Previously I described my idea to apply Ironman training concepts to my marathon training. The primary goal is to shift much of the endurance training from the run to the bike, the goal being to reduce the risk of injury. I still do a long run every weekend, but not nearly as long as if I were only running. I do the run on Saturday, and the long bike on Sunday. Again, putting the run before bike is to reduce the risk of injury.
As I trained for my first marathon just about everything I read said to go out and run every day. One hour on weekdays, longer on weekends. Run run run. One so-called expert claimed that anything less than an hour was a waste of time. I was surprised therefor to see that Matt Fitzgerald's run plans usually kept weekday runs to 30-40 minutes, but even so he had me doing them four days out of five.
Since then my reading has widened to include more on triathlon, as well as what is appropriate for old guys. (Would you believe the borderline often used for this is forty? What does that make me, antique?) The theme I see most often is to lower run training volume, increase cross training, and most of all increase strength training. As we age we naturally lose power. Just running will not do enough to prepare us for race day. Keep in mind that those books and Runners World pieces are aimed at twenty-somethings. I have to compensate for age.
Joe Friel recommends that old folks like me include two or three strength sessions during the base period, and at least one during build. Only stop doing strength workouts the week before a race. After the Tinman Triathlon I had one week of transition, followed by seven weeks of base. I have a weekly one hour workout with a weight trainer -- Dorian Cuccia -- which I will supplement with workouts either at home or at the gym.
Right up there with strength during the base period is flexibility. Later, as a race approaches, it is better to cut back on flexibility workouts as these can actually work against you. A good runner needs to be springy, not loose and floppy. The base period is the perfect time to work on flexibility, freedom of motion, and mechanics. To that end I have gotten back into yoga. I was doing yoga twice a week at work, but our instructor has moved away so I go once a week with Pattie.
One more thing I have done is set aside one run session a week to do drills. I did my first one today, going through all the drills I picked up from Bobby McGee. I managed to fill most of an hour on the track doing each drill two or three times. From now on I will pick four or five that address my limiters and spend more time on them. What is important to note is that these drills do not include very much running, yet during the session I was feeling the effects and by the end my legs were definitely burning. This is what I mean by running without running.
Just for kicks I have included this week's training plan. Most weeks follow this pattern, but no two are exactly alike.
AM run 30 min 50% zone 2
PM swim Oahu Club 40 min
AM run 40 min mostly zone 2
AM strength 1 hr
PM yoga 1.5 hr
AM run drills 45 min
PM bike spin class 1 hr
AM run 45 min strides up and down hill
Noon strength gym 1 hr
PM swim Oahu Club 40 min
AM long run 6 mi
AM long bike 35 mi
Planned time: 11:30
With this plan I spend more time running than anything else, but I spend less than half my time running. With so much variety I should easily avoid the workout blahs that so other show up mid-way to our goal.