Monday, October 23, 2006


The perfect family moment, just after an elbow to the crotch and just before a bite on the arm. OK, that second part was just acting on Haiden's part- she's no cannibal.

For anyone keeping score at home I thought I'd do a quick review of the Lydiard-based training I've been following over the past 11 weeks, as well as a preview of what's to come during the six weeks I have left before the marathon on December 3. With a great amount of help from a coach the following schedule has emerged-

8 weeks of conditioning, 8/7-10/1: Mileage varied from 74 to 93 miles a week, and I focused more on increasing the speed of my daily paces from previous builds. Most days were kept under 7 minute pace, and most weeks included at least one day with an extended period of 6:30 pace or faster and one day with a two to three mile time trial around 5:30 pace for the purpose of evaluating my adaptations and my recovery. During this period the coach I've mentioned also suggested a back to back block which included one day of 10 miles with 7 around 6 minute pace, followed the next day by either a standard long run or a shorter long run that started at 6:45 pace and ended with 3 or more miles of marathon pace. Endurance and stamina were the focus of these eight weeks, and by the end I felt I was a bit ahead of where I was after doing 12 weeks of less intense training last year.

3 week hill phase, 10/2-10/22: Two hill workouts a week, plus one day close to 6:30 pace and several days of fast, relaxed pick-ups. The back to back block remained the same during this period, though the long runs increased in length. In the past I did three hill workouts a week, but in an effort to continue focusing on stamina while building strength keeping the back to back days seemed more important than more time on the hills. Mileage varied from 83 to 96 miles. Gaining strength and getting the stride mechanism to work correctly were focal points during these weeks, though the tough stamina and endurance work continued as the miles and paces stayed constant or increased.

3 week anaerobic phase, 10/23-11/12: I'm starting this phase this week, and as the name suggests it involves intervals and fast running. The plan is to run a few days of longer intervals (600's-1600's) . In the past I've kept to fairly short recoveries, but this time around on I'm going to focus more on keeping the speeds steady and recovering longer. The point of these intervals, as I understand it, is to activate the fast-twitch fibers and condition them as much as is possible to help during the later phases of the marathon. For a marathoner it's more important to work these fibers for a longer period, which is possible by resting longer between intervals. The struggle of course is to run enough faster reps to stimulate and condition the fast-twitch fibers, though not overdoing it so much that the endurance I've built up over the past 11 weeks starts to suffer. Hopefully the double-header workouts and long runs will "keep the lid on my endurance", as Nobby is fond of saying.

3 week taper, 11/13-12/2: I'll be cutting back quite a bit more than I have in the past, and I'm putting my faith in the mystery coach on this one. Since I've never really raced "rested", I'm not exactly sure how it will go. Hopefully I'll carry enough fitness into these last three weeks and the rest will allow it to bubble up to the surface in time for race day. During this phase the anaerobic efforts will shift towards the shorter "sharpener" workouts Lydiard advocated, such as 50 sprint, 50 floats over two miles or so. This give a big anaerobic stimulus but are short enough to recover from quickly.

With the above plan in the back of my mind I headed out for 14 miles today. I feel I'm still recovering from the race, so I mostly just had in mind staying on my feet for 90 minutes or so. While I started out slowly, the pace kept getting quicker without me forcing it. At the end I was feeling good, though I probably ended up running a little too fast overall.

Finally, a note of thanks for all the kind words about the race this past weekend.

Training: 14 miles, 1:35:41, 6:50 pace


Greg said...

Will this mystery coach eventually emerge from behind the curtain after your race, or is he in permament hiding?

Keep it up!

Mike said...

For some reason he seems to enjoy lurking in the shadows, and I should probably give him even more credit than I do. I'm very happy to accept the help on his terms though, even if it does add a little bit of ambiguity to my posts, as I can't argue with the results to this point!

Greg, your race this past weekend was truly inspirational, and that's not a word I toss around often. Again, well done.

Wayne said...

Congrats on your race last weekend. It looks like you're ready to run a fast time in Dec.

Phil said...

Priceless picture! Best of luck on the next phase of your training.

Anonymous said...

Great picture, the grimace is worse than anything you'd expect at mile 23.

And I'm rather intrigued by the identity of that mystery coach, too.

Anonymous said...

Great photo Mike,

Has anybody ever told you that you look a little like James Denton from Desperate Housewives?

Keep up the fantastic work...

Mike said...

I looked up James and he did play a role where he was called "Dr. Hunky" so I guess I'm flattered. I think I wear that grimace at least a few times a day when the kids are in form.