Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Deconstructing “The Grid”

I wasn’t intending to write this post because “The Grid”, like the fine piece of modern art that it is, defies explanation and demands a bit of personal interpretation, but since Lindsay questioned my masculinity and issues with PMS while others confessed to have no idea what they were looking at, I guess I should reveal some of the hidden meanings and codes within the grid at the risk of depreciating its value.

Thanks again to F.L. for giving everyone an introductory overview to the marathon training awesomeness that is “The Grid”. I will take over, and expand on the other numbers, letters, and colors contained within the chart.

By now, it should be pretty obvious that within each training week, that is a series of seven slots that correspond to the days of the week, and within each slot, there is a recommended distance and a pace for that day’s workout. Pace is generally broken down into multiple different categories (E – easy; G – general; L – long run; R – race) that corresponds to the expected effort of each run. The numbered pace runs are speed workouts and correspond to the same number and color as can be found in the lower speedwork box. Green runs are speed interval workouts, while the light brown runs are tempo workouts of 5 to 8 miles. This year, I’ve also added some purple or marathon-paced training runs to the running mix. As you can see, I have 8 tempo runs, 4 interval workouts, and 3 marathon paced run scheduled for this marathon training cycle. Since each speed workout involves a warmup, a quality run and a cooldown segment, there are spaces for each to record the corresponding time spent doing each segment.

Not to be outdone, colors on the main worksheet have their own brand of significance. Color on the speedwork days correspond to their individual workout assignments while blue runs are long runs of twenty miles or more and yellow runs are short and mid distance races that I’ve entered or are planning to enter. Eventually, all roads must converge on red, which denotes marathon Sunday on 11/1. At the end of each training week, there is a summary tally of the distance and average pace for the week while at the end of the marathon cycle, there is a total number of the composite distance and pace traveled.

So that’s my training plan, in a nutshell. Hope it makes a bit more sense to someone else except FL and me!

My Running Update:
The long run this weekend didn’t happen. I only ran 9 out of the 18 miles Sunday morning because I had a migraine prior to starting and just never felt comfortable out there. Yes I sucked. I’m chalking it up to a non-running injury and moving on. Next up is 5 mile tempo run tomorrow and a 20 mile Long Training Run on Saturday. This should be interesting…


lindsay said...

oh no the almighty grid had to come down to a commoners level, the shame, the shame. ;)

after looking at it some more i figured it out for the most part. it was the initial "what are all these numbers" that went straight over my non-analytical head. :) apologies, oh grid master. i offer my humble apologies and am forever indebted to thee.

hope that helps the grid's ego. :-p i do like that your long runs are similar in length to mine, makes me feel like i'm not too crazy for doing 18+ miles already.

sorry to hear the bugs have stuck around a little longer. hurry up and shake it off for good! have a good tempo!

B.o.B. said...

The Grid is intense! Color coded and everything. I love it. I love spreadsheets. In face my plan is all color coded and workbooked as well!

Sorry about your migraine. Hope your 20 goes well.

(BTW if you click on the phrase from my art it'll go to the actual picture so you can see it.)

Kolla said...

Very impressive - love it!

One day I'll need to get myself something like Le Grid, so I too can be a cool runner (instead of a flailing jogger, with a soft j...).

Jamie said...

Impressive. I wish I had 1/10th of your organizational/planning skills :)

Don't worry about a missed LR. You did the right think by cutting it short. I'm sure you will be well rested and rock the 20 miler!

Anonymous said...

I’m becoming restless. Time to break up the drudgery of distance training by running somewhere new. I choose the NY Marathon Long Training Run #1 in Central Park. The run costs $15.00 if entered ahead of time and a little more to pay on the spot. The run is billed as a “noncompetitive” 6-20 miler.
The run’s start is low-key and upbeat. I take in the pre-run chatter. Runners are wowed by a Polar triathlon watch (it records time and distance on the run and in the water.) We talk of our next marathon: NY and Chicago are mentioned most often. Runners bitterly compare notes about the perpetual conflict between Central Park bikers vs. runners.
The run consists of 4 loops; one 6 mile loop, two 5 milers and the last loop of 4 miles. Water is provided throughout the run. At mile 6, 11, 16 and 20, Gatorade and pretzels are provided. GU is located at miles 11, 16 and 20 (does anyone actually down a GU at the end of a run?)
The run starts about 20 minutes late. The course is hilly throughout . Each mile is marked. The sun is blazing hot. Then, we run into luxurious, jade colored shade. The sites that keep my mind off the miles: the Lennon/Ono Dakota, the stately Met, the newly spiffed up Guggenheim, the jewel-like Reservoir and the Fred Lebow statue (checking his watch.) Lebow was a beloved runner who helped organize the first New York City Marathon along with many other notable races.
Unlike most races, the pace groups are well-defined. The event organizers purposefully create time and space between each pace group. It’s a good thing because there are no pace balloons or identifying markers. When I inevitably slow, it’s as if a herd of caribou are behind me.
Most of us end our run after the third loop, at mile 16. Unlike a race with a definite finish, this run allows my running devil to go wild; “stop now, it’s hot and hilly. Quit while you can; with a modicum of dignity!”

aron said...

I think being a follower of the Pfitz plan I was able to decipher pretty easily what you were doing. Its always fun to see how others set up their schedules.

I might be stealing your tempo/interval/GP worksouts from here on out... they fit in nicely and I like the tempo runs later in the schedule. I however am REALLY scared of mile repeats :-/ I don't think I have done them yet and they don't sounds like fun at all.


Don't worry about the long run - at least you listened to your body - and still got a great run in!! You are an awesome runner and will totally rock you LR on Saturday!!

Running and living said...

Love the schedule - after reading Matt Fitgerald's book I am a strong believer in packing in MP runs or even MP miles during long runs. Good luck with the 20 miler. Hope it goes better than mine did last week:) Ana-Maria

runnerinsight said...

Very good! - love it too!

One day I'll also curve my self and get myself something like Le Grid.

It is always, a positive step to take in new things and become anew in due time. : )

Irish Cream said...

I'm suddenly feeling quite plebeian, what with my elementary handwritten training calendar! It's not even color-coded! Ha, seriously, though . . . I love the Grid. It's purty! :)

Spike said...

man do I wish I had known the existence of the non-running injury injury. I needed it last weekend like nothing else. also, thanks for helping decode the grid, it was a little confusing, like all fine modern art.

J said...

So complicated yet so awesome at the same time! hope your runs goes well this week and weekend!

Susan said...

I like seeing how other people train, especially the speedier people among us. I'm still stuck on grids made by people like Hal Higdon and Pfitz.

Good luck with your runs this weekend!

sRod said...

Thanks for demystifying that!

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