"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Modifying the Plan

I can hear it already ..... "Wait, isn't this the guy who always says, 'trust the plan', 'follow the plan'? Is he saying that we can now 'change' the plan?"

Ok, I admit it, for the past several years, I have completed each and every training cycle having missed only one or two of the prescribed 85+ training runs. I run the exact distance and pace that is determined in the plan. It might not always seem like it will, but it does work. Nine times out of ten, following the plan has led to the achievement of my pre-race goal, and most importantly, it has led to an injury-free cycle.

Enter the 2013 Hanson Brothers Marathon Training Program.

For the November 9th Savannah Marathon, I decided to attempt and kick my training up a notch with the Hanson Brothers. The use of, and appreciation for, Hal Higdon plans has been well documented in this blog. However, I felt it was time to incorporate more speed work, more mileage and more elite athlete practices in order to reach my next PR. Because, as you all know, deep down I am a Kenyan runner.

Almost 14 weeks ago, I embarked on this new course. For most of this time, I have had dead legs. The good news is that I expected dead legs; it's part of the Hanson's philosophy.  I have seen improvement in pace, through tempo runs, and overall endurance, through speed work. However, I have also realized that it was time to back off a bit as of late. There is a difference between good mileage on dead legs and empty training miles on dead legs. It seemed that the six day-a-week runs were starting to take a toll.

So, a few weeks ago, and continuing to November 9th, I have modified the plan. I've blended the later weeks of Higdon with the tempo and speed work of Hansons. I have even backed off to five days per week in an attempt to energize the legs. The amazing thing is that this past week I ran a 13.1 tempo run in one of the fastest times I've ever had. We'll see what happens from here.

Moral of the story; trust your plan all the way up to the point that your body says modify the plan. Don't wimp out on it, because it becomes way too easy to constantly change. Instead, reflect on why you are needing to change it, consider what advantages / disadvantages you will get from changing it, and most importantly, treat the new plan as just that, an actual plan. Then simply trust it. See, there's that guy again!

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