Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A mini-challenge to round off 2012

I need a little something to finish off the year. There's a small marathon held annually in Richmond Park towards the end of November. I was asked if I wanted to run it, and I thought why the hell not. I've never run a marathon - I don't include the two Ironman shuffle-a-thons, they were all about getting to the end and not really worrying about how long it took. I haven't taken on a stand-alone marathon as a "runner". I should have a good base of fitness from this year's adventures, I'll be carrying some fatigue but I don't intend to thrash myself training, and there's still six and a half weeks until race day.

I looked up a 6-week marathon plan and adapted it to suit my needs. I've never prioritised running in my training before, so this is new. I've planned to increase duration consistently over the next few weeks, peaking with the longest run a fortnight ahead of race day. I'll aim to get my long runs done round Richmond Park to get used to the circuit again.

I'm estimating 25 minutes for parkruns. I can run them faster but I'm not sure I want to thrash myself every Saturday morning. So, the next seven weeks (I count a week as Monday to Sunday) look like this:

Week 1 (this week): 3 sessions, 2:55
Wed: 30m easy recovery run
Sat: parkrun
Sun: 2:00 Z1 Run

(Z1 = heart rate Zone 1, for me that's 151 BPM or lower, comfortable for a long run is under 145BPM)

Week 2: 4 sessions, 4:45
Wed: Run home from work (90m)
Fri: 30m easy run
Sat: parkrun
Sun: 2:20 Z1 Run

Week 3: 4 sessions, 5:35
Wed: Run home from work (90m)
Fri: 1:00 Z1 run
Sat: parkrun
Sun: 2:40 Z1 Run

Week 4: 5 sessions, 6:25
Tue: 30m easy run
Wed: Run home from work (90m)
Fri: 1:00 Z1 run
Sat: parkrun
Sun: 3:00 Z1 Run

Week 5: 5 sessions, 6:55
Tue: 1:00 easy run
Wed: Run home from work (90m)
Fri: 1:00 easy run
Sat: parkrun
Sun: 3:00 Z1 run

Week 6: 4 sessions, 4:25
Wed: Run home from work (90m)
Fri: 30m Z1 easy run
Sat: parkrun
Sun: 2:00 Z1 Run

Week 7: 5 sessions, 2:25 plus race
Tue: 30m easy run
Wed: 60m easy run
Thu: 30m easy run
Sat: parkrun (very easy, jog round, minimum of cycling)
Sun: RACE DAY!

In around this lot is some swimming, 4 mornings per week, and a little bit of cycling, but not a great deal. The focus is on good run sessions and effective recovery. According to a timing calculator I found online, given my half marathon time last weekend I should be able to hit a few seconds under 3:30 - this sounds like a seriously fast time and I'm not comfortable right now having something so aggressive as my target. I know I want to go under 4 hours, that's my minimum target, I'll wait until closer to the time to decide what my pacing is going to be. Let's see how it goes.

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