My third week of marathon training is complete, and last week I actually stuck to the schedule. I am trying to follow Hal Higdon’s Advanced 1 plan. It is an 18-week plan, and I know it may be a bit ambitious considering the fact that I have not run a marathon yet. One thing that drew me to this plan is that it involves speed workouts. There are workouts such as tempo runs, hills, and 800s. Higdon’s other plans do not incorporate these kinds of workouts, but I am used to doing similar workouts and enjoy the challenge. In the past, I’ve been used to running around 4 days a week, 5 maximum. This plan will have me running 6 days a week. I’ve avoided that much running in the past due to persistant shin pain. Now that I have the problem under control a bit more, I feel like I’m ready to try 6 days.
I have never been good about truly following a plan in the past, and I’m sure I’ll tweak this one as I go. I really am going to do my best to stick to it though. The first two weeks of the plan were altered a bit due to triathlons each weekend. Of course I decided to start doing triathlons as I began marathon training…great timing. There is no cross-training built into this plan, so I’ll squeeze it in where I can. If I feel like my shins or something else may be a problem, I may take Mondays off of running. I’ll see how it goes!
This past week I was on vacation, which was nice because it meant all of my runs were done in the morning. I typically run in the late afternoon or evening during the week, and it can be brutal with the heat and humidity some days. Matt was on vacation too, so we ran together 5 out of 6 days. Here’s what last week looked like:
Monday: A slow and easy 3 miles on the Paint Creek Trail the day after my sprint triathlon.
Tuesday: 4 x 800 workout, 6.5 miles total. I haven’t been on a track for months and Matt and I decided to do this workout there. I’m glad we did because I tend to go a lot faster on the track. I thought only 4 repeats seemed kind of wimpy, but not at the pace we did! Matt paced me and helped push me. I figured I’d try for a 7-minute pace, but I managed to pull off more like 6:30-6:40 thanks to him!
Wednesday: 45 minutes of strength training followed by 3 miles on the trail.
Thursday: 6 miles at Stony Creek Metropark. It was warm and humid by the time we got out, but I managed to get through this better than I thought I would.
Saturday: 6 miles in downtown Cleveland. This was supposed to be a pace run. I ended up hitting the pace overall, but we stopped a bunch of times to take photos. We went to the Tigers / Indians game the night before and took advantage of being able to run in the city the following morning. I love having a change of scenery and it’s fun to run through downtown areas early in the morning. We made a point of running by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as the stadium where the Cleveland Browns play.
Sunday: 8 miles on the Polly Ann Trail. My legs did not feel great before this run, so I worried that it could be ugly. Once I got moving, I felt totally fine. It rained for the whole run which was nice in a way because it kept me cooler. It was kind of a relief compared to some of the warm runs I’ve done recently.
Total for the week: 32.5 miles.
I only did strength training once, and did not bike or swim at all. Vacation kind of threw me off of my normal workout schedule, but I managed to actually follow the Higdon plan for a full week without altering it. One thing I’m concerned about is my pace. According to the McMillan Running Calculator, I am capable of running a 3:35 marathon. This calculator has accurately nailed my 5K, 10K, and 25K times, so I do have faith in it. However, with this being my first marathon, I’m thinking my goal may be closer to 3:40 or 3:45. Of course the ultimate goal is to finish regardless of pace. 3:35 puts my marathon pace around 8:13, but I’m thinking possibly up to 8:25. I was supposed to run my 6 miles on Saturday at race pace, while the other runs (aside from the 800s) should have been at an easier pace. My marathon pace is what I typically run for any average run that doesn’t have a specific goal. I actually did that pace for my Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday runs too. I really have to work on slowing down. As my miles increase, I’m sure some of it will happen naturally. I need to make sure I don’t get hurt by overtraining and pushing the pace on days when I ought to be going slower. When I have 6 miles at pace next Saturday followed by 13 miles on Sunday, I’m sure that Sunday run will be slower!