Building a Base, and Finding a Plan

With my current acting project Cardenio into the last week of its run,  it’s time to start thinking about my next race… the Yakima River Canyon Marathon (along with planning my wedding to my lovely fiancee Alysha).  After a summer where running took an extreme backseat, and my performance at the Portland Marathon being so disappointing,  I want to make sure that I set myself up for a successful Boston Qualifying (BQ) time at Yakima.  It’s pretty easy to set a goal, but when achieving a goal the real question is: How?

I think a BQ time is going to be achievable as long as I stick to a training plan that’s vigorous enough to challenge me, but allows for active recovery.

Currently I’m working on building an aerobic base since most plans I’ve looked at don’t start until 18 weeks out from the race.  That puts my “plan start date” out on Dec 2nd for the April 6th race.  My plan for the next this week and the next 2 looks something like this:


Day A.M. P.M.
Sun 7 miles easy 4 miles easy
Mon 4XHill (7 miles total)
Tue 7 miles easy 4 miles easy
Wed — (Slept in… whoops) 7 miles easy
Thur — (4 Mile walk)
Fri 30 Minute tempo (8 Miles total)
Sat 20 miles


Day A.M. P.M.
Sun 8 miles easy 4 miles easy
Mon 4X800 (8 miles total) 4 miles easy
Tue 8 miles easy 4 miles easy
Wed 8 miles easy 4 miles easy
Thur — (4 Mile Walk)
Fri 30 Minute tempo (8 Miles Total)
Sat 20 miles


Day A.M. P.M.
Sun 8 miles easy 4 miles easy
Mon 35 minute tempo (8 miles total) 4 miles easy
Tue 8 miles easy 4 miles easy
Wed 8 miles easy 4 miles easy
Thur — (4 Mile Walk)
Fri 40 Minute Marathon pace (8 Miles Total)
Sat 22 miles

That puts me at 77 miles that week, which means that the  Hal Higdon Advanced 2 I did the last time I stuck to a plan starts too light on mileage for me (approximately 30 -35 miles) if I do it as published.  I also don’t know if I like the 70-85 mile plan from Advanced Marathoning because it doesn’t have a planned rest/cross training day, it’s 7 days a week of running, which I’ve never done before.  I feel like I’d be courting injury by not planning rest days at least once every 2 weeks (if not once a week as I’ve been doing).

I know I need an actual training plan. The 2 times I’ve “winged it” I haven’t been happy with my time.

I know I have the experience to craft my own training plan.  I’ve been running on and off since I was 18,  I’ve ran over 1700 miles a year every year since 2009 and I’ve run 3 marathons now.

I know the workouts in the Higdon Plan work for me.  When I followed that plan last winter, I dropped from 3:32’00” at Portland to 3:10’36” in Yakima.   I cut off almost 21 and a half minutes in under 6 months. 

Over the next 2 weeks I ‘m going to modify the Hal Higdon Advanced 2 plan using what I learned reading Advanced Marathoning, and my current aerobic base to create a challenging plan with high enough mileage, plenty of speedwork and enough rest to get me to my goal time (Sub 3:05) injury free.  I’ll post it out here once I have it worked out along with my thought process.

This looks daunting if you consider my most recent race time of 3:47’54” but from my current easy runs I think that time is an anomaly mainly caused by a mental failure. I don’t think this is really a (near impossible) journey of dropping nearly 45 minutes (~1’43” a mile) off my time. Realistically I’m starting from about the same point I was at after Portland in 2011 if not a little stronger/faster.   Now I just need to prove it by getting miles under my belt.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what’s worked for you after bonking/DNFing/coming up way short and what you think about my potential for success.


2 responses to “Building a Base, and Finding a Plan

  1. Hey Geb. Just ran across your page looking for a plan siilar to the one you talked about creating. I have a good not great base around 35 miles/wk and I’m just hitting 18 weeks out. I’m also looking to qualify with a 3:05. I also agree that Hal’s plan doesn’t have enough miles. I used it in 2011 to get a 3:24 I’m lookin gfor a little more this time. I am interested in checking out the plan you created and hearing about your results!

    • To be honest I just didn’t pull off what I was planning, I had a busy winter and didn’t stick to my training goals, and wound up essentially at the same level for my spring marathons that I was for Portland that fall. I’ll probably attempt something similar over this winter after my fall marathon (Either the Portland Marathon in October or Seattle Marathon in November, or both) gives me a new benchmark to work from, I’m following Hal Higdon’s Advanced II’s workouts right now as I train with Portland in mind, but my long runs and my easy days are including a lot more mileage.

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