Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Running Goal: 4-hour Marathon

Here's a starting point.

The last Marathon I ran was in my hometown of Missoula, Montana in 2012.  I finished at 4:15.  15 minutes over my 4-hour goal.  I have met my goal of completing a marathon, several, in fact, but I have yet to break the 4:00:00 mark.

So I will set-out to do exactly that over the next year.  My aerobic fitness is right about zero right now, and I am about to undergo surgery which requires a lengthy recovery time, so I will be starting from the very beginning with the goal of finishing a marathon with a sub 4-hour time in the Autumn of 2015.  For any of you who are interested in joining me in this endeavor, I am going to use a low-impact endurance running training plan that should be perfect for beginners.  I took my inspiration for this plan from the legendary Hal Higdon.

Right now my workout run is about 4 miles at about a 10+ minute pace.  There are large sea mammals who can run faster than me.  After my surgery, my workout run will be about 2 miles at whatever pace I can manage.  Probably 10+ minutes.  To meet my goal, I will need to run a marathon at about an 8:30- 8:40 mile pace.  So I will need at increase my long run by 24 miles and reduce my mile pace by 1:30 per mile.  Fortunately, I will have about a year to achieve this somewhat daunting challenge.

The key to endurance training, especially for beginners, is to go slow with the mileage increases.  Endurance running is very hard on your body, and if you overtrain, you will get hurt.  Trust me.  I ignored these golden rules and I ran my first marathon injured.  It sucked.  The first golden rule is to increase your mileage (overall and long run) by no more than 10% each week (or 1 mile, if your overall mileage is less than 10 miles).  The other golden rule is to give yourself plenty of rest (at least 24 hours) between runs.  My training program is based on three runs per week.  Two runs will be fairly short (max of 4 miles) and one run will be a long run (up to 22 or 24 miles, we'll see how it goes).  The training program will proceed through three phases: 1-Build Cardio Base; 2-Develop Endurance; 3-Develop Marathon Performance

Starting with Phase 1-Build Cardio Base.  The goal here is to establish a fitness foundation that will enable me to progress to endurance training and prevent injuries.  This phase will probably take about 2 months.

Here's how I will start:

If you are into time rather than distance, treat a 2 mile run as a 20-minute run, and the 3 mile run as a 30 minute run...unless you are really fast, in which case you should be looking at an intermediate/advanced marathon training plan.

Who's with me?

Ever Forward!

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