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Experienced Marathon Program (June – November)

Registration is CLOSED.

Program Overview:

Goals and Purpose of Program: The program is designed to help runners with previous marathon experience reach their goals of improving their marathon experience and achieving PR’s (personal records) and Boston qualifying times! 37% of the last year XMP marathon runners ran PR’s; 27% ran Boston qualifiers. Most achieved or exceeded their program goals.

Prerequisites: This program is open to runners who are experienced in long distance running and marathons. There are no criteria for speed and we welcome runners of all paces.  Historically, the marathon times range from 2:45 to 5:00. In order to be ready to handle the training schedule for this program, at the time the program begins in early June, runners must have a strong and consistent mileage base of at least 35-45 miles per week in order to be able to safely build to the suggested peak mileage of 50-60 miles per week, and should be able to comfortably run 12-14 miles as a long run. If you have any questions about your suitability for the program, please contact the program director prior to registering. The first group long run is 14 miles.  The long runs build to 20-22 miles, with either 4 or 5 20-milers before taper begins, depending on the marathon date.

Cost: The cost for the program is $100.  You must be a member of the Montgomery County Road Runners Club.  Anyone not a club member can join the club and then register for the program.  Once registered, there will be no refunds regardless of the reason.  Each runner is responsible for his/her own marathon registrations.

Dates/Target Race:

Orientation & First Run: Orientation will be held on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 @ 7:00 PM at Montgomery College, Room HU133 (Humanities building). Registration will remain open past orientation so that runners may get their questions answered at orientation and decide if the program is for them. The first group run is a 14-mile run set for June 10th.

Target Race: The program does not have one particular “target” marathon.  The training schedule is designed for training for a variety of marathons throughout the fall marathon season, beginning with Erie and Lehigh Valley (mid-September) and ending with Philadelphia (late November).  The training schedule specifically includes in between Wineglass, Steamtown, Chicago, Baltimore, Marine Corps, New York and Richmond, but many program participants will run numerous other fall marathons on a variety of weekends.  We will adjust the training schedule to fit any late summer or early fall marathon.

Many of the program’s runners participate in early season marathons starting mid-September and then continue with the program running second and third marathons or just continuing to train with XMP. The program ends in mid-November to accommodate the later fall marathons.

Program Staff:

Head Coach/Director: Harold Rosen

Background: Harold was a participant in the first year of the XMP program in 2002 and has coached in the program since 2003.  He is RRCA certified including participation with the level II coaching program, with some USATF training as well.  Harold has run 35 plus marathons. This is his seventh year as Head Coach and Director.  For his efforts with XMP, Harold was recognized by MCRRC in 2012 as Coach of the Year.

Coaches: All coaches in the program are RRCA certified and have current first aid, CPR and AED certifications. The coaches in order of seniority with the program include:

  • Sharlene Deskins joined the coaching staff in 2006.  She has run with the program since its inception in 2002.  Sharlene has completed 20+ marathons and has coached in a variety of running programs in addition to XMP.
  • Ken Earley is into his ninth year of coaching with XMP.  Since running his first marathon in 2004, Ken has competed in 20+ marathons.
  • Robert Yarchoan ran his first marathon in 2003, began training with XMP the following year and became an XMP coach in 2011. He has completed at least 25+ marathons and ultra-marathons, including a number of Boston Marathons, two JFK 50’s and other ultras. . He also leads the club’s Thursday evening runs at Carderock during the summer months.
  • Dan DiFonzo has run more than 40 marathons and ultra-marathons including the last 13 Boston Marathons. He has trained with XMP since 2005. In addition to coaching XMP, he has coached with the club’s Winter Half Marathon and Winter Marathon Programs.
  • Terri Scadron ran her first marathon in 2009 and has completed over 30 marathons or ultras. She began running with XMP in 2011 and began coaching with XMP the following year. Terri is also co-director of MCRRC’s Winter Advanced Marathon Training Program.
  • Lee Firestone began training with XMP in 2006. He has completed numerous marathons including multiple Boston Marathons. In professional life, Lee is a podiatric surgeon with a specialty in sports medicine, treating many runners. Lee is a member of the club’s Competitive Race Team.
  • Bill Loomis first took up running in 2006 and began training with XMP in 2008. He has run over 20 marathons (including the last 9 Boston Marathons) and ultras. This is his fourth year coaching XMP.
  • Doug Watt has trained with XMP since 2007. He has run the past ten Boston Marathons among his 28 + marathons to date.
  • Susan Garfield ran her first marathon in 2009 and has now completed over 20 marathons and two JFK 50 milers.  She won her age group at JFK in 2013.  She began running with XMP in 2010.
  • Lisa Chilcote returned to competitive running in 2009 after a 20-year hiatus. She has served as a coach for the club’s winter marathon and winter half marathon programs for five years. In 2011 she was recognized by the club as Runner of the Year. She is a co-captain of the club’s Competitive Race Team.
  • Argaw Kidane began training with XMP in 2011. He has completed numerous marathons including 6 Boston Marathons. He is also a member of the club’s Competitive Race Team.
  • Karyn Ryan ran her first marathon in 1998, took a break for family, and then returned to marathoning in 2011. She began training with XMP in 2013. She has completed 10+ marathons including the Boston Marathon.
  • Brad Stewart, a triathlete and Ironman competitor, ran his first marathon in 1996 and has run with XMP since 2013.This is his second year coaching with XMP. Brad also coaches with MCRRC’s Winter Advanced Marathon Training Program (AMT).
  • Bernard Kelly’s first marathon was Marine Corps run in 2007. The following year, he began training with XMP. He has run 24 marathons, including 3 Boston’s.
  • Auke Mahar-Piersma (pronounced OW’kuh) ran his first marathon in 1999, took a break from marathoning and returned to it in 2011. He began training with XMP in 2013. He has completed 10+ marathons, including Boston.
  • Jennifer Sample has been a runner for the past 20-years. She has run 34 marathons, including multiple Boston’s. She is a member of the club’s Competitive Race Team.
  • Jeff Solar started running in the 1970’s and completed his first marathon in 2002, training with the FTM Program. He has trained with XMP since 2010. Overall, he has completed 20+ marathons. He also coaches with the Club’s Winter Advanced Marathon Training Program.
  • Al Navidi ran his first marathon in 1994. Prior to that, he had been competing in triathlons and has completed 6 Ironman triathlons. He has also completed 58 marathons in 38 states, including 3 Boston Marathons. Al trained with XMP beginning in 2002, XMP’s first year, and a number of years since. In addition to coaching with XMP, he has also coached with the club’s winter Advanced Marathon Training Program and the Summer Half Marathon Program.
  • Donald Chung ran his first marathon in 1991 and has since completed over 50 marathons in 36 states. He has coached with the Club’s First Time Marathon Program and Advanced Marathon Training Program and has this year joined the coaching staff of XMP.
  • Krista Zanetti became an avid runner in 2011, ran her first marathon in 2015, and began training with XMP in 2016. She has completed 6 marathons. While this is her first year coaching XMP, she has coached with a number of other MCRRC training programs, including the Advanced Marathon Training Program. Krista is also a coach at the MCRRC Run Performance Lab (formerly Stride Clinic).
  • Natalie Jenkins trained with XMP and ran her first marathon in 2005. Since then, she has run 30 marathons, including 5 Boston’s. She is a trail runner as well, having run 4 ultra trail marathons. She previously coached with MCRRC’s First Time Marathon Program.


Date/Time: Tuesday, June 6, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Location:  Montgomery College, Room HU133 (Humanities building)

Workouts/Pace Groups:

Pace Group Information: Runners will be assigned to specific training groups, which will include runners with similar levels of pacing and conditioning.  The program normally has 18 to 19 such pace groups. In order to assign runners, the program will require a recent (in the past four months) race time, preferably a 5K or a 10K, run at 100% effort, to provide an accurate measure of current race pace and fitness level. This information is preferable to recent marathon times. The registration form includes questions about recent race times.  If you cannot provide us with a recent race time at the beginning of the program, you will need to run a 5K or a 10K race as soon as possible in order to receive an appropriate pace group assignment.  The size of each pace group will vary depending on the number of registrants in the program and the distribution of runners among various running paces.  We place participants in groups whose pace will provide them with an appropriate training stimulus to maximize their marathon performance, consistent with their current fitness.  It is important that the groups run at the pace assigned and that they stay together to the extent possible, especially during long runs.  While coaches may set pace in some groups, some pace groups will not have coaches assigned to them.

Training Paces: Each pace group will be assigned five different training paces.  The pace groups in the program are designated by the “long, slow distance” (LSD) pace.  Each pace group normally has a 15 second LSD pace “window” recognizing the minor spread of abilities and conditioning within each pace group.  In the past, LSD pace groups have ranged from a 7:00-7:15 minute per mile LSD pace to an 11:45-12:00 minute per mile LSD pace.  These paces, in the past, have generally led to marathon times ranging from 2:45 for the faster groups to 5:00 on the slower end.  The other assigned training paces for each pace group will include a “lactate threshold” (LT) (roughly a 10 mile to half marathon race pace), a “10K Pace” and a “5K Pace”).  A “marathon pace” (MP) is also assigned to each pace group.  Marathon pace tempo runs (low end “lactate threshold”) become a staple of the training program midway into the program.

Training Schedule:  The training schedule will be made available to each registrant following registration.  The training schedule contains suggested workouts for every day of the week (including “rest” days) for the entire duration of the program.  It follows the hard-easy philosophy with “easy” workout days following “hard” workout days.  It builds to a recommended 50-60 miles per week with long runs building from 14 miles to 22 miles.  Each marathon will have a recommended minimum of four 20-mile long runs.  Three-week tapers are included in the schedule.

Group Workouts: There are two coached group runs each week.  Tuesday evenings at 6:30pm are the quality or speed and hill runs.  The early Tuesday group runs will include hill repeats and tempo runs. After that, the program will move to the track at Montgomery College, Rockville  Campus  for the remainder of the training program.

The group long runs are mostly run at LSD pace and are held on Saturday mornings starting at 6:30am. Most of these runs are mapped for the runners and are loops or out and backs starting and ending in downtown Bethesda, using primarily the Capital Crescent trail and/or Rock Creek trail. Many of these runs include hills.

Communications: In addition to the information found in the “Communications” section below, we also use a voluntary tweet system to announce any last minute weather and other necessary changes. There is also an XMP Facebook page for exchanging “unofficial” information.

Communication Methods: We will use a private, online group to facilitate communications. Everyone will be required to join this group to participate in the program. Instructions on how to join this group will be provided by the Program Director.Participants are also encouraged to join MCRRC-info , the club’s listserv for delivering important club information including race announcements or changes, track closures due to weather or other issues, etc. When joining any of the Yahoo groups, please include your first and last name in the “comment from user” field so that your membership to the group can be verified.

Volunteer Requirement: MCRRC is a volunteer organization. The staff for this and all other training programs as well as that of all the races we conduct are volunteers. To support the club, participants in this program will be asked to volunteer for at least one, if not more, club races or events.

Disclaimer: The program director reserves the right in his sole discretion to refuse admission to the program or dismiss any individual from the program whom the program director believes is unsuited for running the specified distance, or is unable to meet the demands of the training schedule, or is disruptive to other program participants. Those individuals will be denied entry into the program or dismissed from the program as appropriate. The program director also reserves the right to limit the number of participants in the overall program or in individual pace groups. MCRRC has a No Refund policy. Program registration fees cannot be refunded due to injury, schedule conflict or any other reason.