The Chicago “plan”

Last post I talked about my meeting with Jerry (post here). Here is our plan… long post, beware!

I’ll take the next three weeks to just run.  No set schedule.  40-45 miles this week, 80 next, 100 the 3rd week.  I’ll add in a few “telephone pole” runs.  I did my first one of those yesterday, and think I’ll like them.  Low tech, mental-stress free to get moving fast again.

Then, a short speed block in June.  I am really hoping to run a speedy 5k then as well.  That PR definitely needs to be re-written!  Musky Fest 5k, here I come!

Then, a 10-12 week marathon specific block and a 2 week taper.

Sounds straight forward, eh?

I asked Jerry his thoughts here. I feel my best training at or above 100/week, but also know that I ran my OTQ on a max of 95/week that I hit just twice.  Most weeks were in the 80s.  He thinks maxing at 130/week this cycle will be best as long as we monitor how tired I am.  Neither of us really care what the “max” is – it’s just that if 130 is my max it works out that I average 100-105 for the training block.  Again, I’ll need to monitor myself carefully to make sure it isn’t too much, but as long as I have the added time and extra sleep and recovery, it should be a very do-able leap for me.

Just have to stay healthy – and run FAST!  Because ultimately, those two things are what is most important, not the weekly mileage #s.

Fun facts:  If I don’t count the taper week of the marathon but include this easy
week (40-45), I’ll log 2042 miles in those 20 weeks.  That’s 102.1/week
for 20 weeks, folks.  If you start counting after my two easy weeks,
that’s 106.2/week for 18 weeks.  Holy cats.  I’m already anticipating
bringing the “recovery” weeks down a bit from plan just to make sure I’m
logging a lot of miles but also giving myself time to recover &

Good thing I have access to all the Brooks shoes I could ever need… I’m going to be going through them like crazy!
Additions to the plan:
More flexibility work after runs.  I’ve become a tight, unflexible ball of muscle and fascia.

Heartwork Yoga studios is donating classes for me through October.  They have a great Yin Yoga class that is literally 1:15 of long sustained stretches. This is very good for me because about 15 minutes into my first class, I remember thinking how LONG of a class this was going to be (I usually only stretch for 5 mins after a run). I’ve only ever done a couple of classes before but felt like it really helped open up my hips.  I felt like I could “spin” my legs easier.

I’ll also make use of the Swork-it app I found for free one day to guide me through 20+ minutes of stretching after every run.

I’ve also checked out a few books from the library – Stretch to Win as well as a foam roller book (I should make better use of it!).  I’m excited to create some good routines for myself (and to share with my athletes).

Dynamic Stretching before runs:
I haven’t done much of this in the past.  I suggested it to Jerry and he asked how I hadn’t been doing it in the past.  Oops.  Guess I’ve always just done my warm up, sat on the ground and did my butterfly stretch, glute stretch, hammys, etc, then started with the workout. Again, just need to come up with a routine. Anyone have any good web links/resources?

Long workouts
I’ve always stopped before and after the tempo or MP segments in the long workouts Jerry has written.  I mean, wouldn’t you if you saw something like “20 miles: 6 at MP, 1 at T, 4 at MP, 1 at T”?  Ummm…. yeah, I shouldn’t have been.

I’ll also add some more fartlek-type work into the long runs.  Gotta get some faster surge-type movements into my long-run repertoire as well!

Mental coaching
Dr. Asp has created a training CD for me that will help ground me before these epic long runs. These workouts are what will make me stronger, so I have to go into them without fear.  I’m excited for his help!  Sure there will be a blog report on that once I start with the marathon training block and am working through Jerry’s “run until you feel sick” workouts.

Subtractions from the plan:
Plyos.  Even though they’re great, they really beat up my legs when I’m running mileage. Jerry and I decided mileage, speed, striders/fartlek work, and strength would more than take care of anything plyos could help with.  Last cycle I did them for about 2.5 weeks and found myself not recovering after sessions (and I wasn’t even doing that much!).  It was just too many of “the little things” all at once.  I’m sure I could get used to them, but think there’s more benefit in everything else.

The watch.  As often as I can, bribe someone to pace me (Brenden? Craig? Brian?) or ride alongside me on a bike (Tom? Oh, CC boy across the street… little do you know, but I aim to ask you often as well!).  Let them have my watch & I just run on feel.

Strength work:  Just once a week now.  Core work after every run, perhaps core work an additional once a week if I feel I can or want to.

Recovery:  I have to take this seriously.  When I first turned pro, I felt terrible if I laid down for a nap in the middle of the day (between workouts).  I felt like I had to be doing something – being productive! But the reason I’m not working is so that I can schedule in naps and truly recover.  I also need to get to bed earlier (even thought I can sleep in) because I know I sleep deeper when I’m in bed before 10.  There’s also the benefit of hGH production during deep sleep.

Nutrition/Weight:  Taboo? Oh well. I raced Fargo 5.5 pounds heavier than I did for my OTQ at Grandma’s in 2011.  106.0 for Grandma’s, likely 111.5 for Fargo.  I just simply allowed myself to not count things & well, not really care :).  I didn’t cut out alcohol the last month like I typically do. I had desserts. I ate like a normal person would.

It’s hard for me to get down to race weight – I almost need to put more effort and diligence into nutrition and weight than I do training – so I made the conscious decision to just focus on it for Chicago. Part of that struggle is genetic (see metabolism/fat burning results from U of MN study), and part of it is that I am a very efficient runner and have a slow metabolism in general (both combined equal not that many calories/day).

After telling Jerry, he decided to write in 3 depletion runs a week.  I tried them early on in this cycle but felt SO terrible during them. But, that’s really the only time I find myself leaning up, and per him and others, they do get easier when your body adapts. Let’s hope!

So… might be some grumblings from me here in the next few months. Tell me to suck it up, I’m just making it out to be harder than it actually is.  Really, I am :).

So, basically, there isn’t anything here that I haven’t already tried (well, mostly – dynamic stretching will be new, increased mileage I guess is “new”).  Nice to have a system you’re used to and just refining at this point.

Oh, and the last goal? Keepin’ it simple and having fun!  Remind me of this multiple times, as my memory is about as good as a starfish.  (think about that – no brain = no memory)

It is just running,after all!

And, just because it made me laugh:

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  1. Question: I used telephone poles to measure for fartleks, but the above seems to indicate they mean different things. Are they different workouts for you? Also, comment: Yay for using your local public library to help you stretch! 🙂

  2. Looks like a challenging, but do-able plan! The mileage facts are pretty crazy but fun, too! I'm not sure if I could handle 1:15 of yoga… more power to you, haha. Nutrition/Weight wise, do you think you race better under 110? It's so hard to find that fine line of "the perfect race weight." I'm excited to see your long run workouts! Those are always my faves, even though they are super hard. Is this the kind of dynamic warm up your looking for:

  3. I love this post! It's the little things that I tend to ignore (like rest and nutrition). I always think I am doing a good job but the truth is I can do better. I snack way too often and sleep 7 hours a night when I know my body most likely needs closer to 9. It's nice to read how an elite plans out how to make the best of these little things. Thanks for sharing with us and I'd love to hear more about those depletion runs if you ever get a chance to blog about them.

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