Tempo Runs, Interval Training, Long Slow Distance, Strength Training and Nutrition
It’s been a week since I completed the Half Marathon in Las Vegas, and I’ve had time to reflect on my training plan. For the most part, I really think that I did everything right. I was able to not only beat my goal time, but I beat it by almost 15 minutes. And then when I think back to my last Half Marathon, which was the Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon, I was able to knock 45 minutes off that time. Based on that, I think that my training plan was a success.
Now the question is why? I have to say that I think the success was based on five different things.
First were the tempo runs. Every week I incorporated a tempo run into my training plan. My tempo runs were typically completed on Tuesday, which was sandwiched between a rest day (actually cross training in the form of swimming) and a recovery jog. My tempo runs varied in time (notice that I did not say distance), and went anywhere from 40 minutes to 70 minutes towards the end of my training plan. I ran my tempo runs at a pace that was 20 seconds faster than what my goal pace was for my marathon. Example, if I needed to run a 10:10 for the marathon pace, then my tempo runs were at 9:50.
Second were my interval training runs. I typically did these runs on Thursday, and I incorporated normal interval runs, as well as hill intervals. What I would normally do is to start out with a 400 meter jog, which was 45 seconds slower than my marathon pace. Using the 10:10 pace, it means that I would do those at 10:55. Then I would do an 800 meter interval run at 30 seconds faster than my goal marathon pace. That means that my pace would be 9:40. I also ran these on the treadmill so that I could “keep” a more accurate tab on my pace. But to compensate for it being a treadmill, and indoors, I set the incline to 1%. In fact, I would do this for all of my treadmill training since it is “supposed” to help it feel more like you are running outside.
Third was my long slow distance run, also known as LSD. I always did this on a Sunday, since the race was on a Sunday and I wanted my body clock to understand what it would feel like to run a long distance on a Sunday. As far as my pace, I did, at a minimum, my marathon pace. However, I did notice that I was able to increase the speed of these towards the last month of my training, and I did. This also really help as far as me beating my goal time. One more important aspect for this training was that I never ran more than 10 miles for my longest distance for the Half Marathon.
I know what you are thinking, “That’s 3.1 miles shorter than what you need to run for the race?” I think that what this did was to allow me to not over-train, and to stay injury free. Plus, on the race day with all of the people around, you will be able to do those last 3.1 miles. It is such of a rush, and you can feel the excitement building as you see the finish line in the distance.
Fourth is strength training. I incorporated strength training on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays into my routine. Since I was recovering from shoulder reconstruction surgery at the end of April this year, I knew that I would need to take it easy. So I used machines and dumbbells. I also focused on my core exercises, and did at least three exercises that were strictly core work, such as the plank, side plank, crunches with weight, crunches with a twist. I really believe that this helped so much since I was able to increase my overall strength.
Finally, nutrition … This I really feel was key to my training. I kept my caloric intake to 2400 calories a day, and I made sure that I did not go over 20% fat, 50% carb, and 30% protein. I also made sure that I ate whole grains for my complex carbs, and that I ate a lot of fruit and vegetables. I pretty much stuck with fish for my protein, and allowed myself to eat chicken and beef once per week. I was hooked on turkey though, and I ate a lot of turkey for lunch. But then again, I have always loved turkey.
I’ve been hooked on this magazine called “Clean Eating” and I do a lot of their recipes since they live by the rule that the food should be processed as little as possible. In other words, fresh is best …
I also took vitamins … a multivitamin, vitamin C, a B complex, zinc, D 3 and fish oil. I do feel that all of this contributed to my overall success.
Anyway, later on today I will write-up my training plan for the Full Marathon that I am doing in Seattle the end of June since it will be a complete Marathon training plan. What will make this one even more interesting is that I will be doing a Sprint Triathlon in middle of May that I will need to incorporate into this as well. But I have a plan for that …