Monday, April 28

Marathon Training Programs

Last week, after sharing some thoughts with Thomas and Rob about training I started to reflect on my own marathon preparation, specifically the 2006/07 season. My musings further intensified following a conversation with Brad about his recent race in Boston.

How do you adjust your training to compensate for legs cramps that systematically hit you at 32km? How much recovery is required during a 12-week marathon build? What is an adequate combination of endurance and intensity? And, in and attempt to avoid being insane (expecting a different result with the same preparation) how do you go about building from one marathon to the next?

How should you approach training for a marathon?

I’m not a trainer nor do I espouse the teachings from one specific coach but I’ve messed around with training enough to come up with a long catalog of mistakes and a much shorter list of guidelines that work for me:

(1) I need scheduled recovery, if not for my physical wellbeing at least for me mental sanity. While training under Wynn Gmitroski we would take one day off a week (Monday), two days on recovery weeks (Monday & Friday).

(2) I respond well to volume… for a while, I’m guessing around 6-7 weeks. Had you asked me yesterday I would have told you that my previous coach had gradually built upon each marathon and increased my volume. After some recent analysis (see graph), I realize this not to be the case. Total planned running for the 12-weeks as follows: Ottawa 2006 5,145km, Sacramento 2006 5,165km & London 2007 5,895km. What I find interesting is that Ottawa and Sacramento are almost similar but with most of the mileage for Sacramento in the latter half. Perhaps this helps prevent over training?

(3) When cycling my weeks I respond well, particularly during high volume, to a 2:1 ratio (two weeks hard, one week easy).

(4) My 200m-800m times can be misleading, as I’m relatively fleet footed over the shorter distances... I fall to pieces during longer intervals, e.g., 2-mile repeats. If you need to boost your confidence play to your strengths, if you want to run faster, don’t shy away from your weaknesses.

(5) As much as I’ve tried to convince myself otherwise, I don’t run well in the heat. To compensate I take salt packages the day before the race (I rediscovered this after London, 2007). I’ve also drawn on experience gained during some ultra marathons and have taken to carrying a water bottle (complete with 2 GUs) for the first hour of a marathon. Not only am I hydrated but I don’t have to fight for a cup at aid stations. This was first attempted this during Sacramento, 2006 where I ran 2:40:19, my current PB.

(6) When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves - Victor Frankl

Monday: day off (scheduled)
Tuesday: hilly but soft 1:19:36 with 4xstrides


Anonymous said...

See Please Here

Thomas said...

Whoa, that's a lot of data in one post. I'll have to study that in some detail.

Eric said...

Interesting. I envy your analytical-icity. I am going to need some beers to make it through all that information...cheers!

Anonymous said...

Mike! I can't wait to meet your and Ally's newest family member! Thanks again for the help on the TC course! You're a champ! Mar

Anonymous said...