Sunday, July 19, 2009

My marathon training: Week 1

Close-up of the cool tech tee that arrived on my doorstep Saturday!

Week 1: Rest on Sunday; 4 easy miles on Monday; 6 miles of hills on Tuesday; rest on Wednesday; 4 easy miles on Thursday; 4 easy miles on Friday; 7-mile long run on Saturday. Total: 25 miles.

Last week, I followed my Bart Yasso intermediate plan very closely. The easy runs were done at an average pace of 9:06 per mile, the long run a little quicker, at 8:44. I programmed my Garmin to help me hold back the pace on the easy runs, because I knew I'd be more susceptible to picking it up otherwise.

I also did a brick Thursday morning, driving to the Aquatic Center uptown and doing the 4-miler from there, then jumping into the pool for a 1,500-meter swim. Typically, I try to do a 17- to 30-plus-mile bike ride on Sundays or Wednesdays, but it didn't come together for me last week.

The only cheating I did at all during Week 1 was throwing in half a dozen hill repeats in the middle of Tuesday's hilly run -- the plan says not to start the repeats until Week 8. (But for what it's worth, I didn't run them too terribly hard, and this particular hill -- though steep -- is only about 0.2 miles long.)

In some ways, it didn't even feel like I'd started a marathon training plan. Not including the week of July 5, when I logged only 15 miles because I was resting a minor injury, my recent weekly totals have been 26.3, 28.7 and 29.6 miles. So 25 miles didn't feel like anything special, and a long run of 7 miles seemed kind of embarrassing (my usual is 10-12), especially as friends on Facebook post status updates announcing long runs of twice that distance.

The other thing is that in recent months, I'd started to do fairly regular speedwork -- often in the form of hill repeats. So it was a little troubling to me that I'm not scheduled to do any type of fast workout till the end of Week 6, when I'm supposed to do a 5K race (that weekend I'll actually be subbing in the Lake Norman triathlon, which ends with one). Speedwork doesn't really start, on my plan, till Week 8.

My fear is that so much easy running will cause me to get slower. But according to Mr. Yasso: "There are only so many times you can really lay it on the line. If you do it week after week, you're going to dread it."

This quote appears in the July issue of Runner's World, which is where and when this plan I'm using was published. And -- frustrating as easy running may be -- I'm going to assume Bart Yasso knows what he's talking about since, well, he's trained more people for marathons than I have.

Thoughts or advice regarding my training? Want to share stories about how your own plan is going? Fire away!


Anonymous said...

I have joined the USA Fit marathon programming in Charlotte. This plan, like yours does not seem like a difficult training plan, yet. I was used to running or doing some physical activity everyday. Now we have specific rest days and cross trainng days. It seems like I am running less, but the running I am doing is more specific. Saturdays are for long runs on hills and other days are combo tempo / easy, etc. I feel as though I need to do more, but I do feel rested on Saturday with Friday being a rest day.

Anonymous said...

It will build up fast enough. Lay the groundwork; avoid injury; challenges will come. It is better to avoid injuries than to recover from them.

I previously suggested you were setting your sights too high. Clearly you have the natural speed (and youth) on your side. So despite my 13 marathons, I will say not a discouraging word re. your most optimistic plan. Be well.

amlinz said...

Way to go Theoden. Supplementing with the swimming and biking you are doing, makes for a pretty good week. Ya, stick to the plan. I am being much more cautious this summer about getting in long runs but at a slower pace as my body tends to recovery better. I am a big believer is the semi-long run each week. Most marathon schedules do a really good job to help build your long runs. I think though during the week, it is good to try and find time to get a semi long run in...say 75-80% of the distance of your long run. As an example, if you go 15 for long, see if you can get 11-12 during a run in the week. You can build up to this too (maybe make it 8 then 9 the next week, etc.).

Anonymous said...

The USA Fit program ran by Run For Your Life is not a great program. I personally think it's a rip off because they really don't teach you anything. They have so many "coaches" but they don't do anything. Yes, they give you a running schedule but you can get that online. Way too much money for "coaches" to show up and not teach you anything about running and proper training.

Anonymous said...

As others have said, don't worry about the slow start - you'll get to high mileage soon enough. The key is avoiding injury and, given your recent injury, take advantage of the easy start. I'd also recommending curbing the biking and swimming during your "rest" days. While cross training in general is a good idea, you need true rest days during high mileage marathon training.

Anonymous said...

I would at least take a glance at the book FIRST Marathon Training. It was published by Runner's World and the research was done by extremely well known Health and Exercise Science professors from Furman University. Many have said it is the most efficient plan out. No matter if you were training to run sub 3 hours or over 5, it works and their research has proved it.

Anonymous said...

I am running the Marine Corps Marathon in October. A fellow Marine buddy of mine turned me onto the Runners World Smart Coach. I am in the 3rd week of it and love it. Generally, there is 1 long run, 1 easy run and either a tempo run or speedwork. You simply put in your recent race times and it develops an interactive program.

If you are looking for a program that is fairly easy on your body, this may be the choice for you.

In the same breath, this is my first time using it, so I am not sure of the results. I feel like Runners world would not use it if it didn't work.

So far, I am very pleased.

Michael said...

If the mileage is easy for you right now, why not take advantage of the opportunity to concentrate on form, work on your cadence, or pay attention to some other aspect of your running that may not otherwise get much attention during your busy training schedule? I'm constantly thinking about these things on otherwise "easy" runs.

Allen said...

My 2 cents - I'm using Yasso's training program too, but I don't believe you really need to follow it so rigidly. If you've progressed to the point where your long runs are 10-12, why not start there? The key is to avoid big jumps in weekly mileage - that's when the injuries pop up. The rule of thumb is no more than a 10% increase per week.

And while Yasso's plan is a nice template, you really should be flexible and listen to your body. For example, if you have some nagging soreness, you probably should avoid hard speed work until your body has adequately recovered. Brad Hudson has a great book detailing this philosophy of adaptive running, "Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon". Good luck in your training!