New running training approach

I have been running at least 3 times a week since my first marathon (Ottawa Marathon 2010 – 3:26).  I was happy running for the first 3 years on my own, which lead me to 5 fun and memorable marathons.  I was happy with my training and results.  I do a lot of reading so my approach was a directly linked to the training manuals that I was reading.

My first marathon (Ottawa Marathon 2010 – 3:26) was pretty much like the average running, no clue what I was doing until i was exposed to some serious runners.

My second marathon (Ottawa Marathon 2011 – 3:08) was an improvement over the first.  Improved understanding of what I needed to improve my time but also being more aware and respectful of my weaknesses.

My third marathon (Boston Marathon 2012 – 3:49) was only a month after the 2nd so the training was still a carry-over.

For my fourth marathon (Ottawa Marathon 2012 – 3:02) I did some maintenance training for a month (after the Boston marathon) then I ran the Ottawa Marathon.  This marathon was fun and help rebuild my confidence after a poor performance at Boston.

For my first Ultra marathon (~58 KM at the Ultimate XC @St. Donat 2012 – 7h31m) I took a month or so of 2-3 training sessions a week @ Camp Fortune in the Gatineau Park.  My goal was to simulate the tough terrain and elevation.  I had a blast at this race.  The scenery was epic!

For my firth marathon (Ottawa Marathon 2013 – 2:59) I adopted a more conservative approach, using the well known 3plus2 training program.  I did this because I felt I was on the verge of injury with the previous program.  This approach gave me my best marathon finishing time!  It is important to note that my best marathon time isn’t directly correlated to the training conducted each year/race, but perhaps more related to the consistency in training over 3 years.  Let’s be honest, 3plus2 is great for amateurs and recreational runners but not elite runners.  From what I have read, elite runners training higher volumes and do almost 100% running specific training (this may have changed to keep that in mind).  This takes it origins from training specificity.  I won’t cover that here.

After my firth marathon I felt the need to step back.  So I took 2013 & 2014 to focus on enjoying running, for the right reasons.  Any seasoned runner probably knows what I mean.  Life required more time so I knew I had to back down a little.  Knowing my personality that was a wise and conservative decision.  I will train tired/sore/broken.  I am stubborn!  I knew that would likely lead to injury.

I signed up for a few races but was too worried about my performance to attend.  Today, I would have gone nonetheless and just had fun.  I did continue training but it wasn’t as focused/disciplined as in the past.  I spent more time trail running and exploring new training techniques and their impact on my performance.  I learned how to skate ski (still novice) which is awesome fun, you should try it.  I spent more time in the pool and on the bike.

I ran a few fun races in 2014, Jay Peak 25 KM trail race a few local races.  I didn’t break any personal records but I had a lot of fun.  Towards the end of 2014 I found myself longing to run a marathon and do it well.  This though spawned my interested to get professional help for the first time.  Just my luck,  my wife had given me a gift certificate to Peak Centre – Peakcentre.ca for a running specific assessment (V02, lactate and fuel consumption rate) and training program design.  I am 3 weeks into my new program and I love it.  What I love the most about it is that I just need to do what I am told.  This gives me back some valuable time :).  The new training program is going very well.  When time permits, I’ll post more details providing some stats and scientific data to illustrate my progression.

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