New Direction

Oh how quickly the plans change! It was only 3 weeks ago that my mind was set. Focus on improving my HM performance, reap the benefits in a year-end marathon. Races in the pipeline are the SCKLM Honda Half Marathon (registered), functioning as a tune-up for GCAM17’s Asics Half Marathon (not registered). Then there’s the Route 68 84K ultra before SCKLM which I registered in support of my friend and Race Director, Jeff.

I picked the FIRST program as my training – thinking the 3 days of running per week would fit into my increasingly busy work schedule. Inserting the spinning sessions into the cross-training slots while boring, is something I could grind myself into.

And then a message from another friend changed everything. For the sake of anonymity, I’ll call him my Coach-Mentor (CM). He drew up a training plan leading towards the Full Marathon in the Gold Coast. I had my doubts but I guess his confidence ensured that I didn’t wave the idea off outright.

I let the idea simmer over the next few days, but boy, were there signs nudging me on! For some reason, I kept seeing “Fearless”, from a Kathrine Switzer autograph message to a Bad Lab shampoo bottle! Then, there was case where the time on my phone showed 3:45 when I received a text from my CM. Finally, the fact that my GCAM entry was yet to be submitted meant, I could still run the Full instead of the Half Marathon. Coincidences? They couldn’t have been since the race has yet to be run.

I can’t describe the relief I felt when the decision was made. For some reason, it was as if a heavy burden has been lifted off my shoulders. The objective is clearer than ever. There is now an assurance that someone is validating your workouts and is in some ways also accountable for your success. Every session from Day 1 feels more purposeful. I transcribed the 12-week plan into a worksheet and re-plotted my Garmin Calendar. Next, I spoke to Jeff about dropping out from R68 to which he understood.

What of the plan? Here are some key points:

  • The plan is simple to follow and understand – K.I.S.S.!
  • There are no double workouts and pressure of piling on the weekly mileage.
  • Emphasis on tempos and strength. Options to run the last segment at a quicker pace.
  • Tempos are geared towards minutes run and pace, rather than distance.
  • Longest runs of 21, 25, 28, 30, 32Ks (some over hilly routes) to put some steel into the legs. Options to run the last 4-5K of the long run at MP.
  • 12 weeks, which will not be as drawn-out as a 16 or 18-week plan. Risks of staleness and overtraining should be minimized.
  • Since it’s plotted by a countryman, the plan is more relatable than if it was designed by a foreign-based online coach.

And this is where I hope everything will unfold.

Goal race: GCAM17 on July 3
Goal time: 3:45 (5:19 pace)

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