Friday, July 15, 2011

Fall 2011 Race Training: Urban Cow Half & CIM

July 18th – December 4th
11 wks to the Urban Cow Half Marathon
20 wks to the California International Marathon

I’m injury prone, especially in my shins, and I’ve decided that the best way for me to avoid future injuries is to run only three days a week.  After I discovered that my body performs better with one or two days between runs I decided it was best for me to build my training schedule around a three day a week running plan.  So, I decided I would read Run Less Run Faster by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr & Ray Moss to gain some insight into to a three day a week training plan.  I really enjoyed this book and although I’m not following the training plans outlined in the book exactly, I did use their plan as a starting point for building my own plan to better fit my needs. 

When building my training plan for my fall races I first decided to extend it to 20 weeks for the marathon {and 11 weeks for the half marathon --- but in reality I’ve been building up my long run mileage slowly to anticipate a shortened half training plan so that I’ll be right on track with my long run mileage when it comes time to start “training”}.  Last year I was already deep into training for the Urban Cow Half when I decided to extend my training and run the CIM too {which only gave me 13 weeks until marathon race day but I had already built up to a 13+ mile long run}.  I suffered from multiple injuries, and set backs, last year when training for my fall races and I want to avoid that as much as possible this year.  Four weeks after I decided to extend my training last summer and run a full marathon, I ran the half marathon I had been training for {setting a new PR but not having that great of a race} and shortly after that my training started to fall apart and my goal became just to finish training, make it to marathon day, and finish the race in under six hours.  Last year I endeared too many setbacks; this year I can look back and learn from my mistakes

I’ve been diligently cross training weekly for three and a half months; I’ve dropped some weight; my running has improved; my speed has improved; my endurance has improved; my shins have improved.  I’m excited for this upcoming training cycle and I’ve got high expectations for myself to train smarter and finish both the Urban Cow Half and the CIM as a strong and confident runner. 

The Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST) in the Run Less Run Faster book is based on a “3 plus 2” program consisting of three quality runs {track repeats, tempo, and long run} and two cross training workouts.  The plan also outlines very specific paces for the three weekly runs that are described as “somewhat faster than other training plans” based upon the premise that if you are only running three days a week then you should be well rested for each workout. 

The FIRST marathon training plan


After deciding to extend my training to 20 weeks, I decided that I wanted to tackle the 20 miler more than once this training cycle and even extend it to 22 miles at least once.  I also made sure to include step back weeks {something my training lacked last year} and to max out my mid-week “tempo” run at only 8 miles {instead of the 10 in the FIRST training plan}.  Once I knew the basics of what I wanted my training plan to look like, I was able to start building it. 

My Fall 2011 Race Training Plan

jesse fall race training plan image

I was able to use my 5k PR {31:55} from May to determine my pace goals for my three key running workouts per week.  I used the the charts on the FIRST website for paces for runners who run a 5k in 30-40 minutes {speed work paces, tempo paces, long run paces}.

Speed Work Paces

  • 400’s = 2:24
  • 800’s = 4:43
  • 1200’s = 7:25
  • 1600’s = 10:02

Tempo Paces

  • Short Tempo = 10:35
  • Mid Tempo = 10:50
  • Long Tempo  = 11:05
  • Easy Pace =12:10

Long Run Paces

  • Half Marathon Pace {HMP} = 11:38
  • HMP + 20 = 11:58
  • HMP + 30 = 12:08
  • Marathon Pace {MP} = 11:58
  • MP + 10 = 12:08
  • MP + 15 = 12:13
  • MP + 20 = 12:18
  • MP + 30 = 12:28
  • MP + 45 = 12:43

One thing you’ll notice that my training plan lacks is hill repeats.  Due to my reoccurring shin splints I decided it was best to avoid hill repeats at this time.  Instead our long runs will be run on routes that have rolling hills and we may even run part of the CIM course during our training.  The Urban Cow Half is not hilly but but it does have a few ups & downs.  However, even though the CIM is a net downhill course it does have quite a few hills in the first half and a lot of smaller rolling hills in the second half.  Hill training is one more aspect that my training lacked last fall because after a few sessions of hill repeats my shins splints flared up and then I stuck to mostly flat routes with occasional hills {overpasses on long runs}. 

I plan to cross train on Monday – Wednesday – Friday and rest Sunday {although I tend to have less soreness if I move a little the day after a long run so light cardio or walking might be best for me to continue on Sunday’s unless my body tells me otherwise}.  I will continue to listen to my body and REST as needed and when needed.  

I’ve learned over the past few months how critical cross training is to my running and how much my endurance has improved.  Cross training is also key in helping me to continue on my weight loss journey and continue to shed some more pounds to reach a healthy, and happy, weight for me.  I’ve learned when to take it easy and when to rest and when I can push it during the past few months.  I plan to continue to approach each workout {running or cross training} on a daily basis and adjust my goals/planned workout based upon how my body feels and what I think I am capable of on that given day.  I am determined to stay injury free {and to keep my shin splints to a minimum} during this training cycle.  I believe I’ll reach race day {both for the Urban Cow Half in October and the CIM in December --- plus a few other planned races too} happy, healthy, and ready to have the best race possible on both days. 
Other priorities I plan to keep during this training cycle:
  • Healthy eating habits --- which also coincide with my weight loss goals and continuing to follow the Weight Watchers plan {During training last fall I tended to let my healthy eating slide way too much and indulged obsessively in junk food – while I believe indulging is okay, I also believe that overindulging often is not.}
  • Pre-run warm-up walk/jog with plyometric dynamic exercises and stretches before each run
  • Post-run cool down walk followed by stretching then an ice bath for my shins
  • Continue to focus on core work and general strength training for overall fitness

I think that sums up my training plan and my goals for my fall race training.  I’ve spent a lot more time the past few months doing a lot of reading and researching and determining what is best for my body, and my goals.  I’m eager to start training and looking forward to training smart and staying injury free!

I also created a page that shows my current training :)


P said...

That looks like a really solid plan, you've obviously thought this through very carefully! I've done several marathons now with only running three days a week and I definitely believe it works.
I'm SO excited that you're going to do my Big Bloggy Post Exchange!!!

Fleet Feet Sacramento said...

WOW. JUST WOW! This is an incredible blog and so in depth! I don't ever like hearing about people not running as much as they would like to. This plan seems to be working really well for you and I agree with "if it aint broke, dont fix it"...However, if you are ever interested in things like Trigger Point, stretching, injury prevention, nutrition, etc..We would love to help in any way that we can. You can contact us at Keep up the good work!