Marathon Training

Five weeks to go until the Kansas City Marathon. Let’s take a look at my training program, where I’m at, where I’m going, and how I’ll get there. My goal finishing time is 3:30:00 (8:00min/mile pace); a 20 minute improvement from my previous marathon, the Big Sur International Marathon. I am by no means a speed-demon, but I do pride myself on getting faster as I get older. I am running better now than I ever have been and I attribute the progress to making smarter decisions with training, recovery, mobility training, strength work, dealing with injuries, nutrition, fueling, hydration, and seeking balance in life outside of running. These are all considerations that I use when designing training plans for athletes; the plan must be as unique as the individual, and must allow flexibility and adjustment on the go. Here’s a look at my overall marathon training plan, from a high level.

_KC Marathon Overview.JPGI pull from Jason Koop’s annual training plan template; he is a well-known ultrarunning coach with Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) and a coach I look up to. As you look at this plan, the column highlighted in green is the current week. Everything to the left of the green column is in the past and has been updated to reflect what I actually did on those weeks. Everything to the right of the green column has yet to happen and is my starting point for that week. I stopped tracking my weight in week 7, as I found myself becoming a bit obsessive about it. Since my training load was about to ramp up, I decided to listen to my body on when and how much to eat.

The current block focuses on endurance and steady state running. Being only five weeks from the marathon, I have shifted to training more specific to the demands of the race. I focus more on long slow distance (LSD), goal marathon pace (GMP), and some steady state (SS) tempo running. The long runs are also reaching a peak, I ran 19 last weekend and will do 22 next weekend, the longest run in training. I consider these long runs to be very important, for mental and physical training. The challenge here is to not let negative thoughts creep in and take hold of your attitude. Its ok to acknowledge negative thoughts, but do not let them affect what you are doing or what you have to do. Long runs are meditative in nature. The week of the 22 miler is also the peak week for volume at 7 hours for the week, then begins the taper to ensure full recovery and adaptation prior to the 26.2 mile race.

Here’s a look at the remaining workouts from week 5 until the marathon.

_KC Marathon Weekly

Weeks 5 and 6 have two back-to-back quality efforts. These are workouts that are much more intense than a normal run at conversational pace. It is important to do these back to back to take advantage of accumulated fatigue. The second day workout is done on tired muscles, which simulates working hard in the later miles of a marathon. Weeks 2 and 3 have two-a-day workouts that also work accumulated fatigue. The long run for week 5 is only 12 miles, but it requires the second half at goal marathon pace (GMP). This is, again, to simulate holding marathon pace when fatigued. Today’s workout was a progression run which started out with 15 minutes at conversational pace (CP), then 30 minutes at GMP, then 15 minutes at steady state (SS). By the end I was having a hard time keeping a 7:15 min/mile pace.

That’s it for now, I will post a few more updates on my marathon training in the coming weeks. Happy running!


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