The Chicago Marathon is a mere 67 days away (or about 10 weeks) and I’ve decided to change things up a bit. This time, I really want to set a marathon joggling PR. If you are dissatisfied with your racing results you might consider the following steps that I’m going to follow.
Steps to improve your marathon time
1. Set a specific goal & tell people about it. Setting a goal gives you something to plan your training around. It lets you know how fast you should be running and gives you a reasonable expectation of how close you’ll get. Telling people about it provides motivation to keep you working at it.
My goal: 3:15:00 – Boston Qualifier
2. Try a new training program. I’ve seriously trained for marathons since 2003, mostly making up my own training programs. These were always adaptations of what was done previously and these were all based on the Advanced running schedule from this Runner’s World article. The first time I tried it, I took my marathon PR time down from 3:55 to 3:25. I was amazed. But 4 years of trying the same thing (and increasing my mileage) led to times of 3:35, 3:28, 3:24, 3:23, 3:22, etc. That’s what you call a plateau.
If you’ve plateaued you need to try something new.
Last year, I read about the Less-is-more marathon training program in Runner’s World. This radical plan calls for only 3 days a week of running. There’s supposed to be 2 days of cross training and 2 days of rest. Since my strategy of increasing mileage isn’t helping, I thought I’d give this a try.
Of course, I’m already a few weeks behind so will have to join the schedule already in progress. I’m following this version of the FIRST marathon training program for people who want to get faster.
3. Lose some weight. Want to know how a sure way to become a faster joggler? Get skinnier! The running will help a bit but you’ve got to reduce your calories too. Eat better, smarter, and more thoughtfully. For every pound you lose you can shave time off your race. How much? Well, we went through that in this post about weight and running, but basically it boils down to this…
Lose 10 pounds & shave 9 minutes off your marathon time
Right now I weigh about 192 pounds. My new goal is to get under 180. How? Like this.
- Write down everything I eat.
- Limit calorie intake to 2000 or less (adjust for running days)
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Increase fruit & vegetable consumption
- Follow this philosophy “Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants”
4. Seriously Cross Train – On your running days off, do some other serious exercise. For a joggler, one hour or more of juggling is a great options. You can also spend your time riding a unicycle if you have one. If not, a bike might work just as well but you’ll need to ride it about twice as long. Swimming is another good option if your wife gives you too much grief about bringing your unicycle with you on vacation.
5. Do what you can to prevent injury – I haven’t been injured much but perhaps I’ve just been lucky. Now, I’m going to try this anti-injury advice. Do yoga. I actually started doing yoga about a month ago and will write a post on it soon. But if you want a FREE way to start yoga just check out the Yogamazing podcast. You get free 20-25 minute yoga videos. They are great!
That’s it. That’s my plan for besting my marathon PR and qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I’ll try to update my progress once a week. And if I drop the ball, be sure to ask me about it.