Welp, we’ve just been hit with negative windchills and our first real snowfalls of the season. Of course that means that it’s time for all 30,000 of us that are going to take on Heartbreak Hill come April to buckle down on our training. In my case, this means 18 weeks of Pfitzinger’s tempo runs, track workouts, and marathon pace miles thrown into some long runs.I’ve followed Pfitzinger’s 18 week/55 mile per week program from his book Advanced Marathoning since I first decided I wanted to make a run at a BQ. Spoiler..it worked! Since then, I’ve used the same basic plan to PR with a 3:25 this fall by just adjusting my paces and adding in a few miles.
There are lots of plans out there that can work for you. But I really believe that the fundamentals of Pfitzinger’s program are great building blocks for a strong marathon:
- Tempo runs early in training. Not much different than Jack Daniel’s threshold pace running. Not too fast, but still get tough and are excellent for building up a base and making marathon pace miles feel like a breeze.
- Long runs (duh) that work up to 3 20 milers. I’ve never done more than 20 miles in training so I think you can be successful without running more.
- Marathon pace miles during every 3rd long run. This is key. Really really key. Practice makes perfect. No one can argue that marathon are all. about. pacing.
- Track workouts in the back half of training to fine tune your legs and speed. These are actually a breath of fresh air after some grueling tempo runs early on.
- Medium long runs during the week of 10-14 miles. You should never run more than your body can handle in a given week, and that number of miles is different for everyone. BUT I firmly believe that as you slowly build up a wider base and add miles you increase your potential.
What else do I think are some of the keys to training? Strides every week. Recovery weeks with drops in mileage every month. Listening to your body. Sticking to your paces–NO faster, NO slower…unless it’s a -15 degree windchill and snowy like it was this past week.
So, here it goes–we’re already in the midst of another 18 weeks of miles! See ya at the start line in Hopkinton!