"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Pulling Back from the Brink

I'd done a series of posts leading up to what I called the Madcap Marathon Plan, which was just two marathon-length runs per week. For 3:00 marathoners, it looked like:

Tuesday (PM) 26.25 miles @ 7.5 min/mile
Saturday (AM) 15.75 miles @ 8, 10.5 @ 6.85

Like the popular 5-2 Diet, it depletes all the glycogen reserves and creates a huge caloric deficit twice per week and the rest of the week is used for recovery. Of course, the workouts are ridiculously tough and, if you have a bad day, it's half the week that gets lost.

3 Days

There are a number of three-runs per week schedules and I thought about how to turn my ludicrous idea into something more workable. Here's what that led to:

T 8@8, 7@6.85
Th 15@7.5
Sa 1 15@8
Sa 2 26.25@7.5
Sa 3 15.75@8, 10.5@6.85

This three week cycle gives one an "easy" week, makes some of the workouts more reasonable and keeps the mileage the same.

That looked familiar.

4 Day, high mileage

T1 15@8
Th 1 15 w/ 10.5@6.85
 Sa 1 15
S1 26.25
T2 15 w/ 7@6.85
Th2 15
Sa2 15 w/ 10.5@6.85
S2 26.25

This, adding another 15 miles per week, allows one to do more long hard runs and looks similar to what some elite marathoners do (excepting all the easy workouts to fill in the week).

4 Day, moderate mileage

This had me thinking about cutting the mileage from that plan back to the level used previously. That gives:
T1 13@8
Th1 13 w/7@6.85
Sa1 13
S1 13
T2 13 w/7@6.85
Th2 13
Sa2 13 w/7@6.85
S2 13

[The hard 7 miles of Sa2 could be moved to S2.]

This is what I would actually do if starting a marathon plan. Consistent runs of half-marathon length, frequent miles at race pace and at a duration that's challenging but not overly fatiguing.

This plan looks similar to what I call "The Standard Plan" for marathon training, which is higher mileage, more days per week and a bit more formal in structure:

M 6@8
T 13 w/ 6x1 mile hard
W 6
Th 13@8
F 0
Sa 13 w/ 8@6.85
S 20

This plan can be altered  on the weekend to:

Sa 20 w/ 8@6.85
S 13
So, here's the take-away message.

I would try the 4 day moderate mileage plan and, if I stopped improving, switch either to a higher mileage plan or to fewer days with longer runs, depending upon what worked best for me in the past.

1 comment:

Londell said...

You are such an animal. I am wimp in comparison, only riding bike he past few years.