This evening my wife went out and left me in charge of the baby, which wasn’t as onerous as it might sound, because La Serpiente Aquatica Negra went to sleep at 7:30 and there hasn’t been a peep out of her yet. So I had some time to catch up with various tasks around the flat, like tidying up the corner of the living room by the front door so I’ve actually got somewhere to leave my heart rate monitor rather than lose it, and put away dishes, and uploading photos from my camera to the internet. Finally, I got round to copying out the marathon training schedule from Matt Fitzgerald’s 80/20 running book. This wasn’t as simple as it sounds.
Firstly, it’s a mess of cross references. Everywhere it could say "Run for 30 minutes at an easy pace" it says "Foundation Run 4" and then you have to go and look up what Foundation Run 4 is, which is mildly aggravating with a paperback book, and a damn sight more so with a Kindle.
Secondly, it can be hellishly vague. On the marathon schedule, after carefully describing down to the minute what pace you should run at, for fourteen and a half weeks, when it gets to the Sunday of the fifteenth week there’s just "Marathon Simulation", without any reference in the rest of the book that I can find to how far that should be, or how fast, or whether a marathon simulation requires you to wear a number but not run at all and instead stay at home on the sofa pretending to compete.
This is a problem, because even with eight marathons under my belt, I can still be apprehensive about the unknown parts of a training plan, and worry and confusion isn’t what I need.
Further, it gets confusing when you start to wonder about how fast you should run the marathon. I’ve looked through the book a couple of times (maybe missing the right part because it’s a Kindle) but I can’t identify where you’d figure out what pace you should run the marathon at, based on your training. The training plan is given in terms of exertion, so you might expect it’s hard to estimate pace from that alone, but there’s no advice I can find on how hard you should be running.
All of which made me want to throw my arms up in despair and rage at Matt Fitzgerald, baffled as I was by the huge amounts of SCIENCE he included in the book and then the lack of a few useful details.
Now I’m in a quandary. Do I follow this plan and hope I have an epiphany in fifteen weeks about how fast I should be going? Do I sack it off and just try running at the track hard enough to vomit? Or do I take a rational path through it all? Questions, questions…