Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So Here's the Plan...

A few people around the office and a few friends have asked about my training plan-

Why does it take 18 weeks?

How often do you run?

Do you do a run of 26 miles before the Marathon?

...And plenty of others.

I figured I'd attach a jpeg of the training log that I'm keeping on my own computer.

To give full credit, the attached image is mine, but adapted (read: stolen) directly from Hal Higdon's Marathon Training program at http://www.halhigdon.com/.

Some of the key points from the program:

1. Yes, it really does take 18 weeks to train. There are 6 "cycles" that last 3 weeks each. The first two weeks build, then the third is a "step back week," with a shorter weekend run. This step back week is important to keep a runner from "overtraining" and getting burned out or injuring him/herself. There are 5 of these cycles, and then a 3 week "taper" period after the longest week of the program as I get ready for race day.

2. Marathoners run 4 times per week. This is important. Adding the weekly mileage and doing it in 2 long runs will NOT be as effective as the act of preparing for, executing, and recovering from a run on four separate occasions. Again, see overtraining above.

3. Tuesday and Thursday are the Short Runs

4. Wednesday is the "Sorta Long" run. This climbs no higher than 10 miles at the peak of the program (which is NOT the week of the Marathon)

5. Monday and Friday are Rest Days. These are as important as the other days to allow the body to recouperate from the soreness and possible repetitive stress injuries the runner incurs (we'll discuss Plantar Facitis at a later date - painful)

6. Saturdays are the Long Runs. They build to only 20 miles, compared to the 26.2 on race day. THIS IS ENOUGH. A runner who can do 20 miles on Saturday after doing 5-10-5 on Tue through Thur certainly has enough strength to do 26.2 miles after a proper 3 week tapering plan.

7. Sundays are for Cross Training. As Hal Higdon defines it, Cross Training includes doing at least 30 minutes of something aerobic with the body. He suggests biking, hiking, walking, swimming, or (for real runner geeks) "light jogging" for cross training. This is an area where I slacked off last time, so I'm hoping to be better about it this time. I think that if I can get out for a 30 min bike ride while still sore from a double digit run the day before, it should help elevate me to a new level of fitness and help me reach my goal of beating my time from 2009. More updates on this as time goes on... Add ImageSo how am I doing? You can see on the image that I'm through the first cycle of up-up-down mileage, but really not at a point where the runs are anything longer than regular workouts. I can still get them in without changing work schedules, and the weekend runs have all be on my regular rota of routes. I've missed one 3-mile run, but I think I'll survive.

This weekend marks the first push upward in weekend mileage, as I go to 9, then 10 on Saturdays before a step-back to 7. It also marks my first travel since the program started, as we'll head Up North to Petoskey on Friday after work for a FULL WEEK vacation. I LOVE running up there, as there is an uninterrupted path along the lakefront that provides a safe, easily marked, relatively flat route through one of the most beautiful lakeside communities in the Great Lakes. Count me in.

I'm also are going to shift the weekday workouts to M-T-W, as there is a 3 mile run in downtown Harbor Springs every 4th of July, which is exactly the distance I need that week. This year's "Paul Revere 4th of July Run" will mark the first time my wife and little guy will run it with me (I'll be pushing the jogging stroller).

So that's the plan. I just realized I hadn't really done a post like this yet, so it was time to get it out there. This way, my loyal reader(s?) will know what I'm talking about as I navigate the program and track progress.

Till then, keep on' runnin',


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

And we're off...

Hola amigos,

I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya', but I've really been in some stuff.

Actually, that's not really true. I've just been lazy about chronicling what's going on at the homestead and with my running. Truth is, I've been in the actual training program for over 2 weeks, and it's pretty much business as usual. The runs aren't all that long yet, so nothing really feels like a "training run" as opposed to a "workout." (see earlier post on Working Out vs Training) I'm trying to set my mind into the training mode. One good step in the right direction is that I'm setting the alarm and requiring myself to run in the mornings. When I was just "working out," it was okay to sneak a run into my lunch hour if possible, or just stop at the Y on my way home from work. There was very little structure to it- and I tend to do better with structure.

A few things I've learned since last time I trained for the marathon in 2009:

- I'm 2 years older, and I can feel it.
- West Michigan (specifically, my neighborhood) has a lot more hills than the north side of Chicago, and my legs don't mind reminding me
- My current fitness level is a fraction of what it was last year at this time when I had no job, a new geography, a YMCA membership, a 6 week old baby, and nothing to do but go to the gym and/or run outside. I definitely didn't appreciate where I was a year ago. It really was a whole separate level of training I was doing, and who knows if I'll ever achieve that again. If I had run a marathon last year, I would have crushed my 2009 time. But I didn't, so I'll stop speculating and get back to work on this year

Also, last time I checked in, I was getting prepped with new shoes for the Fifth Third Riverbank Run here in GR. I ran it, but was fairly distracted with SYT's first birthday party later in the day. I finished in about 2:34, which is right about 10min miles. That would have been good enough in years past, but I was 2:19 last year and didn't feel nearly as good about this one (which is probably why I hesitated to talk about it here- who likes celebrating the losses?). Either way, I did it, it's over, and I learned that I have a long way to go before 10/9/11 in Chicago.

Training Update:

Week 1 (miles): 3, 3, 3, 6
Week 2: 3, 3.5, 0, 7
Week 3: 3 (this morning), 4, 3, 5

I've had several other ideas for blog posts, so I'm trying to capture them here. As a preview, I'll have future posts (dates not planned, so don't hold your breath) on:

- Training progress
- Hills vs flats
- Nutrition for training
- Nutrition for wellness
- Training while traveling
- Concentration
- Visualization and positive "self talk"
- Particularly good runs and particularly bad runs
- Cross training
- Training plan construction

... and plenty others. I'll do my best to get updates posted more frequently...I promise?

Till then, keep on Runnin'


PS- Did anyone actually pick up the Jim Anchower reference from The Onion at the top? Google the name- his columns are hilarious