My marathon training cycle for Richmond started this past Monday (yay!!!), and I’m doing something different with my training plan post this time around; I’ve realized that I tend to change my training plan quite a lot during a marathon training cycle (due to injury, work taking over, needing to adjust when I run), so my published training plan very quickly becomes obsolete. So for this cycle, I’m going to talk about my training plan in 4 segments – weeks 1-5 (build-up), weeks 6-10 (speedwork), weeks 11-15 (strength), and weeks 16-18 (taper and race)- and try to stick to a current segment’s schedule as much as possible, and save any major adjustments for the next segment.
I’m following Hanson’s marathon training plan loosely (more about how I adjusted it below)- I attempted it last year and aborted my marathon attempt around week 6, but found that my body responded well overall to running 6 days a week. I think I’ll be successful at completing the plan this time because I’m building off of 6 solid weeks of base-building (vs. going from nearly 0 miles to marathon training last year – not smart). Here we go!
Richmond Marathon Training Plan: Weeks 1-5
The Hanson Marathon Method only has two levels of plans – beginner and advanced – and I find that my skill level/desired mileage falls somewhere in between, so I adjusted difficulty and mileage to customize the plan for myself, while still sticking with their workout schedule and general concept of fatiguing the legs for the long runs. Here’s how I’ve customized the first couple of weeks:
1. Overall mileage – the beginner plan starts at 10 miles, while the advanced jumps from 26 to 41 in the first week, so I adjusted easy mileage (basically Tues/Weds/Sun runs) to start at about 30 miles and limit mileage increases to less than 10% each week to prevent injury.
2. Speedwork – the beginner plan doesn’t call for speedwork in the first 5 weeks, but I happen to like speedwork and have been doing it already, so I added in the speedwork from the advanced plan.
3. Race pace runs – the beginner plan also doesn’t include race pace runs in the first 5 weeks, but jumps directly from 5 miles (and then to 8) in the next segment. Similarly, the advanced plan doesn’t include these runs in the first two weeks, but jumps directly to 6 mile race pace runs in week 3. Personally, I find those jumps pretty daunting, so I added in race pace runs starting from 3 miles working my way up to 6. I’ll continue in this linear fashion through the next segments, till I reach 10 mile race pace runs (the highest both plans go).
4. Long runs – I pulled my long runs from the advanced plan, since the beginner plan starts at 4 miles (and I’m already running 8-10 miles for my long run). I also moved my long runs from Sunday to Saturday so I can do them with my running group.
5. Timed 5K – I added in a timed 5K in the fourth week because Hanson’s paces are based off of a recent race, and I haven’t raced at all since last year! I couldn’t find a race that suited my location/date/time, so I’ll be doing a timed run using my Garmin.
I’m pretty flexible about adjusting my training each week – my goals are to run the mileage prescribed for the week and never run back-to-back workouts (at least one day easy running or rest between speed, race pace, and long runs). I’ll report back with how my training is going in weekly workout logs, much like I’ve been doing every Monday for the past 2 months. Wish me luck :D