Instead of the intervals I had previously planned to do, I spent this week weight training, walking through my work breaks, and waiting for my hamstrings to feel more normal.
A week off did the hamstrings good, and in the interim I researched through different training plans ahead of Vancouver 2022. This time around, I am looking to not improvise or handwrite any plans and am looking to follow more of a specific plan.
Though I had hoped to trickle in the easy interval approach, I can see the curve to get in condition for that probably isn’t going to work right now. But I also want to start running and training soon, and want to set myself up for being in good marathon condition.
Go figure I accidentally find what might be the right marathon plan for what I need right now, early this morning over coffee.
I’ve worked with Hal Higdon‘s traditional training plans in the past while developing my running abilities, and they’d done me good for what I needed. I dabbled after that in other different training approaches and kind of left Higdon’s specific plans behind, but I’ve always come back to his basic principles, and I had in fact considered one of his marathon plans for Vancouver before exploring other templates.
While looking over his intermediate marathon plan, which is okay but is a little light on tempo, speed and pace work… I didn’t see any mention about how he’d fit in strength training, and went googling to see where he discusses it.
The results ended up showing me a marathon training plan of his I hadn’t seen: Marathon 3.
Marathon 3 is a recently written training plan of his that more closely resembles the FIRST template, where you run 3 times a week and then cross train on other days. Higdon though does have you run easy for most of his run workouts, rather than FIRST’s approach of making you go hard each time. Also, back to my original point, Higdon mentions that you should strength train on the Monday and Wednesday off days in the plan.
M-3 also has you run longer and easy on most of the midweek runs, plus run a lot of tune up races, which I like. And the quality midweek workout cycles between different workouts (tempo runs, pace runs, easy runs). Also, the plan is 24 weeks long, longer than Higdon’s other plans and most others. You also cap off the week with a long cross training workout, instead of the medium distance run followed immediately by a long run.
Incidentally, for the plan’s 24 week timing to work, I would have to start the plan this week. So I considered it a sign and penciled the plan into my schedule. And it turns out the schedule fits mine particularly well. So, that’s what I’m going with going forward.
Since it’s a long plan, what’s great is that if M-3 isn’t working for some reason in the first few weeks, other plans are shorter and I can just switch to the start of one of those if I need to.
However, I went with it because the schedule leaves days between runs, which I may need at this point given my struggles with more frequent running and with random injury problems.
I made a couple of mild modifications, extending the length of the midweek cross training workout since I’m already comfortable with going 45+ minutes, and adding a strength training workout to the Friday rest day so that I strength train Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I would avoid strength training weekends.
Conveniently I had just finished a 5 day strength training cycle, which is the best time to recalibrate my swolework plan.
I have to consolidate to three strength workouts, so I have to axe some exercises that I don’t need right now. The bicep curls and tricep extensions are gone, as are the hamstring curls.
I was doing the Overhead Squats twice per 5 day cycle so I’m only doing them once per week now, on Mondays with the leg presses. I’m front loading leg-based exercises to the Monday workout since the next run after that is easy and that gives me at least a couple days before I have to run fast or long.
The 3rd workout in the 3 day cycle are exercises I don’t need as badly, since there will be some weeks where I probably can only strength train twice. While the lat pulldown can be important, my lats are a bit overactive which indicates I don’t need to strength train these as frequently. Face Pulls are valuable for posture but I don’t need a ton of heavy sets of these, plus the equipment needed is often taken at the gym. I’m already doing decline bench presses in the 2nd workout, so the incline bench presses are not as necessary. Thus I do these exercises as the 3rd day workout, and some weeks I won’t have a 3rd strength training day.
Starting tomorrow the plan is to run 3 miles easy, with 3 steady miles Thursday and then see how 6 miles feels Saturday. I would strength train today, Wednesday, and Friday. I’d ride the spin bike Wednesday and Sunday.
If all goes well, then we’re well on our way with a training plan.