This is one of my favourite periods of my yearly training cycle - the couple of weeks before starting my marathon training program. The reason for this is not only because the real hard work hasn't started yet - it is more to do with the enjoyment I get out of working out my training program. I mentioned this to Rox last night and I got the impression that she thinks that it is further proof that I am insane. I always say that there are plenty of less healthy pursuits and obsessions that I could be spending time and money on.
In a lot of ways it is like baking a cake. You work out what ingredients you need and then you determine how much of each and how long to cook it for to get the result that you want. So in the case of my marathon training program, I am shuffling around long runs, tempo runs, etc with the other factors that influence things such as a trip to Rottnest over Easter, two or three races and the kids soccer on Sunday mornings.
You also have to be patient and, as Craig Mottram said, don't keep being tempted to open the oven door and see how it is going. For this reason, I won't be running Bridges this year - it falls right when I need to be doing a 35km long run and it isn't a priority for me.
My early draft of my program was looking pretty good until I realised that I had programmed all my long runs for a Sunday which will clash with soccer so it was back to the drawing board and Sunday has become Saturday and Monday has become Sunday etc.
I am now at about version 3 and the final step is to review my essential sources (Pfitzinger and Douglas, Brad Hudson and Nate Jenkins) as well as a Lydiard based program which has recenly become available and which I was able to get hold of for free in its infancy. So a bit of a tweak here and there, probably to add a couple more marathon specific sessions and then it will be done. It is not written in stone though and will always be subject to how I am going week to week and day by day. It looks like my peak week will be about 141km with another 5 weeks at around 129-136km. This is a bit consistently higher than I have maintained in the past so I will need to make sure I monitor my progress carefully.
I am doing a full 18 week program this time whereas I only did 12 weeks in the lead up to Gold Coast last year. I had a slow start to last year due to the need to rebuild after my knee injury and also wanted to try to run a PB at the Bridges (which I didn't manage). No such problems or concerns this year and I am coming off a reasonable base so I am dedicating myself to using the 18 weeks to get myself into the best marathon specific shape I can.
Mileage this month has been slightly lower than planned due to our Bali holiday and associated illness but I feel like I am back on track now. This week I will probably run approx 110km by Saturday (6 days) so may not run Sunday as I have a bike ride planned with my mate Neil. I'll probably hit 370km for the month but based on my program I'll more than make up for that in the coming weeks.
Marathon training starts 14 February - the day after the Point Walter 5km.