Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017 Key Races and "Training Seasons"

I feel excited and motivated to THINK about running in 2017. I'm not ready to COMMIT to a full training and racing schedule for 2017, but I have thought a little bit about what my key races will be and how I might organize my "training seasons" to emphasize certain aspects of running development to prepare for those target races. Here are preliminary ideas for next year.

Three primary races:
  • April 22: Illinois Half-Marathon. I'd like to set a new personal record (currently 1:32:35). In my dreams, I'd like to break 1:30. That's a stretch. I'd be happy with 1:31:59. This race should motivate me to train through the winter and keep a reasonable endurance base, with a touch of speed and stamina. 
  • August 12: Howl at the Moon 8-Hour Ultra. This is a yearly event for me, but I'd like to actually run well this year! The last 2 years have seen me crash and burn. I'd like to achieve 45+ miles in 8 hours, with a dream of 50 miles if weather and my preparation come together. I've run 47 miles more than once, but those efforts were a few years ago. Getting older doesn't make PRs any easier. If the Illinois half-marathon goes well in late April, I'd have the speed and simply need to add lots of aerobic endurance (and heat training) over the next 3+ months. 
  • Fall: Boston Marathon qualifying attempt. I'm not ready to give up on Boston. Fall usually brings cool weather. I'd like to find a local marathon (within 3 hour drive) that I can target for a BQ attempt. Maybe Indianapolis? Saint Louis? Chicago? Naperville? I'm open to suggestions! If I pull off a good Howl at the Moon ultra race, then I'll head into marathon training with a fantastic endurance base and just need to add tempo (lactate threshold) and speed work (VO2max) to prepare for a BQ marathon in the fall.  
My overall training plan will keep these races in mind and basically divide the year into three big seasons:
  • January-April: Half marathon training focused on endurance and stamina with tempo and speed work to be in peak form for the Illinois Half-Marathon. Long runs in the 10-15 mile range, tempo runs of 3-7 miles, and 800-1600 meter repeat intervals. Easy recovery runs too. 
  • May-August: Ultra focused training for Howl at the Moon. Lots of easy aerobic running with long runs in the 18-30 mile range. Maybe even some low-key 50K races as part of training. No more short speed work, but I would incorporate longer steady-state tempo runs to maintain stamina. Heat training would need to be part of the mix.
  • September-November: Marathon preparation for a BQ attempt. Shorten the long runs to 16-20 miles, add in long intervals (1-mile repeats), and medium length tempo runs. Regular marathon-pace efforts too. Taper and race hard! 
  • December: Rest and celebrate the year's victories and new personal records. Make plans for 2018.


Ruairi said...

I'm running in Holland, Michigan in September, a point to point marathon to try and get my time down a bit.

Chris Ⓥ said...

Good luck at that race. I'm still looking at fall races--mostly in Illinois.