Currently I am actually reading a book about how to improve your running times. It’s called Run Faster from the 5K to Marathon: How to be Your Own Best Coach by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald. I haven’t gotten very far into it, but what I’ve read so far, I really like. I like the way the author thinks and his approach to coaching. This book is written with the intent of helping individual runners better self-coach themselves. Since I am not a member of an established running group, nor am I in college on the track & field or cross country team, nor am I an elite athlete, I do not have access to professional coaches or even to amateur coaches to assist me in constructing my training plans. I just have to write something up, based on training plans I have seen on the internet and in books. I take these published training plans and take away from them what I feel would work best for me and then I leave out what doesn’t appeal to me.
The things I have left out are things like intervals, fartleks and other speedwork. I’ve also left out hill repeats (however I recently discovered that I la-la-love hills, so these will definitely be added in). I don’t schedule tempo runs, I just run at a tempo rate when I’m feeling like it. Recently, just before the Army Marathon, I ran a super progressive 7 mile run that ended with my last mile being sub-9:00. Usually I only run miles under 9:00 if I’m running a 5K and then I’m doing them on purpose and busting my butt to get them down under 9:00 and am totally spent. But at the end of that 7 mile run I felt amazing and awesome and on top of the world! I vowed that I would start doing speedwork. Now, I haven’t YET started. This may sound like an excuse to procrastinate to some of you, but it’s a valid reason in my book. I’ve been waiting for school to let out so I can use their not-fenced-in track for my speedwork. I’m a little OCD and like things to be nicely measured out. So, while I could just go out and do fartleks from point to point randomly during a run, I’d much rather have a nicely structured set of speed intervals. And the track is about a mile from my apartment, so I can jog over there nice and easy to warm up, set up on the track and do my intervals for a some miles, then jog back to my apartment nice and easy to cool down.
Anyway, while this is obviously not a book report as I haven’t read more than the first 2 chapters of this book, it is definitely getting the wheels turning in my mind about how I want to structure my upcoming marathon training cycle that starts next month. I wrote up a run schedule for this month. I’ve got myself running just 3 days a week. I’m going to enjoy a little bit of a breather before I crank it up to 4 days a week with marathon training. I know, 4 days a week doesn’t sound like much with marathon training, especially since you hear of all these other people running 5 or 6 days a week, but I’ve found that if I run more than 4 times a week on the regular, I get injured. Plus, I can still log enough miles to make me feel comfortable with my training miles. But, I’d like to have my first 4 weeks of marathon training plan mapped out and ready to go by the 4th of July, that way I have a week to make any little necessary tweaks to it before I start running it on the 12th. I know I want 1 day of hills, 1 day of speekwork, a long run and then I guess just a median length easy run.
So, like I said, I’m only 2 chapters in, but I really like this book and I think it’s going to continue to be a great read and I also think it will help me greatly with coaching myself to new PRs!