Sunday, June 15, 2014

Marathon Training 2014 Week 1

We are now 17 weeks away from the Chicago Marathon.  That means for most participants that they begun their training schedule this week.  I am among those runners.  The question most people will ask is which plan are you following.  The answer to that is my plan.  I tried to follow Hanson's Marathon Method last year, but failed horribly as I raced too much and struggled to adhere to the strict regiment.  This year I will not be following any particular training plan.  Instead I am borrowing elements from various plans to train how I think will help me the most.

The most important element that I missed last year was mileage volume.  The numerous races meant that I was tapering and recovering quite a bit and just brushed against 50 miles once in the training cycle.  I don't think this was very helpful.  It wasn't until I started running 25-30 miles a week that half marathons became less of a challenge to overcome.  I want to get to 50-60 miles per week training this time with the same thoughts about conquering the marathon.  I also need to get my long runs in since last year my longest training run was 16 miles.  During the marathon I started puttering out at mile 18.  I fully intend to conquer 20 miles twice this cycle to help establish some confidence.  I will be using the Hal Higdon Intermediate plans as a guide for weekly mileage and long runs.  I will probably turn back to the Hanson's guide when it comes to speed work and perhaps even throw in some Yasso 800s at some point.

The other thing that I'm doing differently is that I'm trying to rebuild myself as a runner on the fly.  My injury screening and subsequent therapy sessions have told me that I have bio-mechanical flaws in my running style that will leave me injury prone if I don't adjust. I also have a number of compensatory adjustments that I do mid stride to make up for things like tight hamstrings and hips.  I've been in PT for 2 weeks working on strengthening my weaknesses from the hips on down.  I've also found other exercises and form drills that I've been added to my routine to help strengthen my form and make me a stronger, hopefully injury free runner.

Lastly I'm working on training by effort.  Not all runs should be at the same effort.  According to Ryan Hall - "Most runners run too easy on their fast days and too hard on their slow days."  So with that in mind I have incorporated a heart rate monitor into my running routine.  There are different zones to train in for different workout types.  I've based my zones on what my theoretical maximum heart rate should be, but have not actually tested for my maximum heart rate.  This week has been a struggle to stay within those zones, but as I become accustomed to it, I imagine things will get easier.

Cricket Hill Friday Evening

Monday: 1.69 Miles 8:54 Min/Mile - This was just a jog to my morning PT session and part of the way home after.
Tuesday: 1.03 M 9:43 Min/Mile - Just a streak keeper on the treadmill
Wednesday: 4.03 M 9:19 Min/Mile 163 BPM - First real run of training and first time out with the HRM
Thurs: 1.55 M 9:09 Min/Mile 147 BPM - To PT and back again.  Lower heart rate due to red lights slowing me down
Fri:  5.01 M  8:35 Min/Mile 163 BPM - This was a marathon effort run and I shocked myself at how I was able to keep the heart rate down and the pace up.  I hope this keeps up throughout training.
Sat: 3.03 M 9:39 Min/Mile 155 BPM - This was an easy effort run to try and recover and conserve some energy.
Cross Fit workout HIIT for 45 minutes.  This workout absolutely kicked my butt.
Sun: 8.01 M 10:35 Min/Mile 151 BPM - Nice easy slow effort for my first long run of the cycle.  I could of run faster, but that wasn't the point.  I know my legs will thank me later for doing this.  Keeping the heart rate down became a struggle later in the run as the temps rose and I turned into a headwind for the trip home.
Total Miles: 24.3

Crossfit Gym

So that was week 1 of training.  I'm still beat up and sore from Crossfit, but am otherwise in 1 piece.  The tendinitis I went to PT for didn't even flare up after my long run today.  I also made sure to take a peak at the new track being built over by Montrose and Cricket Hill along the lakefront path.

Can't wait for the track to open


  1. Not that I run marathons or anything, but the idea of maxing out your long runs at 16 miles has always seemed so odd to me. How does one just add 10 more miles on race day? Two 20-milers sounds like a much smarter strategy.

    I'll be interested to hear how the HRM training goes. I keep an eye on mine, but don't really let it set my pace.

  2. Hi Eric,

    Two thumbs up for Hal Higdon's Intermediate...stood me well for my first few marathons. Adding in the speedwork
    from Hansons is a great idea.

    Interestingly I'm trying Hansons this time except I do plan to extend the 16 milers to 3 hours which should take me to about 18-19 miles.

    Previously I've done up to 22 milers with the last 6-8 miles at marathon pace and that worked well. But with hansons I think I'll be pretty tired from the previous days and 3 hours should be good. I will see. ;)

    I'll be at Chicago too by the way. Hope it's a cool year!