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A New Approach to Marathon Training

January 15, 2013

My first week of post-Ironman-Boston-qualifying-marathon-training had some ups and downs, but I’m proud of myself for getting out there and putting in the work.  For starters, it was very challenging to get excited for my 5:45am cold, dark, San Diego winter runs. (Some of my runs were in the mid 30s which I consider to be cold, ok!?)  I also started off the week with some kind of chest infection which I took antibiotics for.  (Hot.)  Overall, I’m verrrry happy to be focused on running again, but I just wish that my runs had some sunlight involved.  Ahh the beauty of winter training…

Early morning running. I got my headlamp from Home Depot.

I got my headlamp from Home Depot!  Industrial strength, baby.

I’m officially training with Coach Trevor again, and I am grateful to have the support.  My marathon training structure is much different from my Ironman training structure where every workout was laid out for me, however, so I’m still getting used to it.  Heck, it’s even different than my last marathon training plan where I followed a pre-set training schedule and everything was based weekly mileage.  Here is what it the structure looks like so far:

1. “Key workouts” (tempo runs, long runs, etc.) spaced out in Training Peaks over a few weeks
2. Run and swim “tweener workouts” which I do in between my key workouts, depending on how I feel.
3. At least 1 rest day per week.
4. At least 1 swim per week (recovery or tougher hypoxic workouts).
5. Max 5 days per week of running.
6. Incorporate strength and mobility sessions.

If it sounds confusing, it was for me too initially, but it makes sense in the grand scheme of things.  I’m trying to ramp up to race Eugene marathon on April 28 at a BQ (Boston Qualifying) pace, so I’m asking my body to do a lot very quickly.  The last run that I raced was Surf City marathon in January 2012 (3:49:30).  After that, bking and swimming were my priorities so I could become an Ironman…and my long run pace suffered.  Now, I’m ready to focus on running again and get FAST!

This marathon plan is set up so that I can do workouts based on how I feel.  If I don’t feel recovered or healthy enough to do a key workout, I will replace it with a tweener workout or take a rest day.  If my legs are shot, I will swim or do the easiest tweener workout (which is a 30 min easy run).  A common mistake that I’ve made, and I know plenty of other endurance athletes make, is push myself to do too much, too quickly, thus not reaping the full benefits of my workouts.  Recovery is important so that I can push myself harder and progress faster!

I’m very type-A so Trevor knows this type of flexible plan is challenging for me, and during week 1, I made some mistakes…
1. I ran 6 days. Oops. One of those days I felt kinda sick. Double oops.
2. I didn’t swim. At all.
3. I added in a random strength training class 4 hours after I completed a tough run.  Needless to say I was spent after that.

I was honest with Trevor, so this week, I am going to limit my running to 4 days, and make sure to incorporate at least 1 swim.  (I haven’t been in the water since my Ironman in November!)  Week 2 is not going to be as reckless as week 1.  Eugene marathon is 14.5 weeks away, so I don’t have any time to waste!

Marathon Training Week 1
M: Tweener #1 – Easy 30 min run
T: Key workout – Intervals
W: REST
Th: Key workout – Up-Tempo 85%
F: Tweener #3 – 1 hour run at 75%, Strength class
Sat: Tweener #1 – Easy 30 min run
Sun: Key workout – 90 min run with 10 one minute fartleks

Total workout time: 6 hours 15 minutes

What kind of flexibility do you allow for in your weekly training plan?

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  1. Gut Check on 2013 Goals « San Diego Fitness Diva

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