Change of (Training) Plans

Nov 16, 2011 by

Change of (Training) Plans

Nick Faldo.  Ever heard of him?  Nick was one of the best, if not the best, golfers in the world in the late 80’s and early ’90s.  Before Nick was the best in the world, he was mediocre in the early ’80’s.  Oh, he was good enough to win some tournaments, but he was not satisfied with his game, so he went back to square one.  He teamed up with a little known teacher named David Leadbetter, and together they rebuilt Nick’s golf game from the ground up. Nick dominated golf for a period of years, winning 6 major tournaments.

So, what does this have to do with my running?  In my last post, I hinted at not being totally satisfied with my Governor’s Cup performance, despite setting a personal best in a half marathon. Well, next week, I was planning on starting my 16 week training schedule to get ready for the Columbia, SC Marathon in March 2012.  My plan was to follow the schedule in my Run Less Run Faster
book that I have used primarily over the last two years to guide my training.   The Run Less Run Faster system is called the 3 plus 2 program.  This training system works and has allowed me to complete a marathon and a few half marathons despite fighting foot injuries.  To briefly summarize this program, you have 3 quality runs a week (a speed work run, a tempo run, and a long slow run) combined with two cross training aerobic workouts.  Your workout intensities are based on your current 5K ability.  This system allows your body to recover between runs while maintaining aerobic fitness with the cross training.  I have a recumbent exercise  bike that I use for the majority of my cross training. Like, I said,  this program works, but to be honest, I was dreading the exercise bike again.  Even with TV in the room, 45 minutes on the bike twice a week is boring.

So, what to do?   Back to square one, like Nick Faldo.  For this training cycle, I am abandoning Run Less Run Faster and going to use a training method called heart rate monitor training.  In this training, I will abandon speed work, which gets the heart rate high, and instead run while keeping my heart rate under 140 beats per minute?  Why?  According to what I have been researching, this keeps my body in the aerobic zone, burning fat as a fuel, instead of glycogen (sugars).  Since people have much more fat stored in their bodies than glycogen, as my body learns to burn fat as its primary fuel source,  I should be able to run faster for longer.  I will work on building this aerobic base over the next three months, and then add speed work to the mix the last month before the marathon.

This training will have a couple of other benefits, too.  First, it is new to me, so I am excited about trying something different.  This will help with motivation.  Second, the slower pace of the training will be easier on my body.  I hope this helps my nagging foot problems to clear up.

There’s a bunch of science behind this training but I won’t go into it here. Instead here are the links to a few of the sites that convinced me to try this:

Natural Running Center

Freedom’s Run Training

Mark Allen Online

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.









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