Monday, September 10, 2007

Ask the Mystery Coach

Hey Coach-

First of all, thanks for being willing to do this. Very, very helpful.

My question is fairly simple: do you have a marathon training schedule that you would be willing to share that one could just plug in goal times, current race times, etc. and be able to follow much of the same training regimen that Mike has done?

Thanks again.

Chris


Chris, It is difficult to produce an exact schedule because even the one that is set up for Mike gets revised many times before the goal race depending on how he responds to certain workouts. That being said here is an overview with some sample weeks.


Stamina Conditioning ( 10-13 weeks )

Overview: This is phase is often misunderstood by marathoners. This is not where you get in marathon racing shape. The goal is to run as many miles as possible at your most efficient paces (15-45 seconds slower than marathon pace or 60-90 seconds slower than 3 mile race pace) and still come back the next day to repeat the workout. How easily you recover day after day is an indicator that things are going well. The evaluation run is there not to run faster but to note how well you are recovering. If your legs are tired you'll have to back off a little. You should come out of this phase eager for speed work not tired and worn out.


Week One

Day 1 As you feel
Day 2 Evaluation run 2-4 miles (about 35-45 seconds slower than 3 mile race pace)
Day 3 As you feel
Day 4 As you feel
Day 5 As you feel
Day 6 Steady Run - 20-60 minutes
Day 7 Long Run build to 2 hours

Week Two

Day 1 As you feel
Day 2 Evaluation run 2-4 miles
Day 3 As you feel
Day 4 As you feel
Day 5 As you feel
Day 6 Steady Run - 20-60 minutes
Day 7 Long Run 60 minutes steady then 30 minutes at yesterdays steady run pace


Transition (3-4 weeks)

Overview: This is where the specific training for racing begins. Your workouts are similar to the previous phase but now you work on leg strength and efficiency with hills, small amounts of speed work (1-2 minutes worth every 15 minutes of running) and start to lengthen the fast phase of Week Two's back to back.

Week One

Day 1 Easy Run
Day 2 Preliminary Speed and or hills
Day 3 Easy Run
Day 4 Preliminary Speed and or hills
Day 5 Preliminary Speed and or hills
Day 6 Steady Run - 20-60 minutes
Day 7 Long Run 2 hours

Week Two

Day 1 Easy Run
Day 2 Preliminary Speed and or hills
Day 3 Easy Run
Day 4 Preliminary Speed and or hills
Day 5 Preliminary Speed and or hills
Day 6 Steady Run - 20-60 minutes
Day 7 Long Run 60 minutes steady then 30 minutes at yesterdays steady run pace (add 1 mile every other week until you reach an hours worth of hard running)


Volume Speed / Sharp Speed 5-6 weeks

Overview: This is the peaking phase with the hardest most specific workouts. This is where it is hard to be very exact in the number or speed of the workouts. Recovery between very hard efforts is more important than the exact speed or number of repetitions. The long run in Week One is gradually shorten to aid in leg freshness. The back to back workout is peaked 4 weeks from the race date (60 minutes steady with 60 minutes at about marathon pace). You only need 7-8 speed workouts (or short races) to reach your peak. The first 3-4 workouts should be at a slower pace (about 10 seconds faster than marathon pace) and good volume (4-8 miles worth). The last 3-4 workouts should be done with your last minute adjustments in mind. Need leg freshness cut down on the volume, need speed some 800- 1 mile reps at 3-6 mile race pace, and if you need to bring it together a hard run, time trail or race of about an hour. You really have to study on how you are responding to the workouts.


Week One

Day 1 Easy Run
Day 2 Easy Run
Day 3 Speed work
Day 4 Easy Run
Day 5 Easy Run
Day 6 Steady Run - 20-60 minutes
Day 7 Long Run 2 hours

Week Two

Day 1 Easy Run
Day 2 Speed work
Day 3 Easy Run
Day 4 Speed work
Day 5 Preliminary Speed and or hills
Day 6 Steady Run - 20-60 minutes
Day 7 Long Run 60 minutes steady then up to 60 minutes at yesterdays steady run pace



Taper 1-2 weeks

Overview: The mileage falls off greatly (25%) with half volume speed workout every 2-3 days. The last week could look like this:

Day 1 Short tempo run
Day 2 Off
Day 3 Short tempo run with strides
Day 4 Off
Day 5 Off
Day 6 East warmup with strides
Day 7 The Marathon Race


Keep track of your speed workouts and note when you have peaked. Use that information for adjusting the next build. Good luck with your training.

8 comments:

Chris Field said...

Wow, great stuff coach, thanks. I do have several follow up questions for you if you get a chance to respond.

Your more marathon pace specific phases (all but the first phase) add up to between 9 and 12 weeks. Add in the first phase and you are looking at an approximately 19-25 week schedule so we will just say 22 to make it easy.

I happen to be 23 weeks out from my goal marathon and have spent my last approximately 22 weeks building my mileage and trying to get my aerobic conditioning (which I have told you before is horrific) to a better rate.

Last week looked like this for me:

M-7 miles AM(~10:15 pace/70% maxHR); 3 easy miles PM

T-12 miles (~10:10 pace/70%maxHR)

W-11 miles with 7 @ 80% maxHR = ~8:10 pace)

Th-8 miles AM (~10:20/70%maxHR); 3 easy miles PM

F-8 miles w/ 7 @ 80%maxHR (approximately one hour)

Sa-18 miles (4 warm-up, 13 @ 75% max HR, final mile at 90% maxHR)

Su-8 easy (~10:20/70%maxHR)

78 miles total over 9 workouts

As you can see, lots of easy, slow running which I have gotten from the Hadd article that I am sure you are familiar with.

My goal marathon pace is 7:17 mile and my current paces with HR's for Hadd's 2400m test are as follows:

68% max HR = 9:55 pace
73% max HR = 9:10 pace
78% max HR = 8:15 pace
83% max HR = 7:35 pace
88% max HR = 7:05 pace

I ran a 5K time trial a few weeks ago and ran a 20:55 with an average heart rate of 92% max.

I did an all out mile at 5:55 about 8 weeks ago.

All this to say, should I continue on with what I have been doing or would you think I am about ready to start the first phase that you listed? Would those HR's match up somewhat closely with about the effort that you would be looking for starting out?

Thanks again. Sorry for boring the much better runners that post on here with all of this. I really have learned so much from all of you and I appreciate it more than you could know.

Thomas said...

Chris, I think you're approaching things from the wrong angle. You can't just pick a target time and then say "give me a schedule for 3:10". Your body has to be ready for the required workload, and there are no short cuts in distance training. I can't see how you could possibly run a 3:10 marathon in 23 weeks when your present 5k time is 20:55.

Maybe Mystery Coach or Mike or any other more experienced runner will rap my knuckles for saying that. I don't mean to criticise you. Your training looks solid and sensible to me, I just happen to think that the "I want to run xx pace" is the wrong approach. Instead you should continue with your training as you can handle it, and then accept whatever marathon time this will yield.

(Yes Mike, I know. I like correcting people. And I've hijacked your comments section again. Sorry)

Jesse said...

I love the simplicity of this schedule. I got some great ideas for myself here. Thanks!!

Mystery coach when you say keep track of your speed workouts and note when you peaked that hits home with me. I'm currently training for a marathon and added speed wayyy to early and peaked at about 7 weeks out! I went sorta stale for about 2 weeks, now I'm 4 weeks out and starting to feel somewhat fresh. Out of fear I dropped most speedwork. How can I bring back my peak without going overboard?

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Very good coaching information. If there is a chance for a follow-up, I would love to know how coach integrates shorter races into the marathon training cycle as well as recovery.

Chris Field said...

Thomas-

I totally understand what you are saying and I am not offended in the least.

I should have mentioned that ALL I have done for the last approx. 22 weeks is slower, easier stuff at about 70% max HR. My pace at 70% of my HR max has dropped from 11:27 (16 weeks ago) to 9:55 (today).

My point is that I currently have a 21:55 5K time off of only slow, easy (i.e. aerobic) running.

My understanding is that when I start adding some faster stuff in, I will see a good improvement.

Hopefully coach will chime in.

Mystery Coach said...

Chris, your training looks good. It has a good mix of volume (you don't need to go much higher this time around). The volume of almost marathon race pace is good (15 miles at 8:10 or faster (20%)). This leads into Thomas' comment about training at your level as apposed to goal level. My best guess is that you are around 3:25 marathon shape off of base training . Proper peaking work will get you to 3:15 or better (that does not include the additional efficiency that you'll gain by the volume work). You'll get better results training at this level until 10 weeks out.

Jesse, Try one faster work out a week for the next 3 weeks. Something like 3 X 1 mile with a mile jog between. Have someone else time you just run what you think is hard then jog the mile in between. Just get to a good hard breathing level. Look at the results "after" you run your marathon.

Chad, I treat races as speed workouts shorter ones (1-3 miles) are "sharp", 6-10 miles are volume.

Jesse said...

That has to be the best explaination of a lydiard sharpening/coordniation phase for the marathon I have ever seen. Something I was missing just clicked. Wow! What other sport in the world keeps you thinking like this?

Thanks for the advice MC. I had something similar planned.

Chris Field said...

Coach-

"You'll get better results training at this level until 10 weeks out."

I am a bit confused by what you mean by this. Better results if I keep training like I have or like you prescribe in the first phase from the post? Sorry if this has an obvious answer.