Monday, 1 November 2010

Its All Saints Day

Oops. Eleven days since my last blog entry.

What can I share with you? I suppose first up I better give an account of my whereabouts for those 11 days. Since the 22nd I've been off work (on leave) and won't be back again until Wednesday. Food wise the first few days were fine - spotlessly clean - but since the 24th I've been dirty, dirty, dirty. I think its just down to being off, at home. So moving swiftly on... running.

A few weeks back I blogged about my dilemma over which (if any) marathon training plan to follow and only came to a partial conclusion. Well, that' s changed. I decided to re-read Matt Fitzgerald's excellent book 'Brain Training for Runners', and after a few chapters decided that I'd follow his 'Level 2' plan precisely. I say precisely, though one of the features of the plan is the ability to alter workouts based on how you feel but what I mean is I'd undertake it as written despite it seeming to lack many longer LSRs (only 1x18, 1x20, 1x22) - I wouldn't try to substitute in longer LSRs: I'd trust the plan.

One of the differentiators of the Brain Training plan is it's duration: it covers 24 weeks rather than the usual 16. When I'd first looked at the plan I'd dismissed the first 8 weeks as simple base training and was going to stick with Das Uber Plan until -16 weeks then begin the selected programme then. I had a change of heart though deciding that the first 8 week's training were quite specific in their aims and methods and would be important in preparing me for the full plan even though some features seemed to have me going 'backwards' in terms of typical run pace or LSR distances.

The plan itself calls for:
  • Running on at least 5 days a week
  • Then either a 6th run or an alternative x-training session
  • One rest day a week
  • Two harder training days (intervals, hills, tempo)
  • One LSR a week
  • Two sessions of body weight resistance training focused on core and lower body
  • Dynamic flexibility exercises before any harder session
  • Running drills aimed at gait optimisation once a week
  • A specific focus (in terms of improving gait) to consider while running each week
  • Set pace targets to run to (mile, 3k, 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, base and recovery)
  • Faster pace running of LSRs i.e. focusing more on pace than time on feet or endurance

Week 1 looked a little like this:

  • Monday - Rest day
  • Tuesday - 4 miles @ base pace plus 2 running drills
  • Wednesday - Dynamic stretching then 4.35 miles including 2 x 30s steep hill sprints
  • Thursday - 30 minutes on x-trainer plus 1 set resistance exercises
  • Friday - Dynamic stretching then 4.25 miles @ base pace with 2 x 30 seconds @ 1 mile pace
  • Saturday - 4.25 miles @ base pace plus 1 set of resistance exercises
  • Sunday - 6 miles @ base pace
The next 23 weeks will follow a similar format except the speed training elements will become longer (doubling this week), the LSRs will steadily get longer and the resistance exercises increase over the next 9 weeks in number of sets and difficulty of exercises. About every 4-5 weeks there's a recovery week and there's also a suggestion of a race every month or so to test condition to see if the pace targets need altering (I had to work out personal pace targets based on race performance and so these might change).

In all, it means that I'm now incorporating other features into the running training as well as increasing my running frequency but the cost of this (at least initially) is shorter runs and slower pace. That seems to work as I feel fine.

In terms of races to fit in with the plan so far I have:
  • Thirsk 10 mile on 28th November
  • Brass Monkey Half on 23rd January
  • Snake Lane 10 mile on 27th February

That means I'll drop the plan to do a 10k on New Year's Day but need to find something in mid/late March possibly - will need to check the plan/dates. I have 2 other races booked in: Chevin Chase trail race on Boxing day (which will fit as a base pace run) and Hellrunner on Sunday. Not sure what to do about the latter. If I find someone who wants my place they can have it but if not I'll probably do it very, very carefully.

Right, best get back to this here resting now...


Laura said...

Ooh I was thinking of doing the Snake lane 10 mile race, I'm not sure if I can get to it yet though. Will be trying to pursuade my dad! If I do I'll have to try and find you to say hi! Have you run it before, is it a good race?

Running Rob said...

Bad news Laura - entry is closed now, filled up a few days ago.

Laura said...

Ahh well that made that descision easier for me then hehe, maybe next year!

Alison @ Running From, Running To said...

I like the sound of this plan -- the base phase, the balance and emphasis on stretching and resistance training and so on. I would be anxious about the LSRs, but then you've run a couple of marathons now, so you know you're good for the distance. Look forward to seeing how this progresses..