Here is the draft of my training plan for the NYC Marathon, committed to paper while flying to Edmonton the other week. I’ve since transferred the plan to the Excel spreadsheet that I’ve been using as my training log for over a decade.
For all the gadgets in the world, I’ve found that sometimes there is nothing that beats pen and paper for keeping organized. I’m at my best at Getting Things Done GTD® à la Dave Allen when I have notepads strategically located around the house, so as to easily download from my mind, all the things that need doing. CLICK HERE for my earlier post about Dave Allen.
You’ll see in my plan that I’m hoping to do 80 & 85 miles weeks at the peak of my training. Pulling that off will depend on whether I can both increase the quality of my runs and increase mileage concurrently. I used to be able to do this easily but with a lapse of a few years from hard training and age, we will have to see.
The “E” stands for Easy Week and as a concession to the aforementioned, I will experiment with two weeks hard, one week easy. Previously, I would usually do three weeks hard and one week easy. “R” stands for race, the first being the Scotiabank Half-Marathon and then of course NYC.
I hit my target of 50 miles last week and this week got off to a good start with a workout that will segue into a weekly tempo run. I ran a 4 mile warm-up outdoors and then hit the treadmill for 2 X 10 minutes of marathon-pace and tempo-pace running for a total of 8 miles.
Not all the treadmills at my gym are equipped to read out heart rate data and while fidgeting with the controls of one treadmill, I had to input my age. By mistake I entered 50 and then my target heart rate which was 145, my marathon-pace heart rate.
Immediately I received in three warnings in quick succession that this was 85% of my maximum heart rate and did I realize the risk involved. These warnings reminded me of how off-the-mark heart rate zone charts can be. Normal resting heart rates for the general population differ by up to 20 beats. Age maximums vary even more depending on fitness level. If I had entered 172, which would be my target were I planning to run intervals, along with my correct age of 55 perhaps the treadmill would have gone on red alert and shut down.
My best advice to those seeking to improve their marathon times is get a lactate threshold test done. This will insure that you are doing those important tempo runs at the just the right effort level. Runner know thyself.