Saturday, March 12, 2011

What's The Plan, Man?

After taking the last from running, I finally hit the road again this morning. I opted for the lonely and lazy way out and ran by myself at the San Gabriel River Trail around 9:30 this morning. Most of the CA Cruiser are running a half marathon in north San Diego County. It was a coolish, less than 60 degree, overcast morning. Which is in stark contrast to the wonderfully sunny, high 70 degree day we had yesterday. It must have been great bike riding weather, because there were more bikers on the trail than I remember seeing.

I ran 10 miles on a double out and back route on the bike way. The first 9 were at 9:20 pace; the last 1 was barefoot at 11:51. I got three comments this morning about running barefoot. I've been running my last mile barefoot since Christmas on the trail and this is the first anyone's ever commented.

The big debate at the moment is what training plan should I use. I've got the Illinois Marathon in 6 weeks and then the Missoula Marathon 10 weeks after that. I'm still chasing the sub 4:00, but don't know if either of these will be the one. Missoula probably offers the best shot for that.

For Austin a couple of weeks ago I used the three day a week approach of the FIRST system. I enjoyed the speed work and tempo runs midweek but the long runs never did come together. For me those are the best predictor of marathon performance and true to form Austin was slow.

The last time I was able to break the 4:00 barrier was at the Des Moines Marathon in October 2009. I was using Bart Yasso's training program from Runner's World and his book "My Life on the Run". A year later, still using Yasso's plan I ran a disappointing race at the Twin Cities marathon. Thinking I was over training and not recovering from the 5 day a week schedule I switched to FIRST. So far it hasn't lived up to its promise at least for me. I like the three day approach but I worry that the mileage just isn't enough. With Yasso's plan I topped out at 50 miles a week. On the FIRST plan I topped out at 30 miles or running combined with 2 days of cross training on the bike, elliptical or stairs at the gym.

What to do for these next two has been on my mind for the last week or so. Although I'm tempted to go back to Yasso, I think I'm going to give FIRST another shot. I'll train through Illinois, running with Joe at his pace, and then give it a go at Missoula. It would be fun to go sub 4:00 on the last day before I jump age groups.

There's never a shortage of things to ponder and obsess over as a runner. Let's just hope I can stay healthy through it all.


Wes said...

If nothing more, I highly recommend Matt Fitgerald's book: Run: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel. I think if you combined the concepts in that book with FIRST, you be well on your way to building a program your mind and body could buy into. my 2 pence :-)

Danny said...

I'm a big believer in FIRST. But you really have to work hard on your runs - particularly the interval and tempo runs. It changes the hard run of the week from the long run to the other ones.
Good luck! I look forward to seeing your progress...

Joe said...

No shortage on things to thing about, at all...and as flat as the Illinois course is, we'll have plenty to think about. No vivid, spectacular scenery to distract us there!

If you see Illinois as part of the training plan shooting for Missoula, you'll give it a very fair shot.

And, if it doesn't work, you have plenty of time to retool for any fall races in your Journey of States.

good stuff!

Greg said...

It seems runners and other players of sport get caught up in the performance instead of the journey.
Possibly blending your experience, and mixing the programs you like with determination and non concern for results will get you where you want to go. Best of luck as you try and work on your training program.

Scott Keeps Running said...

When the weather gets nice, I like adding a few miles a week barefoot too (on the grass at a park). No one has commented to me about it yet. :)