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December 20, 2023

Matt Makes the Marathon Podium with a 19 Minute Improvement

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In this episode, Coach Mike Ritchie interviews Matt Cicconelli, a 60-year-old marathon runner who recently achieved a lifetime best time. Matt shares his journey in marathon running, starting from his first marathon in the late 80s. He discusses his training methods, including the use of power meters and the Jack Daniels VDOT tables. Matt also talks about his race strategy and the challenges he faced during the race. Despite the difficulties, he was able to achieve his goal and finish on the podium. Matt's story is an inspiration for runners of all ages.


00:00 Introduction and Background

03:00 First Marathon and Early Years

06:22 Introduction to Power Training

09:00 Setting Goals and Working with a Coach

14:00 Race Strategy and Performance

20:00 Challenges and Mental Toughness

25:00 Race Results and Reflection

31:00 Future Goals and Training

38:00 Inspiration and Coaching


Mike (00:01.002)
Hi, Coach Mike Ricci here with the D3 Podcast. And this week's guest is Matt Cicconelli. Matt, being 60 years old, just had a long time lifetime best. He had a best at a younger age, but this has been a huge breakthrough for him. Something he was chasing for a long time at the Rinko Marathon. Just ran a 320 and I want to welcome Matt on the show.

Matt C (00:20.804)
Well, thank you, Mike. Appreciate it. Looking forward to this.

Mike (00:24.394)
Yeah, awesome. So it's great to have conversations with people that are still achieving best efforts, right? And I always look at, I'm 55, I can't run as fast as I was at 35, but I look back to that 45 or that 50 year old PR and I'm like, why can't I still get after that? And you're a great example of someone that's been chasing something for a long time and you got there, I mean, that's pretty cool. So tell me when you did your first marathon and what kind of got you hooked into that kind of thing.

Matt C (00:53.708)
Yeah, so I think I did my first marathon back in, I'm going to guess, 88 or 89. And I was a lieutenant or captain in the Marine Corps. And the Marine Corps puts a lot of effort into putting on an annual marathon. This was sort of early years for it. There I would, I can't do the math too quickly, but probably that was like year 15 for the Marine Corps marathon. They're approaching their 50th here in 2025.

But anyway, so it's a cultural thing. And I said, well, I can go do that. And I did, I went and ran the marathon, nothing, you know, sparkling or anything like that. But I got through it and I kind of enjoyed the accomplishment and you have a little bravado at that age and I like went and played basketball the next day to show that, oh, marathoning didn't ruin my legs. It wasn't really true, it kind of set me back a bit, but.

But that started it. Ran it a couple more times in the early 90s. Brother got involved in marathoning, proved to be a bit faster than me. He and I, you know, close friends as well as brothers have continued to run marathons periodically. Over the years, you know, I did form some goals. You know, my PR was back in the year 2000. I spent...

good three years, working my pace down from like a 350, 339, 329, 318, and finally snuck under 315 to qualify for Boston in the year 2000. Ran Boston in 2001, a little bit slower, be honest, I didn't hold it across the winner, but very satisfying. And that was sort of the peak of my marathoning.

had a full-fledged career and family and things like that, continued to run a bit and ran, I've run probably 17, 18 marathons in my life. But that's also sprinkled off over 20, 30, 32 years. So 18 marathons in 32 years, not a marathon a year and certainly not more than one a year with some small exceptions. But

Mike (03:00.95)
Yeah, that's a lot.

Matt C (03:19.86)
I enjoy, I'm a big guy. I'm, you know, I'm six feet tall. I'm a bit more slender than I was in the heyday of my athleticism. And so I've never really focused on trying to be an elite runner, but I take a fair amount of pride in my endurance and my ability to hold up under a strain and, and the whole mental match that goes with that.

Mike (03:47.906)
Totally. Do you, so tell me, I know you run with the Stride power meter. Tell me how you kind of got introduced to that and you know, where did that help you a bit when you started with it and what kind of roadblocks did you run into using it?

Matt C (04:00.504)
Yeah, sure. So, you know, over my years of training, I've developed this sort of relationship with reading and learning and then being honest about what my own abilities can and could be. And where does what I'm reading and following sort of depart from, you know, how I see my own physical ability and ability to grow.

And for years, I've been following the Jack Daniels method, which had the VDOT tables, and would, you know, pick my VDOT, I would stabilize, you know, a training build out a plan, I'd jump in against that plan and periodically sort of raise my effort once I felt a set of workouts were more realistically a 10k.

dictated that I'd earned to move up. And so I had that sort of approach mentally and had been doing that. There was some realities in following at least in the first three editions of those books. The mileage that they were suggesting didn't really work for me. It was too much both for my, just my working adult life and maybe for my body.

And secondly, I found that I needed about every fourth week to take a back off week, else I sort of run out of vigor, would be struggling, wouldn't be enjoying it anymore, wouldn't be feeling like I was getting worn down. And anyway, so those are some ideas that I came up with that never should run longer than three hours, that I'd be breaking down past three hours.

in that every fourth week I needed to like take it down. Nothing, you know, nothing near zero, but I would probably drop back about four weeks in my mileage, repeat that week, and then get back into the build. And interestingly, over the years, I see that Daniel's books have been updated. They now include about a four week break week. And he now has a

Matt C (06:22.532)
tables and mileage recommendations for people who just aren't going to do 90, 110. They're going to top out in the low 60s and that's them. And anyway, I guess the real translation there though is VDOT and power have tons in common. They just have tons in common. And I liked the idea of taking what I think has been proven in cycling and in other.

disciplines where you can really measure accurately and use that to set your intensities and so I look for power and the Strive power meter to deliver really accurate information on how hard I'm working. People can you know correctly sort of point to weaknesses or fallacies and inaccuracies and this and that

hasn't been my experience when I keep it at a personal level. As long as it's me and that meter, and all I'm doing is comparing today's effort to a previous effort or a next effort, it works tremendously for my purposes. And that was one of the benefits of D3 is they were willing to just sort of accept that model. That, you know, it's...

It's the data specific to me. That's the data we're going to learn from. And that's the data we're going to translate from. And so anyway, power training was a good, a good fit for me. One, because I really do enjoy, um, you know, coming off a good run or a good week and looking back and, and understanding. And, um, you know, as Jim, Jim Hallberg was my D three coach. I don't know if I mentioned that earlier here.

As Jim and I built our strategy for the very specific goal, you know, I set, we set, we were able to use that data to understand where we were and aim high. I mean, I knocked 19 minutes off, you know, my

Matt C (08:35.164)
My best race in 20 years in one year. And, and it, and that doesn't just happen. I mean, I know you all know that anybody who's listening to this podcast knows that if you'd run a max effort and a year later, you took 19 minutes off it. And I'm not talking, you know, 530 to 520. I'm talking, you know, 339 to 320. Uh, that's pretty, that's pretty stout effort. And of course I'm pretty jazzed about it.

Mike (09:05.246)
All right. So I got to, I got to backtrack a second. So, um, strides based here in Boulder and I met the, uh, owners and the founders when they first started. And I went to them with Trathlon knowledge and you know, obviously they're, it's a running device. And we started talking and the first question I had for them was what kind of table are you going to use in terms of percentages?

Matt C (09:11.834)

Mike (09:33.906)
And they had said, well, we have these ideas and these ideas. And I said, okay. I said, that's great. I said, but why don't you just use Jack Daniel's VDOT tables? Because that's where the magic is. And they're like, well, what's that? And I had to explain it to them, you know, what endurance was and tempo and threshold and rep efforts and the whole thing, you know, and they really adapted that. And I think they're still using that.

Matt C (09:42.562)
Oh really?

Mike (09:59.258)
you know, further tables and telling people if you run, and that's why they do the run test to get the threshold power, and then you put that into the calculator and it calculates something close to what the V.table would look like. So that was pretty cool. And the other thing I wanted to say was, you know, 19 minutes is nothing to sneeze at, right? And when we first talked, you know, it was over a year ago at this point, you and I had talked and you were looking for a coach and I connected you to Jim.

And you said to me, I think you want it to be top three or top five at the Marine Corps Marathon on the podium, right? That was the goal. And I looked at it and, you know, when I looked through someone's data, the first thing I looked for is low hanging fruit. And I saw that, you know, you were pretty solid guy. You don't, you don't miss workouts. You do the reps like you're supposed to. You take the recovery days. And, you know, in the back of my head, I'm like, well, I think it's possible. I don't know that if it's a, I don't know that it's a 50, 50 or a 60, 40, but if this guy's willing to do it and maybe.

Matt C (10:32.933)

Mike (10:57.15)
and maybe be open to some new ideas, which you were, because you were searching for a coach, right? I mean, obviously you're open already, but someone that would speak your language and you'd work well with, I think that the option to get that low marathon was out there, you know? And that was fun to see. And then every time I think you had done, did you do the 10-miler in September, October, something like that, and you'd run a pretty fast time?

Matt C (11:24.812)
I did, oh, I know what you're referring to. No, coming right out of the marathon. Well, now I have to think about when I started talking to you.

Mike (11:28.779)

Mike (11:34.09)
No, it was like September or August, maybe you'd run a race and Jim had sent me over like you fjard.

Matt C (11:37.508)
Right. I did. I did a half. I did a half marathon. I did the Lake Placid half marathon, a hilly, pretty demanding course and had run, I don't remember, I'd say 706s, 708s, something like that. Yeah. And, and I felt like that actually demonstrated more potential than I delivered.

Mike (11:43.526)
Okay. Yeah.

Mike (11:54.526)
Yeah, it was low, it was like 132 or... I mean, way down there for a hilly course.

Matt C (12:07.584)
in the marathon effort and I could not deny that the marathon effort was full out. There was nothing left at the end that I had saved. But at the same time, I felt like more experienced minds would be able to look at what I did between shifting from training for the half to training for the full and how I'd left speed behind as I extended the miles and built the

Mike (12:10.548)

Matt C (12:37.276)
the marathon outcome, right.

Mike (12:40.714)
Yeah, you know, it's, and I always, I say this to my athletes all the time, you've got 365 days in a year and you want to peak for one of them, right? So that's a hard thing to do. And I always look at it and say, look at how much we've improved this year, right? We went from A to B to C, I mean, we just keep getting better. We can't let one day determine it. Even if you left something on the table like you're referring to, you still improved a heck of a lot. And it's really hard to nail that one day.

and say, this is the day that I'm going to go out there and run the best of the best, right? And so many things happen when you have, all these people around you, your experience marathon, you've done this dozens of times at this point, but still having, you have that a little bit of an adrenaline, the heart rates up a little bit, your second guessing, okay, that I do this right, am I taking the first mile out too slow? I mean, all of it, right? And then you get to those tough miles and that's when the rubber hits the road and you're kind of...

you know, it's time just to show up, right? So, and you'll appreciate this, but in marathon, or I started Ironman racing, I always considered, I always called this the line of departure. Like when you get to 20 miles in the marathon, it's the time to say, I'm gonna suck it up and be tough, or I'm just gonna mail it in, right? Because there's two things happen late in the race, right? So take me through your race, because I know you toughed it out. I was watching you the whole day.

Matt C (13:41.221)

Matt C (14:04.478)
Yeah.I thought you were on pace or a little bit ahead the whole time. And I'm texting Jim saying, man, he's killing it. And I think you might have fallen off just a little bit at the end, but I mean, incredible race, right? I mean, just an incredible race.

Matt C (14:14.024)
Oh, yeah, I know. I, yeah, I, so, you know, things that Jim and I had sort of prepped. We'd looked over the course. I had kept data from the previous year, had the terrain map, you know, real solid. And we had an agreement that I would run on power for the race, even though Jim liked to sort of complement.

all aspects of training with an understanding of what's going on with the heart rate, that we were going to run the race on power. And I think Jim, you know, sort of maybe tipped my direction by saying, okay, I'm not going to, I'm not going to ask you to watch heart rate during the race. And I was frank with him. I said, I don't, I know the value. I know the models that you're using and I believe in them. And the problem for me is, I think

Matt C (15:10.876)
have my mental map adjusted mid-race by heart rate news. That is intimidating. I don't wanna take that on. And so I didn't, I kept the data obviously, and the data is pretty useful in the backside for heart rate. But we did run the race on power. And so I'll tell the story through that lens.

That marathon is, it's a pretty flat marathon as marathons go, but it starts out with a two, two and a half mile climb that's immediately paid back with about a two mile downhill. And then it flattens out for really the rest of the race until a, a bit of a devilish, you know, I don't know if it's like a 30 meter, 30 meter climb to the finish line that it's just the wrong place to be.

to be messing with the runners, but that's the way it is. And so anyway, I held my power, kept my pace way down. I mean, excuse me, slow, relaxed, comfortable on that first climb, pushed myself a bit going downhill. Cause when you run with power, for me, it's always harder to hit your power numbers going downhill. I often wonder if I've.

Mike (16:36.668)
What percentage were you targeting? Like what percentage of threshold were you targeting for the race?

Matt C (16:41.604)
Yeah, we were in this 89 to 91 window and just sort of a natural dynamic of how I interact with the information on my wrist. When I build a range at the end of an effort, whether it's just a training run or a race, I'm always at the high end of it, meaning I slow down when it tells me I'm going too fast.

Mike (16:46.258)

Matt C (17:08.364)
And very rarely am I being told, you know, by my data to speed up. And so I'm always at the high end of it. And so when we set a range, we would find that I be at the high end of the range when we're done, not, not in the middle, not at the bottom. So anyway, that's kind of how you saw if you were tracking me, what was going on out on the course and, and I have to say, I mean, I felt like Superman at mile 16. Um, and I was probably running.

um, 722 pace, I think about at that time where my need, you know, to hit 320, which was, we had three goals and we'll come back to that, but my need was like a 320. Uh, and it was so 740, a 739, fifth, you know, and then some change, something like that. That was my need. Now we had, um, we had set.

sort of some tiered goals, which was something that D3 Jim brought to me and I really adopted into that which was okay I've got a goal. I've got a I've got a stretch goal Or I got a you know, it's tier. I had a goal was 320 I had another goal was 315 and then I had a dream goal, which would be 314 and At mile 16, I think the dream goal was was, you know pretty You know on pace if not

you know, even ahead of and so you say, well, we're going out too fast. And I think the answer could be yes. I think there's another dynamic going on, as you said, well, what happens on race day depends a lot on, you know, what is race day like. And this year's Marine Corps Marathon was, you know, I think we started at 65 degrees. Um, and, you know, for the time I was out on the course, it was.

pretty stable. It finished probably at 68, 69 degrees. But the humidity was very out of character for Washington, DC that time of year. The previous year we ran in the 40s, the 40 temperatures, and with really humidity, no consequence at all. This year, the Marine Corps Marathon officials actually shut the course down 30 minutes early.

Matt C (19:29.244)
due to the humidity and the dangers to the runners still out on the course, which unprecedented in my marathoning experience, never exposed anything like that. And everybody I ran with sort of knew that the last five miles were a slog for some reason or another. I blame it on the temperature and the humidity. And so that I think showed up in my later race. And but anyway, so I made it probably through mile.


Mike (20:02.043)
So, mile 19, are you past the monuments?

Matt C (20:06.616)
Well, let's see, since the course has changed over the years, I have to float it back here. I was coming off the mall, okay, which means I'm heading to the bridge. Yes. So I'm about to cross the river. That bridge. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. How long can a bridge be, right? And to find out a bridge, it's actually 1.8 miles just blows your mind if you're not expecting it. You think a bridge is, you know,

Mike (20:21.642)
Yeah, and that's a slow grind up a little bit, right? Yeah.

Matt C (20:35.984)
But anyway, you know, the on ramp and an off ramp and the traverse, that's, and there's nobody out there. There's no, no.

Mike (20:43.226)
That was the, when I did that in 2016, that was a struggle for me. That section of just, man, this is a grind. No one cheering. Yeah.

Matt C (20:49.36)
Yeah, no fans, no bands, no music. There's you and some really hot pavement and some sore feet. And you've still got seven miles to go. You haven't even hit the 20 yet because you hit the 20 coming off the bridge. And yeah, so that's a real mental thing, taking that. And the other thing is you're now starting to pass people who are walking. OK.Yeah. Right.

Mike (21:07.086)

Matt C (21:18.696)
from where I was on the race, you know, that's really where that started for me, was the bridge. The bridge is a defining moment, it's taken its toll on people who've really put out. But anyway, I started to feel it twitch in my right hammy, and that was sort of the first indicator, you know, that it wasn't gonna be.

Mike (21:37.942)

Matt C (21:46.48)
you know, what I thought at mile 16, where I really, you know, just doing the mental math in my head, where am I at? How, how pace am I? And and I said, Oh, you know, other people are voting here. My my right hamstrings voting. And so I started to feel something there. I started to feel something maybe a half mile later in my left calf. And both of these run on.

unprecedented in my training, meaning I hadn't dealt with these issues. Anyway, so they never shut me down, shut me down, but I started to slow down and I just sort of watching on my data, my average power for the last mile, dropped down to sort of like an 85% number.

And then like an 82% number and, uh, there wasn't really anything I could do about it. I mean, there wasn't anything I could do. I could.

Mike (22:55.818)
Right, and that 80 to 82% was probably your long run or your aerobic type effort, right? So you're kind of in this place where you had more to give, but obviously the cramping was dictating that wasn't to be.

Matt C (23:01.933)

Matt C (23:10.384)
And then I had one moment where I was coming around a curve, I stepped on a small stone and it sort of knocked me off stride and as I came off stride, my leg did actually crack. And so I kicked, you know, I just sort of kicked hard for like, I don't know, eight, 10 yards, nothing. And seeing if I could just sort of.

shocked myself back into that, you know, disassociate, just go, go. Um, you know, not don't, don't let your, don't let your brain believe anything that the, the world's indicating right now. Just go. And it did. I got back into a stride and, uh, and bore down for that last four miles. Um, but it, you know, it took my.

It took my time down into that 320. But it's a hard race for me due to climactic conditions. It's a hard race for every single runner out there. And so having set a goal for a top three, it's like I'll be on the podium. I came in second in the age group. And that was super, that was the goal, the time.

was a pick based on looking at previous years and what people run in that race on that day with that level of competition. So that was my goal and so I walked out of there feeling really gratified that I put in the work and I got the outcome no matter what the you know what the last 40 minute struggle was.

Mike (25:02.098)
Right? So that's what it was the last 40 minutes. So say, 5 and 1 half miles-ish. Yeah.

Matt C (25:06.84)
Yes, oh very much so, yeah. And my wife, God bless her, was sort of at the finish line. And she saw me coming up that little hill I described and she said she's gonna take some camera footage. I mean, she looked at me and she says, I can't film that. That's, that's, that's. And I looked miserable, to be honest. I did, and I climbed that hill and finished and.

I was there with a small group, family and friends who were running and I happened to be the first person in and so I waited around and they shot footage of everybody finishing as they came in and were broadcasting it across WhatsApp and whatnot and whatnot. And I guess that's testament to what my race was, is I looked by far the worst, although I finished probably 20 minutes ahead of them.

the second person in. So, it takes some pride in that as well. I mean, when you leave it all out there, you leave it all out there. And that's what it took that day. And of course, I put the months in. I put the years in really to survive that and to deliver, even if it looked a little crumbly around the edges.

Mike (26:29.002)
Well, it's that whole, you see that graph of, I'm starting at zero, here's my goal, here I am, here's my starting point, here's my goal, and it's never a straight line, right? It's always some dips, some highs, back to some dips, and finally you get there. And that's what a marathon's like. If you start out feeling pretty good and then you have that dip and you're like, all right, and you had, lucky, fortunately, not lucky, but fortunately, because you had done the work, you had a little buffer in there to still get to the 320, which is awesome.

Matt C (26:58.188)
Right. Yep.

Mike (26:58.87)
You know, it's awesome. Do you know how far you were at a first place?

Matt C (27:04.472)
Yes, I was like four and a half minutes out of first place. And yep, he was between 315 and 316. I don't know the gentleman. And I'm sure he'd have run 310 on a better day. I really, matter of fact, I did look at that. Matter of fact, I looked, I went back. I know this is kind of anal, but.

Mike (27:10.146)
So like a 315, 316, something like that.

Mike (27:25.043)
Right, right.

Matt C (27:32.224)
I went back and I looked at my photos, right? And I picked the runners numbers around me at mile 16 and at mile 20, okay? Nobody, not a single number I looked up, okay? Finished that race faster than me, okay? Which, you know, it's just sort of, I was, you know, cause I'm looking it forward, you know, I'm not done. And I just sort of wanted to understand, you know, what was...

in some sense, a repetition of the previous year where, you know, I'd been running faster than 339, but didn't finish faster than 339. And that, on that model, I hadn't changed the dynamic year over year. But, but the previous year was, was not 68 degrees and 82% or 88% humidity. It just wasn't. And, but anyway, nobody, not a single number I looked at.

actually held their mile 16 pace through finish and nobody had actually improved. You know, I didn't finish behind anybody I was at mile 16 and that's when I was on an even faster pace.

Mike (28:51.25)
Yeah, that's awesome. Do you have a plan for nutrition, electrolytes during the race, knowing that humidity was going to be a little higher?

Matt C (29:01.612)
Yes. So that's another thing that Jim and D3 really brought to the equation. If I go back to that year, a previous conversation with you, where I said, well, I'm looking for a coach and I'm not a triathlete, I'm a marathoner. And I have this goal that I'm looking for the coach to sign up for. And I felt like I had to convince you to take me.

And that isn't how you just told the story. And so it probably wasn't true, but that's how I felt. And I was saying, well, I have reasons because I thought it was fantastical to call somebody up and say, hey, I want to run 19 minutes faster next year. And I said, I have some reasons why I think I can do this. And one of them was I knew there are these components of building a better race strategy that I was...

Mike (29:37.837)

Matt C (29:59.672)
you know, pure neophyte bit rookie, not like I didn't, you know, hydrate and take, you know, gels on course, but I was doing it, you know, just sort of, you know, off of reading advertising rather than, than really, you know, tapping into the experience of, of people who really understand this at a scientific level and so on and so forth. And so, yeah, we built a plan and, uh,

And through a progression of preparatory events, you know, I ran a 10 mile in like April, ran a half marathon in June, ran another half marathon in September as sort of a B race. And we used those to work on both the day prior preparation with hydration and nutrition, morning of routines and all those things.

Those were all real boosts, you know, material gains year over year that contributed to, you know, being able to pull that finished number down.

Mike (31:10.71)
That's awesome. That's great. Do you feel like you left something, well, obviously the humidity kind of makes you feel like you left something out there, right? A little bit. But I imagine you're not done marathoning.

Matt C (31:21.188)
Well, I know, but I'm probably not more than once a year kind of marathon. Or I think I know. I don't think I know that a marathon crosses some sort of threshold for me. If I'm doing it all out.Thank you.

Matt C (31:43.476)
it crosses some sort of threshold where I have to then commit to a window of recovery. Okay. I mean, I have started training again since an October 29 race. And I haven't done nothing in the recovery moment. Matter of fact, I've gotten into the gym and spent some serious focus on lower leg strength and taking sort of lessons from these last two years.

and applying them and yeah I am you know I'm gonna go back in 2025 and I'm gonna win the dang thing I'm not I'm not I'm not done and uh and you know there's but you know I do push back on did I leave anything out there no I didn't leave anything out there except maybe my jockstrap

No, I was complete when I finished that race. And but that's a little bit of a victory, too, to not leave anything out there. It causes a concern. But because if your best wasn't good enough, well, then you have to improve your best. But that's a life philosophy, you know, I have been living on for decades.

Mike (32:50.038)

Matt C (33:06.672)
When somebody says, I'll give it my best, they've actually set a limit. It may be an arbitrary limit, but it's a limit. Let's actually aim for an outcome. And if our best isn't good enough, we change what our best can be. And so that's the goal.

Yeah, that's fantastic. And that is, you know, that's the reason we like to do the goals like that. Like, what can I do on my worst possible day? What should I do? And what's that reach goal or dream goal of if everything goes perfect and it's not 82% humidity and 65 degrees, like can I get to 314? Can I get to 312? You know, in that 720, 725 pace. So it seems like you, you dialed it all in and I know you're meticulous with your training. I'm a lot like that. I go back and I look.

at what the competitors around me have done, especially a marathon, and you say, okay, this guy was with me here, where is he at the finish? Well, he dropped to eight, 10 pace, right? I only dropped to whatever, 730, 740 pace. What did you, do you know what the number was you ended up at overall for the average percentage of FTP? Was it still 84, 85%?

Matt C (34:14.036)
Oh, I don't off the top of my head. You want me to look it up? I can. Not difficult to do.

Mike (34:20.106)
Yeah, sure. I mean, just good to know, because I know you started out probably at 91, like right on the edge of that high-end aerobic, not quite tempo, I would say. And the other thing I wanted to ask you about, if you go back and look at the data, do you see that the heart rate matches up with the power numbers?

Matt C (34:38.188)
Ah, you know, I haven't done that. And that's actually a great suggestion. That's why I need to talk to Jim a little more. Yeah.

Mike (34:48.311)

Matt C (34:52.496)
that well it's gonna take me a second here to fire up my stride interface but I'm kind of there right now last long run there we go Marine Corps Marathon so I did look at heart rate to after the fact to you know see

Mike (35:07.423)
No worries.

Matt C (35:21.424)
You know, you come off the course and you have an immediate sensation whether you left it all out there or not, right? But when you go in and look at the data, it's heart rate that tells you whether you left it all out there or not. And, you know, for me and sort of the model and the map that Jim and I had built.

Mike (35:30.41)

Matt C (35:46.796)
in understanding my body and my fitness over the previous months, you know, I had reached this sort of this high 150s. You know, when I moved through the 151 to 153 heart rate moment and hit the 158 to 160 number.

It really coincided actually with me starting to feel it in that hamstring and in that calf. And so it was like at the 19 mile mark where I started running at a heart rate that, you know, Jim said basically you've only got an hour left once you do that. And that was exactly what it was. I had, you know, when I hit that number, I had an hour left.

and a lot of people don't have an hour left. So I take some comfort in that as well. My average power for the race was 294, which on a 341, I'm going to have to do some quick math here.

Matt C (37:05.328)
But for me to run at a 294 a year after running at like a 268, you know, that's a huge gain, you know, smashing in a certain sense.

Mike (37:21.418)
Yeah, it's like 10%, right? I mean, it's a good jump.

Matt C (37:25.16)
So 294 divided by...

Matt C (37:31.736)
So I finished the race at 86.2%. 86.2, yeah.

Mike (37:36.182)
Yep, that's still very, very good. Yeah.

Mike (37:41.866)
Was the heart rate still being driven up at the end or was it starting to fade?

Matt C (37:44.576)
Now kind of flattened out, flattened out at the end. And only climbing that last final hill did I go into into. Another another number altogether.

Mike (37:56.192)

Mike (38:04.382)
Right on. Well, that's a, I just want to say that, you know, it's taken a while for us to get in touch, mostly on my end, but I am so impressed in, you know, with that performance at that, at your age. And it's just a great inspiration for anybody listening and even me personally. I have some good marathon times in my background and I would like to get back into, you know, the range you're in as I'm moving up into that age group.

in a few years, but it's just such a fun thing to see someone drop so much time. And I know the work you put into it. From a personal standpoint, and not that I've coached you, but I know how Jim coaches, I do think strength training will help a ton. And I think the plyos will help, that kind of stuff. As long as you can do it in a way that you don't get injured. I think that's another piece that if you haven't done any of that stuff, it will help.

Matt C (38:56.176)

Well, Mike, I mean, my appreciation is reciprocated full, full tilt. I, you know, I like to set aggressive goals, but, you know, I'm a huge believer in setting goals that are actually achievable. And so how do you balance being really aggressive, but still...

having it be achievable. You know, as you know, I spent a fair number of years in the Marine Corps and one of the little sayings I adopted over the years was Marines don't have to try to do the impossible. And what I mean by that is that when anybody, you know, a Marine in this scenario, thinks something is impossible, well, then they don't really set it as something they're going to accomplish. They...

They're instead doing something else. They're trying to work as hard as everybody else around them. They're doing something other than really aiming for that goal. And of course, you can set goals that people don't understand are possible, and then you convince them how they can get there. And okay, we call that leadership. And so that, you know, the...

what they once thought was impossible, they now see a path to get to. And even if it's only biting off this 10% approach and then adding another 10%, you know, even if it's just breaking it down into adjustable blocks. And so that's what D3 and Jim, you know, did for me, which was they were part of how do you how do you get there? And and that's what that's what Jim did, you know, and.

Matt C (40:47.969)
And so it's truly a partnership.

Mike (40:48.886)
That's awesome. You know, I've always said coaching is, you know, getting someone to believe in themselves, but then getting them to achieve what they didn't think is possible, right? So if someone says to me, hey, I wanna run a 21 minute 5K, in the back of my head, I'm like, okay, 20 minutes. That's what we're doing. Like, I don't have this idea of, yeah, 21. Okay, I see everything in the data that says you should be running 21 right now. Why aren't we going to 20? And the same thing with you and a 320 versus a 339, right? Like,

Matt C (41:12.784)

Mike (41:16.47)
Let's push it. What's the worst thing that's going to happen? You blow up? Okay, you blow up. So what? There's another marathon probably in four weeks. Just sign up and go, you know? So I think that it's all possible. I want to thank you for coming on. I really appreciate it. I just love the approach of the data. I'm very much like you looking at all the data and looking, you know, at the power and what percentage and am I running at the high end and that range thing. We didn't dive into that too much, but my athletes all the time.

Matt C (41:23.936)

Mike (41:45.582)
They're like, I can't run, you know, 140 heart rate today. I'm like, but the range is 132 to 140. You don't have to run 140, run at the lower end. That's what your body's giving you on that day. Take it, right? Especially in a race. I mean, that's the other side of it. So, well, thanks a lot for coming on, Matt. I really appreciate it. Thanks so much. Congratulations again.

Matt C (41:55.879)
Oh, you sound like Jim.

You sound like Jimmy. Yeah. My pleasure, Mike. Thank you. All right, awesome.

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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