When I first started training for a full marathon this year, I plotted out a training plan based on the Nike+ chip and website, with the typical 4-5 runs per week, ramping up to high mileage weeks of 40-50 miles a week. I mapped that all out into my Google calendar, then tried to add in a bunch of swim and bike training as well.
It wound up looking crazy, with lots of days with multiple training days, and add to that work, and kids… well, it’s been hard to stick to, and I often cut workouts because I’m exhausted. I also find I’m not making much progress – I’m able to log more miles (yay!), but I’m not getting any faster – if anything, I’m getting slower. Most of my runs are typical “junk” miles, with no true purpose, just logging them to get them done. I don’t do hills and rarely do speed work.
I was reading Matt’s recap of running Boston this year over at No Meat Athlete, and clicked through to read his description of his plan to qualify (which obviously worked!). Part of his plan was to follow a specific training program as set out in the book Run Less, Run Faster. Matt sung the praises of the program, so I surfed over to my local library to borrow it.
I’m most of the way through the book (I still have to read the chapters on nutrition, stretching and weight training), and so far, I like what I’m reading. You run three hard training runs a week – one set of speed work (track repeats), one fast tempo run, and one long run done at close to expected race pace. On the days in between, you do cross training (specifically biking and swimming – perfect for triathletes!). What I really like about it is that for each run, specific times and distances are given, mapping out what work you need to do to hit target times.
So as of today, I’m switching. It’s too late to really make a huge difference for the June marathon, but I think I can make a real difference in my training for the Regina marathon in September. I’m going to struggle with hitting some of the training times, I’m not used to doing speed work. But the long run times seem achievable, and making myself do the speed training will make me faster and stronger.
I’ll post an update in a few weeks on how it’s going!