Hi folks! I’m here to better explain my last post.
I had my Okananagan Marathon plan all figured out. It was going to be Hal Higdon’s Advanced 1 plan. His plans have a good reputation, and I even based my club run schedule off of them and everyone had great success, so I thought maybe I should give it a try. Also, it’s free! And he explains the purpose of each run and how to run it. I had previously used Active.com’s Intermediate plan, but that cost me $35 (or something) and didn’t have much extra marathon advice. Now that I have a few under my belt… I know that running a marathon encompasses much more than just putting in some miles. I’m also a person that really likes to know the how and why of everything.
Hal’s long run progression made sense, and had longer recovery runs which I hadn’t really intentionally done before, but since I would typically do my run club long runs (working up to 6m/10k) on Sunday, I would run my long, marathon training runs on Saturday, thus unintentionally making Sunday’s slow club run a recovery run. He also suggested every few weeks doing a 3/1 long run (first 3/4 slow pace, last 1/4 at race pace). Having tried these before, I thought it would be beneficial to make it a regular activity.
With Hal’s plan there is one speed/hill/tempo workout a week, and I wanted to start doing some specific hill training, but I was concerned about the lack of speed work. The Active training plan had all sorts of different tempo runs and speed workouts that I enjoyed doing because they broke up the monotony of marathon training. I like running fast. It gives me the challenge of overcoming “oh shit I’m gonna die/puke” feeling without running for a million miles (or 26). But without any explanation of why these workouts were in my plan I questioned their benefit and felt that someone just made them up for fun.
Plus I like switching things up occasionally, so I planned out my next marathon with Hal Higdon.
Then, after mentally digesting my last marathon over the past 6-ish weeks, I realized that what I had done in training had worked. I PR’d by 20 min. Maaaayyyybe I should do more or less the same for the next one? And I like tempo intervals. So why should I stop doing them?
Enter McMillan Running. I like to play around with my goal times (maybe a bit more than I should), but somehow I stumbled on this part of his site that basically describes how to design your own training plan.
Then the Type A in me went berzerk, made three pages of notes over lunch hour, then went home and chopped up and restructured my whole training schedule. Seriously, this is an incredible well of information and if you like that sort of thing then I’m sure it’ll keep you busy for a few/several hours/days.
Separate weeks into phases: base, building specific skills (endurance and speed, in my case), then peak/taper. Each week you have a long run, and two workouts. Workout one is specific to which training phase you are in, and workout two either supports that, calls back to a previous phase or to an upcoming phase. There’s much more to those workouts, but you’ll have to read it yourself and nerd out on your own.
I reconfigured my weekly workouts to have a 1 and 2 workout, and so I can keep running with friends. My week will break down like this:
Monday: short and easy run or rest
Tuesday: short and easy or rest
Wednesday: workout 1 or 2 (hills, speed or tempo)
Friday: workout 1 or 2 (speed or tempo)
Saturday: Long run
Sunday: Recovery run
I think this is a good combination of what I’ve done before combined with some new knowledge. It’s close enough to my old plans but at least now I understand the why’s and the how’s of all the workouts. I’m also going to (hopefully) include two leg workouts, three upper body/core workouts, and at least one yoga class a week to keep things balanced.
I just completed week 1, and so far so good aside from my lower body strength workout kicked my ass on Monday and finally today (Thursday) my legs are feeling less brick-like. I took Jamie out for her first hill sprint workout and that was fun. The weekend was a total bust, and I missed a tempo run and a long run but that’s ok. I’ll get back into it this week.