Basically, the FIRST plan is the only do 3 runs per week, each run targeting a specific purpose and run at high intensity. One run is an interval run targeted to improve VO2max. The second run is a tempo run targeted to improve lactic threshold. And the last run is a long run targeted to train for endurance and pacing at marathon pace.
I was following this plan for almost a month and as chance would have it, because of my work and school schedule I needed to switch the day for the long run this week and planned on doing the back-to-back long runs to make the switch. On my first long run for the week this Sunday it occurred to me that I really didn’t need to work on VO2max and my problem in past marathons really is more about running out of gas than about bursts of speed. And I got to thinking about the Hanson marathon training plan. The basic premise is to to up to 4 fairly intense, but not very long, runs a day. The idea is the cumulative effect of back-to-back-to-back-to-back medium length runs trains the body to recover rapidly and to perform when tired. So my idea was to combine FIRST with Hanson’s, sort of. I still don’t want to do more than 3 runs per week because I’m still afraid of burnout. So I’m modifying the FIRST plan by doing a long run of 15-20 miles, followed the next day by a medium length run of 10-15 miles at a faster pace than the day before, and then a tempo run of about 4-6 miles to LT training. I’ll throw in a couple of cross-training days during the week as well. I’m hoping the faster run the day after the long run will train my body to handle distances beyond 20 miles and will result in a negative split at Eugene. Hopefully.