More Than Splits: Tennis Gold Medalist PR’s at Boston by 42 Minutes!

Monica Rakitt (formally Puig) has caught the marathon bug. A gold medalist in tennis from the 2016 games, Monica had to retire early from tennis due to a shoulder injury. Now relying on her competitive nature and looking for new ways to push her limits, Monica has found the sport of running. With the goal of running all six marathon majors in the next two years, Monica started with NYC in 2022. Finishing in a Time of 4:32:39, her next challenge was Boston. Heading into this race, Monica formed a partnership with COROS in which she would train utilizing COROS products, software, and coaching advice. Below is a breakdown of the steps Monica took to set a 42+ minute PR (3:49:47) and a look at her data along the way!

Monica’s Watch: COROS APEX 2

Training Platform: COROS Training Hub

Training Plan

After finishing NYC, Monica and COROS teamed up to develop her running abilities and ensure she had a plan in place to improve over time. The plan Monica choose was from the COROS Training Plan Library (free for all COROS athletes). Settling on the 3:15-3:35 12-week Marathon Plan, Monica was ready to push herself and see what her body was capable of. While the time gap between this plan and her NYC finishing time is large, COROS workouts are based off training zones that customize to each athlete which meant this plan would adjust to her current level!

COROS Coaches

Another feature Monica took advantage of along the journey was access to COROS Coaches. This service allowed Monica the chance to connect with a coach and help her understand what all of her COROS metrics meant. This understanding and knowledge of training helped Monica along the way ensure she was training appropriately, and staying on track given her goals. A free service for all COROS athletes, COROS coaches intends to educate athletes on how to track data to better improve. When you combine Monica’s training plan along with her increased focus on key metrics, the picture becomes clear on how she was able to cut 42 minutes in the span of only 5 months.

With this plan in place, we now dig into the data to examine how Monica increased her fitness en route to a massive PR on one of the hardest marathon courses within the major events.

Monica’s Change in Overall Fitness

COROS Education: Base Fitness measures athlete fitness over time.

The spike from Monica’s NYC marathon can be seen in the chart above. Following her race and recovery period, Monica was starting from a Base Fitness level of 40. Over the course of the next 5 months, Monica was able to reach a peak of 92 before beginner her taper. Within this training plan focus, Monica doubled her Aerobic Base and was able to sustain harder training sessions later in her marathon build! This is a key metric athletes want to track as they aim to build fitness. The higher your Base Fitness, the more training you can sustain.

Increase in Threshold

COROS Education: Your marathon pace is limited by Threshold ability.

When running NYC, Monica had a Threshold of roughly 9:07/mile pace. Once Monica committed to the plan and began focusing on workouts, you can see a steady increase in her Threshold abilities peaking at 7:15/mile pace. Athletes run a marathon at roughly 80-90% Threshold which means, the faster your Threshold, the faster pace you can sustain in a marathon (given proper training volume). A testament to Monica’s dedication and competitive nature, She cut 1 minute 52 seconds off of her pace. When we extrapolate that out to the marathon distance, it equals 48+ minutes saved based on projections. We can see a slight reduction in abilities during the taper which aligns almost perfectly with Monica’s 42+ minute PR on race day!

Training Zones

COROS Education: COROS zones adjust automatically based on athlete performance.

When running a marathon, athletes should aim to hold their Aerobic Power zone when targeting a sub 4 hour marathon. For athletes above 4 hours, your Aerobic Endurance zone is best. As Monica went through her training plan, it continually updated with her new zones and adjusted to her past training! Heading into race day, Monica and COROS Coaches agreed to target a pace near the upper limits of her Aerobic Power zone. Having a proper pacing strategy is what kept Monica controlled from the start, and set her up for success on the course!

Boston Marathon Analysis

COROS Education: Athletes can analyze workouts within the Training Hub

Going into Boston, Monica created a 26.2 mile workout on her watch. She set the parameters for this workout to include her Aerobic Power training zone. You can see in the chart above the light green shaded range is this pace zone. While Monica went out slightly faster than anticipated, for the bulk of her run, she was able to stay her zone. Its likely the time spent above initially resulted in more time below this zone later in the race (along with overall fatigue), but overall this was a fantastic display of pacing. Monica ended up running 8:43/mile average pace with an official time of 3:49:47!

Time in Zones

COROS Education: See how much time was spent in each zone after an activity.

As noted above, Monica went out a bit faster than her pace, but then settled in nicely. Near the tail end of the course, along with the famous hills of Boston, Monica slowed into her Aerobic Endurance zone. Ultimately a perfectly paced race may have resulted in 2-3 minutes faster overall, but for Monica and her newfound fitness as a runner, this was an exceptional display of patience and determination!

Whats Next for Monica?

Monica has the goal of running all six marathon majors within the next two years. Following Boston, she is getting on a plane to run the London Marathon on Sunday, April 23rd. Based on recovery, course conditions, and mental focus going in, Monica and the COROS Coaches will identify another pacing plan ahead of race day. Once London is finished, some well deserved rest time will take place. The next race on her calendar is Chicago in the Fall which will likely follow a more aggressive training plan now that Monica is building experience and the ability to sustain more training!

How COROS Can Help You!

Everything Monica utilized in her build to Boston is available to all COROS athletes. Whether its our gps-watches to help you track your progress, training plans, or access to coaches, COROS has you covered! If you’re looking to improve and take your running ability to the next level, check out COROS and allow us to be a part of your next fitness journey! Best of luck to all runners out there as you head out the door and continue to explore perfection!

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