Some of the material I had studied while training for triathlon delved into longer distances, including Ironman and Half-Ironman events. I went back and reviewed those sections to see what amount of training I should expect to do. One source I especially liked was an article on Training Peaks by Nicole Drummer which stresses the need to cut back on the training load to avoid injury, and to shift endurance training from run to bike for the same reason. She offers these guidelines for Ironman and Half-Ironman longest day bike and run workouts:
Matt Fitzgerald recommends specifying short day runs by duration and long day runs by distance, as races are usually based on distances. To convert Drummer's recommendations into distances I would need to decide on a pace. At this point I am doing rough estimates, with an emphasis on slow-and-long, so I used conservative values that I have hit often in recent events, a 15:00 min/mile run pace and a 13 m.p.h. bike pace.
It was around this point that I realized I could start now on Half-Ironman training as the basis for my marathon training. I looked around to see if anyone else was doing this and could not find anything. If I do this it will be a voyage of exploration (cue Star Trek theme).
Many training sources advise increasing training load by no more than 5% per week. Since I do not currently train at Ironman levels I decided to treat them as goals and work backwards to see where I would need to start. I used twenty weeks as my timeline, the gap between the Tinman and the Honolulu Marathon. Here are the numbers for the Half-Ironman, reversed in time to simplify the spreadsheet formulas and using the midpoint of Drummer's ranges:
Those starting numbers -- 20 mile bike ride and 3 mile run -- fit easily into my current training load. Remember, these are not bricks. The long runs will be on Saturday, after a Friday rest day, and the long bike rides on Sunday. This lets me run on fresh legs, which reduces the risk of injury. With a reasonable starting point and a reasonable 5% per week rate of increase, I should get to Half-Ironman long day training volume in time for the marathon.
The Matt Fitzgerald marathon plan would have me running fifteen miles or more five times in the last ten weeks, including twenty miles in week fifteen and twenty-two miles in week seventeen. I know from experience such long runs will leave me worthless for the rest of the day. With my plan, most of the endurance strength and aerobic capacity gained on the bike will transfer to the run while keeping run distances manageable.
A twenty week training plan should not consist of a continuous increase in volume. The 5% rule is an overall guide. For best results the long climb in volume needs to be broken up by weeks of low volume, and there should be one or two peaks along the way. In the plan below I have added in volume reductions using the three week training cycle recommended for old guys like me. I also rounded off the values and arranged the columns in the correct order. Week 18 is a race simulator.
|Sat Run||Sun Bike|
This is not the finished product. Actually a plan like this is never finished, it changes to accommodate life's unpredictability. But I can already tell you that I have made changes, based on roughing in the weekly activities. More on that later. Today is the first day of week two of this plan. I hope I can get the run and bike done without being preempted by the weather.