Unemployment: Day Ten--the big reveal

Every time I start a training cycle I spend hours creating my training plan, or the grid as The Laminator calls it. I reflect back on the previous training cycle, consider what my weaknesses were during the last race, reread old blog posts, and consider any note-worthy training advice from Runner's World and bloggy peoples (like yourselves). Then I start filling out the grid. I keep in mind what worked and didn't work, and what I looked forward to and what I didn't.

Now, for the first time ever, I'm posting my grid. It actually took me a while to figure it out because the document is so friggin big--if I printed it out it would probably span three pages. But over the weekend I craftily took screen shots of the Excel document and overlaid them to make one large seamless picture.

So for your perusal, here is the grid (click for the larger version):

I've made this document super easy to understand so that several weeks in I can easily see the rationale behind it all. First, across the top is are the days of the week and the corresponding activity for that day (tempo, long run, rest, etc.), then the total mileage for that week, and finally a yellow progress bar that is extended down once that week is complete.

Along the left hand side are first the stages of training (base, ramp up, peak, and taper). These are organizational tags that don't really mean anything but make the chart look neat and orderly--the original purpose was to demarcate lengths and paces of certain runs, but I've basically moved past that. The next column over marks each week, followed by three sub-headers for each week: plan (what I'm supposed to do), mileage (the total mileage for that planned run, not including warm up or cool down--these numbers sum to the right in the total mileage column), and actual (which is what I actually did that day...which doesn't always match the plan).

From there, it's essentially a calendar that I fill in daily. Let's take the first week as an example. Monday was a rest day, so I put in "rest" for the actual workout that day. Then Tuesday was a five mile tempo run at a Tempo I pace, which was 8:00/mile (I have a separate chart that lists what my goal paces are). In the actual row you can see that I did the five miles a little bit faster at 7:57/mile. Wednesday was an easy recovery run with some pull-ups, push-ups, and crunches at the park. Thursday was a hill workout--although Thursdays are workshop days with a rotation of hills, 1600m repeats, and Yasso 800s. The first week I was still trying to figure out how to do hill repeats and how many I should be doing, so I only did three 400m repeats at about a 7:10 pace. Friday was a five mile run at marathon pace (MP), which is 8:24. Fridays alternate between MP and regular run, according to the Hal Higdon Intermediate I training plan, which I also used to for the long run schedule. Saturday was the scheduled day for the long run (at a long slow distance [LSD] pace of 9:15/mile), but I was on a road trip that morning, so I pushed the long run to Sunday, which is normally down as a rest day. (Even Saturday is the set day for long runs, about half the time I end up doing the long run on Sunday due to weather, travel, or just life happenings.)

Most days have the plan and mileage row filled in blue, but if they are filled in orange that designates a holiday (Independence Day, Labor Day) or event (birthday, anniversary). This helps me anticipate life events that I'll have to work the schedule around.

You'll also notice that I'm not too consistent with how I record runs in the actual row. I pretty much just try to get the time in there and I'll for sure include the distance if it's any different from what was planned that day. I figure I shouldn't be too concerned about how I record the actual runs (unless I deviate from the plan) since I have Fenny.

And that is the wonder of my grid.

On the unemployment front things are in a lull these days. I'm waiting to hear back from Tuesday's interview (they had a couple other candidates for the position and aren't having second rounds until next week). I'm also following up with a couple people today to see if any new leads have popped up.

Also, I'm starting an unemployment reading list starting with Pride and Prejudice. There are a bunch of classic books that I felt I never read in high school that I'm going to take time to read now since I have the largest public library in the world at my disposal. Also on the list: 100 Years of Solitude, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Where the Red Fern Grows, and King Lear. I doubt Don Quixote will get on the list nor will anything Russian since I would like to make progress on this reading list and not get stuck on one book for six months.


Irish Cream said...

I am so impressed with all of you people with your beautiful, colorful, organized grids! Beats the pants off of my crumpled piece of paper that I call my "training plan"!

Also, I LOVE your plan to catch up with your reading list! I've been dying to find things to do . . . and just realized this is a GREAT way to spend my extra ttime! I am SO copying you!! :)

Jess said...

Wow, that is impressively organized!

Adam said...

I agree with Jess, that IS crazy organized. I believe that I promised that I would share mine if you shared yours (in the least creepy way possible). Look for mine early next week. :)

J said...

This is great. I've been trying to figure this out and I like your layout so I am gonna steal it. :o)) THANKS!

RunToFinish said...

wow...seriously I bet I would be a much faster runner if I did something like this...but I don't think I'd enjoy it as much. Running is my release from the planning I do all day long

Biscuitman said...

Great plan, I think you have got your longer runs 17 miles - 20 miles at exactly the right spots/time in your schedule. I have two questions. Why do you have your rest days on consecutive days rather spread out and why are you doing 4 x 800 in the last week of your taper? For what its worth, I don't think there is any real benefit in running any fast than marathon pace in the 10 days prior to the race. That's just my view though and your plan is really well structured so if it works for you thats the main thing.

good luck!

Ted said...

Man - I need to print out your training plan. My eyes were actually straining on the computer screen looking at those numbers. I need to analyze it.

Keep your chin up dude !!! I am optimistic that something good will come up. Just remember that if one door closes at you, another door will open.