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Interesting Marathon Training Plan

colby2010-05-02 05:26:43 +0000 #1
I found in Competitor Northwest magazine's August issue an interesting marathon training plan. I call it the "marathon trainer for triathletes who get bored with running" but it's really a multi-sport version of a marathon training plan. I did all-running last year and got a little bored, but I really did stick with it. I'm about to shift gears to marathon training from triathlon training and this is looking really appealing. I get a chance to keep some of my base in my triathlon sports but still train for the marathon. It won't feel really weird to pick up the bike in December/January when I start IM training (still a weird thing for me to say).

I tried to find the plan online with no luck. The basic plan has very few days off, but has lots of easy days built in.

Basically:

Monday: easy something - bike, run, or swim

Tuesday: moderate - always a bike or run, some hills, some tempo, some sprints

Wednesday: moderate - some hills, some tempo, some easy swims, some easy runs

Thursday: easy run, later in the plan some hills

Friday: varies week to week, 1 hour swim or run

Saturday: short easy run or bike

Sunday: alternating long run and long bike ride (longest run 22 miles, longest ride 3 hours)

I'm a little concerned it's not enough running, but I suppose I could swap out some of the riding/swimming days for more running days. I have held most of my running improvement even though I've seriously slacked off on my running over the summer. I don't want to make up for it all at once, but if I need to put in more miles on my feet, I need to put in more miles.

My goal is to cut about 2 minutes off of my 12 minute pace from last year, where I got beat in the last 6 miles (of course). It was my first marathon, very educational. I would settle for a 10:30 pace. I would truly settle for finishing and some better weather than last year.

Anyone have any advice? Should I try it, or should I stick with a traditional marathon pound the pavement type plan? Will it actually help me keep my base, or will I just burn out on all 3 sports?


KSH2010-05-02 05:33:07 +0000 #2
Colby, as you know I have not run a marathon before... and the only one I'm doing is at the end of an Ironman... BBBUUUUTTTT... I think you need to look at what you did last year and the results that training produced.

Honestly, that marathon training plan looks very odd. But for some people, the cross training might do them good. I know for me, I can't run everyday so it would work for me. Now, how fast would my marathon be... who knows?
VeloVT2010-05-02 06:06:25 +0000 #3
It's a little hard to tell from the way you've described it (without more detail), but here are the questions I would have:

--are you running enough consistently during the week to support your long runs? you can't run a 20 mile long run if your total running mileage that week is 36 miles, for instance, even if you're doing a lot of biking and swimming too.

--cross-training is great but running is what makes you a better/faster runner.

Biking makes very different demands and personally, I've found that when I get back into a running program after spending a summer mostly biking, my legs are great and never get tired but my heart and lungs are not quite in shape to sustain the speeds I expect to be able to sustain. Running is harder cardiovascularly than biking, in general. And swimming intervals/biking intervals cannot replace running intervals, if your goal is to run your fastest race. I think if I were to try a program like this, I would be religious about wearing a hr moniter, because it's much harder to keep your hr up at running levels when you're biking, and you will need to if you're going to benefit from the cross-training.

--Is it clear what the goals of each workout are? For instance, increasing VO2max, increasing endurance, increasing lactate threshold... and are they planned or periodized in a logical way that's likely to acheive those goals, or is it sort of a mish-mash?

--Does the volume of the cross-training come close to replacing the volume of the running you WOULD be doing? For instance if you'd normally be running 60 mile weeks, are you biking long enough to stimulate the same increase in endurance (keeping in mind that running for two hours is much more taxing than riding for two hours, for example)?

I guess that's it

. I don't mean to sound negative -- I don't know if this kind of program will work well or not. It very well might. I'm a little skeptical, but I think what I would want to do is take a hard look at my goals, figure out what I need to do to acheive the goals, and see if the program measures up from that perspective.
limewave2010-05-02 05:44:03 +0000 #4
It is a little hard to tell what the program is exactly. But, you know, when I trained for the marathon, I only ran 3 days a week. One day was usually a pace day, then a mid-distance, and lastly a long run. But I also kept up with my cycling in between that. The 3-day a week program emphasizes cross-training which was important to me. I felt confident going into the marathon and I did pretty well (for me).

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