Preparing for Ottawa Marathon 2015

It is that time of year again.  I get to pull out all the running books I have to redesign my marathon training program.  I have taken some time to think about my goals.  My goal is to qualify for Boston.  My requirements are that my training program be:

  • stress free – no daily research required, a pre-planned training season.
  • injury free – find the right balance of training, rest and active rest.
  • fun – run outdoors, with friends, with our dogs and in the middle of the winter.
  • challenging – cold weather, early mornings, paces are fast should do the trick.
  • change it up – running, biking, swimming, XC skiing and snowshoeing.
  • well balanced – add yoga, stretching, strength training and mobilization exercises to the mix.

I always find it difficult to choose a program that is 100% running.  Clearly that is the best option for a pro, but not IMHO for an average running.  From my personal experience, the best marathon I ran was the year that introduced the 3Plus2 training approach; first introduced to me when I read “Run Less Run Faster”.  All of the information below is gleaned from this training book, which I highly recommend you purchase link here.

Let’s talk about the desired goal, I would like to run the 2015 Ottawa Marathon in 2 hours and 54 minutes.

Let’s review the 3plus2 training week.

The 3Plus2 Training Program
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Cross-Training (XT#1) Key Run Workout #1 Cross-Training (XT#1) Key Run Workout #2 Off Key Run Workout #3 Cross-Training (XT#1)

Day 1

Key Cross-Training Workout #1 (XT#1):

  • Pick of the XT#1 Key Workouts in the Cross-Training section below.

Day 2

Key Run Workout #1: Track Repeats

  • Warm up with 15 to 20 minutes of easy running
  • Do Key Workout
  • Cool down with 10 to 15 minutes of easy running

Day 3

Key Cross-Training Workout #2 (XT#2):

  • Pick of the XT#2 Key Workouts in the Cross-Training section below.

Day 4

Key Run Workout #2: Tempo Run

  • Warm up with 1 mile; start with easy running and warm up to tempo pace
  • Do Key Workout
  • Cool down with 1 mile of easy running

Day 5

Rest day

Day 6

Key Run Workout #2: Long Run

  • Start with easy running and gradually increase to long run pace.

Day 7

Rest day or option Cross-Training:

  • Pick of the XT#Optional Key Workouts in the Cross-Training section below.

Cross-Training

Cross-Training Workout #1(XT#1)

Choose of of the following workouts for XT#1:

  1. Bike, 45 minutes, 8 minutes easy spinning, 30 minutes moderate, 7 minutes easy; cadence about 95-100 rpm.
  2. Bike, Constant Spin workout of 45 to 60 minutes of fast cadence at more than 100 rpm.  After 10 minutes, adjust the resistance to a perceived effort (PE) level of 2.  This should not be a very taxing work, but you should be sweating by 30 minutes.  Reduce the resistance to a PE level of 1 for the last 5 minutes.
  3. Stationary cycling and running (45 minutes), 5 minutes easy as a warmup; increase cadence to 100+ rpm and maintain that cadence for 30 minutes (because of the faster cadence, the effort level will be a 3 on the perceived effort scale); and 10 minutes of easy running afterward as a cooldown.
  4. Pool, No swimming but kicking (about 20 to 30 minutes).  Most runners hate kicking because they are so bad at it :).  Kicking will help your running.  Kick 1 length of a 25-meter; rest 30 seconds.  Repeat this 20 times.  Use a kickboard and hold it out in front of you.  You do not need to put your face in the water.  Focus on kicking from the hips rather than the knees.
  5. Pool, Swimming (about 20 to 30 minutes).  1 length fast, 1 length easy; 2 lengths fast, 2 lengths easy; 3 lengths fast, 3 lengths easy, 2 lengths fast, 2 lengths easy; 1 length fast, 1 length easy.  Rest 1 minute.  Repeat the entire sequence two more times.

Cross-Training Workout #2(XT#2)

Choose one of the following workouts for XT#2:

1.   Mode:  Stationary cycling (45 minutes)

Workout:  10 minutes easy spinning as a warmup alternative resistance between a PE level of 4 for 1 minute with 4 minutes of fast spinning at a PE level of 1.  Repeat this six times.  Finish with 5 minutes easy as a cooldown.

2.   Mode:  Stationary cycling (50 minutes)

Workout: 10 minutes easy spinning as a warmup, 15 minutes moderate to hard, 5 minutes easy; 15 minutes moderate to hard, 5 minutes easy as recovery; all with cadence of about 95 to 100 rpm.

3.   Mode:  Stationary cycling and rowing (50 minutes)

Workout: 5 minutes easy spinning, then alternate 5 minutes hard/fast rowing and 5 minutes easy but fast spinning (more than 100 rpm).  Repeat this row/bike sequence four times, and finish with 5 minutes spinning as a cooldown.

4.   Mode:  Stationary cycling and running (50 minutes)

Workout:  10 minutes easy spinning, 30 minutes moderate, cadence about 95 to 100 rpm.  Follow immediately with 10 minutes easy running.

5.   Mode:   Stationary cycling and running (about 60 minutes)

Workout:  10  minutes easy spinning as a warmup, 15 minutes at a resistance of PE level 3, job 1 mile at your long run pace; repeat this sequence two times.  Finish with 10 minutes easy spinning as a cooldown.

6.   Mode:  Swimming (about 20 to 30 minutes)

Workout:  Swim 8 lengths.  Follow immediately by kicking 2 lengths.  Rest 1 minute.  Repeat this sequence five times.

Optional Cross-Training Workouts (Optional XT)

Any of the following workouts can be used for an optional cross-training workout.

  1. Mode: Rowing (35 minutes)  Workout: 5 minutes easy rowing, 10 minutes moderate to fast; 5 minutes easy, 10 minutes moderate to fast; 5 minutes easy.
  2. Mode: Spinning bike (50 minutes)  Workout: 5 minutes easy spinning; 40 minutes fast cadence (about 95 to 100 rpm); 5 minutes relaxed spinning as a cooldown.
  3. Mode: Rowing or stationary cycling  Workout: 5 minutes easy as a warmup; then 1 x 4 minutes fast, 4 x 1 minutes fast, 3 x 2 minutes fast, 2 x 3 minutes fast, 4 x 1 minutes fast, all with 1 minute easy recovery; 5 minutes easy as a cooldown.
  4. Mode: Stationary bike (60 minutes)  Workout: 20 minutes easy, 20 minutes moderate; 20 minutes easy
  5. Mode: Swimming (20 minutes)  Workout: 20  minutes of a combination of continuous swimming and kicking

OK, so that illustrates the program and the XT sessions.  You will need to buy the book to get the pace tables.  Also, the specific training programs designed for the Boston Marathon won’t be shared here, again, I highly recommend you buy the book.

On top of the running and cross training, I will be adding in yoga, stretching & mobility training and strength training.  All these to help stay injury free and increase speed.  All strength training will be done on Key Run Workouts.

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