Researching and writing out a training plan is pretty time consuming. I haven’t quite committed yet, but I’m thinking about switching over my plan to Jack Daniel’s. The old plan was out of “Advanced Marathoning”. I’ve mapped out Jack’s medium difficulty training plan. Figured it wouldn’t be smart to make a training philosophy change AND attempt the “Elite Program” at the same time :). Trying to be smart about this!
Here are the main changes:
– Much more “tempo” work than was in my last plan. And it’s not simply 4 miles at tempo like the old plan. Examples of the new tempo workouts are: 2 miles easy, then 5×5-6 min tempo with 1 min rest + 1 hour easy (so tempo within a longer run). Another example: 2 miles easy, 2x(15 minutes tempo with 3 minute rests), 10-12 minutes at tempo, 2 miles easy.
– Long runs almost always have some sort of tempo pace run in them. A typical long run is: 2 miles easy, 2x10min at tempo with 2 min rest, 10 miles easy, 15-10 miles tempo. The other plan just had long runs, with 2-3 of the long runs (over the course of 4 months) having 8-12 miles of marathon pace at the end. This is a pretty big change.
-Faster tempo on the easy runs (7:31-7:43). I think the last plan had them at 8 minutes, 8:20 if it was a recovery day after a really hard workout. I almost always went 7:50ish to 8, but still… 7:30s-7:40s on a recovery day will be much faster than I’m used to.
-He doesn’t spell out each day for you. I sort of liked that in the old plan. Instead, he just gives target mileage based on your max. He gives you the quality workouts of the week and you fill in the rest. (The one downfall of the other plan is that it never had a scheduled day off… so I felt like I had to push myself each week to go longer without a rest day. So maybe it’s best without them mapped out — no pressure — now I can feel good about scheduling in a day off a week (I’ll probably work up to 1 day off every 10 days or so).
My personal changes:
– Strength workout 2-3 times per week. I’m going to write out a schedule, so I don’t have to guess. Then it’s usually quicker to get done (I’m not wandering around in between exercises wondering what to do), and I’m more likely to do it if it’s written down.
-Nutrition: I need to do better here. I eat way too much chocolate and Jack’s pizza. Chocolate because I love it, and pizza for supper because we’re too lazy to cook. Not acceptable. I’d also like to have a goal racing weight. This is a sensitive topic, but I know I’ve always carried around a lot more than the other elites I race against. You can usually pick me out of a line-up: which one of these doesn’t belong? 🙂 Nothing major, but I think slimming down 5 pounds from my previous racing weight would be a good thing.
-Plyos: Adding in some quickness drills. Need to do more research here.
-Trail running: Need to do more of this! It makes you really strong, and it’s a really fun way to switch up the training. Right now I’m thinking one run a week on the trails. Plus, gets me off of the pavement and using different muscles.
-Cross training: skiing (probably mostly double pole) and the spin bike.
Anything I’m missing?
In my mind, the training plan changes are pretty significant. I’ve really liked the old plan, but it’s also “broken” me twice. I’m not sure what about it does that… probably pushing me to take fewer and fewer days off, trying to push mileage more than I should. But really I think what broke me was not doing all of the little things: strength, stretching, cross training, getting off the pavement (I always wanted to know how far/how fast I had gone — now I realize that doesn’t matter. Just put in the time & you’ll get strong. Forget the watch sometimes).
So — with that in mind, should I just work on those little changes/things, and the old plan will do just fine? I did see a HUGE improvement (almost overnight… within 3 weeks of using that plan, even my 5k times dropped significantly) and I actually really like the philosophy: run easy on the easy/long days, save yourself for the long tempos and hard repeats.
But now might be the time to try something different.
So, a week to think about it. Any thoughts, anyone?