I have finally settled on a marathon training program! Honestly, this was no small feat. I think I looked at about 10 different programs but none of them were exactly what I wanted. I’m picky. Here is the list of marathon training program requirements I came up with:
- 16-18 week program
- Run 3-4 days per week, cross train (XT) 1-2 days per week, rest 1-2 days per week
- One tempo run or speedwork session per week
- Relatively low mileage program (no more than 35-40 miles in the biggest week)
- Start at about 20 miles/week
- Maximum run of 20 miles occuring once or twice in the program
- Program specified by distance of the runs not duration
Taking all that into account here (pdf) is the program that I will be using.
In the end I chose to use the Runner’s World Smart Coach. I used Smart Coach programs for both the Torchlight 8K and the Seattle half last year. I was happy with the training and results from both races and I’m hoping the marathon will go just as well. I ended up merging the schedule that starts with 16 miles/week and the one that starts with 21 miles/week. Then I further tweaked things so that I had nice symmetry in the distance progressions. I know, that’s a nerdy move but I think it makes the program more elegant. I’m not too worried about following the paces the program specifies but it’s nice to have them there, especially for the tempo runs and speedwork.
Also if anyone is interested the course route for this year’s Ottawa marathon has changed from previous years and is now available here (also as a pdf).
Official training begins 20 days from now on February 5 . I think that’s when I’ll actually mail in my registration form.
My memorable moments of 2006 included a few running moments (completing the Vancouver and Seattle half marathons) but I felt that since running was such a big part of my life in 2006 it deserved its own summary post. Plus it was an excuse to make some graphs …
The above graph shows my total running mileage for 2006. I ran a total of 752 miles / 1210 km over the year. My average weekly mileage (including races) was 14.5 miles / 23.3 km and the average for all non-zero weeks was 17.3 miles / 27.9 km. My maximum weekly mileage was 26 in the two weeks prior to the Seattle half marathon. I think it’s interesting that the weekly mileage graph very clearly shows the year’s three training cycles: Vancouver, Torchlight and Seattle.
I ran a total of 6 races in 2006: 2 5K’s, 1 8K, 1 10K and 2 half marathons. Amazingly, every race was a new PB. That’s part of the fun of being new to this sport – improvement comes more easily in the beginning. Below are my “age graded”/WAVA percentage race results. According to this metric my 23:56 in the Shoreline 5K last August was my best result of the year. I have to say that I’m more proud of my 1:59:56 in the Seattle half marathon though.
Racing aside, I learned a lot about running during 2006 and what sort of training works for me. I’m happiest running 3-4 days a week and cross training another 1-2 days. I’ve learned that while I might take a women’s size 9.5 in casual shoes I need a men’s size 9.5 in running shoes to keep me from getting a blister on the end of my left second toe. I’ve also learned that running in the morning works best for me and that oatmeal is the perfect pre-run food.
I was mostly injury free during 2006 although at the end of year I developed a set of tight hip flexors and a tight left piriformis muscle. Yes, apparently I hold my tension in my butt! So my sports medicine doctor perscribed a set of relaxation exercises and I’m much improved. This is something I’m going to have to keep working at during 2007: the year of the marathon.