A runner getting encouragement at Mile 25 of t...
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The LA Marathon is coming up.  It will be my fourth (Nike Women’s 2009, LAMarathon 2010, Marine Corps Marathon 2010).  Going into last winter, I was completely caught off balance with a gift from the LAMarathon folk (Peter) of a bib for the marathon.  In fact, it was in doubt whether or not I would run another marathon this year.  I was defeated with the same things that continue to plague me:  being too tired to complete the distance, wanting to sleep during the marathon, vertigo, among other things.

As luck would have it, I also started dating and fell in love with someone who lives out of town.  With 100 miles between us, we had to be creative in seeing each other, and of course that means weekends would be prime time for us.

So, I have this training that I must do …and a relationship that I absolutely WANT to do…Add to this that my long runs are typically beset with night before anxiety, running the route in my head, laying out gear, getting nutrition ready, etc.  I lie awake many Friday nights fearing the long run.  Plus, I didn’t want to spend four hours running during a weekend spent with my new man.

I stumbled upon the Hanson’s Marathon Plan in Runner’s World, and started researching.  It seems that the whole program works with shorter runs on the weekend because you are doing a boat load of miles during the week.  I called my coach.  I talked to people.  I started taking responsibility for this plan.  I’m in my third week of training, and I love it.   45 mile weeks are the norm, and the long runs on the weekend aren’t much more than the during the week runs.  In fact, the longest run is 16 miles…but this plan teaches you how to run your LAST 16, not your first 16 miles…because you are training on tired legs.  Here are some observations from the plan that I’m noticing.

  • I seem to have much more strength and energy in my legs at the end.
  • Both 13.1 & 14 milers were finished with fleet feet~no dragging
  • This plan teaches me how to run on tired legs…every day.
  • Long gone are 5 mile runs.  The new norm is usually 8 milers during the week.
  • Speedwork of 8 miles seems daunting, but is very exciting!  Accomplishments!
  • We are up at 4:30 am on Fridays, and out until 10pm at night many days.
  • I’m more tired during the week.  Quads were on fire at first!
  • I have zero anxiety on the weekends…(SCORE!)

I’m working now on my nutritional needs.  My coach sent me the plan and at the top it says EAT EAT EAT!! The first week of the miles and all the eating, I lost five pounds.  FIVE.  I continue to learn, as last night I had a Peaks and Valleys Run that I posted, and I had not eaten properly yesterday.  I hit all the paces until the end, and I had no fuel.  I had begged him during the day to let me off last night…that I was too tired…and he simply would not give in to me.  I ran it.   And, true to form, I learned the lesson that he predicted.

So far, I’m very happy with this plan.  The main shift for me, was taking responsibility for my training.  Attacking the plan, doing the CORE work.  And, most of all…accepting the responsibility that comes with a Marathon Registration.  Respect the distance, and train like you mean it!

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3 thoughts on “Marathon Training: Re-Invented LA 2011

  1. I trained with a similar style program via @ncjack for NYC Marathon, and it did wonders for me. It was my 4th marathon, but only the first in which I never hit the “wall”. My longest Saturday run during training was 16 miles. My mid-week speed/hill day was usually around 8 miles and my mid-week long run was around 9-10.

    When training for LA Marathon last year, I followed a traditional plan with a classic Saturday build up to a long run of 22 miles, and despite the long run(s) I still hit the wall at mile 16, having one of the worst races of my life. Its ironic that my longest run for NYC was only 16, and yet I blasted right past it on race day. I’m totally down with packing on the mid-week miles.

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