Monday, August 4, 2014

My DIY Marathon Training Plan

Over the last few weeks I have been reading the weekly training recaps of bloggers preparing for the Chicago Marathon. This made me realize that as race day drew ever-nearer I still did not have a solid plan - so I needed to get moving.

Previous Marathon Plans:
I was kinda waffling between using Hanson's Marathon plan and Daniel's Marathon plan. Both of which I have used before. I liked the pounding on my joints of the Hanson plan, but the scientific approach of Daniel's plan.

My Plan:
I decided to make my own DIY marathon training plan using the best of both worlds: I would use:
  • The rough outline of Daniel's plan including high/peak mileage and a three week taper
  • The 16 mile long runs and running on tired legs strategy of the Hanson plan
  • The rest of the plan would be self-regulated. That is, I will push the pace when I feel like pushing, slow down when necessary. I think I know my limits by now (I hope)!
Voilà! My plan was born.

Charting My Miles:
Below is a chart of my mileage plan. Essentially I started running decent miles in March, so I'm including March, April and May as my marathon base mileage build-up. My real marathon training probably started in June as I started running 50 mpw on a regular basis. So, you could say, I've already been seriously training since June 1st as depicted in the blue line. The red dotted line depicts training mileage left to do before the marathon.

My 2014 Chicago Marathon Training Plan (keeping it simple by focusing on miles)

Building past the "Collapse Point": From here on out, I'm simply going to get some "Wall-busting" weekly miles under my belt. I mean "Wall busting" because the Marathon Collapse Point Theory postulates that a runner will hit "the wall" during a marathon at three times their average daily training miles. So, if I don't want to hit the wall at all during the marathon, all I need to do is average 9 miles a day, or 63 miles per week. That's why I'll be doing those crazy high 65 and 70 mile weeks in late August through mid-September - I want to hold pace even in miles 23 through 26.2 of the marathon (which is always a problem for me).

Goals:
I'm shooting for a marathon PR this year, which should be doable. If this plan (or lack thereof) works well, and I can recover quickly enough in October, I can really focus on breaking the 3:00 marathon barrier in the spring. I know I have the speed to do it, I just need to get my legs used to running lots of miles so they can hold the 6:52/mile pace for 26.2 miles.

20 comments:

  1. Excellent plan, Pete! I love anything involving such an extensive graph.

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    1. Thanks! I loved making the extensive graph!

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  2. Wow, ambitious plan! I can't run those miles...so I'm trying a different approach with my Crossfit trainer. I won't win any speed awards, but I'm hoping to finish feeling strong and able to drink that post race beer!

    ~Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home

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    1. Thanks. Good luck with your plan. Hopefully I'll be able to drink that post race beer as well!

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  3. I've never heard of this "Collapse point" but, thinking back to past marathons, it sounds quite valid to me. Your plan looks plenty solid, Here's to celebrating that brand new PR in October!

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    1. Yes, I kinda believe in the collapse point theory. My marathon PR was accomplished when I was training with a few weeks at 70 mpw. I really did not hit the wall in that marathon and actually had one of my best miles at mile 26! Thanks!

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  4. I like the idea of a hybrid plan. I'm doing something similar with the Hanson speed work and running fatigued along with the mileage and long runs of the Higdon intermediate I. So far so good. Best of luck!

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    1. Glad to hear your hybrid plan is working for you. The fatigued running is the awesome part of Hanson, as long as it is not pushed too far (i.e. injury). Good luck with those Higdon long runs on tired legs! Good luck to you too!

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  5. I've never heard of Daniels' Running Formula before and am really intrigued - I LOVE a new running plan. Checking it out now...

    Your plan sounds great and definitely PR-worthy. Good luck!

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    1. Jack Daniels is a legend in the coaching business. He takes a scientific approach to training including increasing VO2 Max. Hopefully, you'll find something you like about his plan. Thanks!

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  6. I'm glad I came across this post, because you mentioned 16-mile long runs. Is this the longest you run to prepare for 26.2? My husband mentioned it to me, and since Chicago will be my first full (and all I want to do is finish), I wondered if a 20-miler was really necessary…regardless, best of luck to you!

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    1. Yes, 16 miles is the longest distance I will run as part of the marathon training cycle. The 16 mile long run is part of the Hanson's Training plan, which involves punishing (i.e. tiring out) your legs for weeks before your 16 milers so that during the 16 miler it feels like you are running the last 16 miles of the marathon rather than the first 16 miles. I have used these long runs in my training for several marathons. I found out about it via this article: http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/new-year-new-you-way-renegades?page=single . It would probably be difficult to do a 20 miler when doing the Hanson's plan because you would not have enough time to recover before the next hard workout. However with other plans a 20 to 22 miler is common, but it is harder to recover from and thus you might have to take an extra day or two off. Hope that helps!

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  7. Man, this rocks. Can't wait to see how this unfolds for you. Get after it!

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  8. Sounds like a solid plan and you know your body best. I'm a big fan of Daniels' Running Formula, but have never personally tested Hanson's plan.

    I really believe that you have to put in the effort and miles to see results. I know Runner's World keeps writing articles about training for a marathon only running 3 days a week and that might work for some people but not most. Is it possible to run a marathon on three days of running? Yes. IMO is it the best way? No. Not even close.

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    1. Thanks Coach! Daniels is a running genius and one of the few that has used actual scientific study in his running plans. Hanson's is more of a brute force method, but I enjoy not having to stare down a few 20 milers in my training cycle. I like that the torture is spread out more evenly throughout the cycle! :) Anyway, yeah, I don't know how you get your legs used to the pounding on 3 day/week training, but I guess it is possible as I'm sure there are a few people that have run good times with it. Key is probably lots of cross training involving the legs!

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  9. Wow! Holy Miles! Way to go! Good luck on striving for that PR!!

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    1. Thanks. I hope it happens next year. This year I am hoping to squeak by with a course PR! :)

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  10. I am impressed with your plan! But no 20 miles huh? Interesting. I thought every marathon training plan had to have at least one 20 miler. Guess not.

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    1. Thanks! Yup, 16 miles is the max. For more info, see my reply to Meghan above.

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