For the first time in a long time (possibly, ever?), I put on my big-girl marathon pants and started the training process nice n’ early. MCM announced the 16-weeks mark and I could be like “ON IT!” instead of Psh.
You could say I’ve had a change-of-heart.
Training never really ceased or ‘started’ after Charlottesville – it was a seamless transition from recovery to 10k-race to right-back-at-it! The Coach hasn’t given up on me, and my heart is slowly coming back to bat after throwing the moving-stress-tantrum for a few weeks. Because Charlottesville training was so different for me, I didn’t feel the intense need to take a ton of time off, or break-up with the marathon forever (just the hilly ones, maybe). Rather, I threw my hat in the MCM lottery because hot-damn I love that race with all my heart, and fate played spades. I’m in!
We’re doing this, MCM – round 3.
This year has been all about putting my ego to rest and letting a Coach tell me what to do, how to do it, and why to stop freaking out about my slow, easy, pace. It’s been about trying a new approach to endurance training, letting someone else take the reigns. I’ve become best friends with TrainingPeaks.com, my Polar watch (RC3 GPS/HRM) and MAF training.
My weekly training schedules of yore bare little-to-no resemblance to what my calendar fills up with these days. Exhibit A: the Long Run.
What I used to do: set out to tackle an exact mileage, increasing by ~2 miles each week, taking every third week “off” (step-back). 14, 16, 18, 20 – milers. The drill.
What I do now: leave the calculating and brain-waves and mad-scientist action to the Coach, of course! My Long Runs are almost always based on time, not miles, and are typically broken down into very specific sections.
I love this for a few reasons: it’s not monotonous, it gives my brain something to think about as I chug along, it challenges me in a different way, and on that note, it’s DIFFERENT. Some days I run solely based on heart-rate ranges (a), some days there are times + pace sections (b), some days it’s based on mileage and pace sections (c) and some days I look at my schedule, scratch my head and spend 5 minutes memorizing the flavor of the day.
Say what? Lemme explain…
(a) 2:00 hours: 30 min warm-up, 60 min at MAF*, 15 min MAF + 5, 15 min cool-down.
(b) 2:00 hours: 30 min warm-up, 45 min at MAF, 30 min at 5K Pace (RPE*), 15 min cool-down.
(c) 15 miles: 2-mile warm-up, 2 miles at 9:00 min/mile, 8 miles at 8:00 min/mile, 3 mile cool-down.
Disclaimer: warm-ups, cool-downs, MAF, paces, etc. are all unique to you. These are just random examples!
*Team TAD trains by the MAF method. I hate-love it.
If you’re feeling stagnant and ready for something new, don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board. There is always something to learn about yourself, your abilities, your comfort zone boundaries and the sport, itself. Changing the Long Run is something most endurance runners are hesitant to do – it’s THE gold standard of endurance running – but trust me, it has more to offer to you.