Thursday, April 20, 2017

Working With A Coach

Although I still consider myself a fairly new runner (or at least a "late onset runner"), I have a decent number of races under my belt. (I guess I'm not that new to the running scene, but I swear 2012 was just yesterday, wasn't it?!) Thus far I've tackled 35 half marathons, 11 full marathons, 3 ultra relays and handfuls of shorter races during my running career.

For the majority of those races I've followed a standard training plan (normally an online one or one a friend has put together). Seeing as I'm not planning on winning races anytime soon (or EVER), that strategy has worked perfectly fine.

A few weeks back I started pondering the type of training plan I'd want to use for my next BQ attempt (for those of you unaware of what a "BQ attempt" means, I'm trying to run a marathon in a time fast enough to qualify me for the Boston Marathon... my age and gender dictates I need to run a 3:35 to qualify {although that does NOT guarantee you a spot, but we won't get into that now}). My thought was to make my next BQ attempt at the Chicago Marathon in October.


What else do you do when you have a question?! You go to the InterWebs - DUH! I polled runners, asking them what training plan(s) they've found to work best for them. As luck would have it, friends of mine who own a pacing company in Utah have been working with runners (both elites and amateurs) and offered to help with my training. HECK YES!

To start, I had to answer a fairly extensive questionnaire (including things like what your goals are and how you would assess your current fitness level to mile splits from recent runs and heart rate averages from races).

After that I had to do two "test runs". The first one required me to run a 10 minute warm up (with a goal heart rate at 140), followed by a 5K with a goal heart rate between 155 and 165, and capped off by a 10 minute cool down (with a goal heart rate at 140). The second one required me to run a 10 minute warm up (with a goal heart rate at 140), followed by a 5K with a goal heart rate over 185, and capped off by a 10 minute cool down (with a goal heart rate at 140). I did them last week; the first test on Tuesday and the second on Thursday.

With the data I was able to supply, they were able to create the first few weeks of my training plan. Now I know I mentioned my main goal was a BQ at Chicago in October, but I'm also shooting for a half marathon PR in June. I'll be completely honest and confess that I have done like ZERO speed work since before my St. George Marathon last October. With that said, there is a BIG chance my body will not be ready to push the pace as fast as I need to in Fontana in a few weeks, but we are at least going to put in the work to see if I can give it a go.
Obviously it's only been a couple days since working with the team, so I can't give a ton of feedback yet (although I plan to do so throughout the process, as well as after my goal races), but thus far I'm stoked. They not only have tailor a plan specifically for me, but there are also tests throughout the training to make sure I am moving towards my goals.

And in case you were wondering what a "standard" training week will look like - 

          Monday: Strength Training + Recovery Run (30 minute run with a goal HR ~140)
          Tuesday: Easy Run (4-6 miles @ 9:45/mile pace)
          Wednesday: AT Interval Work (6-8 x 800 @ 4:20 pace + 2-4 x 400 @ 2:10 pace)
          Thursday: Cross Training + Recovery Run (30 minute run with a goal HR ~140)
          Friday: Vo2 Max Interval Work (6-8 x 800 @ 3:25 pace + 2-4 x 400 @ 1:40 pace)
          Saturday: Rest Day
          Sunday: Long Run (8-12 miles with paces ranging from 8:30/mile to 7:15/mile)

We're hoping that a few weeks of these workouts will help me chase down a sub 1:38:38 half marathon, but only time will tell (we will be reassessing the goal once the race gets closer)! PS Like I said, this plan is specific to me, my goals and my current fitness level so please do not take this as running advice... I'm not a coach and don't even play one on TV (if you're interested in a personalized plan, let me know and I can get you in touch with the crew). 

Have you ever worked with a coach before?


Lisa Catton said...

I am going to start working with a coach next month to see if I can break 2 hours on the half at SeaWheeze. I'll let you know how it goes!

j.cooper said...

Super helpful info. Thanks Carlee!!