray Treacy as they incorporate a lot of faster half-marathon type workouts into the marathon buildup. Workouts like 4-5 x 2-mile around 10K pace (low 5-minute pace in Hastings’ case).
We asked her if it’s been difficult doing this marathon buildup without her usual training partner, Kim Smith, who’s currently out after she had foot surgery. Hastings told us that they try to have hers and Molly Huddle’s workouts lineup whenever possible and that other times she’s been really lucky to have fiancé Alistair Cragg jump in some workouts with her (they’re getting married in less than a month).
As far as time goals, she’d be happy with any PR, but “really happy” with 2:26 (we assume she means 2:26 flat or low since it’d be very hard for her to PR and not run 2:26-something).
Lisa Uhl: “If I can sustain 6-minute pace for 26.2, I’ll walk away happy on Sunday.”
Uhl said that her training has been good leading up to Chicago, but that she and her coach, Cory Ihmels, took a much more conservative approach than she has with training in the past. Looking at mileage, in the past she was running 100-120 miles a week, but as she’s struggled a lot with injuries and burnout the past couple of years they decided to run less, more in the 90-100 range. Uhl says, “I’d rather walk into [Chicago] being a little bit under-trained and healthy and feeling fresh than over-trained.”
Uhl stated that her workouts and long runs have been longer than what she did in the past, and she executed all the training she wanted to do, but that she’s just incorporated more recovery. She feels her training has been coming together well the past 2-4 weeks and would be happy to run 2:37, saying, “If I can sustain 6-minute pace for 26.2, I’ll walk away happy on Sunday and feeling like I took a big step forward.” She points out that back in June she only ran 5:55 pace for the Bix 7-Mile so she’s come a long way. Uhl plans on going out on 6-minute pace through the half and if she feels good, picking it up and try to break into the 2:35 range.
As Uhl has noted herself, the past couple years have been a bit of a struggle and the marathon is a way for her to try something new. She has always preferred the longer marathon-type training and definitely plans on running the Olympic Marathon Trials. She figures three-shots to make the Olympics (marathon, 10K, and 5) is better than just one.
Uhl, like Hastings, also benefits from having male training partners. Her husband did all her long runs with her (either running or on a bike) and a local Des Moines high school coach who has run 2:25 did most of her other weekly workouts. Uhl called him the “unsung hero” of her training.