Thursday, November 04, 2004

After all that work - I change my plan!

Can you believe it? I was merrily on my way to follow a plan that had taken weeks of research and piecemealing together than all of sudden, Mark Fleming introduces me to Lydiard. And here I am now with a new plan for Boston.

You may think me rather dull to not know of Lydiard, but I confess, my focus has been on myself to the ponderous neglect of great & learned coaches and runners that have much good sense to relay. Anyway, the light came on - running for "time"; "miles make champions", "aerobic conditioning"; "your conditioning seals your performance"; and on and on. It made sense - especially when studied in conjunction with the very technical article from Hadd regarding Lactate Threshold training. I have heard of the phrase "to run fast, one needs to run slow", but I had no clue how this could be correct. For the marathon which is a very aerobic event, it now makes perfect sense to me. Without the conditioning, I am failing in the longer miles.

I forget which day Mark posted the comment on my original posting of the plan, but that was day I had to pause from blogging and reconfigure my wintery future. So a big thank you to Mark.

In a nutshell, the Lydiard plan calls for as much conditioning as you have time for. Conditioning for a marathon requires you to run below your Lactate Threshold for extended periods 3 or 4 times per week. Supplemental running (junk miles) is highly encouraged at an even slower relaxed pace. A heart monitor I am told can help manage your pace greatly. I don't own one (yet) so I am using the old fashioned "perceived effort" approach. This approach does work, it probably isn't "optimal". But hey, we can't all own the latest gadgets, can we?

So with a heavy heart and leaden fingers, I started to re-create my plan. It turned out to be much easier than I expected and rather similar to what I was to follow anyway with these notable exceptions: speed and hills wait until I am closer to the marathon date (known as periodization or mesocycles), and the mileage is much higher but at a much slower pace for many weeks. To stop oneself from becoming insane, the author suggests varying the course on a regular basis.

My plan:

I plan on 12 weeks (or more, I haven't decided) of marathon conditioning. This involves running up to 2 hours 3 times per week, 3 supplemental runs per week, and of course the beloved 20 miler on Sunday mornings. All miles below LT for the purposes of building capillary beds and other nifty blood vessel related activities. My running partner, Marc, once told me that "every run has a purpose" and I believe he is right. Putting in the time and miles is a commitment and during the first 12 weeks, I will need to be disciplined so I can accomplish some nasty aerobic conditioning. I am going to be one big oxygen molecule!

After the 12 weeks this should leave me with 12 weeks or so for hills, speed, "co-ordination" and tapering. I haven't thought the plan through those weeks yet as I feel I have time to mull it over. Here are the weekly build-up miles based on increasing the training time from 1 1/4 hours up to 2 hours over a period of weeks with incremental supplemental running (after work w/Marc):
wk 1 59 miles
wk 2 65 miles
wk 3 71 miles
wk 4 76 miles
wk 5 82 miles
wk 6 88 miles
wk 7 95 miles
wk 8 99 miles
wk 9 103 miles
wk10 106 miles

This assumes an average pace of 8 mins per mile. As my conditioning increases, hopefully I will naturally run a faster pace thus run slightly more miles per week (those tenths of a mile add up!)

This week my schedule is as follows:
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: AM: 1 1/4 hours; PM: 1/2 hour (totaled 13.1 miles)
Weds: AM: Rest; PM: 1/2 hours (3.4 miles)
Thurs: AM: 1 1/4 hours; PM: 1/2 hour (totaled 12.8 miles - looks like I a ran a little slower)
Fri: Rest
Sat: AM: 1 1/4 hours; PM: Rest
Sun: AM: 20 miler

I believe, after reading the convincing scientific arguments, that this approach will do wonders for me over time. Comments certainly welcome. How many using this type of program?

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