Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Stryd Pod for Marathon Training

I'm signed up for the April 18 BQ.2 Marathon in Geneva, IL. I hope it'll be a Boston qualifier for me (need 3:35, shooting for 3:32). So, how to train? While I still like to keep my training fairly free flowing, I know I need _some_ structure and _some_ kind of plan. So, it ain't much, but here's my plan for the next 4 months.

My main problem with past training has been a lack of long runs (13-20 miles) and too little speed work. More long runs? OK, how about a couple ultra fat ass style runs? Yep. I'll do 2-3 informal 28-30 mile long runs on the trails. In between, I'll toss in plenty of 13-18 mile long runs. That should take care of the endurance aspect of marathon training.

How about speed? I'm using the philosophy of starting with non race-specific speed and moving closer and closer to race-specific speed as the race approaches. For the marathon, the last speed focus will be marathon paced runs (around 8:06 minute/mile). I'll include short marathon paced runs every week, but they'll get longer and more frequent as the April race date gets closer. For now, I will work through the following speed blocks in order:

VO2max: Short hill repeats of 15-30 seconds at ~370-380W
Threshold: 2-4 minute intervals with equal rest time at ~320-330W
Tempo: 20-30 minutes at ~280-290W
Marathon: 45-90 minutes at marathon pace/effort (8:06/mile or ~265W)

Plus the basic non-speed oriented training runs:
Easy/recovery runs: 30-45 minutes at less than 240W
Long runs: 1-3 hours at less than 250W

Notice most runs do not have a set pace, but rather a set effort based on power and my Stryd power zones. If I run on trails, roads, track, or treadmill, power target is the same! Hills or flats, power target is the same. It is effort based, not pace based. And effort is determined by power (watts) not HR (heart rate). Essentially, once your critical power is determined (via Stryd power pod), your zones are determined within the same Stryd system (as percentages of CP, critical power).

I find the Stryd zones very similar to Joe Friel and Matt Fitzgerald zones. Additionally, Stryd gives estimates for your racing power (average watts for different race distances). This is something new for me and it provides a great starting point for training and racing. Stryd keeps an eye on your progress (based on pace, distance, HR, and power) and adjusts your critical power and affiliated zones. If this works correctly, you will continually be training (and racing) in ideal zones based on current fitness. Not too hard, not too easy. Of course, it's still up to the runner to determine the amount of running in each zone (although Stryd provides guidance) and how to prioritize each zone in the full training cycle. I'll provide updates when Stryd changes my critical power (current CP=302). I really like the idea of training short and fast speed at the start, then moving to longer and less fast speed sessions as I get closer to race day. Specificity is key...but that specificity will be built on the back of a previous fast base. All the running systems will have been stimulated and improved with a final focus on marathon paced efforts. BOSTON, here I come! 

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