The Mark Plan…

Ok, here is my big marathon plan.  Mark and I are running the San Antonio marathon in November.  We are both hoping to PR…for me a 3:20, for him a sub-3! (I am sure you are wondering what someone who is fast is doing hanging around me…I wonder too sometimes).   Mark is also a newly crowned RRCA certified coach, and is using his new skills to help me.   I got my plan the other night, and I am excited.  Here’s how it is different:

In the past, I typically build up to the distance, with my longest runs being right before the marathon.  The RRCA style of coaching that my plan is based on is that of periodization.  In essence, you don’t train up to the distance you train up to the speed.   It starts with a base building phase, and I’ll be doing 20+ mile runs pretty early on.    Mark has given me specific pace ranges to run everything in.  The long runs are the slowest, and there are 8-10 mile midweek runs.  A new change is short (4-5 mile) runs and a hard pace.  I typically always run at least 6-7 miles.  The shorter runs counter the fact the other weekly runs are 8-10 miles.    About 8 weeks out from the marathon, we start the sharpening phase.  The pace ranges get quicker, and the tempo runs have segments of increasing length at marathon goal pace.  This style of training is actually not new to me.  This is what we did in high school cross country.  I was on a very competitive team, and we really trained more like a college level runner would, averaging about 50 miles a week, but only running M-F.  In the beginning of the season we did the bulk of our mileage, and at the end it was exclusively speed work.  We were also always given a pace range for everything, and there were specific runs we were instructed to take slow.   This is also the way a lot of elite runners train.

I don’t think this plan is good if you are new to marathons.    If you are new, I still think a plan with a steady increase in long runs is the way to go.   I’m going to give this plan a try though.  It will still be about the same amount of miles a week I usually run now, just spread out a little different.  We start June 1, but I get the first couple weeks as recovery weeks from the Estes Park marathon.  I am happy Mark loves making spreadsheets so much, because I have everyday from June 1 to mid November planned out for me, and I know exactly how fast I need to do each run.

Ok, housework calls.  The little boy and I spent the morning getting my car serviced.  That was fun (NOT!).  He had way to much energy when we got home, but was sleepy at the same time and imploded.  He is asleep now, and I need to take advantage.

If anyone has any questions on Mark’s plan or any training you plan on doing, let me know.  If I am not sure of the answer I can always forward to him.


3 thoughts on “The Mark Plan…”

  1. Yeah, that’s not a plan I’d give a novice runner. On the other hand, it doesn’t completely fit the RRCA approach either, but I hope it will serve us both well.

    Oh, and as for the “fast” comment, may I remind you that we are entering that nasty humid summer season where I regularly struggle on runs and often refer to them as “death by Clea” 🙂

  2. Ooooh what an interesting plan!! Let me know if he needs a guinea pig for a beginner, virgin marathoner. Ha!!

    Hope the car service didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

    1. Hey Micki, I will gladly help you if you want to run your first marathon. Mark and I both agreed there was some stuff from his RRCA class we disagreed with, and some we liked, and he kinda focused on the parts he liked, and also based it on stuff I am already doing. I love helping people do their first marathon, so just let me know if you need any tips.

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