Last week I ran across an old blog (check it out here) from elite runner and 2:20:02 (5:25/mile) marathoner Jeff Gaudette. Coach Gaudette posted his log from a two week section of training for the 2007 Twin Cities Marathon. I found his comments and notes from the workout very interesting. These two weeks are from a 16 week training cycle, specifically the last 4th & 5th weeks before the marathon (the week after this one was three weeks before the race). Jeff averaged about 140 miles in each of the weeks, which were his mileage peaks for the cycle. Below is a spreadsheet I put together outlining the workouts - the week starts with Monday (Saturday on week one should read Run #1 12@7:00)...
Of course, I was blown away by the speed and overwhelming volume of his runs, but after you get past that, there are a few great principles I think we can learn from his training.
1) He ran two speed/tempo workouts per week - one on Tuesday and the other on Friday. His Tempo work was about 10-15 seconds below his marathon pace goal, and his speed work was 20-25 seconds below, in shorter bursts.
2) He had one long run (Sunday of the first week on this chart) of 24 miles which was about 15 seconds slower than his goal marathon pace.
3) All other workouts - both morning and evening runs - were about 1:30 SLOWER than his marathon pace.
4) You don't see it on this chart, but in the blog posting, he also mentions that he "needs to spend more time in the gym strength training".
The thing that struck me the most was that he only "killed it" with his pace twice a week. All other runs were significantly slower than his marathon pace. So for example, if YOUR marathon goal pace is an 8:00/mile - to train like this elite runner, most of your runs would be around 9:15-9:30/mile. Essentially building a base at a slower, more manageable pace. Speed runs would be around 8:30/mile average pace, and tempo runs would be around 8:50 or so - but only twice a week.
Also, it seems that most elite runners run twice a day. My friend Pat, who at age 51 ran a 1:20 half marathon a few weeks ago, told me that double runs teach your body to run on tired legs. About a month ago I started adding more and more double runs (AM & PM) to my schedule and I can already feel a difference in my leg strength and stamina. I've dabbled with double runs before, but it's really something that I'm going to mix in 3-4 times a week this summer during the 16 weeks leading up to my fall marathon.
Just thought you might enjoy the elite athlete's training plan. Hope your training is going well!
... be great today!