Going back to the simplicity of the Runners World smart coach plan

This training plan was created using the Runner’s World SmartCoach iPhone app. To get your own plan, download SmartCoach from the App Store or create a plan online at www.runnersworld.com/smartcoach

02/20/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/21/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/22/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: Warm; 4 mi @ 7:17; Cool

02/23/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/24/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/25/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 14 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/26/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

02/27/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/28/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/29/2012 - Speedwork
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: Warm; 2x1600 in 6:49w/800 jogs; Cool

03/01/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/02/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/03/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 16 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/04/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

03/05/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/06/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/07/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: Warm; 5 mi @ 7:21; Cool

03/08/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/09/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/10/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 18 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/11/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

03/12/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/13/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/14/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: Warm; 6 mi @ 7:25; Cool

03/15/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/16/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/17/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 20 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/18/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

03/19/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/20/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/21/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/22/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/23/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/24/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/25/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

03/26/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 10 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/27/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/28/2012 - Speedwork
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: Warm; 3x1600 in 6:41w/800 jogs; Cool

03/29/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/30/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/31/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 16 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/01/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

04/02/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/03/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/04/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: Warm; 7 mi @ 7:20; Cool

04/05/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/06/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/07/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 20 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/08/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

04/09/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/10/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/11/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 10 mi
Pace: Warm; 8 mi @ 7:24; Cool

04/12/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/13/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/14/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 20 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/15/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

04/16/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 5 mi
Pace: 8:18

04/17/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 5 mi
Pace: 8:18

04/18/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: Warm; 5 mi @ 7:03; Cool

04/19/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 5 mi
Pace: 8:18

04/20/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 5 mi
Pace: 8:18

04/21/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:18

04/22/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

04/23/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 4 mi
Pace: 8:39

04/24/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

04/25/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: Warm; 4 mi @ 7:17; Cool

04/26/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 4 mi
Pace: 8:39

04/27/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

04/28/2012 - Marathon Race Day
Distance: 26.2 mi
Pace: Marathon 7:33 Time: 3:18:04

The First Moment of Truth / Doubt #nycm #running

I don't know if it's a prioritization thing or a psychological thing, but I have yet to fill out my training plan completely, either in my RunningAhead.com Training Plan or in my Google Docs spreadsheet.

Last week featured back-to-back 11 and 13 milers, ending with a 15 miler at the end of the week.

Wednesday (tomorrow) and Sunday this week and next feature a 14 miler and an 18 miler.  Those seem pretty daunting at this point.

It's not the distance or weekly volume that has me apprehensive. I've went as far as 23 miles in training runs before. My plans have peaked with a few consecutive weeks around 80 miles per week. With this plan, my first 20 miler is still weeks away, and the plan peaks at 70 miles per week.

One difference is that this plan is structured differently: My former (often improvised) 80+ mile plans consisted of lots of "doubles": 2 runs in a day. It's a little easier to squeeze in workouts when you do 7 miles, 5 miles, etc... then one 20 miler. I'm also trying to stay fairly faithful to the up-tempo and marathon pace long run schedule (so far).

Another possible difference is that my work and family schedule have made me favor (almost exclusively) the early morning run. I was doing outdoor runs for some of those, but the excessively humid air on the one cool day in the middle of a long hot streak was so laden with gnats that I really haven't had the interest in getting back out there in the darkness until it cools off a little.

That leaves me running on the treadmill, and for the interest of time, the treadmill downstairs.

For 2+ hours.

Twice a week.

Maybe I'll venture outside tomorrow morning.

Two 2+ hour runs on a treadmill in the same week.

Switching focus away from the marathon for a little while

I've had a combination of really good marathon experiences and really bad marathon experiences at this point.

The race day experience doesn't bother me too much. The marathon is a challenging distance to run well, because little problems early on (and even 24 hours before) multiply over the 26 mile 385 yard distance:

  • Blisters start before the halfway point.
  • Lack of proper fueling or hydration shows up between miles 15 and 20.
  • Unseasonably warm weather usually takes it's toll for the 8-10 minute miler about the time you hit mile 20-23.
  • Eating the wrong thing that morning becomes exponentially nasty with every mile you're out on the course.

The problem is, I've had 3 bouts with injury, including one that occurred within 7 weeks of this year's Chicago marathon. There's an aggressive mileage target that I want to hit (80-100 miles per week) for the performance that I want out of my marathon. The mileage itself is not an issue: I've successfully run 80+ mile weeks before with only the expected fatigue. The problem is scheduling that mileage into my routine.

I end up injured because I stubbornly stick to my mileage target on weeks that I don't have the time to follow-through. That means that I:

  1. Stack too many runs in a day [triples with well over 20 miles total]
  2. Run too fast [within 10 seconds per mile of my marathon PR for every run]
  3. Start building up 5 or more miles per week at a time.

I guess the whole "marathons disrupt a runner's progress" line of thinking finally got to me. (See: The Marathon: A Race too Far?)

I've completed 7 marathons so far, and I've only had a consistent 16 week training period for 3 of them.

  1. My first one was a 4:34 PR in Outer Banks, NC [My first marathon, ever]
  2. The second one was a 3:39 PR at Flying Pig.
  3. The third one was a 3:32 PR at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.

The others? I came off of injury or ran 4-6 weeks after another marathon. Two of them were extremely hilly marathons:

  • 4:42 at Hatfield-McCoy six weeks after a 3:39 PR at Flying Pig (I also vacationed the week before and had sore leg muscles when I start).
  • 4:32 at Flying Monkey coming off of 6 weeks of injury.
  • 3:49 in Memphis after a 3:32 in Indianapolis--the second marathon wasn't hilly and I was still in good shape.
  • 4:24:50 in Chicago after injury within 7 weeks of the race and 86'F high downtown.

So far, it appears that the recipe for the greatest chance of success is having at least 16 solid, consistent weeks of training. Also, after running the marathon, my running takes a huge step backward for at least a month. To get to where I want to be for marathon training, I think I need to back off the focus on the marathon.

So, instead, I'm going for some INSANELY lofty goals for my current ability--basically, race paces below 7 minutes for all races up to the half.

  • A 19 minute 5k
  • A sub-40 10k
  • A sub-70 10 miler
  • A sub-90 half

I can do 5k training plans in increments of 4 weeks, and even the half in 12 weeks. I can also race a 5k every weekend without really risking injury if I run easy the rest of the week.

Don't think that I'm giving up on the marathon; I have a ticket that I need punched for the NYC marathon next year.

Cancel your runners magazine subscription #twit2fit

No, I don't mean that, do I? Ok, then, as long as you just read it for the pictures, it's okay to keep it.

Actually, I have nothing against the popular running hobbyist magazines. However, you must realize what a magazine is. Magazines have several new messages every issue. Otherwise, why would you need the next issue?

While some may even take issue with some of the advice presented in the articles, I think there's a greater danger: lack of consistency. Just like you can't chase every mutual fund that a money magazine recommends, or go with the diet that you've obeyed the best that day, you can't change training plans on a weekly or monthly basis.

Yet, that is just what will happen if you take the articles to heart: you'll switch plans. You'll switch because the first thing that will happen is the doubt that you can pull this off, that this plan is right for you. It happens on term papers, on novels, on investments, and certainly on a 16 week training plan. To compound the psychological effects, your body will be giving you feedback through all of the tough workouts, through all the pushing yourself a little further. Your body has to restructure itself to grow, and while that process should not cause excruciating pain, it will probably cause some discomfort.

Whether you're going from couch to 5k, training for your first half-marathon, or taking the plunge for your first marathon, stretching your limits is not comfortable. Stepping out of your comfort zone is how you grow. Revisiting that feeling, again and again, is how you excel.

If you're doing you first training for a specific distance, any plan that increases weekly mileage an average of 5% per week and mixes in different speed runs will work. Go fast once per week, go long once per week, and enjoy all of your runs.

Good luck.

Added from an @runtowin comment:

Some runner's magazines concentrate on local stories and are way better than the national ones anyway (New England Runner)

Re-evaluating my training pace

480px-speed_limit_60_signsvg

Using a "theoretical" 7'01" mile race (based on only being able to run a 7'19" mile interval), I did a gut check on my pacing.  Yep, I'm running too fast.  Shocking.  I'm going to have to force myself to run at 6.0 mph on the treadmill.

  • Recovery Jogs 10:33 to 11:03
  • Long Runs 9:33 to 10:33
  • Easy Runs 9:33 to 10:03
  • Tempo Runs 8:14 to 8:35

Speed Workouts

Long Distance Runners

  • 400m 1:46.7 to 1:52.9
  • 800m 3:43.0 to 3:53.4
  • 1000m 4:45.7 to 4:56.6
  • 1200m 5:42.8 to 6:00.2
  • 1600m 7:46.8 to 8:04.0
  • 2000m 9:53.3 to 10:04.9

via The McMillan Running Calculator.

Marathon Training plan and Pushups Plan #twit2fit

Smart Coach Plan Created on 1/5/2009 - loose guide for mileage ramp-up and interval/tempo pacing. I plan on slowing down easy days as much as necessary to complete them. The plan says 8'56" miles, but Daniels' 2nd edition has as slow as 9'14" based on a 21'54" 5k time.

Start mileage: 51 miles, starting last Monday.
Peak mileage: 74 miles.
Marathon date: 4/19/2009.

Pushups Plan - 2,090 pushups in 10 consecutive days so far. I'm planning on +1% every day until I can't continue the pattern. No time limit on sets, except for available free time. I've been completing the sets within 30 minutes to an hour each day. Hopefully, the workload is light enough to allow consecutive days. The way I've done the breakdown, I won't reach 100 consecutive pushups until June.

Shorter plans:
100 pushups in six "weeks"
200 situps in six "weeks"

McMillan Speed Workouts based on 21:41 5k

From McMillan Running Calculator:

Speed Workouts
Long Distance Runners
400m 1:35.2 to 1:40.7 - 9.44 mph to 8.93 mph
800m 3:18.9 to 3:28.2 - 9.04 mph to 8.64 mph
1200m 5:05.8 to 5:21.3 - 8.64 mph to 8.33 mph
1600m 6:56.4 to 7:11.7 - 8.64 mph to 8.33 mph

I'm going to be working with intervals at the 400/800/1200/1600m distances, just to motivate me to do something different.

Post- fall marathon & turkey training run #twit2fit

7.1 miles in 65 minutes... that's good for 9'10" per mile.

Training Begins Again
I ran a day after Thanksgiving Day run last week downtown, but this is the second day of the start of my recovery and build-up to the next marathon, some time in the spring. Goal time: sub-3:30. That will require a peak mileage of at least 60, and an 12-week average mileage of at least 50 miles. That program will start in earnest around January 1st with the Hangover Classic, putting in about 50 miles the first week on the new year. I plan to follow a similar build-up to last year:

In the meantime, I'll do a quick ramp-up in December including this weekend's Santa Sprint and Stroll 5k and probably next weekend's Reindeer Romp 4k (if I can PR in the 5k, then an easy 4k PR will bring me to 10 PRs this year.)

Turkey Day / Marathon Taper and Recovery Bloat
I went from 166 pounds on 11/18/2008 to 172 pounds yesterday, after Flying Monkey Marathon recovery (and eating) and Thanksgiving Day/weekend eating. Dropped down to 170 pounds this morning, so maybe I'll be in the mid-160s by the end of the year. To help facilitate this progress, I'm back on the wagon tracking calories--it works for me.

Recent Monthly and Weekly Distances

52 mile week at the end of July.

July was a 155 mile month.

Where can I go from here? Cardio isn't completely gone... I've been cross-training a decent amount...

Ok... that doesn't say much. 2-3x per week for 30-45 minutes each time for cross-training.

Flying Monkey is November 23rd.