Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
~ Albert Einstein
The first time I qualified for the Boston Marathon, in 2009 while running the Madison Marathon (years before this blog existed), I used the Advanced Marathoning training plan by Pete Pfitzinger. The plan was hard. It challenged me. There were days when I was sleeping on the couch by 7 p.m.
But I loved it.
And it helped me reach my goal, shaving 20 minutes off my marathon time and helping me qualify for Boston by 12 seconds (back then, they had more spots available than needed for what has now become a process like applying for college).
Since then, I’ve become obsessed with this training plan. I’ve used it for every race that I’ve run since then, except for the 2010 NYC Marathon when I took the no plan route and the 2013 Boston Marathon when I tried (and hated) the Hansons Marathon Training Plan.
And, I haven’t improved.
Now, 16 marathons later, I’m finally admitting it. It’s reached the insanity level.
I can’t do the same thing over and over and over (x14 more times) and expect different results. Sure, this last time around I added in some Orangetheory for strength training which was a HUGE difference. But the core of my workouts hasn’t changed.
My next marathon is the Houston Marathon in January. Instead of going with what has become the old usual, I am challenging myself to something different. Over the past few years, I’ve learned what works for me.
- Long runs focused on distance: This is why I wasn’t a fan of the Hansons Marathon Method. To feel mentally and physically prepared, I need those 20 milers under my belt.
- A chance to run at race pace: Tempo runs and sprints are much needed. They also make you stronger!
- Hills, hills and more hills: Oh, love to hate those hills. I learned how much stronger hills make me feel through Orangetheory, and I want to build on that. The Houston Marathon is said to be the fastest marathon in Texas and it’s mostly because there aren’t hills. But, if you train on hills and learn how to eat them for breakfast, they only make you stronger and faster when you don’t encounter any.
- Junk miles: I’ve heard people say that these are useless, but I don’t agree. I think junk miles — or those slow miles that you run that really don’t have a “point” — are so important. They help your body recover while still building up the mileage on your legs, which in turn, will only make those muscles that much stronger.
So, instead of Pfitzinger’s plan, I’ll be building my own. I’ll be balancing running with Orangetheory so I don’t fall into the trap of overtraining.
I’m finally saying goodbye to the insanity, and finally finding a reason to seek those different results. Here’s to you, Houston.
Do you have a routine that you consistently do, and wish the outcome was different?
Hills: Love em or hate em?
Runners: When is your next race?
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