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Spring Race Cancellation: Preparing for the fall

With all the questions regarding maintenance plans to reduce the impact of having races cancelled and then filling the void until you need to start training for your fall races, although Boston technically will still be summer. How weird was that to write? Let’s lay out some timelines and the courses of action possible.

However, before that, I would say that scheduling any race before mid-May at this point will probably be in vein. I just have a gut feeling that this will be the earliest that races resume, but I even think that first part of June. I think the sooner it heats up, the faster this thing dies off and life returns to normal. Ok, so with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s hit it!

4 weeks: 3/16 to 4/12: Rest and Recovery

  1. 7-10 days OFF. Now if you made it through a training block and raced in whatever fashion, then this means no running. It doesn’t mean no exercise though. I think walking, leisure biking, light yoga is all great things and may actually help speed recovery.
  2. Then, I usually prescribe 30 minutes a day or every other day. The next 10 days.
  3. The 4th week is usually 5 days/week of 30-60 minutes of easy running.
  4. If people start strides, I usually do that in the late stages of the third week.

The point is regeneration and recovering from all the hard work that has been done.

In this case, it just might be a good time to hit the reset button.

Now, this doesn’t have to fit in perfectly, you can add, subtract, adjust how to fit your needs.

Now, let’s look at timelines:

For Boston:

18 weeks out is May 11th. So, if planning on following one of the classic plans, this would be a start date for you. But that means from right now. From 3/15/20 to then that is 9 weeks total, then subtract your rest period. From Mid April that’s 5 weeks. In either case that’s not a lot of time. It’s not really enough time to get ready to run any kind of races. I would suggest just following a base plan of 6 weeks and adjusting to fit the timeline. Personally, I’d probably just cut the last week off. Build your volume to 75-80% of peak volume. Start with lower intensity workouts, and then put some speed in towards the end. Goal is general fitness. 

London:

If training for London, then 18 weeks out is 6/1/20, which leaves you 11 weeks from now, or 7 weeks from a 4 week recovery period. Still not a ton of time and I think you’d be better off just doing a base building plan as described above. I would rather see it spaced out, rather than cramming a mini-segment in. I would hate to start a new segment that means more to you with some aches and pains that weren’t necessary.

Now, for most of you, an 18 week schedule after just doing a half or full marathon training block, and then a base building block is a long time. I would not be opposed to shortening that marathon segment up to 14 weeks and that will be plenty of time to recapture that fitness. So, in this case, the start date would be June 8 for Boston and June 29 for London. This would give you ample time to run a dedicated speed segment of 8-12 weeks (can adjust for in between weeks). This allows you to really work on some dedicated speed, some gears you don’t hit with marathon training, and an opportunity to get those racing flats out a few times.

Just make sure to leave yourself 5-7 days of light running and a couple days off before starting the marathon segment again!

What about other fall marathons or half marathons?

The same ideas discussed above will work for other races. The biggest thing to do is take your race date and back up the desired number of weeks. Just remember that the longer you want to make your marathon buildup, the less time you’ll have between recovery now and the start of that segment.

The shortest amount of time I suggest for a speed segment is 8 weeks.

The longest would be 12-14, but 14 is really pushing it.

What if I am planning on running both Boston or London, along with the fall marathon I am already signed up for?

Here is where things get tricky. First, I think you have to consider when your latest marathon will take place and how many weeks between that and either Boston or London. The length of time between those two will really dictate what your options are. If you are running anything in October, along with London (yuck) or Boston, then that’s a really tough turnaround. I personally think that you choose one or the other to really race. Both have pros and cons. I think we know that September to early/mid October can still be really hot.

Heat and Boston’s course has never really fared well. London is flat and fast, so you might get away with it.

It might be a race week decision, too! I usually tell people that the best chance for success is the first one, but this may be a unique situation. Now, if later, say a Boston and New York combo, you’d have like 7-8 weeks, which might not be a bad option. I actually ran Indianapolis in mid November and Houston in mid January with Houston being slightly faster (even though I was about 10 pounds heavier and really not that motivated). I just think the shorter the window, the less likely it is to run both really well.

My best advice would be to pick one race, base my training around that and either use the first race as a long run or the second race as a victory lap (depending on what you choose).

If you pick the first race, go all in on that and back your training start date from that race. Just use the time between the first and second to get your legs back under you. If you pick the second race as the A race, then use that as your guide for a training start date and then the first race will have to be considered a hard workout, or big long run. Just make sure that if this is the case, then there is a few extra days recovery time after the first marathon. You also really have to be on point with all recovery options- sleep, fueling, hydration, cryo, boots, whatever you have access too- pull out all the stops that following week.

I know this is not a perfect situation but it can still be a successful situation.

With the right mindset, the right planning, and a positive attitude, it can all be conquered! Best of luck on your training.

What I laid out here can be adjusted to fit whatever your present situation is and whatever your fall racing plans are.

If you are interested in plans I have created, please check out the plans I have updated, including recovery, base, Boston marathon, half and full marathon plans. 

These plans are instant access via Final Surge. They can be customized to fit your needs by easy drag and drop to fit your specific schedules. They are built on Final Surge’s custom workout builder which allows you to be able to sync to many GPS (take all the guesswork out of what your workout should be). You can apply these plans by your specific start or end date and will be able to have all workouts at your specific paces. From now until the end of March, these plans will be 50% off so you can map out much of your 2020. You also have lifetime access to these plans to reapply in the future.

Luke Humphrey Running Training Plans

If your race has been canceled, but still want to take advantage of your fitness, I have set up a virtual race to help you add some finality to the segment. You can check out all the details in the link below. 

Virtual Race