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Thoughts on a New Training Approach

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Thoughts on a New Training Approach

Post  Ben Z on Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:06 pm

It’s time for me to focus on other types of race distances and the training that goes along with them for a while I feel. Basically, I need a break from the marathon training cycle.

So looking for opinions on the best way to improve my road marathon times in the future. The three options I am considering are:

1. Focus on increasing my base and targeting 50k to 50 mile trail runs next year. I’ve run one 50k before and will be running one again next month. I really enjoy trail running and I think the type of training that goes along with it (i.e., more of a focus of time on your feet long runs, hills and occasional back-to-back Saturday / Sunday long runs) could help me in the long run? The kicker here is that based on my work schedule and where I live I can certainly train on trails but not everyday.

2. Focus on speed at shorter distances. Train specifically for at least one 5K, one 10k and two half marathons next year. I’ve only trained specifically for a half one time in my life and never for a 5k or 10k.

3. Some combination of the two.

I probably won’t target a road marathon for a PR attempt for at least a year so I’ll have plenty of time to re-focus my efforts with any of the options.

What do you think?
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Re: Thoughts on a New Training Approach

Post  Jerry on Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:08 pm

Not sure how to improve your marathon time, but I do know what hippie moves would kill your marathon karma, ultra and barefoot. lol!
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Re: Thoughts on a New Training Approach

Post  Admin on Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:37 pm

I'd suggest doing what you think you are going to enjoy the most. My guess from what you wrote is that trail running and ultras are what you'd enjoy more... shorter distance racing is (as you know) hard, intense work. Trails and ultras are a whole different animal... much more relaxed and 'zen'-like... but still grueling in their own way.

Follow your joy and you really can't go wrong. Marathons will still be there when/if you decide to race another one.

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Re: Thoughts on a New Training Approach

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:28 am

I agree with Matt. I did the same after my marathon PR, and I focused the next few yrs of my running life on 10Ks and half marathons as they are really what I enjoy (even today) the most. After this training cycle, I might focus on half marathons yet again. I think either way the strength and/or speed that you will gain will benefit you in the long run.
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Re: Thoughts on a New Training Approach

Post  Mark B on Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:34 pm

I'd say Option #3, with an emphasis on the ultra distances. You don't need to run trails every day to have good success on trail races. And those long, slower runs to get ready for ultra distances just might give you an extra aerobic boost when you go back to the marathon distance. Throwing in a few competitive 5K or 10K races might keep it exciting and prevent those fast-twitch muscles from falling to sleep.
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Re: Thoughts on a New Training Approach

Post  T Miller on Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:42 pm

I say option #3. It's funny, our trajectories have been very similar over the last couple years. I was shooting for a sub 2:50 this fall and failed. My next adventure is to do a 50 miler in April and then I'll shift to triathlon and shorter distance running events over the summer. Depending on how all that goes and how I'm feeling, I may just give 2:50 another attempt in the fall. I say that you should mix it up a little to keep it interesting and break it up into periods with a different focus for each.
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Re: Thoughts on a New Training Approach

Post  Jerry on Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:40 pm

@T Miller wrote:I say option #3. It's funny, our trajectories have been very similar over the last couple years. I was shooting for a sub 2:50 this fall and failed. My next adventure is to do a 50 miler in April and then I'll shift to triathlon and shorter distance running events over the summer. Depending on how all that goes and how I'm feeling, I may just give 2:50 another attempt in the fall. I say that you should mix it up a little to keep it interesting and break it up into periods with a different focus for each.

It's funny,our trajectories have been very similar over the last couple years as Jerry is thinking about P90X. lol!
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Re: Thoughts on a New Training Approach

Post  T Miller on Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:49 am

@Jerry wrote:
@T Miller wrote:I say option #3. It's funny, our trajectories have been very similar over the last couple years. I was shooting for a sub 2:50 this fall and failed. My next adventure is to do a 50 miler in April and then I'll shift to triathlon and shorter distance running events over the summer. Depending on how all that goes and how I'm feeling, I may just give 2:50 another attempt in the fall. I say that you should mix it up a little to keep it interesting and break it up into periods with a different focus for each.

It's funny,our trajectories have been very similar over the last couple years as Jerry is thinking about P90X. lol!

All I have to say is "Bring It!" Smile
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Re: Thoughts on a New Training Approach

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:24 am

Going to throw in my 2 cents:

Option 3 does sound like the most "fun," but if you're really wanting to hit some ultra PRs and excel at that distance, a year is not enough time, much less just 6-8mo before you transition to faster stuff. I know you've done some longer-than-marathon running, but once you throw trails in the mix, it's a completely different animal.

That said, as long as you can get on trails twice a week, you should be good to go. Just learn to run downhill very fast and very carefully; supposedly that's how the races are won.
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Re: Thoughts on a New Training Approach

Post  ounce on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:35 am

@Mr MattM wrote:I'd suggest doing what you think you are going to enjoy the most. My guess from what you wrote is that trail running and ultras are what you'd enjoy more... shorter distance racing is (as you know) hard, intense work. Trails and ultras are a whole different animal... much more relaxed and 'zen'-like... but still grueling in their own way.

Follow your joy and you really can't go wrong. Marathons will still be there when/if you decide to race another one.

+1. It's no fun, if it's work.
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Re: Thoughts on a New Training Approach

Post  Dave-O on Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:22 pm

Both 1 and 2 will provide long term benefit for your marathon fitness. So, why not 6 months of each? Frankly, focusing on speed work and hard intervals is easier to do in the warmer months. I would lean towards a 4-6 month aerobic endurance/trails/ultra period, and then transition back to getting some speed in those legs.
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Re: Thoughts on a New Training Approach

Post  wrichman on Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:04 pm

I say do what you enjoy the most. If that's both, then do both.
I still do some speed training while training for ultras. You may be surprised with the carryover effects of ultra training to shorter distances. I increased my ultra training and racing this year, but still got a new marathon PR this fall (with a 6 min. negative spilt so apparently I could have gone faster) mostly because my endurance increased. The race felt short after doing 8 hr. stuff.
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