I have embarked on a journey that is ground breaking for me. I have started following someone else’s marathon training plan. The final destination is as yet to be determined but I have a few places on my bucket list that are definite possibilities. The date is confirmed as 10-10-10 that is October 10th 2010 and there are two marathons to choose from one is the Okanagan International Marathon the other is the Good Life Fitness Victoria Marathon. It is a bit of a mystery as to why race organizers would schedule identical dates when perhaps if they separated the two by a week or more you might increase participation from a few Marathon Maniacs out there.
This time around I’m following Hal Higdon’s Advanced I Marathon Plan. Mr. Higdon is a well known guru of sorts and his training programs have been around for years. I’ve actually tried one of his plans before. Actually let me clarify that, I’ve looked at his plans before and I thought to myself “ Are you serious?” because even the Novice plans aren’t exactly novice. They are definitely serious plans for serious committed athletes and for the longest time since first looking at them I’ve wanted to re-visit them and actually see if I could commit myself to following one of the plans.
I’ve done three marathons, all spring marathons and all of them Vancouver, 1999, 2000, and 2005. My personal best is 3:31. Since then I’ve moved up to ultras. I figured if couldn’t get faster then go farther. I’ve run two ultras to date, a 50 miler in 2008 and the longest ultra I’ve run is 100K which was last year’s Haney to Harrison 100K Ultra. That definitely pushed my limit for distance. With 4 kids, a wife, a job, and also being part-time firefighter I don’t know if I have the time to train any longer than 4-hour training runs, something that it is a requirement for longer ultras. Now that I can’t go farther let’s go faster, I was inspired by the many stories of people trying to qualify for Boston and it too has been on my bucket list for a long time.
CHOOSING THE PLAN
With three plans to choose from: Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced and two levels for each. The Novice plan was for lack of a better term too novice. The Advanced Plans looked serious enough but lacked the speed work that I felt I needed to achieve my goal of a Boston qualifier. At 45 years old the BQ time must be better than 3:30 which is not too far off of my personal best but that was 5 years ago and there is a lot of miles on these legs since then. One thing ultra running does is sap a lot of speed from you. Whether it’s the shifting focus on endurance, the lack of speed work in your training regime or the cumulative miles I don’t feel like I could pound out 8-minute miles like I did 5 years ago. Hence my choice for the Advanced I program.
For the next 18 weeks I’m going to review the program week by week. Hopefully my schedule will permit me to keep up with the program and to keep up with the blog posts. The program runs 6 out 7 days. Monday is an easy recovery run from the weekend duo. Tuesday is what Hal describes as a “Sort of” long run it starts at 5 miles and builds up to 11 miles over the 18 weeks. Wednesday is a recovery run from the “Sort of” the day before. Thursday is the quality speed/power workout alternating between Hills, Tempo, and Intervals. To be honest I’ve always hated this regimented type workout which is probably why I abandoned marathoning all those years ago. I knew if I wanted the BQ this is what I needed to do, this would define me, this is where it would start. Friday is the only rest day of the whole week, something tells me I’m going to look forward to Fridays . . . TGIF. Saturday is a shorter distance (starts at 5 miles and builds) at GMP, Goal Marathon Pace. A run to make you feel the pace you want to run at, in my case 8 minutes per mile. And of course Sunday is the long run. The Advance I program builds its long runs to 20 miles and does it 3 times prior to race day. I think my ultra experience made this program seem less daunting than in the past. In fact, last year during my 100K build up my 20 milers were the most enjoyable part of the whole program.
So there you have it. There is the goal, the history, the plan. All I have to do is commit to the plan and carry it out. I still have to choose a marathon, sign on the dotted line and ‘git R dun’. Wish me luck!
I have a gorgeous wife and four kids. I am a volunteer firefighter in a small suburb about 50 miles from Vancouver. Before the duty bell rings and before the sun rises I run. My priorities will always be wife and kids so fitting running into the schedule can be challenging.