The ‘official’ start of the Chicago marathon training season began last Saturday. My training plan has been under development for the past month. I finally crafted a training plan that I will be happy with. This plan addresses my two main goals for this summer, finally shedding this excess weight and running a marathon under four hours.
I made four major changes this year:
- I’m capping my long days to three hours and thirty minutes. I don’t want to fatigue and injure myself.
- I decided to participate in group runs to meet new people and exchange motivation. Running alone is tough. It’ll be nice to share the running love.
- I need to get stronger. I delayed my strength training to work on my diet.
- Maintain a pretty healthy diet throughout training. We are what we eat. I need to eat like an athlete reaching for great heights.
Thankfully, I’ve been running a few days a week since the Hillstrider’s March Madness Half Marathon. My only regret since then is the lack of volume. Something is better than nothing. It helped maintain some sort of fitness. My longest run since March was an 18 miler. (I ended up walking around mile 14 after dueling with a few demons.)
Putting everything in my life into consideration, here is my Chicago Marathon training plan for 2012.
Week 1-4: Diet and Consistency
I dedicated the first four weeks to change habits. The focus this month is to execute a consistent running schedule and working on developing a high quality diet.
I developed a consistent running schedule and I need to push through the days I mentally don’t feel up to it. The sessions will be low intensity run so I can build volume and maintain my consistency. By July 1st, I’ll be flirting with 20 miles.
Since April, I’ve been focused on improving my diet. It’s getting better every week. I’ll capping off this lifestyle change with Beachbody’s Ultimate Reset. It’s the ‘eat like Ruth diet’ change. Of everyone I know, she has the best diet. This is something I want to emulate (most of the time.)
Week 5-8: Hills and Volume
Between weeks five to eight, I’ll be increasing my volume on my Wednesday runs and start doing hill workouts. I found a nice sledding hill in Rolling Meadows that I might use. I also want to do more camping west or north of Chicago. There are hills in Illinois. They’re in southern Illinois or northwestern Illinois. Rolling hills begin around Olge County and they’re definitely in Jo Daviess County in northwest Illinois.
Week 9-12: Speed
My long runs shift from slow and steady runt to fast finish long runs. After each long day, I reserve the last few miles for some speed work. I want to finish strong for the marathon and do not want to fade at the end. This is something I’ve done at all my races. I will be adding speed work into my midweek training.
Weekly volume will drop as I increase the intensity of my training. Hill work is speed speed work in disguise so it stays in the mix during this period. My long days will end with some speed. A day of speed work at the track or trail will be added to each week.
Week 13-16: Sharpening
Sharpening is the period where I attempt to put every component of training together: food, strength, pace, and speed. This tests my strengths and weaknesses while I prepare for race day. I don’t have too much to say about sharpening because the previous 12 weeks will dictate what I do during this period.
Week 17-18: The Great Taper
This is the same taper everyone is acquainted with. I reduce my training volume and intensity to recover from 16 weeks of training, build my glycogen stores, and solidify my race day plan.
This is going to a great summer of training. I hope everyone has a great summer and achieve the goal they set their heart and energy on. What goals do you have this summer and what are you doing to achieve it?