Yesterday’s 10-miler was my last long run before the WI Marathon next weekend. It went well despite the cold and rain, ending up with a nice solid average pace of 8:18. For my last few marathons, I have religiously followed a 3 day-a-week training plan with great results. Basically it consists of 3 runs every week, each with a specific focus and goal. One interval speed session, one tempo run, and one long run. There is no “running just to run” or recovery miles. In addition to the 3 runs per week, the plan also recommends 2-3 days of moderate intensity cross training.

Before this marathon and before Ironman, I followed this plan exactly and was able to PR twice. I would normally run on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, bike or go to spin class on Monday and Wednesday, and take Friday and Sunday completely off. I felt this helped in my long runs, going in rested and recovering the day after.

This time around, I still followed the plan, but made a few changes. Ever since training for Ironman, I have really become accustomed to working out almost every day. I actually don’t like to take days completely off now, as I just don’t feel right. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly still take recovery days, but it will usually consist of an easy swim rather than nothing at all. For example, I took exactly two days completely off in February, one in March, and none so far in April. In addition to adding more cross training days, I also added in some extra easy running, mostly when I didn’t feel like doing anything else, or when it was really nice out and I couldn’t resist the weather.

My weekly schedule was pretty consistent, and here’s what it looked like:

Monday – swim in the am, sometimes spin class at night, sometimes an easy run instead

Tuesday – tempo run (usually 7-10 miles total with 4-8 of those at tempo pace)

Wednesday – swim or easy run

Thursday – intervals, usually on the treadmill, distances ranging from 400m – 1 mile with recoveries in between repeats. Example: warmup, 12×400 at 6:30 pace with 400 recoveries, cooldown

Friday – easy swim

Saturday – long run

Sunday – spin class or easy bike

This plan has really been working for me, and I think it has really helped me improve my overall pace. Next saturday will be the ultimate test. In the next few days I am going to do a post about how I got faster, so stay tuned for that.

Now I am off to pick up my race packet (they are doing a Milwaukee packet pickup today which is awesome), and then to celebrate the birthdays of two of my little cousins. Mmmmm, cake…


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