The PlanI decided to go back to the Runner's World Smart Coach plan. I've experimented with other plans, but I had such great results with the Smart Coach that I figured I might as well go with what I know works. To create a personalized and FREE training plan through RW Smart Coach, click here. You will need to enter your most recent race time, the number of miles you run each week and the level of difficulty you prefer. You will also choose a long run day and enter the date of your race. Then BAM! Runner's World uses a combination of mathematical formulas and creates a personalized training plan for you.
Does it work?I used the RW Smart Coach training plan for my first marathon. I had no idea what to expect but I stuck to the plan religiously. I ended up qualifying for Boston without any goals except to finish. I also made it to the start line completely injury-free and was running 5 days post-marathon pain-free. I haven't had that experience since.
|This photo was taken 5 days after my first marathon. Feeling GREAT!|
|In Surf City, pain-free, running my very first marathon!|
The DetailsMy plan has me running 4x a week. I have found that 5 days a week is my absolute max and I can't do it regularly. My body loves to have two complete rest days each week, which I know sounds crazy to a lot of you, but I require it. My mileage also stays pretty low. I always end up injured when I get into the high 40s. This plan has me maxing out at 48 miles/week and that is only one week in the entire training cycle. I feel very comfortable with that. I envy those that can successfully run high mileage weeks, but I'm not one of those runners and I have come to accept it.
The pace is also very slow for my everyday runs. It tells me to run around 8:48-9:00/mi pace which feels painfully slow. I don't always stick to this, but I have learned how important slow runs are; therefore, I try my absolute best. I use my breathing as a guide. I try to breathe solely out of my nose. If I feel the need to start sucking air through my mouth, I know I'm pushing too hard. I save the hard stuff for tempo runs and speedwork.
Projected Finish TimeWhen I used a RW Smart Coach the first time, I thought the projected finish time was way out of reach. It had me supposedly running a BQ pace. Lo and behold, the plan was right! I did run a BQ pace and felt pretty darn comfortable.
This time around, the plan projects a finish time of 3:25:03. I feel that is unrealistic considering my foot issues. However, if I am able to complete the training as the plan outlines, it is definitely possible.
Tonight, I will be completing mile repeats for the first time in months. Better yet, I'll be doing them in my brand new Brooks Cadence 2s! They should be arriving at my doorstep shortly and I can't wait to lace 'em up!