I have been totally MIA lately the past few days, so you must be wondering (or maybe you're not, that's cool too....) WHERE HAVE I BEEN? Well my friends, I've been busy RUNNING and sleeping and working and trying to fit in stretching and core work and cross training and eating healthy etc. phew. This training plan is definitely intense, but also really exciting!
Sorry the breakdown is a little blurry- still working on processing it into an image!
So for those who don't know here is a short breakdown of how Hanson's Marathon Method is different from those other training plans out there:
- It's longest run is 16 miles (vs most others are 20 miles)
- It's plan is based on scientific research that mimics how your body feels in those brutal last 10 miles of a marathon (dead, exhausted, burnt, etc.)
- There are no real 'cut-back' weeks (vs most others have a cut-back week after a build-up of 1 to 3 week peak weeks)
- The taper is shorter than others- it starts ~1.5 weeks out from the race, but rather than take away mileage, speedwork, and tempos, it keeps the mileage roughly the same but takes out the other two (vs others that begin tapering ~2-3 weeks out from a race and takes out almost all speedwork, cuts back mileage, and takes out tempo/long runs)
- It has you run 6 days a week and rather than putting all the 'big' miles on one day, it scatters them over two days (making your legs/body more tired = AKA mimicking those very tired legs in the 2nd half a marathon)
There is a whole book dedicated to teaching you about their marathon and breaking all these items down further (and adding in more benefits to the training plan)- there's also a half marathon training plan/ book as well (you can find both books here).
I was really intrigued by this plan because I typically ALWAYS feel super exhausted when I hit mile marker ~16-18 and begin to crash big time from then on in a marathon. I'm not too worried that I won't be hitting the infamous 20 milers for this training cycle because I know I can do them (having previously done 4 marathons in the past helps boost my confidence). The peak week mileage is ~61 miles which is beyond higher than anything I've ever done in the past (I've peaked ~39 miles during my last marathon training cycle); I'm actually pretty excited to be hitting this high mileage! I know that taking the easy runs SUPER slow and easy (see my paces on the above chart AKA almost feeling like a jog to me now) will be a huge key into keeping myself healthy and not burnt-out.
I also really REALLY like that there is no dedicated 'long run day'- I really would put SO much pressure on myself for those long run days that they became much more like a 'chore' rather than something I enjoy doing. Having the ability to switch-around the days to work with my schedule/how I'm feeling is really convenient and melts away that pressure.
One thing that I am already finding challenging (a week and a half into the training plan) is fitting in strength training/foam rolling/stretching. Running more (and at a slower pace) takes way more time! I've cut back on my strength training to shorter, simpler routines (rather than 30 minute full-body strength sessions, I've been doing 15 minute sessions focusing less on legs and more on abs/arms). I figure that my legs are already getting stronger with all the running (I am still doing squats) and am going to try to fit in a 20 minute at-home yoga session at least twice a week to remain flexible/ utilize those meditation techniques to visualize my race!
So, there's a quick rundown of Hanson's Marathon Method and my thoughts behind it now let's discuss how I came to "picking" a time goal for the Rock 'n Roll Las Vegas Marathon.
After reading through the book, it became pretty apparent to me that I should choose a goal a little outside of my comfort zone (this training plan is renowned for shaving off A LOT of time off your previous PR for the marathon). I kept going back and forth between a 3:50, 3:55, or 4:00 marathon goal- I felt like Goldy Locks and trying to find the time that was 'just right'.
I wanted to push and really challenge myself. I knew this training plan was already a challenge (weekly mileage-wise), so any time goal that I set my sight on would be the cherry on top.
Hanson's has various tables that breakdown your various speedwork, long run, tempo, and easy run paces so that is what I used as a general guideline to basing my time goal on. I also like to have the time goal that maybe it too far out of reach (although I'd be beyond THRILLED to achieve it), I'd also be beyond excited to even come close to it (which is why before I decided to train for a sub-4 hour marathon even though my previous marathon PR was 4:14- I got 4:03 in my race).
SO with all these factors coming into play, I decided that I will set my sights on the 3:50 marathon time and adjust if needed. So if I start not being able to hit any of my paces in my workouts, I'm going to take that as a sign and re-assess and look at maybe a 3:55 time goal instead. I'm not hell-bent on getting that sub 3:50 time goal now (I will want to someday), but I know that no matter where I end up at the end of this training cycle and race, I'll be closer to achieving that ever-elusive BQ.
If you're going to dream, why not dream really really REALLY big, right?
So, here's the rundown during week 1 training:
Monday: training didn't officially start until Wednesday, so I opted for a short 4 mile easy run at 9:59 min/mi pace
Tuesday: No training yet, but wanted to get some speed back into my legs so I went to the Steamboat Pilates Studio and did their CoreRunning class. I did mainly 200 and 400's totaling 6.5 miles. I also went to their CoreBarre class in the morning before running.
Wednesday: MARATHON #5 TRAINING BEGAN! 6 easy miles at 10:03 min/mi pace
Thursday: 6 easy miles at 9:58 min/mi pace
Friday: 6 easy miles at 10:08 min/mi pace on the treadmill to really slow myself down and recover
Saturday: REST DAY. I had a skater competing in Vail, so I drove down there at 6 in the morning and then we ended up camping Saturday night with friends (SO tired at the end of the day!)
Sunday: 8 easy miles at 10:44 min/mi. We didn't end up getting back home from camping until after 11am, so that meant a super hot and slower run out on the trails around the lake. I didn't hit my paces exactly, but knew with the trails and the heat, that 9 seconds off really wasn't too bad.
Overall, I'm still getting used to the super slow easy runs (my previous slow runs were 9:30-9:50 min/mi pace), but I know that you really can never go 'too slow' on your easy days so I just need to take advantage of the active recovery!
I am also determined to work in a bit more strength work and foam rolling at night since I'm already pretty time-constricted in the mornings with the longer runs. I totaled 36.5 miles last week and that's the highest mileage week I've had since May!
- Easy miles feel really easy
- Focusing on heart rate and recovery time following easy runs
- Hungry for anything and everything almost all the time. RUNGRY is an appropriate description here
- Time is never enough
- Difficult fitting in foam rolling/stretching/strength training