In Training

It seems that every time I sign up for a marathon, I find myself wondering what training plan I should use.  For the two that I’ve done so far, I’ve used the same training plan.  The first time I used it, I chose it because it looked like a great plan for a new marathoner.  And it was.  The second time, it was because I sort of felt like I had hemmed and hawed a bit too much about starting an 18-week program (you know, I just didn’t manage to get started on my training that early), and because I felt like maybe I wasn’t in good enough shape to do the length of long run I had to do right off the bat.  I was still pleased with my performance in the marathon, though.  Clearly it’s a good plan.  This time around, though, I really want to try something new, and mostly just for the experience of trying something new.

I always get a little bit silly when it comes to training plans.  I’m very picky about them, and I always want something with high peak mileage and more than just one or two 18-20 mile runs.  Of course the problem is, I never really put myself in a position to do a training plan like that.  For the past three years, before beginning my training for Philadelphia, I’ve been in somewhat mediocre shape.  I think I’m just bad at training during the summer.  One of these years, though (like, next year), I’m going to set myself for a great training plan.

For now, I’m still sort of undecided about what I want to use as a plan, even though I’m 16 weeks away from the big event and, in my opinion, at a point where I need to start training.  So I have.  Unfortunately, the week hasn’t gone that well and I’ve a pretty small amount of time to myself.  I’ve also been pretty sleep deprived.  As a result, my first run of the week was today.  That’s not the end of the world, though.  This still gives me four quality run days for the week, and a chance to do better next week.  But there’s still the issue of which plan I will use.

First, I tried the Runner’s World Smart Coach tool.  This gave me a plan where I was running three times a week with peak mileage at around 30 miles a week.  I know I’m not in the best shape right now, but I know I can push myself harder than that, and I’d like to.  So I’m not crazy about that plan.  Then I looked at this plan, which is like everything I’ve ever wanted from a training plan.  But I think it’s sort of beyond my abilities, and I don’t want to set myself up for failure.  So I looked at the beginner version, which just didn’t appeal to me.  I think it had something to do with the mid-week 10-mile runs, which I just don’t have time for, and the jump from 32 miles one week to 39 the next, and the random switching from 4 runs a week to 3.  I also looked at some Hal Higdon plans, because I always secretly dream of being in good enough shape to do the Intermediate-II plan.  Or even above that.  The main problem with those plans at this point is that they are 18-week plans, and like I said, I’m at week 16.  And I’m more novice level than intermediate right now 😉  So honestly, what I might do is tweak the novice II program a little, and start with an 8- or 9-mile long run this weekend, and see if I can just go from there into the rest of the program.  If I can’t, I still have the novice I program to fall back on.  Or even the Rookie plan that has served me so well in the past.  I know everyone reading this is just as intrigued and obsessed by training plans as I am, so I’ll keep you all posted.

In other news, here’s an update about the Danskin SheRox Triathlon (in Philadelphia, anyway): chips can be mailed back at no charge, and you can get a medal in the mail.  Yay!  No mention of discounted registration fees for next year, or anything like that.  Sad face to that.  I know I could just email and ask directly, but lately I feel like I’m having to be the squeaky wheel in nearly every aspect of my life and I’m kind of tired of it.  So this is something I might just let go.

Also, New York smells *really* bad today (and it’s a variety of different stinky smells, not just one in particular), which is weird because it’s not even that hot today.

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4 comments

  1. Good luck with your training plan, whatever it turns out to be! Also, I am glad to hear that you will get your medal for the SheRox Triathlon. I read a lot of the comments afterwards and many of them echoed your sentiments exactly. I liked what someone said about getting a t-shirt that said “I survived the 2009 Philly Danskin Triathlon!” Sounds like a winner if I ever heard one!

  2. I hear you on the training plan debate. I’ve always had a hard time picking one and then just fall on whatever one I can handle at the start. If I take on another marathon, I hope to move out of Higdon’s Novice 1 to something different!!

  3. i ALWAYS tweak my training plan. i don’t see anything wrong with altering the higdon one! 🙂 i use it as a base and adjust to what i think i can do/what i want to do.

    if you want the summer as your ‘off-season’ you could train for a winter marathon next time around. that way you can build a base in the late summer/early fall and then begin actual marathon training for a dec/jan/feb marathon? plus then you’d have an excuse to take a vacation down south in those cold winter months! 🙂

  4. For San Fran I used a mix between a plan that I created with the runners world tool and the FIRST program. I used the distances from the RW plan, but did the exercises mentioned on the FIRST program. It worked pretty well for me. I did this because I was training for a half, and after that I started training for the full, which was 8 weeks or so after the half…

    Now I am planning on training using the FIRST program for a marathon in december. I like that plan, it calls for 3 runs/week, the training depends on a recent 5k time for you (so it adapts to runners of every level) and also has you doing a lot of cross training, which is perfect if you like to bike or swim or do weights or all of them!

    keep us posted as to what you decide

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