The 16 week Sub 3:55 plan begins 30 miles per week and will progress to as many as 44 miles per week. This plan will incorporate Long runs, Interval workouts, Tempo runs, Easy runs, Rest and optional Cross Training days. Runners considering this plan should have a previous marathon time of about 4:10 or have a 5k time near 24:30, 10k near 51:15 or a half marathon near 1:53:00.
The key to your success in meeting your goal will be staying healthy, keeping your Long and Easy runs under control and respecting Rest.
Official training for your goal marathon starts today. I'll be in touch with you each day of this 16 week journey. Today starts with an easy run of 3 miles. You'll also have short runs, hill runs, tempo runs and intervals included in the weeks to come. Your first long slow distance run (LSD) will be 10 miles this Sunday. Please try to keep your running pace at the effort suggested and don't alter the miles by more than 1 mile plus or minus per day. Pace for LSD and easy runs should be between 70-85 seconds per mile slower than your marathon goal pace.
Your particular paces should be;
LSD and Easy Runs 10:40 min/mile (plus or minus 10 sec), 6:37 min/kg (plus or minus 5 sec.)
Intervals and Repeats Runs: 1:57/400 meters (plus or minus 2 seconds)
Tempo Runs: 8:23 min/mile (plus or minus 10 sec.), 5:12 min/kg (plus or minus 7 sec).
REMEMBER: climate (wind, heat, rain, snow) will cause you to adjust your pace. As long as the effort is correct, you're fine.
Easy runs are important for recovery and staying healthy. If you're familiar with my Running On Air method, the effort is 51. Comfortable breathing and able to hold a conversation.
Easy run pace--8:10/mile
It's tempting to go longer or run faster than the plan prescribes, but it's best to stick to the plan. The mileage and speed build gradually so that you can get fitter and faster with out getting injured. The body needs time to adapt to the training and get stronger. The most common running injures stem from running too many miles or running too bast before the body is ready. Remember,:The first goal of training is to get you the starting line feeling healthy and strong.
Today's workout is;
2 miles of easy running
400 meters in 1:57
followed with 200 meters easy running
Repeat the 400/200 sequence 5 more times
2 miles of easy running
Early on, you want to be a bit cautious of your running miles. If you've had a good summer/fall and feel strong, run 3 miles. If on the other hand, you're a bit banged up, opt for a 30 minute walk.
Once again, keep these easy runs "EASY". You should always finish them thinking you could have done more. Sunday is your first long run and each long run should be a dress rehearsal for the marathon. Even though your 16 weeks from BSIM, you want to know exactly what works for you. Start planning when and how much nutrition you need on these runs. We know that about 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour works best, but you need to decide whether that should be liquid, gel, or chews.
Remember, LSD stands for Long Slow Distance and you should finish these runs challenged but wanting more. The goal over the next 15 weeks is to enhance your endurance and make 26.2 miles doable. Running these longs runs at a pace that leaves you exhausted will hamper that progress. Once done, it's a good idea to stretch and start replenishing your nutritional needs.
This weeks routine will be much the same as last week but you'll dip down to 8 miles for your long run. You'll be increasing these long runs for the first 3 weeks and then start to alternate long run weekends and medium run weekends.