Tag Archives: training plans

The 2012 Detroit Free Press Half Marathon – Training

Committing to a running plan is, paradoxically, a relief for me, rather than an intimidating event. Writing the plan, or researching it, or picking a race, all of those tasks, that involve choice so heavily, are intimidating. With a choice, or worse, with dozens of small choices, I am faced with the reality that not only might I not make a good one, I will likely not make the best one. These are the kind of things that afflict those of us with nervous minds.

Once the plan is laid in, typed into the calendar, the goal race set, and the paces all determined, the relief is palpable. At last, no more choices! There is only “run” or “don’t run” and I know which one of those is the best choice.

My plan for the Detroit Free Press Half comes, lifted whole, from Runner’s World Smart Coach, a free iPhone app that takes a recent race result, a goal race, your basic training stats (miles per week, experience) and spits out a training plan. This is perfect for the symptoms described above. I signed up for Detroit because I didn’t get to do it last year, and when I was still agonizing over 5k and 10k for the summer, I realized that the 16 week window I had used for optimal training for Pittsburgh was creeping up for Detroit.

So I told the app to spit out a plan, and it did. 16 weeks of runs, with the three pillars being a long run, a workout, and 3 easy runs each week. It also features a drop back week every fourth week with only easy runs. To see the whole thing in detail, check out the plan over on the Training Calendar tab above.

My ability to stick to the plan may take some flexibility, as my current schedule is a little out of phase with Steph’s workouts, but it feels good to have a plan again. The Detroit Free Press half is in a few months, and I have no reason to believe I won’t show up there with another sub 2 half. And if it goes well, maybe another incremental PR.

That said, I think there’s some room in the plan for using a 5k or 10k as a check-in race, but I’m not sure I want to go down the road of looking for one again. My indecision shines through when I start that process.

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Carrying the weight

I’ve had a happy and a long racing season, starting with the Pittsburgh Half Marathon and culminating with my 2:00:31 performance in the Stomp The Grapes Half. After wrapping up the Stomp the Grapes, and notching my belt with another PR, I took a 2 week break from running.

It wasn’t that long ago that my whole life was a break from exercise, so it shouldn’t seem as momentous as it has, but maybe there’s something to that adrenaline/dopamine response thing. Taking two weeks off from serious running has been both convenient (my job is crazy right now) and completely intolerable. The scale hasn’t lurched up too high, thankfully, but I missed the routine and the exhilaration of running.

I woke up yesterday and broke the rest period with a 5 mile run to the Romulus Athletic Center, which is the fitness center Steph and I use. It’s a familiar route, but I almost always run the reverse, heading home instead of heading out. The weather was unseasonably warm for November, 55 degrees and sunny. I ran in shorts and the shirt from my Brooksie Way half, along with running gloves & hat. I stripped off gloves and hat after just a short time on the road, and carried them for quite some time, sweating hard in the bright winter sunlight. Steph took my accessories at about mile 3.5, since she was passing by in the car on the way to the gym. My overall time was right about a 10 minute pace, which makes for a good return from running. I felt good, though I was tired by the end of the 5 miles, which is probably just a consequence of a light overall month of running.

Steph met me at the RAC, and we did some weight lifting.

My plan, for this season, was to begin a course in weight lifting, to support a lower mileage schedule in the winter. Weightlifting can be so intimidating and complicated, that I’ve elected to pick the simplest possible ‘circuit’. Squats 3×10, Clean&Jerk x10, Bench Press 3×10, and Pullups 3×10. I started this immediately, and have already done 5 workouts. I managed to fit them in, even with multiple 12 hour days at work lately. It would have been tough to keep up with running at the same time.

But now, work has calmed, by one notch, though it’ll still be busy up to, and past, the upcoming Christmas shutdown. As always, I function better with a plan, so here’s my new schedule!

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – Weights
Wednesday – EZ Run (5 miles)
Thursday – Weights
Friday – EZ Run (5 miles)
Saturday – Weights
Sunday – Long Run (6-10 miles)

That’s 19-23 miles per week with no major workouts (counting a 1 mile warmup run on each weight day). I’ll be focusing on keeping my fitness and keeping weight in control while weightlifting gives me some new challenges for my body. I will need to keep an eye on my pace over the winter, try to keep it easy and gentle and not get excited and end up over exerting while I’m intending to rejuvenate.

The Madness is on me

I was thinking of my week last week as a light running week, and it was, for this year. I was on vacation in the Outer Banks (OBX!) and mostly spent the week eating, drinking and ‘jellyfishing’ in the pool.

But I still ran almost 16 miles. Not bad for an ‘off week’!

I have 3 weeks now until my Solstice 10k. I have 3 goals.

  1. Safe: Beat my 10k split from the Pittsburgh Half Marathon – 1:05:06.
  2. Solid: Beat a 10:00/mile pace, 1:02:08
  3. Stretch: Beat 1:00:00, a 9:39/mile pace. 

I think those are as realistic as goals should be. I would be elated if I pulled off a 60 minute, but not at all disappointed as long as I beat the shadow of my half marathon split.

I’ve put together my plan, and will post it under the training calendar section soon. It’s only a 4 week plan, with my week of sloppy vacation miles to pad week one, but just having something to work toward gives me heart.

Next thing to do is to select more races! I’m keeping my eye out for 5ks, 10ks and half-marathons.

I’ve got 4 weeks.

Starting today, it’s 30 days to that next 10k.

I’ve got 4 weeks to run and go into that race with fitness as good or better than had in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.  My 10k split on the half was 1:05:06. My tentative goal is to run 1:02:08, a 10 minute pace.  I wouldn’t be disappointed with 1:05:06, a 10:28 pace.

I know that 4 weeks isn’t enough time to change much, I’m just looking for a schedule to write down to give myself a framework for the next few weeks. So, here’s what I’m planning.

  • 2 rest days.
  • 1 long slow weekend run.  8-10miles. 11:00 pace
  • 1 Interval workout, mile w/u, 4x800m @ 9:00 pace, 400m @ 12:00 jog recovery, mile c/d. 
  • 1 race pace run, mile w/u, 3 miles @ 10:00 pace, mile c/d
  • 2 easy runs. Probably 6.2 miles  of running @ 10:30-11:00.

I can’t decide if this is too aggressive, or too relaxed. It’s a surprising number of miles; 26-28 miles discounting the warmups (which I generally do).  I could dial it back but I want to stick with 5 days a week; three rest days is too many for me.

Anybody have any thoughts?