I love to run. If my body would keep in step with my desire, I would run, and run, and run. But at 44 years old, my body is not too excited about keeping in step, and instead is saying, “yeah, right”! So instead I adhere to my husband’s philosophy, which is “stick with your own reality”. My reality, in terms of marathon training, is quality over quantity.
I don’t know if there is such a thing as junk miles, but if so, I have run them. In my mind, junk miles are those extra miles tagged on to a weekly run that aren’t necessary, and in fact, can result in injury at this point. My marathon training plan for the October Marine Corps Marathon has to be very purposeful. Basically that means each week I will be running only four days (occasionally five days) but each run will have a purpose. Included in those four days will be some form of the following: one long run (varying in length from 8 to 23 miles), one (or two) “quality” day(s) (see below), and one (or two) “easy” run(s). Easy doesn’t mean lagging or even slow, it means 4-8 miles at a pace in which I can carry on a conversation, and still concentrate on form. If I choose two quality days, then it’s one easy….if I choose two easy, then it’s just one quality day (unless I choose to run five days).
For the quality days, I will choose between 4-5 different types of runs that will either push the pace or challenge me to stretch my limits. Following are some of those quality days compiled by running coach Dan Finanger:
Quality Days Defined
Choose from one of the following “Quality” workouts. You should not sprint, but you should be working fairly hard. Always do a warmup and cool down with these workouts, as well.
Traditional Tempo Run: Nothing fancy here. After a 2-mile warmup and some strides to loosen up your legs, just get out there and roll at tempo pace. Avoid the temptation to check your watch too soon. Be patient and get into your rhythm before you assess your pace. If you’re fatiguing so much that you’re slowing down toward the end of this run, you started too fast. A traditional tempo run lasts for at least 20 minutes and maxes out at about 35 minutes. But remember: Your tempo pace is one that you could maintain for up to an hour if it were a race.
Fartlek: Pick up the pace for segments of 30 seconds to four minutes, interspersed with easy-paced segments of similar duration (i.e. 1 minute on, 1 minute off). Go by time or run them between trees, street signs, or other landmarks during your run.
Kenyan Outbacks: These are like tempo runs – a few miles at a challenging pace – but with the second half much faster than the first. Example: Run an out-and-back route with the “out” in 20 minutes and the “back” in 17 minutes.**I’ve done these with Dan, and they are my favorite quality run for sure!
Track Ladders: Do a track workout up and down the distance ladder. Early in the buildup the ladder range can be 200 to 800 meters; later on it can rise to 800 to 1600 meters. Example: Run 200, 400, 800, 400, and 200. Include an equal amount of slow jogging to recover between each faster repeat. ***Personally, if I do 200’s or 400’s it is not fast…my chronic hamstring issue prohibits it!
Yasso 800s: In the early weeks of the schedule run four to six 800-meter repeats with 400-meter recovery jogs. Increase the number to eight to ten during peak training.
Hill Repeats: Focus on form, not speed. In the early weeks, run four to six times up a moderate hill of 100 to 200 meters at an easy effort. Walk or jog down. In the middle of the training plan, simply do some tempo and long runs on hilly routes. Late in the buildup, run three to eight hill repeats of 100 to 400 meters at a medium to hard effort.
I will be posting
What does your quality training include?