On the heels of his strong PR and Boston Marathon qualifying performance at the VA Beach Shamrock Marathon, Kevin Welch is this month’s NOVA Featured Runner. While Kevin’s recent performance at Shamrock solidified his nomination, his hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed and we look forward to many more great races from him!
From Coach Jerry:When Kevin approached me about getting some help with his training, it was clear that he was very frustrated by the fact that he had plateaued in the marathon, and he really wanted to get a Boston qualifier. It was also clear to me that, based on his PRs at shorter distances, he was more than capable of having the breakthrough that he wanted. Kevin was training hard, but he wasn’t training smart, and I was confident that with some modifications to his program, the results were going to come. To make those modifications, I did what every great head coach does–I delegated. Kevin wanted more hands-on attention than I was going to be able to give him, so I asked Erin if she would be willing to take Kevin under her wing. That was a match made in heaven, and with the help of Erin’s excellent advice, and some old-fashioned hard work on Kevin’s part, he met his goal and then some, with a 10 minute PR at Shamrock marathon, in very poor conditions. In good conditions, Kevin can run at least 5 minutes faster than that, and I know he’s ready to do the work to make it happen. I’m really glad NOVA has worked out so well for Kevin, and I’m looking forward to seeing more great results from him in the future.
1) What are your PRs (5k, 10K, Half, Full, any others?)
2) Goal race(s) for this year? Other races planned?
Goal race was the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach. I’d run a number of marathons but my times had plateaued – my four most recent marathons were all within 1 minute (3:35-3:36). I was beginning to think running a BQ (3:30) might just be out of reach. Both Jerry and Erin were emphatic that a BQ was achievable. I started training toward the end of November and targeted the Shamrock as the race to try and BQ. I haven’t looked at future races yet but will probably do some shorter races this summer and run a fall marathon, maybe Philadelphia.
3) What do you consider your best race performance to date?
While I’ve PR’d ever race I’ve run since joining NOVA (!), I’d have to go with the Shamrock marathon as my best performance. Race conditions were less than ideal but I ran a 3:24:32 taking 11 minutes off my marathon PR and qualifying for Boston by over 5 minutes. I ran a negative split (a first) and mile 26 was one of the fastest of the day. It was a nice feeling to be able to pick-up the pace toward the end of the race, not just try to hang on.
4) How did you find NOVA, and what do you like best about the team?
I found Coach Jerry while doing a search for local coaches and he told me about NOVA. What I like best about NOVA is the supportive atmosphere and the balance of intensity and fun. People take their running seriously but know how to have fun doing it. My second favorite thing is hearing Mark Drosky stories.
5) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from Coach Jerry? (or Coach Erin?) Best piece of advice Jerry gave me (aside from telling me about NOVA) was his suggestion to work with Erin. Erin’s best advice was to trust the plan and all miles are good miles, especially recovery miles. Erin talked to me a lot about what I wanted to do and put a lot of thought into developing a plan. I was better prepared than I’d ever been for a race. Running up the Virginia Beach boardwalk, directly into the wind, I kept thinking, trust the plan.
6) What thoughts do you have on your recent PR performance at the Shamrock Marathon?
All I can say is if the race had been on a Saturday, I wouldn’t have left the Yuengling beer tent until after midnight! The race was a huge confidence boost, it showed me that the right approach makes all the difference. Also, Erin and Greg took time to come to the race and endure the elements – says a lot about NOVA and was really appreciated.
7) What non-running fitness related (or other) activities do you enjoy?
There are activities other than running? We have three kids so I spend a lot of time attending my kids’ activities (lacrosse, dance, orchestra, etc.). If I do have time I like to play golf.