Today, February 7th, marks the beginning of my 16 week training plan for the Madison Marathon (on May 30th). I LOVE being on a plan. I have my printout with all my chicken scratches on it tacked on the fridge with my favorite turtle magnet. Nothing beats coming home from a run, knowing I nailed it, and grabbing a Sharpie and crossing that beast off the plan.
I'm using a FIRST-ish plan. I used FIRST for the first time last year for Green Bay and really liked it. I like the workouts and I loved the results (25 minute PR!). I changed it just a teensy bit for this round. For those of you who are not familiar with FIRST, one workout per week is a speed workout. I replaced many of the earlier (first 6 weeks of so) of speed workouts with 6-8 mile hilly runs. I've heard that Madison is a hillier race, so I think the hill prep will do me some good. Also I really only like doing speed workouts at the track. And that won't be possible around here for a little while, so I'll bide my time on the hills.
I've also worked a few races into the plan. Next weekend will be a little odd - a 5K on Saturday and then a 35K cross country ski race on Sunday. You might be thinking WTF? Yeah, me too. I need to do the ski race to clinch my Mora Classic medal, but I'm a little worried. Did you know 35K is approxmately 22 miles? I'm not sure I can ski that far. Anyhow . . . 35K on skis will equal the 13 mile long run that is on the schedule.
As for the cross training that is called for by the FIRST plan -- I think I'm going to be way better about that this time around. I didn't really do any cross training last year, aside from weekly yoga. This time I'm going to keep up kettlebells at least once per week and try to make sure I get on my bike at least once per week. Bring on the training!