The 2 Month Build to NYC Marathon 2011

A little under 2 months ago, I posted that I got into the NYC Marathon and was going to attempt to get from zero fitness to marathon fitness in about half the time I would normally allocate to this kind of race.
To recap, on my long run, I planned on building 15 minutes each week starting with one hour but given the 2 months, I could not allocate any weeks for recovery, as per a standard periodization training plan (ie. 2-3 weeks of heavy training, followed by a week of less heavy training to recover, then repeat). So I kept building 15 minutes per week and let the time in between the long runs be more variable as I adjusted for the weeks where I may feel the need to rest more.
Within the week between long runs, I would run a treadmill neuromuscular workout and then a track workout. The treadmill workout would typically be no more than 20 minutes and only functioned to help condition my nervous system to move my legs at faster speeds. These fast speed intervals were no more than 20-30 seconds, and I managed to raise that up to 4 or so intervals at 12-13 MPH, with about a minute rest in between.
The track workouts started with 400m repeats until I got to 8. Then I started on a simple 800m progression which began with 4, and I got up to 6. By this time, there were only 3 weeks left before the marathon and I began doing mile repeats of about 4 times, with about 3-4 minutes of rest in between. Remarkably, I managed to PR on both 400s (1:21), 800s (3:01), and also my mile repeats (6:46).
I find that traditional notions of fitness do not explain thoroughly enough for me of my new PRs in speed. However, I do attribute it to two new things I started this year: the ASRSpeed program and Russian strength training techniques.
Quite frankly, I’m a weakling. I do not have real strength in my legs to withstand the constant activity of running. I may have muscle, but I did not have the ability to activate the strength inherent in them, which is a function of activated muscle tissue and the nervous system. Regular training does not give enough focus to these two areas. After improving my strength and nervous system via fast run training and deadlifting, I am pretty sure this is why I am running faster now as I build towards the marathon.
But when I began the build, I only weightlifted once a week, as opposed to twice a week before. Although the strength training program was supposed to not wipe out my body as traditional bodybuilding might, I still found that strength training often could mean a tough run day the day after lifting. So I chose to just lift one day for maintainance and slow strength build while I focused on running.
I did go to ART every week as long as I was in town. This was to relieve the muscle adhesions that would form from my fast build to the marathon. I also used my TPMassage Roller twice a day. It was important that I did not let my muscles get too tight due to the fast build or else I could really get injured and I could not afford any time off.
For crosstraining, I swim every day in between running. This both helps me recover between runs, and also supports the run training through stimulation of my metabolic system.
So far so good, my body is holding up. I have only 1.5 weeks until the marathon. This week, I am gauging my recovery from my last long run of 21 miles last Friday. If I feel good enough, I may attempt another 21 miler, or if I am not recovering fast enough, then I’ll do 18 miles and then have a week long taper. I don’t want to arrive on race day with tight legs but am trying to maximize my training and allow enough time to recover fully for a good race. This will be an interesting experiment – normal dogma says that a two week taper is preferred for a marathon, but there are those who are pushing their training up to the limit, gaining training benefit from it, AND still can arrive on race day fresh enough to do well.
We will see…

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