Yikes! Winter Training begins soon!

Thanks to a tweet, I was reminded that the Boston Marathon is 20 weeks from today yesterday. That means if I’m going to start an 18 week training plan, it starts December 16th. I knew it was coming… putting on the calendar makes it real though!

So, the question is: how should I train this winter? I’d love input.

Option 1: The advanced marathoning 18 week, 55 mile week peak plan. This is the plan that I used for the KC Marathon in October. Thanks to this plan, and an injury-free year, I’ve blown away my past mileage training totals. My feet have been doing really well – which I attribute to the anatomically-correct Skoras I’ve been running in primarily in the second half of the year. The arguments against this plan are first, that I was well off my PR (-6 min) at the goal race. Also, it will be hard to put these miles in during the winter months. The argument for it is that it didn’t get a fair shake (i.e., I didn’t give it a fair shake). I ran a September marathon 5-6 weeks prior. I was also involved in some fairly radical (for me) diet experimentation leading into both the September and October races. I switched from ketosis back to glycogen dependence just 3 weeks before the race, and I gorged on fine food at Disney the week before the race. C’est la vie.

Option 2: A lower mileage plan. TBD. I could simply replace some of the medium effort, medium distance runs on the AM plan with cross-training. E.g., run 3x a week (cross-train 3x, rest 1x) instead of run 5x (cross-train 1x, rest 1x), subbing in cross-training for those runs. I’ve done this before successfully. The argument against this plan is less running means less goal-specific training. The argument for it is that my PR came in April at Garmin after a winter of heavy cross-training substitution into a running plan. My use of the AM plan had another failing: the “leveling effect.” This is the key to mediocre training: too fast on the slower target pace runs, too slow on the faster target pace runs. With this option, I won’t have the “I ran pretty hard yesterday” excuse going into the faster tempo workouts.

Option 3: Suggestions?

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4 comments on “Yikes! Winter Training begins soon!

  1. kylejkranz says:

    First off, I’d generally suggest a coach over a static plan 😉

    However I like going with option 1. It seems the plan worked well for you leading up to KC, perhaps you can find a few ways to modify it based on what you learned from those few months on the plan.

    Don’t sell yourself short by going with a lower mileage plan just due to weather. If you want to find a way you’ll find a way. Especially at your speed, running more will probably help significantly. If you were going to sub in cross training for runs, I’d sub it in for the shortest and easier workouts of the week.

  2. Tad says:

    True dat. I actually enjoy getting out there in the cold, but… I can handle really low temps as long as the wind is <10-15 mph. Some of my most rewarding runs last winter were long runs on the street with a 2-foot high wall of snow keeping me off the sidewalk. Alternatives: I've joined a gym with a 1/8 mile track. The treadmill (hate it, plus I don't like how it alters my gait). There's also a big indoor mall with dwindling tenants near me. I wonder if they'd kick me out? I could pretend to be a mall-walker whenever I saw security.

  3. neltow says:

    Here are some of my notes from my last round of marathon training. Perhaps they will help you.

    From Daniels’ Running Formula…
    Know your own body.
    Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
    Establish priorities.
    Learn WHY you do what you do.
    Consider something new.

    And I definitely like having two cross-training days and one rest day in my week. I highly recommend it!

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