The great thing about running is that everyone has their own theories about the best way to train. I run regularly with several people who have been running for decades and testing different approaches along the way. I regularly consult them all, then either pick what sounds best for me or develop my own blend from what they advise.
For my final three weeks before CIM, I am relying largely on the advice of my friend Mary, a top-notch masters runner who has already qualified for the 2012 Olympic marathon trials. And unlike a lot of people I know, Mary counsels to keep some speed in your training plan right up to the end.
This week, she suggested I do 4 x 1200 meters at my 5K pace. And that's what I did, sort of. I did the four intervals at something between my 5K and 10K race pace. I thought that was OK, given that this was the first time I had run faster than tempo in a couple of months, and I did the speed work just a few days after running 18.6 miles at marathon pace at Clarksburg.
This weekend I will do my final long run, probably about 20 miles with 10 or 12 at marathon pace. Then one day next week my training run will be three one-mile repeats at 5K pace. The following Saturday, I'm looking at a long tempo run, of 8 to 10 miles. The week after that is the Run to Feed the Hungry, and I will be doing the 10K.
What the logic behind this approach? The same as it is when you are not training for a marathon. The threshold runs are designed to improve the efficiency of the lactate buffering system, to push your lactate threshold to a higher pace. The runs should also stimulate, recruit and train fast twitch muscle fibers and improve the body's ability to extract oxygen from blood. Finally, running fast improves your biomechanic efficiency.
Some will say if I haven't done all that by now, it is too late to do much good. But this is only my second marathon, so i don't have any habits or traditions to fall back on. So I will go with Mary's counsel. What works for one person won't work for everyone. Among other things, she is a high mileage runner and I am not. But I like her logic and I love her results. I'll give it a shot.
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