Between the taper for IMMT, then doing Muskoka 70.3 it has been about 6 weeks since I’ve done a hard workout. This week I begin training for the Hamilton Marathon on November 3. This means I have 6 weeks to build, then a week to taper before the race. I looked around online and surprisingly couldn’t find any 6 week marathon training plans, especially ones that involved jumping into relatively high tempo and high mileage right away!

I have lofty time goals in mind that I’m not entirely sure I’d hit with a 12 week plan, this means jumping into higher mileage and tempo right away.  Generally this isn’t recommended, but I’m pretty good at listening to my body, and it wasn’t like I had been doing nothing for 6 weeks, just easier workouts and a couple races.  Oh, and being 24 doesn’t hurt either. Anyways…..every week I have 4 workouts, with optional recovery runs on rest days. Monday is tempo, Wednesday is freestyle (more on this later), Thursday is track, and Saturday is my long run.

Long, tempo, and track seemed like a staple in every plan I looked at.  Given my short timeline, and the need to get more quality mileage into my legs before Hamilton, I decided to add a freestyle run.  Basically, these are workouts I found online that I thought looked interesting.  They all involve extended periods of uptempo running, with easy sections built in, kind of like a mix of tempo and track.

A lot of my running gets my heart rate high and has a high perceived effort.  There are many people who would disagree with what I am doing.  Some people advocate slowing down to speed up.  The idea is that you need get better at running below your lactic threshold, which is a pace you should be able to hold for long distances.  Others will say this strategy is too risky.  I will get fatigued earlier in my runs than a traditional plan may suggest, which increases the chance of poor form and injury.  My first real experience running was January when I took on a challenge to run as many times as I could in 100 days.  I ended up running about 75 times.  A lot of my runs were only 30 mins in duration (the minimum for each run) but I would come home from every run exhausted.  In this time I went from doing about 5km in 30mins to over 7km in 30 minutes.  The high tempo strategy worked for me then, albeit over a shorter distance, so I am giving it a chance to see if it will work for me now.

The two biggest question marks for me are rust, and my health.  January through early May I was running regularly, but once the summer hit I spent a lot more time on my bike and a lot less time running.  I don’t expect my uptempo running to be where it was at when I ran the Mississauga half in May, but I will find out very quickly (my first workout is a tempo run) how much rust I have and just where I stand.  Second, with high mileage comes an injury risk.  After Tremblant, and through Muskoka, I had been having sharp pain in my right knee. A friend of mine who is a great runner suggested it could be IT band related, and that I should use a foam roller to roll it out. I’ve been doing this for the last couple of days.  The first time I rolled out my IT bands it hurt…..A LOT!  I’ve been doing it a couple times a day and its become far less painful.  Hopefully this will do the trick, after a disappointing result in Muskoka I would love to finish the season strong with a solid performance in Hamilton.

That’s the plan, we’ll see how it goes.