|Training Program - Definitions
There are several terms and abbreviations in the workout schedules, which follow. Here are some of the key terms I will use:
Goal Pace Runs (GPR). The goal pace runs are at the speed that you aspire to run your marathon. GPR may be from 4-13 miles. In most training programs, including ours, there are plenty of slower or faster runs. At times it is a good idea to practice running at the specific pace that you hope to maintain during the actual event. This can be a strenuous workout as the mileage builds. However, if completion of the distance is not the sole priority, it can be very valuable for someone interested in improving their finish time
Hill Climbs (HC). The hill climbs are generally 2:00-3:00 in length and utilize a pretty steep hill. If you are doing repetitions, run up the hill and walk or gently jog back down to the bottom. If the HC are included in a steady run, go downhill more gently. HC develop power and running efficiency.
Long Run (LR). The long run is the core of marathon preparation. This is very subjective, but it is a run that may be approaching twice the distance of your MRR. The pace is 1-2 minutes per mile slower than your normal training run. Distance, up to 20 miles, rather than pace is the objective. You want to get your body accustomed to being out on the road for an extended period of time.
Medium Recovery Run (MRR). This is a run 25-50% longer than your short recovery runs. It has the same objective - recovery so you are better able to profit from any upcoming quality workouts.
Quality Days (QD). This is a day where you put yourself under a bit more stress. You need to do this if you wish to improve. The sessions that are considered QD are the following: GPR, HC, LR, TR, and Y800. The other days are intended to allow you to recover. The pace and effort of Recovery Days are intended to be such so that you feel fresh again for the next QD. RWI or simply walking can also be used during Recovery Days.
Run/Walk Intervals (RWI). These serve the purpose of more easily helping you get to your continuous running distance. They also relieve some of the stress on the lower joints. I recommend beginning with a 4:1 ratio of four minutes of running interspersed with 1:00 minute of walking. During your training, work up to a 9:1 ratio before running continuously. RWI can help extend the LR.
Short Recovery Run (SRR). This is a run that is very comfortable to you and the pace does not vary much during the run. Run at a pace that allows you to carry on a conversation. The objective its to allow your body to recover from more strenuous workouts.
Test Run (TR). This may be a 12:00 distance run or a race that you enter. If you try the 12:00 run, as popularized by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the "Father of Aerobics," go to a track. After warming up well see how far you can go in that time span. If you do this every two months or so you can note your progress.
In a 10k or longer race restrict your pace to the goal pace that you eventually hope to run in the marathon. If you cannot maintain your desired pace at the shorter distances, you may need to adjust your target. The intent is to measure progress.
Van Aaken Pickups (VAP). This follows the "horse to the stable phenomenon." Have you ever ridden and noticed that the animal speeds up as it approaches the destination barn and food? Ernst Van Aaken, a German physician and coach, developed this approach for his athletes. During the later stages of the run gradually pick up the tempo. Go at a pace that takes you a bit out of your comfort zone. This is not intended to be an all out sprint. Gradually slow down and either resume your earlier pace or come to a complete stop. Do not come to a sudden and quick stop. Finish about a block from your home or gym and conclude with a short walk. VAP are a good method of introducing speed and running efficiency to your workouts.
Yasso 800s (Y800). This is a workout developed by a Runner's World employee, Bart Yasso. It accurately allows you to predict the time that you are capable of running a marathon. If you want to run a 3:30 marathon, train to run a session of 800s in 3:30 each. Between the 800s, jog for the same number of minutes it took you to run your repeats. This method holds for all speeds whether you are 2:30 or a 5:30 marathoner. The 800 paces that you are able to complete is a good predictor of your marathon time. 2 minute 30 second 800s equal a 2:30 marathon; 5:30 800s equal 5 hours and 30 minutes for the marathon.
Run your first set of Yasso 800s a couple of months before your goal marathon. On the first week do four. On each subsequent week, add one more until you reach 10. The last session of Yasso 800s should be completed about two weeks before the marathon. This ensures adequate recovery prior to the marathon.
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