So we know the challenge, and we know the problems I have regarding injuries and general lack of any training for 9 months.
So how am I actually going to achieve this feat then?
For my previous events that I have trained for I have used http://trainingpeaks.com to record my workouts and this time won’t be much different. One of the good things about this site is that it allows you to purchase training plans and then can email you the workouts on a daily basis so you always know what to do. Another nice feature is that you can upload data from a compatible HRM/GPS device after a workout, although my Garmin Forerunner 405 has packed up on me so I am awaiting a replacement 305 which should be here for about week 4/5 of the training plan. By looking at this data I am then able to tell if I am running too fast (is there such a thing?), or too slowly (more likely!), based on pace, heart rate etc.
The actual plan I am going to use is going to be a combination of a couple from http://halhigdon.com I have used his plans before and they seem to work for me quite well. Initially I am going to use the Novice II plan while I build some general fitness and see how I am doing. Once I am confident I can step up a bit I will switch over to the Intermediate II plan. The main reason for doing this is because towards the end of the plan there are 3 weekends where you run 10 miles on a Saturday and then 20 miles on a Sunday, which is perfect preparation for the Goofy Challenge. If I were just doing the marathon on its own then I probably wouldn’t step it up that much and might stick with the Novice II plan as the main goal is to finish, not to set a PB (although I won’t complain if that happens!). I won’t be following the plan to the letter, for example, I will be switching the Wednesday and Thursday workouts round, and making the new Wednesday workout a cycle instead of a run. This will mean me not running 3 consecutive days which I don’t feel my back will be able to take. Initially I also won’t be doing the Saturday and Sunday runs. The shorter of the two runs will again be a cycle. The cycles will be based on me going out a time that is as long as the number of miles that the run is meant to be multiplied by 10 mins (my expected race pace), so for example a 3 mile run will convert into a 30 min cycle.
Despite all of this it is hard to predict times for the race as the conditions are very different, the start of the plan will be just after the hottest part of the year in Cayman so I will be running, even in the evenings and early mornings in close to 100 degree heat when you take into account the humidity. Yet race day in Florida could be anywhere from 40 to 60 degrees cooler than that, for example this year it was below 30 when we set off and I had been running in 90+ 3 days before that. This means that I should be faster than the times I post in training. Not only will there be the boost from adrenaline and the fact I should peak nicely, there will also be the decreased heat and humidity so my heart rate should be lower so I will have more energy for longer. These effects lead to me being about 20 seconds a mile quicker in January than I had been throughout my training, and if the temperature had been a little warmer I think I would have been even faster. From the research I have done, the best temperature seems to be somewhere in the 50’s, so here’s hoping for perfect conditions to give me a bit more of a boost.
I am going to have to be very sensible though, and listen to my body and if the mileage builds and my body starts to creak then I will be cutting back to a level I can manage.
As well as using Training Peaks along with the data from the Forerunner I will also be using a utility on my phone called Runkeeper that will allow me to track and publish the training so people can see what I am doing. I am actually working on an app myself that I hope to have ready for the Goofy Challenge which will fill a couple of holes that seem to be in the feature set of Runkeeper, but we will see if I manage to get that finished in time!
As well as all of this there will be copious stretching and icing of inflamed areas, but I will post about that another time.