the (chicago) blueprint 3

OK, couldn’t resist throwing a Jay-Z reference in there (Kevin, figured you’d like that!)  But it kinda fits Chicago training in a way…the “blueprint” is the training schedule, and this will be my 3rd marathon.  (or is it my 4th?  I honestly don’t know whether to count Marine Corps since it was a DNF.)

So as Chicago training starts for me in one month…I really have to figure out some kind of game plan in the next coupla weeks.  What’s it gonna be, I don’t know as of right now, but what I do know is that I need some kind of change.

During my aborted attempt of training for NYCM in 2005, I used one of the schedules on the NYCM site (if I recall correctly, I think I started off with the “Basic Marathoner” schedule as I had that base already, but had to drop back to the “Casual Marathoner” schedule until the plantar fasciitis eventually stopped me in my tracks.)  And to be honest, I didn’t really love that schedule and didn’t want to use that again in 2006.  In 2006, one of the Flyers assistant coaches did me a huge favor and helped me with a plan that worked…and I just adapted it in 2008 and 2009 with more mileage.  But seeing how things went wrong in 2009…maybe I don’t know as much as I thought, maybe I need to look into some “tried and true” plans and work from there. 

And what do I need in a plan?  Well, I do know I want to run more than 3 days a week, but ideally no more than 5 (maybe 6 during the peak weeks) as I will need to cross-train in order to stay uninjured this time around.  The 40’s seem to be the sweet spot of weekly mileage for me.  I like tune-up races and will need to factor those in.  No more than three 20-milers again?  And of course, I’ll be doing speedwork with my UA crew and that’s gonna have to fit in too.

So that said, here’s what I’ve been considering:

  • Higdon-that’s been pretty popular lately.  I kinda like the Intermediate 2 schedule…maybe swap one easy run day for speedwork (as I feel the Advanced schedule is a little too intense for me)  And I like that it’s 5 days a week.  However, no planning for races, and maybe too much MP work?  (I obviously want to practice marathon pace, but don’t want to be burned out by doing too much of it.)
  • Hudson-another one that seems to be popular as of late.   The principle seems to be flexibility in terms of creating your own training program, decent mix of hard and easy.  Looks like the suggested marathon program is 20 weeks which would mean starting right after Brooklyn…but it’s possible I may already have the base for week 3…or could adjust.  But do I really trust myself to “create” my own schedule after last year?
  • Pfitzinger-I know this one has been popular for awhile, this always seems to be the “go-to” plan for those trying to BQ.  And last year Runner26 used the 18 week/55 mile peak plan to train for the Philly Marathon and had great results.  The thing is I wonder if the 54-55 mile weeks may be too much for me.  And honestly, those mid-week double digit runs may be tough for me to fit in…if this summer is as crazy as the last few have been.

So…that’s whats on my mind as of now.  If anyone has any opinions on the following plans…or any suggestions that I hadn’t thought of before, I’d love to hear them!!  I need all the help I can get.  I don’t want to do anything drastic…just want to not get injured and cross the finish line on 10/10/10 in 3:40:59.  (Of course, if my time happened to be in the 3:30’s, I wouldn’t cry or anything.)


11 thoughts on “the (chicago) blueprint 3

  1. Loved the Jay Z reference!
    As someone who’s gone from running 3 times a week to 6 I whole heartedly recomend upping your mileage all be it that at 45-50 miles a week I’m peaking at 5,000m you’re looking to run 26.2 however if you can tweak your schedule to allow at least 4 runs a week and make one of those run your long run{I used to start at 10 miles and keep upping my long run in 2 mile incruments when training for a marathon} I think you’ll be fine.

    • i’m already doing 4 days a week so that won’t be a problem! 🙂 i hope the fact that im focusing on the half right now will leave me with a good base to start training with…

      • Base is good,in my first 4 weeks post Indoor Nationals I only raced twice and did very little speed work as I logged weeks of 45,55,50,60 miles,training for the half will give you great base and you can build on that

  2. Umm don’t have a plan for you but I want to know what you’re doing so please post when you decide on one!
    I’m probably going to join a marathon training group and just use their schedule. I don’t feel confident enough yet to make up my own!

    • since this is your first, I strongly recommend joining up with a group…i’m sure there’s got to be quite a few local running groups by you. take the time now that you’re still a few weeks out and do the research 🙂

  3. Hi! I’m doing a revised version of Higdon for my first (woohoo!) marathon. Obviously, I’d defer to you on good training ideas since you have much more experience under your belt. I’d love to see what you end up going with!

    • good luck to you on training for your first…you will have a great time 🙂 As far as being experienced….eh, I’m still learning!! I think everyone learns something new with each training cycle…be it what to do or (in my case last year) what not to do! 🙂

  4. I was like you in that I had run a couple of Marathons, had OK times, but wanted a Boston Qualifying time. My advice, if you are serious about getting your BQ then make that your goal for the year. That means all of your training and all of your racing from June 1st until 10-10-10 is driven by that singular goal. Each training session is a building block to Chicago. Races are only run when they help build you towards Chicago. It is the Focus.

    In terms of plans, you should run 5 days a week and I definitely thing you need 3 x 18 and 3 x 20. Plus those secondary Long Runs during the week make a huge difference. My schedule was to do track or speed work on Tuesday, secondary long run on Thursday with my long run on Saturday and it worked great. I went with a local coach; he presented me with two plans, 5 days a week with 3 x 18 and 3 x 20 and a peak of 45 miles and 6 days a week with 2 x 18 and 4 x 20-22. I’d be glad to send you both plans.

    It is a great goal; there is nothing, nothing like a BQ. And there is nothing like Marathon Week in Boston.

    Go for it!

    • well, assuming that the BQ standards are not tightened, I’m actually very close to the qualifying times-my best marathon is 3:44. So for me, it’s just a matter of what is the right combination to get me that something extra that I didn’t have in 2008, but won’t break me. I’ve always done 3 x 20 for my marathons, and was planning on repeating that again, with at least 2 18’s in there. And 5 days a week is actually good for me, 6 or 7 kinda pushes my limits a little bit…and not in a good way. What you said about focus…there may be a point there. I’ve thought it’s a possibility that I peaked too soon last year (when I ran my PR half) and that may have did me in. Looks like this time around, there may not be a good time to race a half (maybe just do at MP) so that could possibly be a good thing.

      I’d love to see the plans you had (my email should be in the comments on your blog)-thanks for the offer!

  5. obv (or maybe not so obv) i am all in favor of pfitz!! I felt it was a challenging yet totally doable program that pushed you but still gave you plenty of ops to recover. i also did the bulk of my training during the frist month of school (which is the busiest!). the good thing about training in the summer is the extra daylight–that should help with the mid-week longish runs. also, i modified a lot to fit my needs. i never did 55–the highest i got was 52 (a most memorable week!). whatever you pick, i’m sure you’ll make it work. that is just my 2c.

  6. An interesting question. I think each person is different. As you know, for me, it’s all about cross training and quality runs. I’ve found one day of speed work, one day of tempo, and a long run – fill in the rest – works for me. Some weeks that’s it for running and I fill in with cross training (biking and swimming for me). My two best marathons have followed that blueprint.

    I’ve tried the Pfitz program and it wasn’t for me. I was exhausted by the time the race was over and felt burnt out. This probably is due to my demanding job schedule too.

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