Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Kiprunning PR's: Dino LaCapra at the 2017 DC Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

At the 2017 DC Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, Dino LaCapra, a Coach Kiprunning trainee and former DC resident, finally broke the three-hour marathon barrier, finishing the race with a time of 2:57:58.  This accomplishment--the pinnacle for most recreational marathoners--took LaCapra nearly a decade of training and ten full marathon attempts.  His commitment and continued discipline, which involved avoiding rogue freight trains, can serve as guidance for every runner at every ability level.

Coach Kiprunning: Could you introduce yourself to our readers?

Dino LaCapra: My name is Dino LaCapra.  I lived in Washington,  DC for 7 years, but I have recently relocated back home to Miami.  I started running in high school for my cross country team, but I didn’t start long distance marathoning until 2009, when I was living in DC.  My job requires a lot of travelling, so sometimes it's hard to keep the legs fresh and to get in all of the training in that is required for these longer distances.

Dino LaCapra running in a marathon road raceCK: What was the trick? What adjustments did you make to reach your sub-three-hour marathon goal?

DL: The primary difference was that I took a good month off prior to this training cycle, just doing casual runs, to regain energy and the desire to run. In addition, I was able to cut back completely on my travelling, so my legs never were abused by those air miles.

CK: What was your training regimen like? How many days did you run?  Did you complete any strength training?

DL: I ran 6 days a week while doing Pilates on my day off, which is an incredible workout. About four weeks out from the race, I stopped my Pilates work and rested entirely on the 7th day. 

CK: What was your peak weekly mileage for this race, and what was your longest long run?

DL: My peak weekly mileage was 85 miles; my longest run was 22 miles.

CK: Got any delicious recovery food suggestions?

DL: After every long run, breakfast with my running friends--4 scrambled eggs, grits, everything bagel, bacon, and orange juice.

CK: How did you deal with injury to the extent that you either avoided it or were able to rehab effectively?

DL: I used to get injured often when I first started training for marathons.  Eventually, I worked to shorten my stride, and I haven’t been injured since.

CK: What did you learn about yourself--as a runner, as a person--throughout all of your training up to the 2017 DC Rock 'n' Roll Marathon?

DL: You can learn how determined you are after 8 years of training and 10 complete marathon cycles. My previous marathon was just this past September (2016) in Lehigh. I was in great shape, but a heat wave came through, so the race started when it was already 80 degrees. Then, at mile 6, a train cut the course off from us for 7 minutes. I finished in 3:10:58, missing a Boston Marathon qualifying time by 59 seconds. All you can do is laugh and be thankful for the health and ability to run a marathon after that experience.

CK: As 10 complete marathon cycles should indicate, you trained tenaciously for your sub-three-hour marathon.  Could you offer a perspective on how marathon runners should think of their timelines to their PR races?

DL: I take each week at a time and focus only on that week. My friend once told me, “It’s the last two miles/intervals that make or break you.” Putting this into your training--envisioning those final miles--and also ensuring a consistent running regimen are crucial, I think, to proper marathon preparation.  I also worked to a point where I was able to run about 10% more than what traditional training plans would suggest to increase my race-day stamina and to bank some extra miles.

CK: As a follow-up, how would you recommend that marathon runners work through the inevitable setbacks, training interruptions, or even DNF races?

DL: I think each person reacts differently to setbacks. I take them as challenges to work harder and to reset my goal and approach. When my marathons weren’t coming together, I focused on half marathons and was able to drop my times considerably, regaining some energy and desire to take on the longer run. I also have a supportive wife, family, and friends.  Though not all of them understand the sacrifices I've made for training, they do respect those sacrifices.

CK: What advice do you have for aspiring marathon runners of all kinds?

DL: Remember to take it one day at a time, set a goal, and get after it. Only you can make it happen. Actions speak louder than words.

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