What’s the Plan?!?

I love a plan. Any plan. I am a daily planner junkie who gets hard over Excel tables that chart and graph the future. I love all plans: career plans, savings plans, five-year plans, 24-hour plans, ad inifinitum, you get the point. However, my extra special favorite plan is a racing schedule. Those…well training schedules have me feeling some sort of way, if you know what I mean. It’s almost scandalous.

Post Mountains 2 Beach Marathon, I superstitiously waited until I had completed a week of strong running before giving my FMC the thumbs-up to create a training schedule for the Ventura Marathon in September 2015. After suffering IT-band injuries that put me out of commission for at least three months after my last two marathons, including one injury that manifested itself only after the marathon and not during, I didn’t want to get my hopes up that I was in the clear to start training for my next marathon until I was absolutely sure I was injury-free. After taking two weeks off from running, I finally attempted a full running week consisting of five runs, including an 11-mile long run, and totaling 32 miles. It was only after successfully completing all five runs injury-free that I finally dared to declare myself ready to start training for Ventura. Now I just needed a Plan.

Well, I finally got the 12-week plan from FMC, and here are the key differences from the M2B training plan:

  • Long Long Run. Increasing my 20+ mile runs from one 22-mile run to two 22-mile runs.
  • Tempo Run. Dropping my tempo pace from 9:30-9:20 to 9:12. I had hoped to do this last training cycle, but my unexpected calf injury put an end to any hopes of picking up my tempo pace. I get a chance this time.
  • Marathon Pace Miles. I topped out at 13 MP miles last training cycle, and I’m aiming for 14 in this one. I am also dropping the pace to closer to 9:40 from 9:55. My first two MP runs indicate that this pace is doable, so I’ll give it a shot but bail if things get wonky.
  • Weekly Mileage. I maxed out at 48 last training cycle, and I will hit a 52-mile week for this round. This will be the highest weekly mileage I’ve ever done. Eeks.
The colors represent the three phases: base building, sharpening, and taper.
The colors represent the three phases: base building, sharpening, and taper.

As is usual, I wanted to do more in training. I already told you about the failed switch-to-forefoot-strike experiment. I also wanted to add a day of interval work into my sharpening phase as an extra speed workout to my tempo run, but my FMC felt that the risk of injury was too great to do that right now. Can I just say how lucky I am to have someone save me from myself? One, she’s right. I’m still trying to strengthen my body and get it in top shape, and I’ve only had one marathon end injury-free in my last three attempts, so let’s just slow that roll, lady. Also, I’ve tended to get faster by increasing mileage rather than adding speed work. I’m sure at some point to get to that next level I’ll have to add interval work, but I’m just not there yet, and right now adding miles and staying injury-free is my best bet for getting faster.

The plan seems reasonable – the runner not so much. However, that’s why having a plan is so important: I can defer to the wisdom of the schedule rather than running on feeling and whimsy (not to mention delusion). Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a 20-mile long run scheduled tomorrow morning, and my Plan and I are looking forward to spending some quality time alone this evening, just the two of us and some carbs.

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