The half marathon is 3 months away. The slightly-more-than sprint triathlon is 5.5 months away. The marathon is just over 7 months away. I needed a plan to keep me working for the total running mileage needed for the marathon, while giving me the brick training for the triathlon. (click here to see the events I am planning for.) Fortunately, this brick training will also be good cross-training. I also needed to remember that with gardening and camping seasons coinciding, I needed my build up to be fairly gradual, so I would have some strength left over for these other activities. I also want to avoid injury by haphazard or unwise training. A plan would help me with these things, and free my mind from having to figure out every day or week what to aim for next.
I tried a calendar app last year, but reverted back to pencil and paper this year. It was just a bit too frustrating to adjust my workouts and weekly totals on the computer or iPad. I make good use of technology, but I was already finding the simple ability to erase handy. I ended up re-doing my running mileage, in particular, 3 times before I was reasonably satisfied that I would get to each race with a feeling of comfort about the distance. I know many plans say you just need to be up to something like 16 or 20 miles to run a marathon, but that will not work for me. And not that I have any lofty goals (finishing without collapsing will be nice), but that is not what I see elite runners doing either. They log many miles to be able to race well.
I just noticed that I forgot to add a full triathlon as part of my training a couple of times. I will probably do this on a couple of Thursdays along the way, but far enough away from the “real” event. I have already done 2 almost full length sprint triathlons of sort last month (the run was a tad short), if riding my spin bike counts, so I am already feeling good about the combination of all 3 legs of the race. You will see that specific brick training sessions are marked with a box around them on the calendar.
I think I am already starting off stronger this year, in spite of the usual winter illness, as well as lower mileage during the holidays and coldest months. I’m already up to 11 miles for total distance. Plus, I did my swim challenge in the month of February that has really helped me build up my swimming. I am only scheduling swimming for 4 days a week now, until the triathlon. Then, after the triathlon, I will cut back on both swimming and biking some so that I will have more time available to increase my running mileage. I still might throw in some extra 10 minute swims, since I did find they helped relax my legs.
I have some hopes of increasing my running mileage a little faster than is on the schedule, but I wanted a schedule that I was fairly certain that I could follow without much pressure. I also need to run it by my husband/coach, who will probably not be able to look at it until next week. He was pretty happy with most of what I worked up last year, so I don’t expect major changes.
I have scanned my training plan and put it below. If you are going to use it as an encouragement for your own plan, please keep in mind that I have run many shorter races over the past few years, 2 half marathons in the last 2 years, my first marathon last fall, and have done about 4 sprint triathlons in the last 5 years. So, though I am no elite athlete, I have some experience and a decent endurance base built up for being the almost 54 year old woman that I am. Carefully consider your own situation before making a plan for yourself. But do be encouraged! Much of aging is from lack of activity! I am stronger now physically in many ways more than I have been at any other time in my life. (click on any photo/calendar to enlarge)