Training Blog: My Dad Stole My Car, And I Won A Big Race

It could be an epic final season -- and calendar year -- ahead for Brayden Marshall, the high school senior from Winfield High School in West Virginia. The Big Ice Track Club co-founder is coming off a junior campaign where he won his second straight West Virginia Class 2A state cross country title, qualified for Champs Sports Nationals and then went on to set PRs in every outdoor distance he competed in this past spring, including performances of 4:13.82 in the 1,600m and 8:56.62 in the 3,200m. He went on to claim the distance double outdoors in the 1,600m and 3,200m. Now all that's left is his senior season, which Marshall hopes to capitalize on. He's tracking four weeks of preseason training for MileSplit in August and September. We hope you enjoy. You can follow Brayden on Instagram @braydencmarshall.

Week 1 - Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4

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WEEK 3 (August 21 - August 27) 


Everyone, there are a few things I want to talk about before disclosing some of my training to you.

First, know that no one training plan is going to work for everyone. Just because it works for me doesn't necessarily mean it's going to work for you. The wonderful thing about running is there's multiple ways to accomplish the same thing, so try different training methods until you find one that works for you.

That's what I've done over the past several years. I've optimized my training to a point where I'm very confident in it, though I'm sure in the coming years there are things I'll have to change to improve myself further. Thats what I love about running. You're constantly progressing in terms of fitness and strength, as well as your knowledge of the sport.

Second, I'd like to let everyone know that this is not where I started my training. What I'm doing now is the culmination of over six years of hard work and dedication to the sport. I have slowly increased my mileage and intensity each year to be where I am now. I largely attribute my success to this progression because it has allowed me to train healthily and consistently while avoiding injury and burnout for most of my high school career.

With all that said, let's get into week two of my training blog.

Monday, August 21: 10.5 miles

Threshold Miles + Hill Sprints 

Today was a solo workout because the team had a long run in the afternoon and I had to head out of town for one final trip before the first day of school on Thursday. The high for the day was a sweltering 93 degrees with humidity, so I made sure to get to the track nice and early for some quality work. I pulled in around 8:00 a.m. and did some plyometric drills before heading out on a warm-up jog and then hill sprints. Today I had 8x10 seconds and our team's favorite hill in one of the Winfield neighborhoods was calling my name. It has the perfect slope -- not too steep, not too flat -- and is the perfect length for a 10-second burst from bottom to top without having to check my watch to see when to stop.

After the hill sprints, I laced up the Vaporflys for some threshold miles. The workout for today was 4xmile at threshold pace based off of a 14:50 5k. The rest between reps was a 400m jog, which usually took about 1:56. The workout went as follows

Mile 1 - 5:07

Mile 2 - 5:09

Mile 3 - 5:09

Mile 4 - 5:07

After I finished, I had a 1 mile cool-down before heading home to do some core work and get ready for back to school. It's crazy how the miles flow by when you run five on the track!

4 mile warm-up/hill sprints

5 mile track workout

1 mile cool-down

Tuesday, August 22: 9 miles


Today was a simple recovery run. I took a moment to appreciate the convenience of summer training. The ability to wake up, run, eat, work out again, eat and not have to worry about much else is great. Regardless, school is a necessity and a pretty enjoyable one at that. If it didn't take up so much of the day, I'd be content with it being year round. These last days of summer are flying by and I'm sure I'll miss them in a week's time, so I've got to make the most of them while I can, right?

9 miles - 6:52 avg pace

Wednesday, August 23: 8 miles


Today was yet another recovery run, but with a few strides added on to the end. This weekend we have a large local invitational, which will also be my last for several weeks, so we're going a little easier to make sure we're fully prepped for some fast times. My legs felt terrible on the strides -- it felt like I was knee deep in water -- but I guess that's to be expected after a hard workout. We always say the soreness comes two days after a hard workout, so I guess it set in today.

8 miles - 7:25 avg pace

Thursday, August 24: 7 miles


We had a tune-up workout today, 8x20 seconds at mile pace. In reality, I have never looked at my watch to tell my pace in a burst shorter than 30 seconds, but having the idea of what the effort should feel like is close enough. The legs were tired again today and it was a pretty universal feeling of sluggishness across the squad. The heat also did not show any mercy to our tired legs and by the end of the run we were exhausted. Strides again felt like slugging through quicksand. Much of this could be attributed to the beginning of school. Who knows what the rest of the week will hold. Hoping to feel a little better by tomorrow and hopefully Saturday at least. I got home from practice, took an ice bath, ate and got to sleep as early as possible prior to our senior sunrise tomorrow morning.

7 miles - 7:08 average pace

These last days of summer are flying by and I'm sure I'll miss them in a week's time, so I've got to make the most of them while I can, right?

    Friday, August 25: 4.5 miles


    I awoke around 5:20 a.m. EST this morning to get some breakfast before heading over to the high school for Senior Sunrise. The early morning wasn't terrible because I got to bed about 8:45 p.m. the night before, but the Senior Sunrise quickly turned into a Senior Shower due to a huge thunderstorm that blew through. We were absolutely soaked and hunkered down in our cars until school began. Luckily, I had my practice clothes so I just changed into that and went through the day with wet socks. On my pre-meet, my legs felt pretty "meh" and again the strides were tough, but I'm keeping a positive mindset going into tomorrow's race. There will be some great competition, so I know I'll have to have my game-face on to win. 

    4.5 miles - 7:00 avg pace

    Saturday, August 26: 8 miles


    Every meet day starts the same for me. My alarm goes off, blasting the Pokemon theme song I've had it set as since I was 10 years old directly into my ear with "I WANT TO BE THE VERY BEST, LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS."

    It may sound corny, but this truthfully gets me amped up and certainly washes any grogginess out of my system. Our meet this week was close to home, only a 40-minute drive away, so we got to sleep in our own beds, eat our own pre-race meal and were home by noon. Taking full advantage of this, I ate my eggo waffles with peanut butter and bananas at the kitchen table and contemplated the opportunity I had. This was the course I first broke 15 on; this is the only race against my hometown/national opponent Ty Steorts until the postseason; and most importantly, this is the last race I got to put on my MileSplit training log.

    With these factors in mind, I left home ready to either PR or end up in the ER. We got to the course and began our team warm-up, which I finally felt decent on after days of feeling rough. We made it through our typical routine of 10-minute warm-up, bathroom break, spiking up and finally headed to the start line to begin plyometrics, strides and our pre race pep-talk. Throughout the strides and plyos, my legs continued their trend of feeling sluggish, but I made sure to stay focused and confident, knowing that I would loosen up as the race progressed.

    The other thing to consider in any race is the adrenaline, which causes whatever ailment you have -- start-line jitters, for instance, make you hypersensitive -- to disappear once the gun goes off. From the very second we started, the pace was blazing.

    We flew through the first mile in a 4:31, and kept our breakneck pace up as we raced down the grass airstrip which housed the course. When I glanced at the clock at the 2-mile mark and saw 9:35, I knew something was off. Our pace had not relinquished in the slightest (though definitely not 4:30 mile pace, it was easily 4:45) and we had just completed the fastest section of the course. We continued to race through the last mile of the race. I wondered who was going to make the first real move for the win. 

    With around 800m left, I made a surge for the lead and took command for what I thought would be the final time. In a typical distance race, you only have one or two shots to take the lead and keep it, and the key is all about timing. I had picked up the pace considerably, but Ty stayed right with me.

    He made a massive surge going into the final 400m, and then I went with him. In what I can only remember through a lactic-acid induced fog, I made my final surge with 100m left and secured the win with a time of 14:57. This time was actually 0.1 seconds slower than my time from the year before, mainly caused by large changes in the course layout and big additions in terms of course length.

    Regardless, it was still a great race, and to walk out with a victory and sub-15 time is a great way to end any moment. Our team came through once again with a victory over several of the highest-ranked teams in our state, and we had great showings across the board. The excitement of the season is truly setting in and I could not have asked for a better start.

    With these factors in mind, I left home ready to either PR or end up in the ER.

      2 mile warm-up

      5k race - 14:57 (1st place)

      3 mile cool-down

      Sunday, August 27: 15 miles

      Long Run

      If race-day is one of the most important times to have close teammates, post-race long runs are the MOST important. I met up with several teammates -- Justin Lipscomb, Landon Brumfield and Lincoln Haynes -- for a run filled with laughs, conversation and pain.

      West Virginia's mountains ensure that we have no flat ground to run on and every incline burned and made even my arms ache from soreness. We struggled through the run and as my teammates dropped off one-by-one, I was soon left to complete the last several miles solo. Luckily, by this time I had entered that wonderful long-run zone where you hardly feel like you're running anymore and time just seems to flow differently.

      Soon, I was finished and returned to the parking lot to find that my car had been stolen. I quickly realized it had been replaced by my father's, who apparently decided to switch cars with me mid-run and left his behind.

      Once I recovered from this shock, I headed over to Aldi's and quickly grabbed the crucial recovery element that secedes any long-run, Chocolate Milk. 

      15 miles - 6:58 avg. pace

      Soon, I was finished and returned to the parking lot to find that my car had been stolen. I quickly realized it had been replaced by my father's, who apparently decided to switch cars with me mid-run and left his behind.

      This is one of several training blogs written by various athletes as the 2023 cross country season begins to ramp up. Check out our training blog series page for more content.

      Training Plans: 

      Franco & Marcelo Parra

      Bethany Michalak

      Payton Godsey