This past week, I completed my post spring marathon recovery phase, ran in some interesting places and came up with a training plan to prepare for the NYC Marathon on November 1. Here is how the week came together.
Monday — 8 gorgeous, hot, slow miles (10:21 avg pace, 145 avg hrt rate) on dirt trails in Arizona’s Sonoran desert at the crack of dawn. I had planned to run on the hotel gym’s treadmill, as it was 75 degrees when I began at 5:45 am, and 81 degrees by the time I finished, but could not resist the call of nature outside my window.
Tuesday — off. Had to leave at 5 am for a cross-country flight.
Wednesday — 8.7 miles, including my first attempt at a ladder of speed work, after a warm up, 2x strides, 1×200, 1×400, 3×800, 1×400, 1×200, with equal recoveries in between, then cool down. I am too much of a newbie to post my paces in sub-mile increments, but mile-based paces were 6:58, 7:09, 7:07, 6:58, 6:48, 6:33, 6:28.
Thursday –– 6.5 easy miles (8:49 avg pace, 146 avg hrt rate)
Friday — 7.15 hot miles on trails (10:11 pace, 146 avg hrt rate)
Saturday — 17 miles in 75 degree weather (9:13 avg pace, 158 avg hrt rate). This is my slowest long run in the last year, and a full minute per mile slower than my final pre-marathon long run six weeks ago. I chalk up the sluggy pace to: 1) the temperature being 10 degrees hotter than I have endured on a long run 2) the 60 ozs of water I was carrying in a Camelback; 3) the baby fox pictured below that captured my heart for a couple minutes and 5) the slower recovery paces that I have run during the past three weeks. No matter. Recovery weeks are for enjoyment, refreshment and experimentation.
Sunday — 7.8 early and easy miles on the road at a more pleasant 64 degrees, with 4 strides at end (8:58 avg pace, 151 avg hrt rate).
Weekly Total: 55 miles
Fall Marathon Training Plan
I have 20 weeks to prepare for the NYC Marathon on November 1. After much thought and research, I have decided to follow a modified version of the Hanson’s marathon training plan, and target finishing in 3:30, 8 minutes or about 3.5% faster than my spring finishing time. Big picture, I plan to approach it as follows:
1. Slowly increase my mileage from averaging in the low to mid 60’s per week to the 70’s per week, and peak at 80 miles per week. I love running lots of miles and long term think this is the long term key to building a very strong aerobic system and getting faster.
2. Run my easy miles easier. Last training cycle, I ran most of my easy miles right around an 8:15-8:20 average pace. While I can easily run lots of miles at that pace, it was too hard for me to also do all of getting in enough marathon paced miles, speed work and increase my mileage without risking injury. While I did not get a heart rate monitor until the end of the season, I think I was generally running my “easy” miles with a heart rate around 160, which limited my aerobic development and training my body to more efficiently burn fat. Hanson’s recommends people targeting a 3:30 marathon to run their easy miles at a 9:04 pace on days they feel better and a 9:41 pace on days they feel tired. I plan to use heart rate based training for my easy paces, targeting 150 (70%) on days I feel good, 145 (65%) on days I need to recover and 155 (75%) on days I feel especially strong. Right now for me a 150 heart rate translates to about a 9:00 mile, almost exactly where Hanson’s recommends. Over time, I hope that my pace for a 150 effort will creep up.
3. Follow the Hanson’s plan for speed work and tempo runs. The Hanson’s plan prescribes on Tuesdays a wide variety of speed work at around 5k pace early in the training cycle and slightly slower but longer “strength” work later in the cycle. It prescribes marathon paced runs of increasing length on Thursdays. I may need to do my speed work on Mondays, when I have access to a track, but otherwise hope to follow the plan in this regard as closely as possible. In the heat of the summer, if I can’t hit marathon pace for the entire tempo run, I will target a 170 heart rate, and if necessary adjust my marathon goal when the weather cools down in September.
4. Longer long runs. I plan to follow my own schedule for long runs, rather than the Hanson’s plan which prescribes nothing longer than 16 miles. My body handles very long runs well so long as I have enough time to recover between them, and think long long runs are a key to not falling apart at the end of the marathon. I plan to do six “very long” long runs of 20 miles or more over the course of the cycle, and in the interim weeks run a couple of 5K’s and do shorter long runs where I will practice surges and/or incorporate more marathon paced miles.
5. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. I should have put this one first, but I love to run and run for love. I will adjust plans and expectations as necessary to ensure that this is the constant in my training and race.
Thanks for reading. Your thoughts and feedback are welcome.