With about 19 weeks to go, I think it's now or never to come up with a sketch of my marathon plan !
When I was training for Seoul earlier this year, my typical week was as follows:
Wed: Medium Long Run
Sat: Long Run
The structure remains the same throughout the preparation period. The workouts were very interval based, ranging from short fast ones like 30s on/15s off or 60s on/30s off, to long intervals such as 6 x 5mins, and to even longer ones such as 15-10-5 mins done at slightly above tempo-ish pace. Similar to Aussie training which is based on 'repeated cycle', the workouts form month M would be repeated to month M+1, M+2 and so on. The notable difference is perhaps coach had 6-8 different workouts every month, while Deek/Mona were doing the same 2 workouts week in week out. Long runs were all easy aerobic, time on your feet thing.
Frankly, I am a bloke who loves doing tempo runs more than intervals. As mentioned last week, I train on my own and I find it extremely tough 'chasing ghosts' during my intervals. I also think having four key sessions consisting of 2 intervals and 2 long runs every week is a bit too much when my age is nearing 40 and especially, whilst training in the heat and humidity of Singapore. I am also one who likes to sprinkle some bursts of faster running into my long runs as compared to doing a single pace long run.
Increasing mileage and the number of running sessions per week are not an option for me.
Based on the above, I'd like to schedule a plan that suits my strength and at the same time, involves more variety. Since I like to incorporate interval, tempo/threshold running, and long run with MP into my plans, I don't think I can do all of them in one single week on sustainable, long term basis. With this in mind, I am going to give a two-week training cycle a try.
Here is a rough sketch:
Mon: Intervals (800-1600m reps)
Wed: Medium Long Run (aerobic)
Sat: Long Run with MP
Mon: Fartlek or short stuff (200-400s)
Wed: Medium Long Runs with Threshold running or progression runs
Sat: Long Run (aerobic)
I feel that this sketch fits my needs: 2 workouts, one long run plus 3 easy days and one rest day. It's essentially a mixed basket of workouts with one longer interval session to train aerobic capacity/vo2max, one interval session of shorter stuff like 200-400s or fartlek for lactate/neuromuscular training, one threshold session as part of medium long run, one MP session as part of long run, and two aerobic, fat burning long runs. Hence, they pretty much touch all aspects of physiological zones, albeit spread over a 14-day cycle.
The structure is also designed in such a way to lessen the risk of injury and over training:. For instance in Week 1, the (hard) interval session will be followed by an easy mid-week long run, to allow sufficient recovery in an endeavour to put in a faster, MP-esque long run in the weekend. In Week 2, the short reps/fartleks is placed early in the week (after hard long run) since they are not overly too taxing. This will be followed a threshold session mid-week and after two fast sessions, I will end the week with an easy long run.
I am also hoping the 'big workouts' such as MP long run and mid-week medium long run with threshold running embedded will better prepare me to meet the demands of marathon, since they are virtually race-pace simulation in disguise
However, there is a big difference between a training plan that I like and a training plan that works ! And I am pretty sure there will be choppy waters and slipperly slope along the way.
Any views/opinions guys?