Week 1 is done for training for my first marathon attempt. After a week off from my 1/2 marathon race I decided I couldn’t sit on the couch any longer 🙂 The short time off was definitely a needed break though. What I wanted to start with this post is a record of my training for the marathon and give a history, as I progress, of the ups and downs of training from week to week. I plan on sharing my training times and distances with other information that reflects progress or setbacks. I’ll also share on how my body is reacting to the training as I’m starting to already have some concerns.
The 180 Method
I mentioned in my previous post about purchasing a heart rate monitor/watch. In that same post I also spoke of using a new method for my training that I referred to as the 180 method. The HRM is needed to train using this 180 method so both go hand-in-hand. What the 180 Method is all about is training to establish an aerobic base. This method was developed by Dr. Phil Maffetone in the 70’s & 80’s.
The general idea behind this training is to establish a better aerobic cardiovascular base. What this basically involves is training slower as most people have not trained aerobically enough and more times than not, when training, they are in an anaerobic HR zone. What fascinates me most about this method of training is that when you progress in the training your speed increases but your heart rate remains the same – in the aerobic zone.
To establish this zone the 180 Method sets up a formula to establish your maximum aerobic heart rate. To do this you subtract your age from 180. Following this Maffetone has a series of questions that can add or subtract from this “180-age” number (Click on the link I gave above for a more detailed description of how it all works). For me I take 180-42=138. After reading the questions I was a bit torn so decided to take the lower option and leave my maximum aerobic heart rate at 138 (he suggests to go lower if you are in doubt). What this means is that all of my training runs I will establish a heart rate zone from 128-138. Once I get warm and get my heart rate up above 128 I will keep it within this zone, not to exceed 138. If I exceed 138 I slow down. If this means I have to walk… I walk (this typically has only happened on hills a couple of times, so far).
After my first week I’m running about a 9:00 minute/mile pace keeping my aerobic heart rate below the max of 138. I know what you are now thinking… “geez, that is slow”. Yeah, I know, but as Phil Maffetone states in a PODCAST HERE, that is just where I am right now. Before when I was training for the 1/2 marathon I just completed a couple of weeks ago I was probably averaging about a 7:45 to 8:00 pace in my training runs. What I was doing was training in a more anaerobic zone. I did see progress but I have also dealt with some injury issues with my ankle/foot and have started to develop some Plantar Faciitis problems as well. An interesting point that Dr. Maffetone makes is that runners who are running too fast in training (basically training anaerobically) start to change their gait and running form, and this is where injuries can occur.
A great example of how effective this training method can be is from Mark Allen. Mark is considered one of the greatest triathletes the sport has seen. He started to train with the 180 Method and started out with a 9:30 minute mile (this after already being an accomplished triathlete). After months of training at a slower pace, staying under the max aerobic heart rate, his pace eventually went to a 5:20 pace, while still maintaining the same aerobic heart rate he started with… Amazing! So you see, by creating an aerobic base you can establish a much faster pace, by training slower, to eventually be able to run faster while being conditioned much better. What is not to love about this? 🙂
I have 18 weeks of training to build up mileage for the Georgia Marathon I’m planning on running in March. I decided that starting week one I would give the 180 Method a chance. After week one here is what my pace from on my first long run (10 miles). My HR average stayed in the proper zone and I felt I kept a pretty consistent run all the way through. The run was very flat and was on a paved path (concrete 😦 )
Week 1 Health? Well, my cardio is in good shape. My fitness is feeling great after my week of rest after my 1/2. What is concerning me though is some Plantar Faciitis issues I started to develop a few weeks before my 1/2. Then I have the ankle issues I’ve been dealing with for most of the year. I eventually, during the summer, picked up a compression sleeve I’ve been wearing on my right foot for months. What is strange now though is the pain I was feeling, which was on the outside of the ankle, is now not happening there. The pain is happening on the inside and is just beside and/or behind the ankle bone that sticks out on the inside. I’m keeping a close eye on this and it is possible that I may have to take some more rest and/or start doing more cross training (biking/elliptical) to maintain my cardio fitness. If anyone reading this has dealt with similar issues, while continuing to train, let me know. I would be curious to hear your story.