Evolving My Marine Corps Marathon Training Plan

Posted: March 19, 2013 in Blogging, Bucket List, Fitness and Health, Running
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

San Diego Half Marathon near 10K mark
I’ve completed 2 half marathons since I started planning for the Marine Corps Marathon 2013. My early planning and research started in March 2012. I had just decided to do a Marathon, and my first post was really about making the decision, thinking about what it would take to go from my average run distance of 3-5 miles to running 26.2 miles. The next post focused more on what it would take to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon, actually more complicated than I thought as this is a very, very popular race. It also covered a more serious look at some training plans and training advice for “older runners”.

Although there have been some glitches in the system, including a 5 week gap in training for my first half marathon due to a back injury, I’ve followed the original plan fairly closely. I have made adjustments to the “published plans” due to my age. Most of those call for running 4 days a week. I run 3 days a week when I’m in serious training. I run a shorter run at the beginning of the week, then add a couple miles 2-3 days later, and do a long run on Sunday. If I get sore I stretch, get on the elliptical in the gym to work out the soreness, and get in a hot tub to help with my biggest issue tight muscles.

Crossing the finish at Americas Finest City Half Marathon 2012

My first half marathon result was OK, but I did not achieve my goal for the Americas Finest City Half Marathon last August. Unexpected heat left me drained and dripping sweat near the finish of the AFC Half MarathonPart of the problem was the unusual heat… I was not the only one dripping sweat on this race. The other issue was my training plan, not enough long runs and no hills during training. So I adjust my training plan to ensure I had more long runs before the San Diego Half Marathon, and to make sure I ran plenty of hills, not all flat training runs. I recorded those training runs on a new MCM Training Log page (transitioned to a post after the marathon) to keep me honest, and so that I could see how well the training adjustments would work. I have started a new table at the top of the page to record the training runs for my next race. The adjustments to my training plan and the training log both worked better than I expected. Even though I was sick with a cold on the day of the San Diego Half Marathon, I exceeded my goal easily and had my best pace on a long run with or without a hill. With a goal of 10 minute miles and a result of 9:25 minute miles, I felt good about my training plan, and it started me thinking more aggressively about my goals for the next half marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon. But to have more aggressive goals, I’ll need more a more aggressive training plan.

The Rock and Roll Half Marathon – San Diego on 2 June 2013 will actually have very few uphill sections and finishes lower than it starts. This will help me get a personal best, but it may not be a good test for the Marine Corps Marathon. I’ll have nearly 5 months after that race to train for the Marine Corps Marathon. This is almost too long for an old guy like me to keep running weekly runs between 10 and 20 miles. So I need a good plan to train and recover multiple times during that 4 months. So I’ll divide that time into 2-3 different training cycles of about 6 weeks with time (1-2 weeks) to recover in between the training cycles. So possibly a build up to 16 mile long runs in the first cycle, 18 in the second, and 20 in the third. Of course plenty of stretching and soaking in the hot tub will help keep me loose and hopefully injury free.

Finally, it is time to get serious about losing 15-20 pounds. I expected my weight to drop when I started running 20 miles a week, but it has not dropped at all, not 1 pound. Nothing magical here, I just need to eat less, and more health foods. Less sugar, less fat, more fruits and vegetables! I don’t think my legs will be happy with 15-20 mile runs at 215 pounds. They may not be ecstatic about 195 either, but they will be happier!

OK, it’s time to put it out there! What are my goals?

San Diego Half Marathon: average of 9 minute miles and well under 2 hours.
Marine Corps Marathon: Nothing novel here, I just want to beat Oprah’s time! She ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 4:29:15 with 10:16 minute miles. So my goal… 10 minute miles and around 4:20.

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