The Next Step(s)

I sat down last night after work to finish personalizing a training plan from “Advanced Marathoning” by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas. My training plan is for my next goal race: the Kansas City Marathon in October. It’s based on the 18 week AM plan with mileage up to 55 miles per week (max). AM has 8 sets of plans. Four different mileage max amounts, 2 different lengths – 12 and 18 weeks. The mileage levels START at 55 miles per week and go up in 15 mile increments from there, with the most intense plan bearing the foreboding, open-ended label “Marathon Training on More Than 85 Miles Per Week.” So I’m on the “starter” plan.

I’ve plugged everything into an excel spreadsheet so I can use it in the future by simply plugging in the date of race week. The spreadsheet will then calculate the rest of the dates (not hard).

Just in time, too! I knew in the back of my mind I’d have a few limbo weeks after Hospital Hill, but as I was constructing the training plan I was one week off because of the way it’s labeled. When I finished it last night, I realized that training starts Sunday. Yikes! Err, I mean, yay!

Here’s a link to a PDF version if anyone’s curious:

Advanced Marathoning 55 Miles per week 18-week schedule

I made some modifications to the AM plan which hopefully don’t mess up all the good exercise physiology that Pete and Scott put into it. The AM plan is based on a Sunday long run, which doesn’t work for me – I’m just not going to get up that early before church. Also, I usually do a recovery-effort run with Nelson Sunday am. It would be possible to splice a long run into either end of that, but it’s just not ideal, again particularly given the necessary alarm-clock setting.

I tried to give the most attention to the day before and after the long run. I have always preferred an “easy” day before and after – duh! Generally speaking that’s AM’s thinking too, especially the day after. However, AM usually puts an “easy” run the day before the long run, and rest or cross-training the day after. So basically I am subbing a recovery run for the cross-training. Hopefully I am not hindering recovery too much, but I have been doing recovery runs the day after long runs for a while now anyway.

Due to my modifications there are some “extras” I may have to ignore on the Sundays that are more than recovery runs. E.g., tuneup races and a little bit of striding.

While I’m on that subject, there is a lot less speed work in this plan than in the Eladio Valdez plan I’ve used in the past. The authors acknowledge this: “Looking at these schedules, you might be wondering, Where are all the “speed” workouts?” Their response is that their workouts focus on endurance, lactate threshold, and VO2max. Speed is less important for the marathon.

On the other hand, that’s the perfect segue to pace. There’s speed, then there’s speed. Chances are, if you’re trying to follow a plan out of a book called “Advanced Marathoning,” you have an ambitious pace goal. My new pace goal is very ambitious – a sub-3:00 marathon, averaging a 6:51 min/mile pace. Backing out the predictor paces (half marathon, 15K, 5K) that leads to some pretty crazy-fast paces at times – brief spurts of sub 6:00 min/mile, e.g. These training paces are intimidating! I am rationalizing it this way: I seem to be able to race a bit faster than my training paces might predict. So, if I am not hitting these pace goals during training, I’m not going to become discouraged. Also, I don’t expect to blow through 3:00 on the tough KC course. That doesn’t mean I won’t try, but my PR is 3:11 on a flatter course, and just under 3:14 on the KC course. I’ll look to go sub 3 perhaps at Boston in Spring 2014, or find a flat fall 2014 race like Chicago.

So, there it is. I’ve been blessed with injury-free summer training the last two years. I pray my body can hold up to this schedule. If I follow the plan to a T, I’ll be adding another running day to what I typically have done – which is to run 4 days a week. If I feel like I am overtraining, I’ll have to sub back in a cross-train day for one of the lighter running workouts – something I may just do preventatively.

I’m looking forward to the next step(s)!

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