Real Runners Cross Train

My venerable Trek 950 mountain bike. Purchased used in 1992 for $250, which was a king's ransom in that day and age. This bike has served me well, going on cross state excursions to visit my soon to be bride, as well as biking down the mountains of Killington in August. The last of a breed of steel bikes manufactured at Trek's facility in Wisconsin, it is a true classic. When I took it to an authorized Trek dealer last year to have the shifters and brakes replaced, the store owner suggested the repairs would be priced similar to the purchase of a new, lighter Trek model. Needless to say, I left the store with my steel frame 950 sporting new shifters and brakes.

Enter the Philadelphia Marathon. I am straying from conventional marathon plans by following the Furman Institute training plan. The FIRST training plans advocate a schedule of 3 very specific training runs a week plus at least 2 days of cross training (optimal cross training being cycling & swimming). I will probably be modifying it to include a 4th day of running, at least on weeks where I'm not totally shot. Most running coaches advocate some form of cross training to supplement a running program. However, the idea of actually replacing what would ordinarily be a day of "easy" running with a day of cross training seems crazy to the hard core, 7 day a week high mileage purists. In my case I am hoping to avoid injury by cross training, as well as prevent the burnout that I was starting to feel training for the NJ Marathon. It should be a lot easier to maintain a tennis schedule with a plan like this too.

It remains to be seen whether a training plan like this will get me closer to the 4 hour mark on race day. The plan is definitely more aggressive than my previous plan in that it has five 20 mile runs in it, not to mention the aggressive speed work. So we will see what happens when I tow the line on November 23rd. If nothing else all the speed work should at least allow me to knock off some PR's in the 5k, 10k and half marathon in the process. Not to mention I will hopefully be a more accomplished swimmer & cyclist when it's all over (triathlon anyone?).

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