Monday, February 1, 2010

Marathon Training Program: Weeks 4 - 5

Two more weeks closer to marathon!  The program continues to follow the same cycle as the first three weeks, two weeks of increasing mileage followed by a step back week of reduced mileage.  The pattern  is cross-training Monday, short run Tuesday, medium run Wednesday, short run Thursday, rest Friday, medium run Saturday, and a long run Sunday.

The past two weeks raised the medium runs from 5 to 6 miles, and the long runs to 11 miles and 12 miles.  It  feels pretty comfortable, as it is now getting up to the mileage I was accustomed to in last several months of 2009.  In the past week, with the help of continued strengthening excercises, my sore knee feels almost 100% recovered.  Encouraged by this improvement, I have added just a few miles to my published schedule here and there.  I've been running 4 miles on most of the 3-mile days, and yesterday, I ran 13.1 miles instead of the scheduled 12, and managed to work in some hills.  I'm well aware of the dangers of overtraining; I'm just trying to enhance the training program slightly.

I initially wanted to try the Intermediate 2 program, but decided that it might be slightly more than I could manage, and settled on the Intermediate 1.  The main reason I decided against the Intermediate 2 was that the mid-week medium-distance run goes up to 10 miles at the peak of the program, and I just wasn't willing go get up early enough to run that long in the morning before work.  Other than that, the main difference between Intermediate 1 and 2 is that Intermediate 2 goes a couple of miles longer on the Saturday and Sunday runs.  So, I figure that I can add up to 2 miles on my weekend runs and actually run a hybrid of the two Intermediate programs without overtraining.  The feature I liked best in the Intermediate 2 is that it peaks at a 10-mile Saturday run followed by a 20-mile Sunday run!  I think the 30-mile weekend total would be better preparation for the rigors of the 26 mile race than the 25-mile weekends in the Intermediate 1 program.  So, depending on how strong I feel as the schedule progresses, I may stretch the weekend portion of the #1 to either equal or approach the #2 program.

The coming week brings the second step back week, and will reduce mileage slightly. 

Five weeks down, 13 to go!


Keith Peters said...

I'm jealous. Sounds like a fun program. I'll be starting the Higdon half marathon program in about a month. Looking forward to the long runs.

Barbie said...

13 weeks, wow, not that long but long enough to get your good training in. I am in awe of all your training Vern. Keep up the great work.

Vern said...

@Keith: A new adventure awaits you! I think you'll like the longer runs. Good long runs get a runner in that fluid rhythm for so much longer that the "zen" of running has a better chance of developing. And I say "longer" runs instead of "long," because just like speed, distance is relative. It is our tendency to consider everyone that is faster than we are as "fast," and distances longer than we run as "long." The people that we think run fast and long look at runners that run faster and longer than they do, and think the same thing! I'll be interested to see how you like program for the half. And after you've done that, you will ready to start a marathon program any time you want!

@Barb: You are so right; 13 weeks will go by so fast! The first 5 seemed to go by in no time! Mentally, I find the concept of 26 miles a little intimidating, but I know that this is a good training program, and I've stayed on schedule with it, so it really should go OK. Thanks for the encouragement! It helps!

Travis and Teniah said...

Sounds like a wonderful training program, and I definitely think you can adapt and combine the two intermediate programs. I am planning to make some changes on my training programs too. I think they are more
"guidelines" for success. You can do what your body feels is appropriate by using the training routines as a "guide". Just like how you are feeling better running a four miler, I don't think that will cause you to over-train at all. =) Keep up the good work, and listen to your body and you will do awesome!

Vern said...

Teniah, your closing words are the key ones: "listen to your body." I always preach that, but once in a while, I don't listen closely enough. And when I don't listen, I usually pay for it!