On February 6th, I started my official training for the 2017 HFM Maritime Marathon. I have run this marathon the last 2 years and love the course. What’s great is when you turn around and start running back, you see each mile marker that you passed on the way out and you know exactly how much longer you have to go until you reach the finish. I also enjoy the view of Lake Michigan on a nice smooth paved trail.

Last year, I set my peak mileage at 70 miles and I ran 20% of my miles on an exercise machine called a Zero Runner made by Octane Fitness. This year I am working on building up to an 80 mile peak week with 30% on the Zero Runner. I have also been using higher resistances on the Zero Runner to build more power. Each week I have a goal mileage that is a specific percent of 80 miles with 100% weeks being the most challenging and 70% or 56 miles being more of a recovery week. For example, on a week where I run 80 miles, I would run 24 miles on the Zero Runner and 56 miles on the road with 2 key/quality workouts typically on Wednesday and another on Saturday. I don’t start work until 8am so usually I get a run in before work at around 5:30am and if needed I’ll do another run around the time my kids go to bed.

Here is the break down in my training:

Zero Runner Training: I created a link to give you a better understanding of what a Zero Runner is. Unlike an elliptical, it mimics the motions of running perfectly giving me full range of motion. It activates the glutes and provides resistance to your quads and hamstrings more than you typically get running outside or on the treadmill (even less work for glutes and hamstrings on the treadmill.) This has allowed me to build more strength and explosive energy without jarring. It has allowed me to get more miles in and still feel refreshed during my key workouts. I often do double runs (one run on the road and a 2nd run on the Zero Runner), recovery runs, or I use it to extend my workout. My quads do not feel nearly as beat up after a marathon as they used to and it has helped me increase my stride length without over striding because I push off with more power.

VO2 Max Training: About once every 3 weeks I will try to get to a track or open road an run intervals. Typically I do 1,000 meter to 1200 meter repeats. In short, it improves the bodies ability to use oxygen during workouts. I usually do them at about a 3K race pace, but depending on the goal of the workout I will sometimes do longer intervals at 10K race pace. I may also substitute a workout with a 5K or 10K race to work this system in a race setting.

Practicing turnover: I have a few different workouts for this. They are designed to improve your overall efficiency by improving your turnover and overall form. My legs still stay pretty fresh when doing them because they are in short bursts.

  1. The typical workout I do is during a run I’ll do is 6×30 surges about every half mile accelerating to mile race pace. I do these during or after an easy run.
  2. Another tip I got from “Meb for Mortals,” is to practice fast turnover for 1-2 minutes. I usually do 4-8 of these during a run (down hill is even better.) Try to count how many times your right foot touches the ground for a minute and double it to get your overall step count. Keep trying to improve that number and see how many steps you can get in a minute. You don’t have to increase your pace. I tend to exaggerate and move my feet way faster than I ever would normally. In the end, I can feel my legs starting to turn over faster with ease more naturally.
  3. Hill sprints are another good one to do during an easy run. Find a fairly steep hill and run up it all out for 10 seconds. The fact that it’s uphill will reduce pounding. I will do 6-8 of these.

Threshold Training / Tempo Runs: I do threshold training about twice a week.Typically I’ll do a mid distance run with threshold training, and I’ll also do them in forms of intervals during my long run. Doing this pace over the long run can be a bit more advanced, but really helps me stay strong come marathon day. This is why I target 2 key workouts a week instead of three like other plans. It allows me more recovery time with more easy paced running between workouts. The pace I use for threshold depends on the longevity of the run. If I am holding my threshold pace for an hour, I’ll use my marathon pace. If I’m only holding it for 20 minutes I may run it around half marathon pace or slightly faster. This will help offset that burning/stiff feeling you get in your legs in the later parts of the marathon.

Easy Running: The majority of my running is done at an easy/conversational pace. I try to keep it around 70% to 80% of my overall mileage. On Sundays I usually run with friends and we just talk about life in general.

Strength Training: To keep strong and prevent injuries I strength train regularly. I like to use the kettlebell, TRX, heavy bag, and BOSU Trainer a couple times a week. I also do running drills for some plyometrics a couple days a week.

I realize this post was a bit long. I don’t know if anyone will find this informative or not, but I thought it was a good way to break down my training. For those interested, here is a link of my training in February to see how I put everything together.