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The Plan (putting the theory into practice)

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Right. Yesterday, I mentioned that I have signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM), which has gone virtual this year. And that I want to run my virtual MCM on its originally scheduled date of 25 October, 2020 … which leaves me 31 days to prepare/train for it. How to do it?

The main goals are to: 1) increases the weekly mileage (substantially); and 2) avoid injuring myself before reaching the start line.

Fortunately, I HAVE been running ... some. I probably have a good enough base for a half-marathon without issue; but at 30-40 km per week, I am far short of where I would prefer to be with a marathon a month away. A quick search on the Internet actually produced some “plans” for completing a marathon in 30 days; and one of those plans seemed serious enough that I thought I’d give it a go (with some minor tweeking to better suit my particular circumstances). That guide, “An Idiot’s One Month Marathon Training Programme” by Jules Ehrhardt and his discussion of it, can be found here:

I liked the idea that it quickly brought up the mileage to an acceptable level, forgoing the “taper” but having a very light week before the event, so one would at least be on “rested” legs. I quickly plugged his schedule into my own Excel spreadsheet and then started to refine the details.

The one “major” change that I made was dropping the “Speed” sessions. I was thinking at my age, I could really use two full rest days in the week. It is my opinion that speed sessions pose the largest risk for injury; particularly if one is not in the proper physical condition to handle the additional stress placed on the body. They are very good for improving one's speed, certainly useful if one is aiming for a PR … but with only 31 days, I will not be chasing a PR on this one … let’s face it, I am only after the medal. :P

That left me with a schedule consisting of four long runs, some recovery runs, and some tempo runs. Looking at the cardio notes in the schedule, there were several different paces mentioned: easy, marathon, tempo, and moderate. So, what exactly are these paces for me? This is where I am going to put that “theory” I discussed a while back, into “practice” to finalize my training plan … break out Jack Daniels’ VDOT Running Calculator …

[You can read my discussion of this wonderful tool for runners here: ]

To use JD’s calculator, you need a starting point … I chose the CCR/CNR virtual half-marathon I ran at the end of July as it was the longest run I’ve had recently and it was a comfortable run for me. I felt the paces would not be too ambitions for such a short training time. Plugging my pace of 6:12/km for the half-marathon into the calculator, predicted a marathon completion time of just under 4 hours 30 minutes … that looked pretty nice. :)

The training paces for this effort were:

Easy: 6:47-7:27/km

Marathon: 6:22/km

Threshold: 5:49/km

So, for my easy recovery runs (and my long runs) I would target ~7:00/km. For the marathon pace and tempo runs, my target was 6:22/km and for the “moderate” (defined as slightly faster than marathon pace) I would target 6:00/km. And there we have it. Done.

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