Thursday, December 17, 2009

Boston Training

I figured I would appease the wife and write up a quick post about the Boston training program that will be taking over my life until April. I’ll give a little bit of background about my running life so far before getting into the nitty-gritty.

I ran for a few years for fitness off and on. For Christmas of ’08, Stevi bought me a Garmin Forerunner 205. It was the best gift I never knew I wanted. I didn’t do much with it until March or so when things started warming up and I was starting to run more often. Around that time, a business associate of mine was talking about running a half-marathon. I thought about it for a awhile and decided I wanted to run a half-marathon also. We started looking for smaller races and I signed up for a 5k in July 08, my very first race. I had no idea what I was doing. I remember being nervous (which Stevi thought was amusing) and I remember them not having my registration which compounded the situation. I ran my first 5k in 22:25. Hey, I might actually be good at this. It was around this time I started training for the Columbus Half-Marathon following a SmartCoach plan from Runner’s World.

Fast forward to the half which I ran in 1:37. Not bad, but not what I wanted. I ran an average of around 20 miles/week. I decided very soon afterward that I wanted to run a full marathon. I began training almost immediately after the half, building mileage and again following a SmartCoach plan.

I ran another half-marathon in the spring and got a 1:35, but I still didn’t hit the 7:15/mile pace I thought I should have gotten. I figured out too late in the game that in order to get where I wanted, I needed to be running more. I ran an average of 37 miles/week for the marathon and finished in 3:38. There are a ton of things I should have done differently, but I’ll leave that story for another time.

After the race, I set up goals for fall 2009. I wanted to break 20:00 in the 5k, I wanted a 1:33 half-marathon, and I wanted to get a 3:20 marathon. I followed a Pfitzinger 18 week 55 mile/wk peak plan, and added a few miles here or there when I could. I’ve learned over time that the key to building your aerobic capacity (which helps you sustain speed at longer distances) was to run as many miles and your legs can handle, and building that number safely over time. For this last training plan for Columbus, I ran an average of 51 miles/week with a peak of 65. All of my race times dropped substantially. I went close to 19:00 in the 5k, 40:00 in the 10k, 1:27 in the half, and finally landed a 3:08 in the marathon. I ran faster than that 7:15/mile I wanted for the half for the full marathon and Boston Qualified.

For Boston, my plan is to run more mileage and start to add a little more quality than the previous cycle. This time I am following a Brad Hudson inspired plan. This is basically a “write your own” plan as opposed to the cookie cutter plans I followed before. The plan is based on an adaptive strategy. You write your plan “in pencil” and make changes to the plan along the way based on progress and setbacks. It also incorporates some additional workouts that I have been lacking in the past.

Starting with a mileage increase similar to what a Pfitzinger plan has, I then filled in the key workouts.

Building aerobic capacity – overall mileage, medium long runs, long runs, progression runs, and threshold runs.

Building muscular strength to increase stride power and economy – hill sprints and strides.

Specificity of training for maximal effort over the marathon race distance – marathon paced runs.

The workouts will be adjusted based on self assessments of my fitness in each of these areas as the plan progresses. The goal is to get to the starting line for Boston injury free and ready to break 3 hours in the marathon (or come as close to it as possible). If you want to see my original plan and how it is progressing, you can see it here.


Ryan said...

Wow guys. Nice blog! Super proud to know you guys and great to see the goals and accomplishments you're knocking out. Best of luck on the Boston training! ~Ryan

screaminzab said...

Solid stuff. This blog isn't very pretty though ;-) It's lacking some femininity.

Chris, I am very excited to see where this training gets you. Just be sure to not be afraid to get out the eraser for your penciled-in plan. I'd really like to toe the line with you on April 19th, when we break through the 3 Hr barrier together.

Chris Honaker said...

Ryan - thanks man! I appreciate the remarks. I'd like to catch up if you guys are near Cbus anytime.

Zab - I hear you loud and clear. I can't wait to run Boston with you!

ExSoccerGuy said...

The blog looks great . . . I mean OK . . . I mean I liked it better before. LOL Chris, just listen to your body, don't skimp on the hill sprints and you'll be knocking hard on that sub-3:00 door.