Three ways to help you PB/PR your next marathon!
After weeks of reading and thinking about how I'm going to PB my next marathon I've distilled it into and come up with an analogy using Rock, Scissors and Paper.
ROCK: No rock is not dead! And in order to run a fast/faster marathon I'm going to have to get use to the pounding that comes with running such a distance at speed. That means increased mileage and a session of downhill running once a week. Starting with 10x1K efforts running 10 to 20 seconds faster than what I expect to run in my goal marathon for the first 8 weeks of my marathon training plan. The downhill running in the last 4 weeks should consist of 400m efforts X 8 done twice a week. As for the mileage it should exceed that of your previous marathon but remain at a level that won't hobble you. This is something I'm getting the idea of how to do but only after 4 years of trial and error.
SCISSORS: sharpening these babies means running lesser distances such as 3K, 5K, and 10K at times below what you expect to run them in your marathon. I wouldn't be too anal about getting them exactly under what McMillan says they should be. I think it's better to run these trials on up and down courses getting within a few minutes of the time you want. I'm going to run one 10KTT a week for the 1st 6 weeks of my 12 week marathon plan, three 5KTT in the following weeks 7 to 9 and three 3KTTs in the remaining three weeks. I don't believe a half marathon needs to be done at race pace or faster, although a successful one it will give you confidence, for mine, it is just too draining to do while doing high mileage marathon training and it will leave you weak at the start of your race.
PAPER: Write it down. Everything that gets recorded gets focus and in turn changes. I don't mean your day to day training, although you will have to get this down, but I mean you will have to write down what you're eating as well as your weight and body fat percentage. If you're not dropping a half percentage point of body fat a week or a half to 1 kilogram a week, in the 12 week training phase, then change your diet to more fresh fruit and vegetables and less of anything that comes prepacked. Don't give up beer or wine, I tried this and believe, it led to my last Achilles strain. Well I can't be sure but basically I was tense and more of a pain to be around than normal but now a few reds a night and I'm lose and ready mentally to hit the road the next morning.