Then, I take it one step further and declare that standard marathon training plans are lying when they suggest running long runs of 60-90 seconds slower than race pace and also only run up to 20 miles before a marathon and 10 miles before a half marathon.
Who do I think I am? And where do I get off challenging people like Hal Higdon and Runner’s World?
Honestly, it’s just a hunch based upon the one marathon and four half marathons I’ve run. Just an idea. The idea might have been planted by something NoMeatAthlete wrote about how he qualified for Boston. This could be like the time, I thought it was a good idea to wear ballet flats in the rain.
I wanted to trust in the SmartCoach plan because I never trust in my plans. I’m always fooling around with them – adjusting mileage, adding a spin class, a rest day, playing with pace. But then SmartCoach had to go and dangle the turkey in front of my face, that oh-so-sexy 2:08 half marathon time, and I went all googly-eyed and drank the Kool-Aid.
Lucky for me, I decided to start training 20 weeks before my half-marathon, so I have time to be flaky and change my training schedule.
You get what you give. If I don’t work my ass off now, I can’t really expect to PR in March.
First of all, SmartCoach offers the option to customize your plan by paying a fee for an upgrade. Being the sucker that I am, I ponied up the funds and played around with it. But I do not get this system at all, because I as I played with SmartCoach and made the runs faster, it made my goal time slower. Explain this one to me, please.
Since, I’m too lazy to start over from scratch, I just decided to modify SmartCoach. I copied the plan into Excel and set to work making it MY OWN. (Not an option they offer, but something that I just decided to do.)
The changes I made:
(1) I will now run 4 days, instead of 3 days but the third run will be a longer run sans Garmin. It will be a fun run! Maybe I’ll make it my camera run day and snap some shots for y’all.
(2) The easy pace will be at 11:15 for now and will drop down to 10:00 by the end of February.
(3) The speed work is going to increase slightly, (think 4 800′s @9:00 instead of 2 80o’s @9:15), and I’m going to switch mile repeats for quarters and halfs.
(4) The tempo runs will remain as is but if they feel too easy or hard, I will adjust later on.
(5) I’m going to amp up the long run distance a bit. Seriously, 4 miles is not a long run! And I can easily accomodate up to 10 miles without changing my Friday nights much.
(6) Strength Training: 1-2 yoga classes a week, plus a twice weekly regimen of strength workouts.
At the end of the day, no one knows my body better than me, and after following this plan for four weeks, I feel like I have made zero gains in fitness. My 5k Turkey Trot supports this as I was unable to push for a goal time that is 20 seconds per mile slower than the lofty 2:08 goal I’ve set my sights on.
Closer to race day and with a few short NYRR races under my belt, I’ll be able to better assess the reasonableness of my upgrades. Training plans are not a one-size fits all deal. I wish I had the luxury of hiring a coach or joining a team, but that’s just not an option for me.
I’m going to keep on monitoring my pace and runs, and I’ll keep you updated on my progress.
But for now, I want to know if you modify your training plans at all?