06-23-2016

My Marathon Training Plan

So it’s finally here…time to train for the NYC Marathon. This week is week 1. I was going to do a 16 or 18 week plan, but then read about the benefits of a 20 week plan. Like having more time to gradually build up and also more flexbility if you miss some runs due to unforseen circumstances. So I decided to do the 20 week intermediate plan from Running a Marathon For Dummies by Jason Karp.

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(Bought these books together and highly recommend Champion’s Mind too.)

I have chatted with Jason a few times previously and that’s how I learned of his book. I was debating between this plan and Hansons. I have used Hansons before (2011 NYC Marathon) which lead to a PR, but I wanted to try something new AND believe this plan might better suit my weaknesses.

For instance, tempo runs and long runs are very challenging for me. I dread them. Track workouts are no big deal. I love them and while they can be hard, I never doubt that I will be able to do it (unlike tempos and long runs).

This plan has a heavy emphasis on tempo runs and intervals, and then in the later weeks starts adding VO2 Max intervals as well. The intermediate plan peaks aaround 50 MPW I believe. The book also offers a beginner and advanced plan. Here’s a shot of one of the training plan pages (this is the advanced plan)

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This is the first time I’m going into a plan with somewhat of a base. While I was only running 15-20 miles per week, I’ve been consistent with that and my cycling classes since January, so I am WAY fitter than any other time I have started a plan (aka at 0 miles per week lol).

The first track/tempo interval workout this week was:

  • 2 mile warm-up
  • 3×1 mile at threshold pace (for me, 10 min./mile but I ended up doing 9:30ish pace because I had read the wrong pace chart lol)
  • 1 mile cool-down

I actually did 1 mile warm-up + 1 lap cooldown because of time constraints. 

But I actually felt really good. It was a big challenging but doable. I honestly doubted myself going into the run – I figured I’d do 1 rep of the mile then have to drop down to 400s or something. Because 1) it was super hot and 2) I haven’t done mile repeats in years probably. No joke. And this is in week ONE! 

I am feeling good though – I know it’s only week 1 of 20, and I know it’s only one track workout, but I think it bodes well that I was able to finish mile repeats strong and on pace. I actually progressively ran faster too. So here’s to hoping it continues and I can FINALLY get a marathon PR, since Chicago was such a disaster.

I will be interviewing Dr. Jason Karp, the author of this plan, soon, so stay tuned for more info from him. And if you have any specific questions about running and marathon training, leave them below so I can send them to him!

SIDENOTE: If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably already seen this, but my mom and I finally started a running group! We met this other guy through a friend, who is connected with Asuncion Runners in Paraguay (my native country). So we decided to do a New Jersey chapter of that group. It’s not only Paraguays, but also from other countries. I’ve talked with my mom forever about starting a running group for the Latinos in the area. Many are new to running and just need some guidance and support from others – which is exactly what our group aims to offer. We are running our first 5K together this Saturday! 

I know many have said it, but running with a group really does make runs go by faster and it’s nice to have that camaraderie. I’ve been named the official Coach of the group ;)

Do you have a running group? How did you meet them/join them?

What training plan are you following at the moment?

Leave your running questions below so I can share with Dr. Jason Karp!

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11-12-2013

Hansons Marathon Method Review

As many of you may know, I used the Hansons Marathon Method as my training plan leading up to the ING New York City Marathon. I was really apprehensive about using this training plan, but really wanted to have a good race this year, as opposed to 2011.

I honestly don’t even remember where I found out about this training plan, but once I read reviews about it online, I immediately bought the book through Kindle.
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After reading it, I was seriously so nervous about training. It would be way more than I have ever ran…but I knew that would help me get faster and fitter as well. The book comes with a “Beginner” plan and an “Advanced” plan…though even with the beginner plan, you should probably have a good base before starting it.

Cumulative Fatigue

One of the main principles of Hansons Marathon Method is cumulative fatigue. Cumulative fatigue is, “the accumulation of fatigue over days, weeks, and even months of consistent training.” It doesn’t allow for full recovery between hard runs, though that doesn’t mean you wont’ have recovery days…more on that later.

The Hansons have 5 components that will result in this cumulative fatigue:

  1. Mileage
  2. Intensity
  3. Balance
  4. Consistency
  5. Recovery

Mileage

The difference with this plan and many others is that the bulk of your weekly mileage will not be on the weekends. They say many plans have you running only 3-4x per week, and then running your long run on the weekends. That means 50% of your weekly mileage is done within the span of 2 days. That can lead to overtraining and injury. You will be running 6 days a week. They state that this could freak some runners out in the beginning…I didn’t think I could do it, or run around 50 miles per week like they asked me too…but as they say, have confidence, and you will slowly build up to it. The great thing is that in the first few weeks, you get 2 rest days per week.

Intensity

This plan includes tempo runs, track workouts, and your usual long run. But most of your days will be easy run. While many runners think easy runs are junk miles with no real benefit, according to the Hansons, they are the runs that will really help you in the marathon. Why? Because you are running on tired legs. Do you know how many days after a tempo or track workout I really did NOT want to go out for an easy 5-6 miles? But I did because I knew running on tired legs would help me succeed in the marathon. Also, they stress that in those tempo and track workouts, proper pacing is KEY. If you go out faster than you are told, your body will take even longer to recover from a hard workout.

Balance

As I mentioned above, this training plan emphasize balance in all runs. Your long run shouldn’t be the bulk of your weekly mileage. Instead, all of your SOS (Something of Substance) workouts should be equally as important. Which is why during the week you could be running anywhere from 8-12 miles in your SOS workouts. That also helped me not be so nervous before long runs, because I was already running a decent amount during the week! The good thing about it too is if you must miss a run, all of the workouts are balanced and equal, so missing 1 long run will not totally ruin your entire plan. BUT, you really should try not to miss runs because it will throw your training off and put you behind. I think I only missed about 2-3 runs before I got injured (and had to miss a whole week).

Recovery

“When it comes to cumulative fatigue, you walk a thin line between training enough and overtraining.” Incomplete recovery allows you to perform well, even when you’re not feeling 100%. SOS runs are followed by easy runs. You will not go into a long run with fresh legs…because what’s the point? At mile 20 of the marathon, you won’t have fresh legs. The Hansons want you to get used to that feeling. The good thing about their recovery is that you can run 1-2 minutes slower per mile than your goal pace. It should truly be an easy pace. Enjoy these runs as leisurely runs where you don’t have to worry about time.

Other Key Points

If you look up Hansons Marathon Method, you will find the first thing you read about it is that you will not run 20 miles in training before the marathon. What?!?! Yup.

Not gonna lie…it’s awesome. I loved it. I did not feel like running 20 miles in training before the race. It takes up so much time, and they argue that it also requires a lot of recovery time too.

They are not saying, however, that everyone should not run 20 miles in training. Their rule of thumb is that your long run shouldn’t be 50% of your weekly mileage and that a long run shouldn’t take longer than about 3 hours to complete. After 3 hours, you’re hurting yourself more than benefiting yourself. Your body will need a lot more recovery time, which may lead to missing a run because you’re not feeling recovered.

I actually ran 18 miles in training, as opposed to 16, because I would finish right around 3 hours. If you need longer mileage for mental confidence, then go for the 18. Generally speaking, this plan has you running one 15 miler, and 3 16 milers before the race. And a bunch of double digit weekday runs.

What I Liked:

  • Very structured…took the guess work out of my training plan. Everything you do is explained by science and facts, which makes you feel more confident.
  • Tempo runs (though I also didn’t like them at times haha). They really help build your confidence since you are running at goal pace.
  • Not having to run 20 miles. Maybe once my average pace is faster, I will run longer…I hope one day I can run 20 miles in around 3 hours but that is a long time away!

What I didn’t like:

  • Honestly, there isn’t much I didn’t like. Running 6 days a week is tough. But you’re training for a marathon, it’s going to be tough.
  • Some days, getting in those easy, recovery runs is harder than the SOS workouts. 1) Running 5-6 miles after a hard workout is hard. Your legs feel like logs. 2) Running 8 miles before a long run the next day can be intimidating, but you know it will definitely help you in the marathon.
  • That’s really it!

Overall, I would highly suggest this plan to someone looking for one before their next marathon. It makes sense, has good information, and outlines everything you need to know, along with paces for each workout. They also include nutrition tips, taper tips, strength workouts, and more.

I ran NYCM and got a 33 min. PR! I really attribute this to the plan. Honestly, I never hit “the wall.” My energy never waned. Yes, my hips got tight around mile 24…but I ran 24 miles with ZERO problems, and was able to finish a marathon with only 1 walk break to stretch. It felt amazing to be passing people at the end, instead of being passed.

As I was finishing the race, this Hansons phrase stuck out to me, “We are training you for the last 16 miles of the race, not the first 16.” The cumulative fatigue aspect of this plan is what really helped me.

Would I use it again? Definitely! I already am trying to figure out a way to modify the plan in order to use it for half marathon training. If I run a marathon again next year, I will stick to the beginner plan again, since I couldn’t complete all the runs towards the end. If I can stay healthy, I wonder if I can get another huge PR!

You can order the book on Amazon, or order it to be sent right to your Kindle (or Kindle app on an iPad).

Have you used Hansons Marathon Method?

Would you consider it?

If you use it, please let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I’m open to any questions you may have!

Here’s a basic outline of their Advanced plan, taken from their website.

**Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission if you order through Amazon…hey, it’ll help me save up for my next marathon entry ;)

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09-05-2013

Halfway Through Marathon Training

I can’t believe we are almost done with week 10. Since we are more than halfway there, I wanted to take some time to reflect on how training is going. As you know, my mom and I have been using the Hansons Marathon Method to train for the NYC Marathon. Here are some thoughts.

Mileage

It actually hasn’t been bad at all! When I first read this plan I was so nervous. Running 6 days a week?!!? I hadn’t done that since high school cross country. I have shin issues…would this be a good idea? The most I have ever ran in a week was 37 miles during marathon training in 2011. We will be running close to 60 miles during peak weeks and have already ran over 37 weekly miles…and ran the most in a year EVER!

It hasn’t been bad at all. Yes, I am tired some days, especially after harder days, but I look forward to each run. Running 6 days a week hasn’t been bad at all, and in fact, my shins have been hurting less than in other training bouts…did running MORE help??

The Workouts

They’ve been tough at times but I look forward to the hard days (track workouts, tempo runs, and the long run). We had an awesome tempo run yesterday which actually made me feel confident that we will be able to do way better this marathon. While I’m a little scared of the fact that the longest run we will do is 16 miles…I am trusting the plan and the science behind it. I definitely feel fitter!

Overall

We are feeling good. We have some aches and pains occasionally as is expected. I am still practicing with fueling on long runs. Currently, I’m taking half a GU every two miles with 4 oz. of water. I think I need more though, from what I read, I should take 1 GU every 25 minutes, and drink 2 oz. of water every 15-20 minutes! I will try this on my next long run. Fueling is what killed me next time so I need to do better with this.

I’ll end this with some humor ;)

Are you training for a half marathon or marathon this fall? How is your training going? Tell me, I’d love to hear about it!

 

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08-12-2013

Week 6 of NYC Marathon Training

Another week of training DONE. This was the most running we have done in a week since marathon training in 2011. I did one day of cross training, and including that it was 33.5 miles, but not including that it is 29.5. The most we ran in 2011 in 1 week was 37 miles. This week we were actually supposed to do 39 but I wanted to ease into it because of my shins…here’s my recap!

Monday

Treadmill track workout. 12×400 meters, with 400 meter jog in between. We ran each interval at 7.0 speed, which is 8:34 pace, and jogged at 11:00 pace. We also had a 1 mile warm up and cooldown, which made it a total of 7.5 miles!

Tuesday

Off

Wednesday

5 mile tempo run, 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cooldown.

I felt awesome during this run. I was actually really nervous for this workout but once I got in the groove I was feeling great. The tempo was supposed to be marathon goal pace (10:18), and we fluctuated a little, but Hansons say that once you do enough of these you will internalize your goal pace.

Thursday

Easy 4 miles for recovery.

Friday

Ok, so I was SUPPOSED to do 8 miles. But I was up at 4 am to go see Kenny Chesney in Central Park (which was awesome by the way!!)

I got home and napped but I was still so exhausted because realistically, I only got 4 hours of sleep. I went to the treadmill and my goal was 4-5, but it was just not my day…so my mom and I just did an easy 3 miles.

Saturday

8 miles at an easy pace.

As some of you may have seen on my Instagram, this was an interesting run. I honestly almost threw in the towel at mile 4 because my shins were hurting a lot. So I said I will run back to my car (which would make it 5 miles) and call it a day. Once I got to 5 miles I started to feel good again, so I said ok I will run an extra mile…but then the pain completely went away somehow and I figured I might as well try for the full 8! I’m so glad I finished this race…I felt great once I finished. And I got to go out that night to celebrate my birthday with my amazing friends!

The trail I ran on. I can’t believe this is in my town and I only just discovered it.

Birthday celebration with BFFs :)

Sunday

Was supposed to do an easy 4 miles but since my shins were hurting a lot on Saturday I really didn’t want to make it worst before going into the bulk of training. Therefore, I just stuck with 30 minutes of pool running. Pretty boring but gets the job done and keeps my shins happy!

Who else is marathon training? Or training for a race? Do you sometimes have to lower your prescribed distances due to pain or life events?

 

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07-15-2013

Week 2 of NYC Marathon Training

Week 2 is in the books! Along with increased mileage (for how little I have been running) is a little shin soreness but I have been wearing my compression socks and icing so hopefully that takes care of that!

Last week, my mom and I did 15 miles total. It was a good week which also included 2 strength training days. Still pretty easy runs (3-4 miles) so I’m A-Okay with that :)

We were down at the beach yesterday and decided to do our run down there as opposed to around our town. I wanted a change of scenery and figured the breeze from the water would at least cool us down a LITTLE bit (it was 90-ish and humid).

I liked running along the boardwalk and taking in the scenes along the beach. If I lived down the shore, I swear I’d run every day because I bet it is so relaxing and peaceful!

Our other runs last week were pretty routine. I’m dreading this week in terms of running because it will be record-breaking heat…noooooo. I guess I will either have to run early in the AM or run indoors (the worst).

Next week, I will be on vacation in South Carolina, but plan on getting all of my runs in regardless. I figure, I can wake up early to run since I can nap on the beach later in the day ;)

I can’t believe we will already be up to 21 miles in Week 3 of training! But I’m ready to tackle this plan and kill it in NYC.

Do you schedule your runs when you go on vacation? Or do you take a break from it all?

I will get my runs in but I can’t promise anything about not splurging on food and drinks ;)

 

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06-14-2013

Trying A New Marathon Training Plan

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I have been putting off finding a marathon training plan…mainly because there are so many options and so many theories that I knew coming up with my own plan would take time.

Randomly, I stumbled across a blogger who used the Hanson’s Marathon Method.

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I had obviously heard of the Hanson brothers before, and was intrigued. Her post described how the plan was challenging and helped her PR…and only had a long run of 16 miles.

Wait, what???

Yup. 16 miles.

But that is not the main point of the training plan. The Hanson’s believe in cumulative fatigue when it comes to marathon training. They want you running every day (and a decent amount ranging from 6-10 miles) so that your legs are always somewhat fatigued. Taking a day off (according to them) before a long run won’t help you in the marathon. They prepare you for the last 16 miles of the race, not the first 16.

The reason the long run is around 16 miles is because so many plans say don’t make the long run half of your weekly mileage…yet for us mere mortals, running 20 miles in one day probably IS half our mileage. They want you to stick to the 25-30% rule…so if you run a decent amount then yes, you will still have your 20 milers.

For me, this is a good premise because I am not the fastest runner. I am on the road a lot longer than someone running 7 minute miles (if only).

Also, I know that to improve I need to run more. Period. I usually run 4 days a week and this clearly hasn’t cut it for longer distances. Despite nailing my long runs in half marathon training, I still bonked in the actual race.

So what does the quote at the beginning of this post have to do with? Well, I’m terrified! This plan calls for 6 days of running with 1 day off. I’m scared because I’ve never ran this much (except for high school cross country) and because I’m scared of hurting my shins. But I am trusting it because half of the runs in the plan are easy and recovery runs, which should be run at a way slower pace. Though that will be hard in and of itself!

I know this will be challenging, but I’m excited at the same time. It will require some blood (hopefully not), sweat, and tears (of joy?). It will be the most I have run (peaks at 57 miles per week) and also the most I will be running on a daily basis. But I am DETERMINED to not totally bonk at NYC Marathon again like I did in 2011. That was awful.

I highly recommend reading their book as it explains everything in way more detail and offers the science behind it all.

We’ll see what happens! I start training July 1 so I guess I should get in a few runs in before then since I haven’t ran since May 18 lol.

Who’s running a fall marathon? What kind of training will you be doing? How many days per week do you usually run in general?