Frankenstein Goes To Richmond

Hybrid Weekly Mileage Chart

Hybrid Weekly Mileage Chart

I’m officially only on my second day of a 16-week marathon training program and already I have ‘paralysis by analysis’.  Charts, graphs, tables, etc. are strewn across my desk at work.  The beauty of such documents is that they make me look like I’m diligently at work.  Which I should be.

But instead I’m obsessed with finding the perfect marathon training program.  I’ve read so many different coaches’ plans that I’m overwhelmed.  I feel like I need a doctorate in exercise physiology.  But since I don’t have the money, or the intellect or, obviously, the work ethic to go to med school, I’ll just settle on reading every training program ever written.

For my first marathon, I followed some beginning marathoner’s program that I downloaded off the internet.  It was a rudimentary program, in that it only gave mile totals to follow – no mention of how fast, where, what type of run, etc.  Just Monday, 6 miles, Tuesday 4 miles, etc.  I made up my own interval workouts and tempo runs and managed to eek out a 3:50 on race day.

For my second marathon, I followed (or tried to follow) a much more advanced program by a renowned coach, Coach Benson.  But I think I jumped in without properly, gradually, building up an adequate mileage base, so I got injured around week 3.  I spent the next 13 weeks icing, downing ibuprofen, and doing no-impact cross-training between gimpy, crawling-slow runs.  I limped my way to a 3:57.

Since neither of these plans worked, and since both of my parents were too selfish to couple with a Kenyan so I could be born with a genetic leg up, I’m forced to take drastic measures.  So for my third marathon, here’s what I’ve finally settled on.  I’m taking a page out of the environmentalists’, or Dr. Frankenstein’s, playbook – in a word, hybrid.  I’m digging up corpses from the graveyard of marathons-past and combining them with new parts I’ve recently discovered.  I’m taking the head from the Coach Hudson plan (hills, hills, hills early in the program to adequately, intelligently, strengthen your legs to avoid injuries later), the torso from the  Coach Yasso Runner’s World program (later in the program, 800 meter repeats at a speed that reflects your goal time – so 3-minutes and twenty-second splits to equate to a 3-hour and twenty-minute marathon), and the legs from Coach Benson’s plan (workouts at varying speeds to constantly force your body to adapt, improving running performance).

Here’s hoping my new hybrid plan creates a monster of a runner – one that can go sub-3:21 for 26.2 miles.  Watch out Richmond, Frankenstein descends upon you in November.  Everybody run!


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