The Type AZ Plan
|February 6, 2013||Posted by Emily under Uncategorized|
A funny thing happened on the way to marathon training…
Actually, a few funny things:
I now own a planner that’s currently up-to-date with monthly AND weekly calendars.
I’ve maintained a spreadsheet that’s logging every mile, bicep curl and pilates pulse of 2013.
I’ve discovered a newfound love for making to-do lists and furiously crossing items off of them.
…And I barely recognize myself in the mirror when I wake up in the morning.
It all started a few months ago, when I met up with my friend Elyse to start planning that race I’m remaining annoyingly cryptic about.
Since she rivals this clipboard-obsessed, lives/eats/breathes spreadsheets girl for being the biggest Type A athlete in the runiverse, I knew I couldn’t survive one sweaty meeting with her without being armed with some kind of planning weapon.
So I snuck away to Barnes and Noble during lunch and bought a planner.
It was an uncomfortable process. Something I’ve definitely never done before. Sure, I’ve owned a planner in the past. But it’s always been one gifted to me by my office-supply-loving school teacher of a mother and I’ve always instantly discarded it without penning a single entry into its pages. As I stood in the aisle of the bookstore looking at the endless rows of planners, I’m sure my feelings were not dissimilar from a vegetarian tasked with stocking a kitchen to celebrate meat week. Did I want a monthly calendar?A weekly planner? A leather-bound book? One with pre-dated pages or one that you could pencil the numbers into yourself? I was totally ill prepared to make a decision when faced with so many choices outside of my comfort zone.
Considering 99% of the entries for this thing will be related to races, run dates and sweat, I chose the one inspired by my undying love for two running brands that remind me on a daily basis that it’s time to fly and get my head up, wings out.
Two months later and I’m embarrassingly hooked. I really like flipping through the pages of my monthly calendar to get all giddy about my race-filled weekends, I enjoy penning in a pilates and salad date for next Tuesday and getting excited about it all week long, and I reap some kind of sick pleasure entering my workout data into my spreadsheet, complete with very critical notes about my effort and training takeaways.
An example of the “critical” notes that I’m tracking. You can see that during this particular week I almost suffered death by sub-freezing temperatures, felt that I deserved a medal for skipping a small part of a happy hour to log a few miles, and almost died for the second time in one week when I tried spinning for the first time in three months.
- (Thanks to Captain OUaL for the training template. I’m sure this is exactly how you intended for it to be used.)
With a newfound appreciation for anal retentive practices, I turned my attention to my marathon training plan.
With a little help from my boy Stevie P.
Unlike every other training cycle of my life, I wanted to actually adopt a plan to get me through the next 16 weeks. Not just because it will hold me accountable for getting my quality workouts in, but more importantly, because it will hold me accountable for respecting rest and step-back weeks.
The thing is, I know myself. I know that I no matter how frequently I bring my planner to a bar just in case my running friends decide to all sign up for a race from our smart phones, I’m still a Type Z kind of girl. I know that when I had a coach for ironman training, I routinely shuffled workouts and was reliably unreliable with my adherence to the schedule he gave me on a weekly basis. I also know that my first marathon training cycle left me with a stress fracture in my shin because I decided that sticking to the plan was more important than listening to my body. This is not something I’m interested in repeating.
So my plan is a little different from the typical training plan. I do not have very specific workouts set in stone for all seven days of the week with distance, time and pace all mapped out. Instead, I’m basing it very loosely off of two different approaches to marathon training plans that will ensure I both work hard and rest hard. It’s a Type AZ plan. The best of both worlds. Structured but unstructured. Detailed but flexible. Planned but not planned.
My inspiration came from my boy Jack Daniels and from Pete Pfitzinger and his advanced approach to marathon training.
Some highlights from my hybrid not-plan for running:
-Weekly mileage based on a percentage of my goal peak mileage for the training cycle. JD is not a fan of the “run 4 medium effort miles Monday, run 7 easy miles Tuesday, 8 goal pace miles Wednesday, 4 easy miles Thursday, rest Friday, 18 miles long run Saturday.” Instead, this guy is a proponent of the “make sure you hit 70 percent of your peak mileage by the end of the week with these two quality workouts fit in there somewhere” approach. Also, he approves of higher mileage running. And for that, I dig you, JD. Doing the percentage thing will help me build up gradually, peak at the right time and make smart cutbacks where they’re needed. It also gives me the flexibility to adjust my daily workouts based on how my legs are feeling and what my happy hour schedule looks like for the week. Super dig.
-1-2 shorter distance, quality workouts a week (tempo runs, hill workouts, track parties.) While both J. Daniels and P. Pfitz are bigger proponents of tempo runs, I happen to love track workouts and I think the rolling elevation of Vermont requires some hill training. So that’s happening. I’ll use guidance from both of them to plan the speed training I do on a weekly basis.
-Structured long runs. This is the part of my training plan that I’m most terrified about but also most hopeful for where I’ll see improvement. Every weekend has a long run with a plan. Sometimes, that plan is simply “20 easy miles”, but more often than not, my weekly long run has some combination of tempo or goal pace miles thrown into it. Giddy up.
-Easy doubles and medium-long runs. To get my mileage to the general range I want it on a weekly basis, and simulate running on tired legs, I’ll do around one easy double and one medium-long run each week. I’m a fan of these workouts because they’re fun and low pressure but still leave you feeling accomplished for nailing some double digit miles midweek.
So that’s my structured unstructured training plan for the running side of things. I’ll use paces, perceived effort and mental check-ins with my legs to see if it’s working for me every few weeks. And if it’s not, I’ll adjust some shit to get better results. For now, I’m pumped to start busting my ass for my goal marathon with my Type AZ training plan.