The New York City Marathon is my favorite marathon. Making my way through all five boroughs of the city with 50,000 of my fellow runners and thousands of amazingly supportive New Yorkers has been absolutely thrilling!
If everything goes as planned, the 2017 race on Sunday, November 5th will be my fifth consecutive running of the event.
After setting my personal best marathon time (3:22:56) at this race in 2013, I plateaued. Over the next two or three years, I ran several marathon in the mid to high 3:20 range but I wasn’t getting any faster. I experimented with a few different things to see if my times would improve. I tried running a little less, running more marathon paced miles, and even working with a coach before last year’s race. While I continued to race well – I’ve managed to re-qualify for the New York City Marathon since 2013 with either a marathon or half marathon time – my personal records haven’t budged.
Choosing a Plan. For this training cycle, I decided to go back to the last thing that worked for me. I’m planning to run the 18 week, 70-85 miles per week plan in Advanced Marathoning, Second Edition by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas. It’s a challenging plan, but I think I can pull it off.
Even though I’ll be following a canned plan, there are a few things I needed to think about and adjust as I plotted out this training cycle.
Choose a Goal Race. The first step for any training plan.
Goal Race: The 2017 New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 5, 2017.
Set a Race Goal. I dreaded this step. In recent years, I’ve set both optimistic and realistic goals and fallen short more often that I care to recount. I finished my last marathon, the 2017 Eugene Marathon, in 3:32:04 (8:06) and last year’s New York City Marathon in 3:33:34 (8:10 pace). If I could see a little improvement and run under 3:30:00 (8:01 pace) at this year’s race, I’d be very happy.
Achievable Goal: Sub-3:30 (8:01 pace).
Pick a Start Date. The plan is 18 weeks.
Start Date: Sunday, July 2nd.
The book breaks the marathon training cycle into four “mesocycles” – endurance, lactate threshold, race preparation, and the taper. I entered the runs into my training log on RunningAhead.
Endurance: 6 weeks – Sunday, July 2nd to Saturday, August 12th
Lactate Threshold and Endurance: 5 weeks – Sunday, August 13th to Saturday, September 16th
Race Preparation: 4 weeks – Sunday, September 17th to Saturday, October 14th
Taper: 3 weeks – Sunday, October 15th to Saturday, November 4th
Schedule Tune-up Races: There are two tune-up races scheduled two weeks apart during the “Race Preparation” mesocycle, and one placed two weeks before the goal marathon during the taper. Since I agreed to do the Bourbon Chase with my Ragnar team in mid-October, I had to shift things around a bit.
Going into this training cycle, I’ve been feeling relieved that this plan will allow me to turn my brain off a little and just follow a set schedule. I created my own training plan each week for the 2017 Eugene Marathon and I’m not sure I did a great job. I’m not sure I was seeing the bigger picture and realized too late that I neglected some pretty important workouts like long threshold and marathon pace runs.
Still, I know I’ll want to make some some adjustments along the way. For example, I’d like to try running with faster people more often, so I might move some workouts around so I can meet up with some running clubs. I’ll try to keep the mileage the same as the Pfitz plan each week, though.
Alright. Let’s do this!
No sleep till Central Park!