Friday, January 28, 2011

New Marathon Training Strategy

Here are the facts:

1. I've got a marathon in less than 2 months, with a sub 3 hour goal in mind.

2. I've been logging in some decent miles (close to 60 per week).

3. Until recently, all of it has been slow, and I mean 8:30 to 9 min mile pace slow. Continuing down this path is not going to get it done, even with 18-20 mile runs.

4. Running tempo or interval workouts in the dead of winter in South Korea is not easy.

So here is my new plan. Rather than focusing on weekly miles, I decided to see just how many miles I could run at or under 7 minutes per mile (a 3 hour marathon is 6:52 pace). My theory is very simple. The more miles run at marathon pace or faster, the easier that pace is going to feel on race day. Just a guess, but I feel that averaging 26 sub 7 minute miles per week for the next 4-5 weeks should be enough. The trick will be to keep the pace of any one workout from getting too fast so I can run these workouts on consecutive days.

This is going to require running some workouts on the indoor, tight 10 lap per mile track, or the outdoor (yes they did remove the snow) track when early morning temperatures are hovering in the single digits.

So far so good.

Monday: 3 miles on the indoor track in 18:58 (approx. 6:20 pace).

Tues: 5 x 1 mile on the indoor track with 60 sec walk recovery.
6:48, 6:34, 6:34, 6:33, 6:32 Time for the 5 miles including rest was 37:08. This workout is almost a modified Galloway with planned walking breaks. The indoor air is very dry, so the short break enabled me to get water. I also found the 1 mile goals much easier mentally compared to running 50 non-stop laps.

Wed: 3 miles on the outdoor track in 20:11 (6:44 pace) The track is a 3 mile jog from home, so I got in 10 miles total (including 2 with the dog to start the morning).

Thurs: Getting out of bed I was contemplating something similar to Wed, however I wasn't too confident my legs would respond. So instead of the extra 6 slow miles to the track and back, I came up with the novel idea to DRIVE, and felt good enough to run 5 miles in 35 minutes flat. Still an 8 mile day including 2 miles with Sumo and a one mile cool-down. The good news is this pace was comfortable enough that I actually found myself daydreaming to pass the time! That's a good sign.

Fri: Today is just a slow 3-4 mile jog.

The plan is to go on base and run the perimeter (5 miles) x 3 at 7 min miles (as always, weather permitting), probably with a 5 minute break between each. For the week I've got 16 miles in at 7 min per mile or faster, so if I can do at least 10 more tomorrow I've accomplished my new goal. Stay tuned!

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