Like I will with the marathon, I'm going to break down my training into phases. I'm having two rounds of foundation building - consistent running and lower mileage with cross training - before the actual Marathon Training Plan begins (more on that later).
Phase 1 began in the beginning of March when Marci and I were talking about actually doing a marathon. I figured I needed to get my butt back in shape and my body ready to hit the road again. As always, my confidence in my ability is low and having a plan of execution really helps my mental state of mind. I used the Nike+ 10k Intermediate Plan to get back into running. I really wanted to get to the point where going out for a 10k was no big deal. I included more of The Ultimate Yogi in the plan to help stretch and strengthen my legs and core and do a little trial and error with other cross training. Here was my Phase 1 (adjusted to what really happened):
Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how Phase 1 went. Running five and six miles now doesn't feel like a big deal and that was my main goal. I keep wanting to run more, but Marci and I have to keep telling ourselves not to do too much mileage too soon and burn out. So far the hardest part of training has been holding back.
Phase 2 starts today and I'm modifying a Hal Higdon Intermediate Spring Training Plan for the next 10 weeks. He uses a 12 week program running six days a week, and I've modified it to 10 weeks running five days a week. I'm incorporating two days a week of swimming into the plan as well since I'll be returning to Lake Tahoe in August for the Big Blue Adventure 1.2 mile swim (and upping that to three days a week four weeks before the swim). I'm still trying to include a few days of yoga into the mix because its been great for recovery and for strength training for me. I've also adjusted the schedule due to a little traveling I have to do in the middle of the month of May and a backpacking trip we've planned for early July. Its all about being flexible, yet committed to the plan.
To explain a few things on the above plan:
I talked about Tempo Runs in my Speed Training post. A short tempo run is simple: warm up for about five minutes at an easy pace, then run faster at a pace for 5-10 minutes, faster for the next 5-10, and even faster for another 5-10, and cool down for five more minutes. You're basically pushing your body to incrementally run faster.
Fartlek is a Swedish word for 'speedplay'. You basically run from point to point as fast as you want. Warm up for 5-10 minutes, then pick a tree or street sign to sprint to, then slow back down and recover. You do that over and over again for the time of the run. Its very free form and is just another way to train for speed.
Interval Runs are the 8 x 200, 4 x 400, etc runs listed above. Here's what Hal says about them:
Warm up before and cool down afterwards--and don't forget to stretch. Run the 200s at about the pace you would run in an 800-meter race; run the 400s at about the pace you would run in a 1,500-meter or mile race. Walk or jog 200 to 400 meters between each repeat. If you don't have access to a track, you can do these workouts on a golf course fairway or straight-away.
Coming soon, The Marathon Training Plan.