The journey of a thousand mile begins with a single (mid-foot striking!) step.
This week I’ve commenced my 20-week marathon training program that will hopefully take me (uninjured!) to a good, sub-4 hour finish at the 2011 Gold Coast Marathon on Sunday July 3.
I had been tinkering with developing my own training plan for a number of weeks, but wasn’t confident I was getting the phasing right – the mix of build-up and step-down weeks over the life of the training cycle. I’ve learned a great deal over the last 18 months or so, but in the end I wasn’t confident that I was capable of pulling together my own plan as well as I would have liked.
When the GC Marathon training diaries were published last week, I was immediately intrigued and attracted to them. They’ve been devised by Aussie coach and running legend Pat Carroll and take a time-based approach to many of the key run workouts. Pat knows the GC marathon very well, having won the event himself four times in 1983, 1984, 1988 and 1997.
I weighed up whether to do the intermediate or advanced plan. Most advanced plans I’ve looked at are beyond where I’m at or where could get to over the course of a training cycle, but this plan (given a lot of the runs were time-based and aimed at finding a marathon pace rather than setting one) seemed more manageable.
It requires me to run five times a week most weeks, and the most I’ve been running is four times a week. Again though, I think I can manage the extra run within the framework of this particular plan.
There are essentially three types of runs, Comfortable runs, speed sessions and ‘possible races’. Here’s how the intro to the plan describes each:
1) Comfortable runs - These sessions are set to time only, ie; 30min or 2hrs or 3hrs etc. These runs are to be run at a comfortable pace (still able to carry out a conversation).
2) Speed sessions - These sessions will allow you to become a faster runner and involve an active 10-15min warm up followed by what is noted (core of the session). Always finish your speed sessions with a cool-down jog followed by stretching.
Example 1: 6 x 500m, 1min SR. All 500 metre efforts will be run at a similar pace and by the time you have finished your 6th you will be starting to tire.
Example 2: 15 min effort. You will be running at an even pace throughout and when you finish you will feel like you could not have travelled much further while holding the same pace.
Example 3: Hill reps. These will last either side of 1 minute and a slow jog back down the hill will act as your recovery.
3) Possible race - These will be run at an even pace throughout and when you finish you will feel like you could not have travelled much further while holding the same pace. You will be able to use your 3k Time Trial performances to help predict a manageable pace for your races. You will be able to use your performances in your ‘possible races’ to help predict a manageable pace for your Gold Coast Airport Marathon event.
One of the ‘possible races’ included in the program is a Half Marathon on May 15, which just happens to be the date of the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon I registered for last week.
I’ll be posting my workouts on dailymile and may post weekly summaries here also if I have time. I’ll also be providing weekly training updates on the B-HAG Running podcast, which I hope will become a journal of my growth as a runner over the next five months and not just a record of mental and physical breakdown!
Seriously though, I like the organisation and structure of a good plan and knowing that each workout has a purpose and that it will contribute to achieving a desired goal over the long term. My job now is to get out there and WORK THE PLAN!