Thursday, October 18, 2007

Treadmill Thrills & Training Plan ????s

The training plan prescribed speedwork today.... 4x800m at 3:27 and 4x400m at 1:42. When I arrived at the gym, the treadmills were all taken so I opted to start with a warmup on the stationery bike with my eye on the treadmill, ready to pounce when one became available. I covered just one mile before a treadmill opened up... I then continued my warmup with a 1 mile easy run at an 8:57 pace.

The treadmill is great for enabling me to keep pace. On the road (or trail), my mind can sometimes drift and before I know it, my pace has slacked off. [I haven't yet programed the virtual partner on the Garmin - those of you that do so, does it help?] I did each 800m at 3:29 (treadmill programed to 8.6 speed or 6:58 min mile) with about 2 minutes of rest between each. The 400m set was completed as 1:43, 1:43, 1:42, and 1:42 with about 1 minute of rest between each. I then cooled-down with another mile at 8:57. Resulting in a total of 5.3 miles (I divided my bike distance by 3 to convert to run miles - simply for the sake of calculating my total weekly milage).

In the weeks to come, my training plan calls for more and more speed workouts and fewer long tempo runs. This confuses me a little... Several months ago, I read Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger. He states that a typical marathon training program can be divided into 5 mesocycles.

Mesocycle / Primary Objective
1. Increasing mileage to improve pure endurance (longest cycle, up to 10 wks)
2. Improving lactate threshold
3. Race preparation
4. Taper and the marathon (3 wks taper)
5. Recovery (several weeks)

"In the long run, so to speak, it's your long runs and tempo runs that have the most relevance to your performance on marathon day, not how often you've churned out a sterling set of half mile repeats."

He also states that tempo runs are the easiest to recover from because they don't break down the body as much as other forms of hard training. Therefore, doesn't it make more sense to do the speed work in the beginning or middle rather than the month before the marathon? Here is what my plan prescribes in regards to my 'hard run days' for the next few weeks preceding the marathon (the long run distances on Sunday have been modified by me).

10-12 miles w/10 min uphill
10-12 miles w/10 min uphill
10-12 miles w/6 min uphill
10-12 miles w/6 min uphill
4x400 SI, 2x800 C, 4x400 SI
2 miles T, 2x800 C, 2x400 SI

3 miles GP, 6-8x800 C, 3 miles T
3 miles GP, 6-8x800 C, 3 miles T
4 x 1 mile C, 2x800 SI
4 x 1 mile C, 2x800 SI
2 miles, 2x800 C, 2x400 SI
4x400 SI

15 miles
18 miles
22 miles
13 miles
60-75 min

I like the idea of the medium long runs on Tuesday but I question all the speedwork the 3 weeks preceding. As I am not 'racing' the marathon, rather trying to maintain a solid pace for a prolonged distance, shouldn't I be doing more tempo runs???

I ramble. I suppose it doesn't really matter. Every runner has a system the that works for them... everyone is different. Pfitzinger. RunnersWorld Smart Coach. Furman. Galloway. Higdon. Daniels. They all incorporate the same components. I just need to find what works for me.


  1. Hey - I never answered your letterbox/geocache question. We found the letterbox location online, and that's what we were looking for when we stumbled across the geocahce. We're probably going to start doing more geocaching soon, but we don't have a handheld GPS yet. Maybe after Christmas!

  2. You know what I do for more tempo runs in the last 6 weeks of our training plan? I do the Tuesday "Total uphill time" runs at a tempo pace. I use the treadmill pace chart on to help me figure out what my hill tempo pace is.

    And don't forget, if you do the speed sessions (Thursdays) at the prescribed paces along with the prescribed recovery times... the overall workout is like a tempo run (but slightly faster). The purpose of the shorter recoveries is to keep your heartrate sustained so it feels like you're running a lactate threshold pace (the fast pace that you can hold for about 60 minutes of running).

    The plan definitely worked for my goal which was/is to race a faster marathon. But if you don't want to race it, don't injure yourself while training. Be careful!

  3. That does seem like a lot of speed work. And from what I found with myself, those are the ones I need some solid recovery from. Or I am usually hurt.

    The training partner feature on the garmin is great and easy to use. Just dont be tempted to smoke virtual joe!


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