However, since our 50 States goal means we're shooting for six races a year, we wanted to find a new fall race to do. I studied the calendar, and I think we've found an ideal one. (I don't mean to vague-blog, Michael and I have not totally finalized our choice yet!)
One of the criterion for my search was finding a race a bit later in the season to allow a bit of a rest after Missoula, while still giving enough time for a more complete training cycle before the fall race. My plan right now is to focus on lots of easy base-building through July, so that hopefully I work off it for another PR in the fall.
Once this timing seemed to be secured, my next choice was to try to decide which training plan to use. I've talked a bit about how I'm going back to basics and using Hal Higdon again (i.e. getting over the fact that I feel like a weak runner for using a "beginner" type style, since it really helps me run faster).
I had originally thought I might do a complete Hal Higdon training plan for the fall, but, while I'm enjoying all the easy runs, I do miss speed work. I figure if I feel like this when recovering from races, it will probably only be amplified when I'm fresh and ready to do some work.
This created a bit of dilemma for me then - which training plan did I want to use instead? I've tried Runner's World SmartCoach (which I think should be renamed DumbCoach), Hanson's (which gave me horrible overtraining syndrome), and RLRF (which worked with modifications, but did lead to injury). I bought Pfitz's book, but I prefer a little more balance during the work week, which I would not get with 10-12 mile weekday runs.
These are the major training plans I know of, so after a lot of deliberation, I've decided to try something different and make my own training plan. At first I thought I couldn't do it, but then I realized I've learned so much about what I like, don't like, what leads to injury, what makes me happy overall, etc., that I should actually put my big girl pants on and put that knowledge to good use.
I found I really liked doing the lifting and swimming prescribed by RLRF, so I kept that piece of it. I've also found tempo runs to be the most enjoyable speed work, since they're a "comfortably" hard pace, and I don't get flashbacks to middle school track and wanting to die.
I know it probably sounds insane (or like I'm dumb) to say I don't like frequent track workouts, but I find they're really hard on my body, and I'm pretty sure they led to injury during RLRF. I knew I needed something similar, so I've decided to incorporate hill workouts instead. I've been experimenting with them for a few weeks, and they totally kick my butt and get my HR up really high, but I don't feel destroyed afterwards. I know this isn't a 1:1 relationship, but again, this training plan is my grand experiment, so why not give it a shot?
Running mid-week long-ish runs are a standard part of marathon training, but I find running more than eight miles on a weekday just makes me cranky and irritated, so I've capped my runs at that. Maybe this will stunt my times a bit, but I'd rather have that balance than a few minutes off my finishing time.
Another major thing I wanted to incorporate was a willingness to modify the training plan for races. I've avoided short distance races for a long time since they aren't called for specifically in my plans, which I realize is the dumbest thing ever, so I want to add in a few this cycle, though I haven't chosen them yet. Maybe this whole process will make me less anal. (OK, probably not, but we can hope!)
I realized when I was finalizing this on paper, "my" training plan really is just a modified version of Hal Higdon, but considering his plan worked the best for me (when you account for staying healthy, as well as time), I guess this shouldn't have surprised me.
That being said - I have no real life experience creating my own training plan. Considering the marathon is such a beast, I would love to get your guys' input on what I've put together. I'm completely open to constructive criticism! I'm sure I overlooked something and I want to give myself my best shot. You can find the training plan here.
I haven't included all the details yet, including my running paces. I plan to do the long runs 90 seconds slower than my MP, whatever I decide that is, based on how I do at Missoula. I really like the swim plan I'm using now (two swims a week to build up to swimming 1500 yards continuously), but I'm not sure what I want to do for the fall. I plan on using NROLFW for my weights, though I'm not sure what stage I will be doing, so I've left those blanks as well.
Again, I welcome any feedback you might have!
|Just please don't be this lady.|