Monday, July 19, 2010

Self-coaching half marathon prep

I decided recently, after running a string of 5K races that I had been neglecting my aerobic base for awhile, so I registered for the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon, and vowed to take some time off from all the 5K's. It was a tough choice, because I'm just fast enough in a 5K to have a chance of placing overall or in my age group in the smaller races where the speed demon's don't show up--and I do like the bling.

I had simultaneously decided that I could use a little more on my muscle strength and elasticity as well, so I also vowed to do some hill training. So far, I've managed to ramp up my aerobic base training by adding some recovery runs between speed and tempo workouts and increasing my distances for my LSD run each week. Now, how to I start the hill training.

I've recently read Keith Livingstone's book on the training methods used by Arthur Lydiard (Healthy Intelligent Training). While I think the book's prose could use a little work, and it's organization could be a little better laid out (that will have to suffice for a book review for now), what it contained was compelling and highly consistent with my own understanding, as a biologist, of metabolism, energetics, and muscle physiology.

So, I've been looking for a good quarter-mile hill with a sufficient grade that I could use for some hill repeat runnings, or perhaps a hill circuit, and I think I've found one, but I'm struggling to figure out where to put it into my training schedule.  Do I add a second workout on Speed Work Tuesday, or perhaps I add it on Tempo Thursday? Or maybe I replace one of these workouts with hills on alternate weeks? I like the workouts I currently do, so it's difficult to decide.

I'd also like to add some short hill sprints sets, of no more than 12-20 seconds at 95% of maximal effort with long recovery intervals between, just for strength, and I think I could add this to my routine a little more easily, but I still need to find the time slot for it.

On another note, I'm getting strong and fit enough now that I think I could add these things to my routine without a big risk of injury if I start off slowly and accept the gradual progression.

I guess I have a new appreciation for top-notch running coaches, who design these plans for other people and their schedules.

In any case, here's my basic training schedule as it stands:

Mon:  REST or aerobic cycling
Tue:  TRACK - speed work
Wed:  RECOVERY run
Thu:  TRACK or ROAD - tempo or steady state run
Fri:  REST or aerobic cycling or RECOVERY run
Sat:  SHAKEOUT run or LSD (if can't do it Sunday)
Sun:  LSD

I could probably slip all the hill work in on Mondays, but with my LSD on Sunday, I'm not sure my condition will enable me to do that without risking overtraining. Maybe I'll just have to give that a shot and then just pay attention to what my body is telling me, and be willing to "bag it if I'm not feelin' it."

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