Harder, better, faster, stronger

So, after the inevitable comedown after completing the Brighton Marathon – a race I trained 18 long, hard weeks for – time to look forward to future goals. My plan is to spend the summer working on improving my PBs in shorter distances, before I start a 12 week marathon training plan for the Frankfurt Marathon at the end of October.

My main “A” goal race will be the Self-Transcendence 10K in Battersea Park at the end of July. I hope to break, or at least get near, 38:00 in this race, although the exact target will be decided closer to the time depending on how training goes. I also fancied a proper go at a half marathon (Worthing and Bath this year were untapered, in the middle of marathon training) so the Swansea Half at the end of June will be a “B” race. Again targets will be set closer to the race, but breaking 86 minutes, or perhaps even getting close to 85, would be nice. I’ve got various other races sprinkled around (see right-hand sidebar) which I’ll use more as training runs and tests of progress, plus I’m sure I’ll throw in a few parkruns too if I can get out of bed early enough on Saturdays!

Swansea Half

I’ve already done a few short recovery runs to get the legs turning over, they feel a little tired and flat as you might expect, but no injuries from the marathon which is the main thing. This week I plan to run Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, then assuming all is well I will return to running every day, as I did for most of the autumn prior to starting my marathon plan. The aim is to gradually build up to 50-60 miles a week while introducing some speedier sessions, then after the London 10,000 at the end of May I will build to 70-80 miles as a tester to see if stepping up to the Pfitzinger 70-85 mile plan for Frankfurt is a good idea.

Training will be similar to my last 10K training block, with the core session being fortnightly 1 and 2 mile reps at goal 10K pace as described by McMillan. On the other weeks I’ll do a shorter 200/400m session aiming to work on speed and leg turnover – probably my biggest running weakness. A weekly 4 or 5 mile LT session (or parkrun) will be the other key workout, although prior to Swansea I will substitute a few of these for fast-finish long runs (final 3 miles at LT) to hopefully improve my endurance at the end of the half. A decent long run of 14-16 miles will aim to keep my endurance “topped off”, then easy and recovery runs will fill the rest of the week. I want to be a bit stricter about doing strides, again to help my leg turnover as well as running form, and I’ll be doing some hill sprints to improve leg strength.

Training Plan
What peak training should look like in July (click for larger image)

On the subject of strength, I also plan to introduce some yoga and strength training to make myself a stronger, more balanced runner, and hopefully ward of any injuries. At the moment I do zero stretching or conditioning work, and the only non-running exercise I do is a little cycling. While I seem to have gotten away with it so far I’m asking for trouble so better to start now than when I’m forced to because I’m injured. Prevention is better than cure! I did my first strength session yesterday – just a basic mix of planks, lunges, squats, etc – which went better than I feared. Just need to get in to the habit of doing it regularly now, then I can start to increase the reps and perhaps introduce weights.

So there we are, my plan to make myself a stronger, faster, more balanced runner. While I’m currently enjoying taking things a little easier, I’m also looking forward to getting stuck back in in a few weeks time!

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