When training for my last two marathons, I have followed hybrids of traditional plans that gradually increase mileage and goal paces until peaking a few weeks out - taper - race. You know the drill. It might be completely ill-advised, but I'm doing something completely different this time. Why? Because balls to the wall.
The "plan" that I have decided to follow is of my own invention. Don't go and try to patent it, because it isn't tested and it is MINE. ;) I'm basing it on a daily mileage of TEN MILES - hence the name, "Ten 'Til Taper." I will do exactly that - I will run ten miles every day until taper while abiding by the following rules:
1. Long runs will still happen as scheduled. The day before or after a long run (not both) will be enough to equal 20+ miles for the two days. Example: Sunday long run = 16 miles. Monday run = four miles. Total = 20 miles/2 days = 10 miles/day. Got it? If you go over the 10 mile daily average, that's fine - but no less.
2. Speed work and hills must be built into the 10 miles for any given day as planned. The speed work can be done on a track, but the remaining distance must be done after the workout.
3. Easy days must be run easily. 1:30 min below race pace for a total of 10 miles.
4. Once a week, the workout can be divided into two separate runs. Example: 6 miles in the morning, 4 miles in the evening. This can be done on speed work days.
5. Cross training does not count toward mileage and should be done as scheduled in addition to daily mileage of 10 mile average.
That is it. 70+ miles. No excuses. Speed, hills, distance included. Either this will be a genius way to end my cycle or it will fail miserably and I will feel it come race day. I'm excited to try it out, because it eliminates the question, "What is my workout today?"
Oh - that's right - it's TEN 'TIL TAPER!
What's the rationale behind all this? The fact of the matter is that I have some specific goals tied to the race in October. While traditional plans have been fine in the past, I need something that is going to put my training over the top. By maintaining higher mileage for the last few weeks of training before taper, I hope to develop some muscle memory and strength. I'm looking to PR in the marathon; you can't achieve new goals doing the same thing over and over.