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Monday, October 3, 2011

Marathon Training Thoughts

It all started back in May when I won training with the local chapter of USA Fit from The Happy Runner.  Woo hoo!  I won and then I had to train for a marathon (I could have chosen a half, but I wanted a full).  It all fell into my lap and seemed too good to be true.  ADP and the family were on board so I started training.
The beginning of the training plan was spent going back and forth trying to figure out which group (a.k.a. speed) I should run with.  It was a small training group and found out that I was the only one running my pace so I ran alone sometimes and for shorter runs would run with others.  The other part was that it was not until the end of week 11 that I actually had mileage that I was not accustomed to.  It all worked out in the end and I did some long runs and some short runs and a lot in the middle.

The training plan itself started with the week 1 long run being three miles.  Perfect for those going from a 5K or little training to a full marathon.  However, I had been running a half marathon a month so three was shorter than most of my mid-week runs.  It was a little short for me.

The plan is also 24 weeks long.  I am sure those going from a 5K to marathon need this time, but I was ready to be done after about 14 weeks.  I do not know what other marathon training plans are like, but oh this one has taken FOR.EVER!  I have survived though.

The "mechanics" are similar to other plans...long run on the weekend, track workouts, tempo runs, with some easy runs mixed in.  I love long runs.  I growing to love tempo runs (as long as it isn't hot).  Track workouts are still so-so for me.  Up until now I had been doing 400s up to 2000s for my speed work.  This training plan was time based so 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 1 min and 3 mins for the fast part of the track workout.  I get why speed is important in a training plan.  But can someone explain to me how a 1 minute fast / 2 mins slow is going to help me over the course of a marathon that will probably take me at least 300 minutes?  Just curious.

So...in the future I will stick to shorter training plans so I'm not ready to be done.  I'll keep the track workouts to "longer" distances (all the better now that I know how to set it up on my garmin to do repeats!!).  I definitely plan to keep the tempo runs as well!

8 comments:

Jim ... 50after40 said...

It's always seemed to me that most speed work like 400m repeats or Yasso 800's are really geared for shorter races. I find longer tempo runs SO MUCH more beneficial on marathon day. I know I probably just don't totally get the anaerobic philosophy of it, but like you, I think these shorter faster distances just don't really help as much as longer workouts. 24 weeks is a LOOOONG time - good job on sticking with it.

jillconyers said...

My training plan for Chicago was 2 weeks. I started the plan after 2 surgeries so I thought I would need it. Looking back it was more my OCD tendencies than a need to train that long. I have already decided I will add regular speed work into my next marathon plan. I didn't this time around and I'm afraid I will regret it.

Great post.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

i love that you chose the full!! I agree that shorter training plans are better, but it was good to give your body plenty of time

Jill said...

Most "seasoned" runners don't need a full 24-weeks unless they're coming back from an extended period off (ahem!), as long as you can keep your fitness level up, you can jump back into a program in much shorter time. And I agree with Jim, shorter intervals are not the most ideal for marathons, but they don't hurt (longer, tempo paced runs much better). Can't believe the time is almost here!! :)

Alma said...

I'm a firm believer in tempo runs even though they make me want to vomit sometimes. I think the shorter intervals are good though too for building strength in your muscles & tendons. You may be able to substitute them for plyometric drills if you don't like them?

Darlene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darlene said...

24 weeks sounds long but I train for a half in 12 weeks so I guess 24 seems right - it's twice as long. Short tempo runs don't make sense to me but I'm not fast. Maybe I should do them. Good luck! I'm rooting for you. You will do great!

Dustin said...

New follower! I just finished my first half (Mohawk race, same as you). My plan was for 20 weeks and the last month or so I was itching for the race. Glad to know others have experienced that as well.