Monday, July 18, 2011

My workout plan for the Richmond Marathon

My next marathon will be in Richmond, Virginia, on November 12. Believe it or not, that's just 17 weeks away, so it's already time to create a workout plan. My plan is based on Daniels' Running Formula by the legendary running coach and perennial butt of drinking jokes, Jack Daniels.

The formula is very flexible, but it also requires you to do a lot of calculations! Daniels has you estimate five different training paces, all based off of your VDOT, which is basically just a way of guesstimating your VO2max based on your best 5K time. You use tables in the book to get the VDOT, which in my case, based on a 5K PR of 20:37, is 48. Then you use a different table to get your marathon pace, tempo pace, interval pace, repetition pace, and easy pace. Instead of using the table, which gives me a 7:32 marathon pace, I'm using my target pace of 7:48 per mile (which would give me an overall time of 3:25, good enough to qualify for Boston).

I used the table for the other times, which are as follows: Tempo: 7:02; Interval: 6:27, Repetition: 6:00, Easy, 8:49. One big difference between Daniels and the Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning book I followed this spring is that there is no pace easier than "easy." With Pfitzinger, I used basically that pace for all my long runs, then slowed down to a 10-minute pace for recovery runs. Now there's no slowing down-- the slowest I'll be going is 8:49 (though I will probably be adjusting all these times to account for the summer heat).

Tempo pace is used for short periods of between 10 minutes and about 40 minutes; the idea is to get close to VO2max pretty quickly and then try to sustain it. Interval pace is for even shorter runs, 1 mile or less. Repetitions are near-sprint pace, typically 400 meters. They are designed primarily for working on running form; you generally want to recover fully between reps. Marathon pace is used in a variety of situations to accustom you to running at marathon pace at varying levels of fatigue.

Daniels has a lot more intervals and reps than Pfitzinger -- basically the difference in philosophy is that Pfitzinger feels intervals and tempo runs accomplish the same thing for runners, so he favors the tempo runs. Daniels has just two "quality" workouts in a week while Pfitzinger has three. Daniels' workouts are also much more complicated. Pfitzinger generally just said something like "16 miles with last 8 at marathon pace," where Daniels might say "2 mi easy, 15 min tempo, 7 miles easy, 15 min tempo, 2 mi easy."

This graph gives you a sense of the mileage I'll be doing. Just like in the spring, I'll be peaking at around 70 miles per week:

There are five long runs of 20+ miles (not counting the marathon itself on the final week). I do 70-mile weeks three times, though only on one of those weeks is there a 20-miler; generally the long runs are on shorter weeks. The weeks (9/11 and 9/18) with the short long runs are due to races those weeks -- Blue Ridge Relay and the Davidson Half Marathon. The toughest part of staying on the plan will probably be the weeks ending 8/7 and 8/14, when I'll be on vacationing in Hawaii. Here's hoping I can stay injury free and complete this workout schedule as planned. You know where to look for updates!

Details of yesterday's long run are below:

Yesterday I was still quite sore from Saturday's 20-mile trail run, so I decided to keep it as short as possible -- 8.8 miles. I did okay, all things considered. I'm actually more sore today than I was yesterday. Hopefully I'll feel better for tomorrow's 9-mile workout.

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