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Blue Collar Legend—Dual Citizen Runner Steve Chu/ Part 4 Sample Training Schedules


Article, Pictures/ Steve Chu
Interview, Translate/ Bigfish


I will share some training schedules I have seen and some brief observations and my experiences with each type of training. In general, they have a mix of the types of workouts described in the previous section. What differentiates these schedules from one another is the frequency of workouts and the mixture of workouts each schedule uses:

    1. “Hansons Advanced 18-week Marathon Schedule”


      Quality days only. Other days are easy runs. This is a very standard schedule for 50-62mi/week (80-100km/week). Introduced here to show the general structure and works well for most 2:40-4:00 marathoners with limited time for training. Not the actual training schedule followed by the actual Hansons project runners or some of the more elite runners (2:15-2:30) they coach. The schedule shows a clear “Speed/Preparation Phase” from week 2-10 and a “goal pace phase” from week 11-17, with a short 10 day “taper phase”.

      Week

      Q1 (Tuesday)

      Q2 (Thursday)

      Q3 (Sunday) – only some weeks

      1

      Easy run

      Easy run

      Easy run (8mi)

      2

      12x400 @ 5K pace (R400)

      Easy run

      Easy run (8mi)

      3

      8x600 @ 5K pace (R400)

      6 @ MP

      Long run (10mi)

      4

      6x800 @ 5K pace (R400)

      6 @ MP

      Easy run (8mi)

      5

      5x1000 @ 5K pace (R400)

      6 @ MP

      Long run (12mi)

      6

      4x1200 @ 5K pace (R400)

      7 @ MP

      Easy run (8mi)

      7

      400-800-1200-1600-1200-800-400 @ 5K (R400)

      7 @ MP

      Long run (14mi)

      8

      3x1600 @5K (R400)

      7 @ MP

      Easy run (10mi)

      9

      6x800 @ 5K (R400)

      8 @ MP

      Long run (15mi)

      10

      3x1600 @ 5K (R600)

      8 @ MP

      Easy run (10mi)

      11

      6x1mi “Strength” (R400)

      8 @ MP

      Long run (16mi)

      12

      4x1.5mi “Strength” (R800)

      9 @ MP

      Easy run (10mi)

      13

      3x2mi “Strength” (R800)

      9 @ MP

      Long run (16mi)

      14

      2x3mi “Strength” (R1600)

      9 @ MP

      Easy run (10mi)

      15

      3x2mi “Strength” (R800)

      10 @ MP

      Long run (16mi)

      16

      4x1.5 “Strength” (R800)

      10 @ MP

      Easy run (10mi)

      17

      6x1mi “Strength” (R400)

      10 @ MP

      Easy run (16mi)

      18

      Easy run

      Easy run

      Race


    2. Jack Daniels “Marathon Training Plan A” from the “2nd edition” of his training books.


      Also shown here to show how he breaks down the training cycle into the four “phases”. Q1 is the main workout of the week and is done on the weekend. Q2 is a midweek workout usually done on a Wednesday or Thursday. He has some very rough guidelines on some workouts (only specifying the type of workout or volume of workout) so I have put in sample workouts to make it easier to understand for readers not familiar with his training. Please note that I don’t actually personally recommending following this training schedule to the letter, I like the type of workouts he suggests each week but not the volume of quality running. For someone who hasn’t done this type of training before or followed a schedule with this much intensity I would recommend reducing the quality running sessions by 20-30% for a first training cycle. I would also replace the Q1 workout for week 14, 17, and 20 with a workout that emphasized MP instead of LT. I have been lucky enough to meet some athletes coached by him that have run sub-2:12 marathon / sub 29 10K / sub14 5K who thinks his training schedule has too much intensity and they have had to adjust (reduce) the workouts he assigned them during some weeks to get enough recovery.

      Week

      Q1

      Q2

      1-3 (Base Phase)

      Easy running every day.

      4-6

      Easy running every day, with a 2:00-2:30 long run.

      7 (Speed Phase)

      2 hour long run.

      8x(4min@8-10K pace, 3min rest)

      8

      20min @ LT (15K-HM pace)

      8x(4min@8-10K pace, 3min rest)

      9

      2mi easy + 5x(5-6min @ LT, 1min rest) + 60min easy run

      8x1K @ 5K pace (R400)

      10

      2.5 hour long run

      6x1200 @ 5K pace (R600)

      11

      2mi easy + 2x(10-12min LT + 2min rest) + 60min easy run

      6x1mi @ 8-10K pace, 3min rest

      12

      2mi easy + 6x(5-6min @ LT, 1min rest) +  2mi easy run

      8x1K @ 5K pace (R400)

      13 (Goal pace phase)

      2.5 hour long run

      2mi easy + 4x(10-12min LT, 2min easy) + 2mi easy

      14

      2mi easy + 4x(5-6min LT) + 1HR easy + 15-20min LT + 2mi easy

      2mi easy + 4x(5-6min LT) + 5min easy + 3x(5-6min LT) + 2mi easy

      15

      2mi easy + 12-13mi MP + 2mi easy

      2mi easy + 15min LT + 3min easy + 15min LT + 3min easy + 10min LT

      16

      2.5 hour long run

      2mi easy + 20min LT + 10min easy + 20min LT + 2mi easy

      17

      2mi easy + 2x(10min LT + 2min rest) + 10mi easy + 15min LT + 2mi easy

      2mi easy + 8x(5-6min LT, 1min easy) + 2mi easy

      18

      2mi easy + 15mi MP + 2mi easy

      2mi easy + 4x(10-12min LT, 2min easy) + 2mi easy

      19 (Taper phase)

      2:30 long run

      20min easy + 20min LT + 20min easy + 20min LT + 2mi easy

      20

      2mi easy + 4x(5-6min LT, 1min easy) + 10mi easy + 4x(5-6min LT, 1min easy) + 2mi easy

      1 hour easy + 5x(5-6min LT, 1min easy) + 15min easy

      21

      2:30 long run

      2x(40min easy, 15min LT)+2mi easy

      22

      2mi easy + 15mi MP + 2mi easy

      2x(20min easy, 20min LT) + 2mi easy

      23

      2mi easy + 2x2mi LT + 2mi easy

      2x(40min easy, 15min LT)+2mi easy

      24

      Race

      4x1200 LT


    3. Some brief discussions on other training schedules.
      1. The “9-day cycle”


        This is a schedule that has become more popular over the last few years. It has been part of the Hanson’s Distance Project’s training for over a decade and has produced Olympians Brian Sell and Desiree Davila. It has also been adopted by Meb Keflezighi in the last few years. The basic idea of the training cycle is to have a workout/quality day every 3 days, with the type of workouts rotating between intervals/speed/strength, marathon pace, and long run. A standard 9-day cycle would look like this:

        Day 1 easy runs
        Day 2 easy runs
        Day 3 – 8x1K @ 5K (during speed phase) or 3x2mi @ “strength” (during “goal pace” phase)
        Day 4 easy runs
        Day 5 easy runs
        Day 6 – 60-90 minutes @ Marathon Goal Pace
        Day 7 easy runs
        Day 8 easy runs
        Day 9 – 2:00-2:30 long run @ 80-90% of goal marathon pace.

      2. Canova training


        Renato Canova is an Italian coach that coaches a lot of top Kenyan athletes. He shared the running log of Moses Mosop (2011
        boston Marathon – 2:03:06) and Abel Kirui (2009 and 2011 World Champion in the marathon, 2012 London Games Silver Medalist in the marathon). The training logs were summarized and translated here by one of the readers (under section 2 “Training schedules”) http://www.runningwritings.com/2012/06/elite-marathoning-with-renato-canova.html .Below are some of my basic thoughts on his training program based on what I have read on running forums, running blogs of other runners, and reading about the experiences of some other runners who have experimented with some of Canova’s workouts. 

        1. One of the trademarks of Canova’s training that became really popular after he started sharing his training is known as “special block” workouts.  This is actually two sets of workouts done on the same day.
        Usually the athlete will run a longer tempo run in the morning (such as 10km @ 85% MP + 10KM @ 100% MP in the morning, followed by 10x1km @ 10km in the afternoon). The basic idea is to teach the body to run hard while in a very fatigued state. I haven’t tried this kind of training yet, as I have seen countless 2:15-2:21 runners who became injured or have difficult recovering after these type of workouts.

        2. Another trademark is a 35-40km long run at 90-95% of goal marathon pace. This also became very popular among sub-elite runners in the United States after Canova published the training schedules of his athletes. A lot of runners whose main goal is a 2:15-2:20 marathon will often now run a smaller marathon about 5-6 weeks before their goal race and target running a 2:25-2:35 marathon for this workout. I did a session like this for my buildup for the Hamburg marathon and ran a 2:34 on a hilly course 6 weeks before my 2:21:52 in Hamburg. I am still reflecting on positives and negatives of this
        session, but think I will probably incorporate a similar session in at least some of my future training cycles.

        3. Canova training incorporates hard and long workouts that sometimes require 3-4 easy days to recover before the next workout. He has said before that “for a runner to achieve his best marathon performance, he/she must practice running at goal pace or close to it for a long time, it’s hard for a lot of people to accept that you have to train so hard and also take so many easy days in order to properly recover”. This may be the key to why so many people get injured when trying to incorporate some of Canova’s workouts such as “special block” or the “35-40km runs at 85-95% marathon pace” into their training.  The runner has to be in tune with how his body is feeling to know when he is ready to attempt another workout, instead of stubbornly sticking to a schedule. I actually attempted to do a progression run about 5 days after my 2:34
        marathon, and knew after about 10 minutes that my body wasn’t ready to run hard yet. I tried the workout again the next day and completed a moderate progression run. 2 days after the medium progression I ran a relaxed 22-miler (35km), and 2 more days after the long run I completed a 4x2mi lactate threshold workout.
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