Speed with Endurance. The general outline is as follows:
3 weeks alpha base phase (mileage range 46-59)
4 weeks speed with endurance phase (mileage range 62-71)
3 weeks 5k pre-season plan (mileage range 61-82)
3 weeks 5k in-season plan (mileage range 58-81)
1 week regeneration (no mileage target, just recover)3 weeks alpha base (mileage range 89-93)
3 weeks speed with endurance (mileage range 85-91)15 weeks marathon specific training plan (mileage range 63-106)
As I move through the plan, I will post some of the workouts that I do to give you a flavor for the program. I have set goal races sprinkled throughout the plan that I will mostly train through. Nonetheless, my goal is to PR at every distance from the 5k to the marathon during this training cycle. I am shooting for the following:
5k (in mid August): <17:40
10k (in late November): <36:30
half marathon (early October): <1:19
marathon (Jan 2012): <2:42
My first race is a 5k at the World Masters Track and Field Championships being held in Sacramento in mid July. I am training through this race since I know I won't be in shape for anything respectable by then. I do however want to be a part of that celebration of masters athletes and run for the USA. I am targeting a fast 5k later in the summer and will shoot for a big PR.
My plan is not easy, but neither am I (despite what you may have heard on the street). This will be the most challenging training plan, at least in terms of volume, that I have undertaken. It doesn't scare me in the least. In fact, it thrills me to think about what might come out the other end as I crank through the workouts. I had an interesting Facebook exchange going this week where a friend posted her concern about me setting such a long-term plan. I appreciate her cautionary words and can understand how an athlete might feel obligated to stick to such a plan even if it was not working or if circumstances changed making the plan obsolete. However, long-term plans are the norm for me since that's how Coach Nicole operated. I would often get 6 months of workouts from her at a time because that's what I wanted. The plan is just a plan, of course. While I see the workouts and mileage within the plan as changeable, I have been amazed at how closely I've been able to stick to my plans in the past. Since I am not a fan of blind obedience to anything, I don't feel obligated to follow a plan just because.
I am not sure I can convey to you how convinced I am that I will be a faster and healthier runner for having undergone 11 days of pain and torture in Arizona. I am now able to run with ease, something I'm not sure I have ever experienced before. I am no longer fighting my body to move forward in a running stride and that is remarkable. The funny thing is that I never even knew that fight was going on! Dr. Lau, from Sacramento, has now made contact with Dr. Ball, from Arizona, and they have developed a plan for me to gain even more range of motion and keep it there for the long term. I also found out that I don't have any serious degeneration or deformities in my hip joint, though there may be something minor in there that an x-ray can't pick up. Nonetheless, Dr. Ball said this bodes very well for my continued improvement.
It's going to be a tough row to hoe, but I am so ready for this.