30 May 2010

A Training Sketch

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:

Mon: Intervals
Tue: Easy
Wed: Medium Long Run
Thu: Intervals
Fri: Easy
Sat: Long Run
Sun: off

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)
Tue: Easy
Wed: Medium Long Run (aerobic)
Thu: Easy
Fri: Easy
Sat: Long Run with MP
Sun: off

Mon: Fartlek or short stuff (200-400s)
Tue: Easy
Wed: Medium Long Runs with Threshold running or progression runs
Thu: Easy
Fri: Easy
Sat: Long Run (aerobic)
Sun: off

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?


Epi said...

I agree with your thoughts, sounds a better plan for you compared with the Seoul leadup.

Any/many races in the leadup?

trailblazer777 said...

Makes sense to me. Have to agree with your thoughts. I also find that hitting lots of key sessions in a week often becomes extremely hard. Since 2006 I have found that aiming for 2-3 key sessions a week seems to be a bit more achievable for me (some weeks), and other sessions are a bonus.

I find I am sometimes not ready to go when it comes to the significant physical and mental demands of intense interval work. I have no trouble chasing my watch though. Guess my track background helps there. I really do prefer intervals to tempos...

Your 2 week training cycle sounds good, although dont be afraid to revert to the 1 week cycle in weeks where it seems achievable. Another thing I like about the 2 week cycle you have there is it seems to have a hard week/ easy week pattern built into it, which encourages periodisation which over many months= less burnout/overtraining/ repetitive use type injuries...over time that = improved performance and PB's.

I also agree that variety is important too. Maybe crosstrain instead of easy runs some days.

Races or time trials are important every now and then...

a few days until MM entries open...

Ewen said...

Being confident about the plan from the outset is worth a lot.

Is the fartlek/200-400 day with short or long recoveries? Just asking, because for neuromuscular I think medium length hill (gentle slope) repeats with full recoveries would be better. But maybe that sort of session would be better the day after your medium aerobic run, and do 'Mona fartlek' on the second Monday (continuous/short recovery).

Just a thought. As you say, being able to do a program consistently for many weeks is the main thing.

Clown said...

Sounds like a pretty solid plan, also agree with Ewen re Mona Fartlek or something similar.

How's the training going?

Sling Runner said...

Thanks guys.

Ewen, that got me thinking. Perhaps I can do fartlek on Monday, and just do hill reps or strides on Thu or Fri after an easy run.

Ewen said...

Yes, I think the fartlek is useful and quite appropriate for marathoning, and the neuromuscular stuff is fine for an easy-run day. I'd progress these - start out with a few number of reps and see how you pull up for the long run the next day. Then increase by 1 or 2 a week until you've found a good balance. Then (maybe) increase the distance of the hill. If doing strides you shouldn't have to many problems - long as you keep the distance of each under 150m. Full recovery is the key thing.

Sling Runner said...

Great advice. Thanks!