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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sa 1 15@8
Sa 2 email@example.com
Sa 3 15.75@8, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Th 1 15 w/ email@example.com
Sa 1 15
T2 15 w/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Sa2 15 w/ email@example.com
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:
Th1 13 firstname.lastname@example.org
T2 13 email@example.com
Sa2 13 firstname.lastname@example.org
[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:
T 13 w/ 6x1 mile hard
Sa 13 w/ email@example.com
This plan can be altered on the weekend to:
Sa 20 w/ firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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