I think I have my final product, ready for unveiling. It’s basic in structure, I’ve put most of the fundamental training workouts, although I have left out a key workout – I’ll reveal later, and laid it out so that it fits with my current schedule hopefully without leaving me injured or running at weird time of the day.
I put the anchor workout, the Long Run, on Saturdays. The placement serves two purposes: first, it gives a concrete event for the family on Saturday mornings to provide structure and second, it allows me to use the Knoxville Track Club’s Long Distance Races as part of my training without having to take any “extra” time away from the family. The other workouts are scheduled to fit with my work schedule, so that I can do them at lunchtime.
Mondays are my Tempo Runs, Wednesdays are the Strenuous Runs (Hills, Speed and Track workouts), Thursdays and Fridays are Easy Runs. This leave Tuesdays and Sundays as Rest Days. Probably the workout that gets the most response, usually in the realm of “What The…”, is the ‘Easy’ workout out. For most, an ‘Easy’ run workout would be walking the distance or even sitting on the couch imaging walking the distance. Nope, an ‘Easy’ workout has it’s own unique goal.
Remember that I said earlier that training programs are plan of the ‘WORK’ a person should do to have the endurance and fitness to complete a marathon, hopefully at some desired level. That is, we hope to finish with a specific time or maybe just finish at all. To figure out if the training program is working, sometime has to be observed and/or measured. Most runners will use Heart Rate or Pace as a measure of how they are doing in their training. For super geeky runners, they’ll use a variety of gadgets to measure both, at the same time. Elite Runners can even be fitted like lab rats (in a lab) to have even more bodily functions measured, such as the amount of oxygen needed.
The premise is that the more you run, the easier it gets. The easier it gets, the more fit (maybe) you are. A 1 mile run at the beginning might make us heave lunch onto the ground, but as we workout more and more, the one mile run becomes easier and we keep our lunch. We can look at a heart rate monitor that our heart rate at the beginning was higher then after some training. Also, the time that it takes to reach a heart rate where we don’t hear the pounding in our head is reduced. Therefore, if we can reach a certain level of fitness then we should be able to complete the race in a certain time and the training program helps map out what we need to do. This requires at least the basic or entry level heart rate monitor and we are able to measure our heart rate, in real time, and can make immediate changes to the level of effort in our workout.
The other way to measure our level of fitness is pace, or how fast did I complete that distance. Like the 1 mile example above, the more that we train, the faster – at least in theory – we can run the mile at the same pace. By running the same routes, we can estimate a level of fitness based on perceive effort in conjunction with the amount of time that it takes. This method doesn’t give us immediate feedback (unless we have a GPS on us) and we have to rely on perceived effort which can either be a stepping stone or a stumbling block to our workout. This is the methodology that I use for measuring the level of success of my workouts. I do have a heart rate monitor that I could use, but I am not a huge gadget person when it comes to my running.
Okay, so what is missing from my training program? Drum roll please… It’s the mid-distance runs. These are runs that are usually between 6-8 miles and are run in between a Tempo and Easy pace. Since the max that I can do at lunchtime, my more reliable workout time, is 5 miles I had to make a decision to either (1) use vacation time to cover the extra time required for the additional distance if ran on a work day, (2) Run the distance at night, which cuts into family time or (3) Not run that far. I chose #3. Now there is a (4) option which I am beginning to entertain the possibility of doing it and that is to do a “two-fer” or a “Two-A-Day”. That is, I could run, say 4 miles at 5am before the Morning Routine, and then run again at lunchtime which I would be able to get in the 6-8 miles in one day, for that workout. I used this technique in 2008 to get my “High Mileage” training days completed.
Now, I know the runners out there are still not satisfied because I have not shared a crucial element. I wrote about it earlier in the post… my pace. The next blog will be about my target paces for this training plan.
I had to enter in my estimate for my finish time when I register. Since that is the driving force for my training program, I’ll share that next post. I’ll also, free of charge, highlight the target paces, not only for race day, but also all for all the workouts. Yes, even an Easy workout has a range of where your pace “should” fall. And let me tell you, sometimes trying to get an Easy workout at the prescribed pace is hard!
Here’s a PDF version of the whole training program, my plan is to periodically upload it with updates with my actual workouts.