The Chicago Marathon is October 12, 2014. That put’s it just under 15 weeks away from this past Tuesday July 1, when I began to shift the bulk of my focus away from triathlon and towards running. This means that mentally the countdown to Chicago is on.
At this time I still do not have a solidified goal time (though I do have a BHAG in mind to keep me on point in my training), nor do I have a training schedule, or intermediate goals to hit on the road to Chicago. What I do have is a solid 6 days of running this past week under my belt, a pretty good base of training from what I did for the Syracuse 70.3, and a hunger to once again surprise myself with my results.
The Training Plan
This is currently in the works. I was under the false assumption that a marathon training plan would be set up very similar to a triathlon training plan; 12 weeks, three 4 week blocks, each block consisting of 3 build/1 recover. From a quick Google search, as well as speaking to a few runners, I’ve discovered this is wrong. It seems as though most internet plans are 16-18 weeks. Also they don’t seem to work on the same 3 week build, 1 week recover framework. There is time for recovery, but not like that.
I created a plan for Hamilton last year that allowed me to achieve my goal. I’m not going to follow the same style plan this time for a few reasons. First, I was very time crunched with only 6 weeks to train for Hamilton. At the time of writing I have 14 weeks to train for Chicago. Next, my Hamilton plan was very risky. I was constantly running on the edge. I crammed a lot of hard runs in. My milage wasn’t that high, but most of my kilometers were hard. I was fortunate not to get injured last time, I’m not going to make that same gamble this time. Finally, leading up to Hamilton I had complete flexibility over my time. My work was 100% flexible. This allowed me to bury myself in workouts, come home, eat, nap, then do whatever else I needed to do that day. This time I do not have the same level of flexibility.
Sunday July 13 I’m running the Boilermaker (15k). My formal training plan will commence in the days following this race. So this week I will create my training plan. Much like any plan I’ve created, there will be a lot of flexibility for me to change things around as I go, depending on how I’m able to handle certain workouts, or what’s working for me and what’s not. But I still think it’s very important to have a plan so I have some structure in my workouts and I don’t end up just doing whatever.
Running June 30 – July 6 (94km)
This past week I shifted all of my quality workouts to a run focus (I will still swim and bike through the rest of the summer, but running will be my priority). I may have gotten a little overzealous with the running and I was lucky not to get burned…..yet (knock on wood). I didn’t run on Monday (June 30) and then from the 6 days July 1 – July 6 I totalled 94km. Up to this point I had barely done a week over 60km all year (albeit because I was swimming and cycling more), and I’ve only ever done a week with more milage once in my life. But I felt good so I kept on running.
I wont bother going into the specifics of each workout, but my focus was on light running as opposed to quality. And the quality work I did do was mostly focused on a 4:05/km pace, which I find I can sustain substantially longer than sub 4:00/km pace.
I did have a mini breakthrough in my stride this week. I have always known that my stride wasn’t great (I land too far back on my foot, and I have a lot of up and down motion) but I never actually knew how to correct it. Then I purchased a pair of super light New Balance Minimum shoes. When I ran in the shoes I noticed I had a much better road feel, and as I was clicking off km’s early in the week I began playing around with how my foot landed. I found if I focused on wiping the ground with my forefoot I had a much smoother stride (almost as though I’m trying to scrape something off the bottom of my shoe under the pads of my feet). Also, when I looked down at my watch I noticed that for the same perceived level of exertion my pace sped up about 0:15/km! Time will tell if I can make this adjustment stick. The only problem it has caused is my calves are tighter post run, which I’m sure is due to the fact that I’m not used to mid-foot/fore-foot running.