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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Marathon Training Update II (Furman FIRST Plan)

I'm currently training for the Toronto Marathon in May, using the Furman FIRST plan.

The key features of this plan are

  • intensity rather than mileage
  • cross-training (with intensity!) rather than easy runs

There is no mailing it in, no easy or recovery runs.  Every one of the 3 runs per week has a purpose and prescribed pace.  Even the LSD is done quicker than a typical LSD pace, getting faster as the weeks go by.

At first I was hitting the paces with relative ease, but as the weeks wear on the training has been breaking me down!

Track work:  These have gone generally well.  They hurt and suck of course, but are rewarding at the same time.

Tempo runs:  Hit and miss, but most of the misses have been on account of conditions rather than my own conditioning.  I was a couple seconds off target pace on my last run (4:37/km when goal was 4:35/km) but the sidewalks were really icy so that cost me time.  I ran in the snow the week before that and missed my pace by a few seconds as well.  Not going to lose sleep over it!

Long runs:  Good, but tough.  I'm surprised how bagged I feel by the end of some of these runs - the pace is well off my planned marathon pace, yet they really take a lot out of me.  A big difference between 32km at the end of a hard training week without a taper and race day, though, so I remain optimistic!

Cross Training:  I've been alternating between bike workouts and the rower, depending on how my legs feel.  Both are great workouts, although my normal bike fitness really isn't there... but I can still eek out a strong cardio workout.

All in all I have enjoyed the plan so far, and doing those long runs early in the program gives me more confidence that I won't be fading as badly in the closing kilometers!  If I can get that licked it'll all have been worth it.

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