When training for my first two marathons, I followed plans that peaked at 36 miles per week. They were fine plans. I'm sure that lots of people did well with them, but for me they were a total fail. In both instances, I ended up seriously injured and barely made it to the start line. At that point, I swore off marathons FOREVER (obviously, that didn't stick).
For me, marathon number three wasn't on the schedule. I was registered for the Indianapolis Half Marathon and I was tagging along with G on her training for the Richmond Marathon. I had zero intention of doing anything but building my base. But then, FOMO (fear of missing out) set in. I was consistently running more miles than I ever had before. And I was injury-free. I figured I might as well switch my registration from the half to the full at Indianapolis. So, that's what I did.
In the eight months since making that decision (two complete marathon training cycles), I have built my base from 25 miles to a peak of 60 miles a week. Since January 1st, I have run 622 miles (44.4/wk). I have cut my marathon time by 51 minutes. And I have done ZERO speed work. Honestly, it's not that I planned on skipping all the speed work. I was just more focused on building my endurance. And the key to endurance is a large base.
It's clear that things were working. The plan that I was following played to my strengths. But then I came across this article in the January issue of Runner's World. It described the Hanson Brothers marathon training plan which peaks with a 16 mile long run. Yes, 16 miles. But, their plan also included something I have failed to execute in the past - SPEED WORK. Lots of it. So many aspects of this plan seemed crazy in relation to what I had been doing, but at the same time I was completely intrigued. (Note: the weekly mileage is very similar to the plans I have designed for my last two marathons.)
I decided right then that I would use this strategy for my next marathon (NYC). I mean, what's the worst that could happen? I've had horrible marathons and I've survived. And since my goal for NYC is to HAVE FUN, I really had nothing to lose.
So, I got started on drafting my plan. I based it roughly on the plan in the article, but extended it and swapped some things out. And this is what I came up with ...
I'm really excited about it.
Starting next Monday ...
I will be running six days a week.
I will commit to speed work.
I will stick to the paces. Slow runs slow. Fast runs fast.
I will cycle three days a week.
I will put my faith in the plan.
I will pray for the best.
Wish me luck!