Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The training plan

This is the part where I post my training plan, and you all hold me accountable. Not that I don't already have plenty of people holding me to it. I have a running coach (two coaches, actually). And my husband. And my running group (more on that in another post). But sometimes it takes the collective efforts of all of cyberspace to get my butt out of bed at 6am on a Saturday morning to run 18 miles. So here's the schedule, in a nutshell.

M - 6 mile progressive build run (pace increases each mile, so you are running faster at the end than at the beginning)
T - easy 3 miles, and strength training
W - FAST (that's my running group, and the workouts vary each week, but usually incorporate some kind of speedwork)
Th - strength training
F- rest
Sa - long run
Su - BodyFlow class (yoga, pilates and tai chi)

That's the schedule for the next month. The midweek runs will probably change a little bit in April, due to my running group meeting on different nights. But that's not all that important. The core of marathon training is the long run, so named because, well, it's freaking long. For slowpokes like me, it can take upwards of 3-4 hours. So what does the long run schedule look like?

Starting with this coming Saturday (Feb 13), the long runs are (in miles unless otherwise noted):

12, 14, 16, 12, 16, 18, 20, 14, 22, 16, 2 hours, marathon day (26.2)

This is a pretty typical marathon training plan. For those unfamiliar with training for long-distance races, you may be wondering why it doesn't just keep increasing steadily the entire time. And why isn't the 22-miler the last long run before the marathon? Put simply, recovery time is when strength is created. Incorporating recovery weeks every 3 weeks helps the body adapt and regenerate so it is strong for the next ramp up in mileage. This is also the reason for the "taper" (as it is known to marathoners everywhere) - the decrease in mileage and intensity during the 3 weeks leading up to the marathon event.

So, is everyone bored yet? Are you all sleeping out there? ;-) It's okay. Training plan talk can be, well, boring. But at least now you know what I'm supposed to be doing this Saturday (and every Saturday for the next 11 weeks). And you know that tonight, I have FAST (which stands for Fun And Smart Training). So of course you can expect a blog post tomorrow about my FAST adventures... because it's always an adventure at FAST!

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