Marathon in 2012

22 Sep

Marathon Training Plan

So remember when I said I was excited to not have a training plan since triathlon season is over?

Well, that’s not really going to happen.

You see, I want to run this little thing they call a marathon in May 2012 (I’m eyeing the Stillwater Marathon in MN, which should be the last weekend of May). While I had been {stupidly} thinking that I could sit on my butt until January rolled around and then start a training plan, almost every website and person I’ve talked to has said that I need to be running 15-25 miles per week before I even start the training program. And since I’m not the world’s smartest runner, I guess I’ll trust them…

Since I’ve been training for triathlons and not concentrating on running, my weekly mileage has been somewhere in the single digits. Paltry. All of this means that to avoid injury, my marathon base building starts right after the Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Relay. Real marathon training starts on January 23.

To be honest, I’m kind of excited. Marathon, here I come! You will not evade me in 2012!

But since I have really missed doing yoga, pilates, the elliptical, and yes, even weight-lifting, my base-building plan includes 2 days of cross-training and strength training, 3 days of running (1 regular, 1 speed, 1 long), and 2 days of rest.

Base Training Plan

I think I can handle that.

For my marathon training plan, I used Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Plan but I might sub out the runs on Monday for the same amount of cross-training, depending on how I feel. I think coming up with training plans is so stressful. I’m wary of running 4 days a week because I got injured last year from over-training. But if I don’t add in that extra day, my mileage won’t be that high. I decided to put the run on the schedule and will play it by ear whether that day should be an easy run or cross-training.

Like I have mentioned before, I am going to do things differently this year for marathon training. Last year, I signed up for the full Malibu marathon but ended up running the half because my IT band flared up. So as you will note on my training plan this time around, I will strength train. I will do speed work. I will stretch. I will cross-train (mostly on the bike and in the pool).

I posted these plans on my new marathon page for future reference.

I have discovered one more thing that I think will help me a lot:

Heart rate training.

I bought a heart rate monitor back in 2009 when I was training for my first triathlon. But I don’t use it like you’re supposed to. I only wear it to time my workouts and know how many calories I burned. And sometimes I like to look at my heart rate for fun.

Well, since things have slowed down at work and I just read the SELF cover story featuring Lauren Graham, I’ve been doing a little research about why staying in your aerobic zone is so beneficial. Here’s what I found:

The more work you perform aerobically, or in the presence of oxygen, the more efficient you are. Prolonged aerobic training produces muscular adaptations that improves oxygen transport to the muscles, reduces the rate of lactate formation, improves the rate of lactate removal, and increases energy production and utilization. These adaptations occur slowly over time.

So why haven’t I been doing this? I asked myself.

The hard part of base training is having the discipline to train at these low intensities. It may mean running very slowly or even walking. It may mean separating from your training group in order to pursue your individual goals. It also means avoiding the contest of egos that group training often turns into. If you can find a training partner with similar goals and fitness level you may be able to train with them, but more often than not what I see is a base work gone awry. Even spending short amounts of time above your aerobic zone degrades the work out.

The area between the top of the aerobic threshold and anaerobic threshold is somewhat of a no mans land of fitness. It is a mix of aerobic and anaerobic states. For the amount of effort the athlete puts forth, not a whole lot of fitness is produced. It does not train the aerobic or anaerobic energy system to a high degree. This area does have its place in training; it is just not in base season. Unfortunately this area is where I find a lot of athletes spending the majority of their seasons, which retards aerobic development. The athletes heart rate shoots up to this zone with little power or speed being produced when it gets there. {source}

Hmmmm… so you’re saying that I’m such a slow runner because I’ve been refusing to say in my aerobic zone? You mean I have to slow down to get faster? I can do that.

Based on a few different calculators I found for Maximum Heart Rate (MHR), mine seems to be somewhere around 195. That means my Aerobic Zone is somewhere around 157 – 171. My heart rate is usually around 160-165 during a regular run, so that’s good.  Easy recovery runs are supposed to be done in the Fat Burning Zone: 143 – 157 beats per minute. I hardly ever do runs that slow.

I hope this knowledge impacts the way I train – so that I can make sure to not overdo things and see the benefits promised by aerobic training. And if it doesn’t, oh well. I’m just doomed to be slow.

I would, however, like to keep up the pace I have been running (11 min/mile) and possibly even improve that. I think the strength and cross training are going to be key.

Now I just need to find the motivation to finish my training plan for this blasted half marathon relay! We found out that it’s not split into two 10Ks – the first leg is 7.8 miles, the second is 5.3. So Travis decided to do the first leg. I can’t lie – I’m relieved. It’s not that I’m sick of training – it’s that I’m sick of trying to balance everything and constantly strategize about when to fit workouts in. I have so much other stuff that I want to (and have to) be doing! (What really should go is this job thing. 😉 ) But I’ve been thinking – working out is not only important because of my athletic aspirations, it’s also important because it keeps me healthy and enables me to keep up with the other areas of my life. So behind God, my husband and church (oh and work), exercising has to be a priority. No matter what else doesn’t get done.   

Any advice for me on my marathon training?

Do you pay attention to your heart rate during training?

One Response to “Marathon in 2012”

  1. Erin September 27, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    I’m training for my first marathon as well! Picking out a training program was SO stressful to me. Good luck with your training!!

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