Back at it / Marathon Framework

So, this is what recovery looks like:

Not much, but it’s a mile, it’s almost running (Not quite 9 min/mile), and I didn’t die.

I’m about a week out from finishing the course of Lyme antibiotics, and the swelling in my knee is getting back to being manageable. I think the body is almost willing; now to get the mind there.

On a completely other note, a friend is looking to run a marathon sometime next year. My advice was to do it. He’s in decent shape, and I think he’ll crush it. But, his question made me think: When I do go back into shape, how am I going to train?

Base Period
My first suggestion was emphasizing the importance of the base period – one of the things I’ve failed to do, and hope to do better, is to keep a good base. My ideal base, I think, would look like:

Mon Tues Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
3-5 miles Cross 3-5 miles Cross 3-5 miles 8-12 miles Rest
Tempo Cross Speed Work Cross Race Pace Long, Slow Distance Rest

The base appeals to me – it’s about 15-25 miles a week, 30-45 minutes on work days, and less than 2 miles on weekends. Very manageable, very doable, but a solid base.

From my experience and from most of what I’ve read, there are three fundamental principles for a build period:

  1. Periodization This is where you build for 3 weeks, and then cutback on the 4th week.
  2. 10-15% build on the long run only Only adding about 10-15% more mileage every week.
  3. Three 20 milers 20 miles is a funny distance. It’s a long, long way to run. But, it’s not so long that it destroys you like the marathon will.

Most marathon plans add mileage to the workweek runs. I’ve always had a hard spot with this, since, even as my training requirements grow, my work, sleep, and family requirements don’t shrink, especially on week days. I’ll fudge on this a little bit; move from 5K at lunch to 4-5 miles, but that’s adding 15-20 minutes/day instead of another half hour or more for the plans that go to 6-8 miles on weekdays.

So, rather than focus on whole weeks, I focus on the weekend mileage. My plan looks roughly like this:

Weeks to Go Distance Theme Weeks to go Distance Theme
0 26.2 MARATHON! 14 15 Build
1 8 Taper 15 14 Build
2 13 Half/Race 16 8 Recovery
3 20 LONG 17 14 Build
4 13 Recovery 18 13 Build
5 20 LONG 19 12 Build
6 13 Recovery 20 8 Recovery
7 20 LONG 21 12 Build
8 13 Recovery 22 11 Build
9 18 Build 23 10 Build
10 17 Build 24 6 Recovery
11 16 Build 25 10 Build/Base
12 10 Recovery 26 9 Build/Base
13 16 Build 27 8 Build/Base

So, that’s about it. Need to set about getting back in shape, which means I need to set about getting disciplined again.

Everyone running in the fall – best wishes; can’t wait to be toeing the line again.