Tuesday, January 19, 2010

NJM Training Plan Revealed!

First of all, thanks everyone for all the positive comments and feedback you've given me in the last series of post. Your support and encouragement was really appreciated. I hesitate sometimes to discuss my hospital experiences here because most of the time it has nothing to do with running and it can be a bit mundane to everyone else but me, so it's nice to know when other runners can appreciate and benefit from some of the patient stories I encounter in my professional life.

Okay, now on to the good stuff...

After many hours of investigation (into training plans), interrogation (with coaches/experts) and deliberation (watching reruns of Glee?), I think I'm closed to finalizing a training schedule for the New Jersey Marathon on May 2nd. Now for those marathon newbies who think this should be as simple as looking at a website or opening up a book and copying down some numbers, let me assure you that this process was more extensive and time-consuming than any research paper I've ever written! Not only did I have to figure out such details as total mileage, mileage per week, training paces, tune up races, long run distances, marathon simulations, but to do so in the context of a consistent sixteen week buildup with adequate recovery to avoid injury and burnout while making every effort to "overcome inertia" by incorporating new techniques, drills and workouts into the plan and somehow fit it all within the framework of my professional duties as a full-time clinician was extremely exhausting and challenging. There were many moments while I was preparing this that I almost wish I didn't know as much about marathon training as I do. For some reason, deciding on a training plan for my first marathon was so much easier and less time consuming than it is for my tenth. I guess "ignorance is bliss" applies as much to running as it does in everyday life!

Before I unleash the glory of the training schedule for you all to behold (or criticize if it's not to your liking) let me point out a few important differences between this training plan and those I've used for past marathons:

1. Less mileage, more speed - One of the overall themes I'm adopting for this training plan is reducing slightly the quantity of miles while incrementally increasing the quality and speed of the runs. My number #1 pet peeve from last year's training was running too many miles at too slow a pace, especially on my long runs. Perhaps as a consequence, I was not able to keep up with many of my scheduled speedwork sessions. This time around I'm going to try running slightly less total mileage (average ~45 miles/week) in hopes of being adequately recovered to optimize my speed and endurance training.

2. Fewer 20 miler long runs, more marathon pace practice - There will be one fewer scheduled long run (four 20 milers) as compared to the fall, but there will be marathon paced runs galore, ranging from 2 to 14 miles this time around.

3. More hill workouts, more Yasso 800s - Something that will be entire new to me is this idea of hill sprints and workouts. I've never done them before but according to almost all the books I've read, this is the best, safest and most effective way to build running strength. As for the Yasso 800s, last year, I dabbled in them for one or two sessions. This year, they will be become a stable in my speedwork routine. I will start with 4x800s and build up to 8 by the peak of training. They will replace my mile repeats which I used to do religiously. I'm hoping this extra strength will come in handy when I'm busting for the line and I've got either two people or two seconds to beat.

4. Pace variety and heart rate zones - Since I've got so many workouts packed into such a finite space and time, I need to be focused to make sure I'm doing each run at the specified pace. To make myself accountable, I'm going to list the objectives and goals for each day's run on dailymile in terms of purpose, pace, and heart rate and perform a self-assessment on each of these goals at the end of every run. This will ensure that I plan ahead and have a clear idea of what that run should do for me in the context of marathon training even before I lace up the shoes. For someone who has a tendency to push every run hard every time out, this is an important step for me.

Okay, so without further ado, here is my training plan for the 2010 New Jersey Marathon.


Of course, I reserve the right to make changes based on convenience, work, weather, and whatever I deem fit, but for the most part, it is a done deal. What do you think? Do you like? Do you not like? Leave me comments and feedback and let me know. Like I said before, I plan to post a detail assessment on my workouts on the dailymile (which I've already begun to do for the past weekend's workouts) so if you want to follow me there (profile name: Running Laminator), please do. I'm going to do more of a generalized training update for my blog every once in a while to keep the rest of your guys in the loop. Any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Let the training (and the fun) begin!

18 comments:

Jocelyn said...

Wow. Thats a hardcore training plan, but I like it. Good goals and plans!

D10 said...

Lam, it sounds like you have tweeked things to fit your goals. I really think your plan looks great. Can't wait to follow your journey.

Lisa said...

You really did put a lot of time and effort into creating your plan. I've never been a huge fan of hill repeats, but I do know they work. Can't wait to follow your training!

Julie said...

Hi there, it is good to have you back:) You are such a thinker and planner! You have clearly researched your options and have a solid plan in action:) It will be interesting to hear how the going less distance but using more speed works out for you.

Have an awesome day!!

Running and living said...

Great plan.
I find that it was much easier when I was following one of those general plans. He, he! My plan is very similar, but has a bit more track workouts - not sure how much they help for the marathon, but I love them. I switch around the duration of the interval, to keep myself on my toes. You may enjoy Brad Hudson's new book "Run faster from the 5K to the marathon". He makes great suggestions about creating training plans! Good luck!

Xenia said...

That schedule looks like sanskrit to me. But I'm sure it's fabulous. :) Good luck with your training!

aron said...

YAY! i always love reading what people are doing differently with their training! sounds like you have some good stuff coming up :)

i have been thinking about hill repeats too - especially since i am doing a VERY hilly marathon (+ trail races), any insights on incorporating them are welcome :)

Ms. V. said...

hills rock.

marathonmaiden said...

intense! i really like the focus on speedwork

i also love how you have hills. i'm doing hills in my plan too but they scare me sooo much haha. but i've been doing them on the tm because my area is pretty flat, which is hard because i can't do downhills (machines don't have them ick)

lindsay said...

sign me up for some 2-mile goal pace runs! :)

i like your plan, but i like all things training-schedule/spreadsheety. it definitely seems to work with all you have going on!

Robert said...

I remember back to the big heated discussion on mileage that your blog created last year and don't want to spark that off again, but since you ask "What do you think? Do you like? Do you not like?" I feel like I should give an honest answer. I think that this training could lend itself really well towards half marathons (you've been posting great times there), but I don't think it has enough meat to get you to the marathon time that you're looking for. I have become a firm believer in the higher mileage training approach after seeing how improved my marathon time improved as I ramped up the miles. Just food for thought.

Mike G said...

The cool thing about ernest hemingway was the simple, direct efficiency of his writing. Very accessible that way :)

Adam said...

I really like this one. Gets me thinking about my plan.....

眼淚 said...

Every why has a wherefore.........................................

Razz said...

this "training" you speak of....I should try that. I'll give you a whole dollar to modify one for me.

At the very least, I'm copying and pasting

J said...

Looks like a great plan! I like the less mileage more speed idea. Im kind of doing that. Seems like everyone is on the daily mile now!

Katie said...

The plan looks great. It's not easy coming up with a new training schedule. I do think adding more speed workouts and MP runs are good ideas. I think the next time around, I'll be doing a bit of track work and MP too. My last cycle I did a ton of tempo runs, which at the time I thought was great (and ran a few great prep races) but I think perhaps the longer tempo runs increased my risk of injury. And I did get injured.

Good luck!

Wayne said...

Hi Lam. Hope you don't mind adding your blog to my blogroll. I've been reading it for several months now. Continue the great training, coaching and whatever else is happening. Take care and have a good week ahead! - Wayne

 
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