So, since the spring marathon season is nearly on us and many of us have picked a training plan and are at various stages of completing it (or attempting to), it might be a good time to analyze where you are at. Maybe your plan needs to be tweaked to better fit your actual running instead of your hoped-for quantity and speed of running.
An article that I found originally on the Boston Marathon website but is now relocated really resonated with me. It is the introduction to their marathon training plan but has great advice no matter which plan you are using. It has some great descriptions of what every plan should include and some mile markers to analyze where you are at so you can tweak your plan to suit where you actually are.
You should regularly check your progress with your plan to make sure that you are at least doing the following (even when the weather and life gets in the way). But remain flexible and relax about it. This is not a perfect science.
– Simulate race conditions – but don’t actually race much during training
– Long runs – not too fast like most of us do too often to make up for lost running distance. SLOW down.
– Don’t do too much speed work like we are all tempted to do when we get excited about our goals (or think we are not fast enough for this stage of the training). But don’t forget about it either. At least once per week. Speed work at actual race pace, not much faster.
– Drills, strides, stretches – yup, everyone’s gotta do it, even if we detest it, or life gets in the way. But shorten it up if you have to.
– Be willing to change up the plan to match your life, not the other way around
– When it is time to taper, make sure you really taper, don’t just pretend. Take it much easier. This means less running based on what you actually ran in those last weeks, not what the plan says you should have run.
Happy tweaking. Keep your plan flexible, because life happens to all of us.
And RELAX. A great race is not contingent on perfectly regimented training.