I love stalking other running blogs, articles, and websites. I look at a lot of other training schedules in an effort to tweak my own. I find that there are so many different ways to train for a marathon. There is the run-walk program by Jeff Galloway. First time marathoners focus solely on building up weekly mileage and their long runs. There is the newer training program from Bill Pierce that has you run three times a week--all hard runs. At the same time, people are telling you to run slow and long.
I mean, whats a runner to do?!
I was looking at a girl's blog yesterday (a seasoned marathoner, not a newbie), and her training week consisted of a day of speed-work and then all easy runs. She had a lot of miles that week, but her long run was easy, there was an easy mid-length run, and two easy shorter runs. I don't really understand the easy run. If you're a seasoned runner, then a 7-mile easy run won't really do anything for you to improve, other than keep up some fitness and just add a lot of "junk" miles that could lead to over use injury. At least, not during training season.
Yesterday, I had an easy 4 mile run planned, and instead I ran to Capitol Hill and did hill-repeats. It didn't take much out of me, it was still an easy run, but at least I got some hill-speed-work in. I ran up and down as quick as I could (almost a half mile) and then walked around for 30 seconds or so at the bottom until doing it again. I only did three sets, but my quads were a bit achy, and it came to nearly 4 miles of running.
On Friday, I have an easy 3-miler planned, but that's just to loosen up my legs for a Saturday long run, its the consistent, mid-length easy runs that stump me. And, aren't they a bit boring? So spice up the easy runs! Do some fartlek exercises, make it an interval run, ramp up the speed, add some hills (even if its just 2 miles worth)! Try to take something from each of your runs, instead of just burning calories.
To spice up the long runs, here are some ideas: do the last 5 miles at race pace, make it a progression run, alternate easy and comfortable-hard miles, or work toward a negative split.
Its training season folks!