December 27, 2011

Daily runs for the next 130 days

As I wrote a few notes in my running diary (a new habit, inspired by an Australian friend) last night, I realized that I'd had my last day off for a while; for about 130 days to be more or less exact. I find it scary to write this, as I don't want to jinx anything by doing so.

new Vancouver marathon course
I've never tried a daily running routine, though as a five-time Ironman finisher I am very familiar with large training volumes, so I hope the body will be OK with my regimen for the next four months as I prepare for the Vancouver marathon. 

In the past 6-1/2 years of marathon- (and ultra-)running, my body has held up well as I've learned to look after it; guidance from a reputable coach for five of those years, getting massages when needed, and taking a day of rest when my body or mind was asking for it, and resting up after key races before jumping back into training have all been part of my routine.

Since May 2010, I've been following my own regimen, picking and choosing from what I've learned over the years as a triathlete and runner; and decided it was time to up the volume. It's been exciting to do as I feel like doing, and finding that my body and mind seem to agree with it: I'm enjoying the training and have not suffered any injuries.

Hopefully they will also agree with the new regimen, starting on January 2nd with a week of 104km and building to a peak of 140km, as per an 18-week schedule from Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas. I am very much looking forward to this new phase in my training; there are no guarantees, other than that it will be a challenge, which is exactly the point.

In Lore of Running, Tim Noakes describes what he calls the 15 Laws of Training. Under the heading Law 6: Achieve As Much As Possible on a Minimum of Training, he writes, "If I had my running career all over again, I would seldom run more than 120km per week, the maximum training distance suggested by the University of Oregon's Bowermann [sic] and Dellinger.

"I would see what I could achieve by maintaining that training load for a few years. If I still wished to improve, I would then increase my amount of speed training and perfect the peaking technique. Only when these methods failed to improve my running would I consider further increasing my distance."

It's all about a long-term perspective. I may find that the daily running routine and a weekly mileage of between 104km and 140km suit me perfectly. Then again, it may not and I'd likely drop down to what I did in the second half of 2011, running between 88km and 113km a week. The key is to try and find out.

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