The No-Running Marathon Training Program

Love hurts, so the cliche goes, and it’s complete bullshit except in the case of running. In fact I don’t think of myself as loving running so much as I feel that running is my normal. I feel most at home in my body and right with the world when I’m running.

But it’s a high impact sport and my legs are always destroyed. I spend half my time walking like I’ve got glass in both my shoes.

Part of it is I have a mildly physical job and I’m on my feet 10 hours a day so my legs don’t get any time to recoup.

After having to stop two work outs due to pain in my shins I said I’d take the last week of January off of all training and then of course I hit the gym and tried to run. Couldn’t. But I could walk, and deadlift, and do calf raises, so I thought what if I took a month off running and just did auxiliary stuff?

So I’m going to rest until January 31st then do a 90 minute run, take four weeks to do the the stuff outlined below, then do another 90 minute run and contrast the results objectively and subjectively.

For those of you who have read The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris you might remember his speed walking prescription (or actually Coach Barry Ross’s) of walking for 15 minutes three times a week with the caveat that you have to cover more distance each time. So even starting at a decent  6.2kph and going up a harmless-seeming .2kph each session you end up walking 9kph by the end of the month. I’ve walked 9kph before when I first read the book, it’s 4 times as hard as jogging 9kph. In fact it’s unquantifiably harder because jogging 9kph is relaxed and efficient while  speed-walking it I felt near-panic and was drenched in sweat the whole time.

But it’s the inefficiency that makes it great training. And, to my point for this month, it shouldn’t be impactful on my legs.

Speaking of impact I love doing box jumps. Every runner should be doing them as part of their training, especially mixing them with deadlifts. So I’m going to do that as prescribed and do 2 or 3 lifts at 235lb (currently my best. Ross and Ferris say 95% of your 1 Rep MAx) then 10 box jumps, then 5 lifts at 205 followed by 10 more jumps. If I can’t sustain this 3 times a week I’ll take it down to 2 (because last year when I got 235 for the first time I couldn’t even do it again the following week).

Now in learning about shin splints I learned about toe raises so I’ll be including those. Imagine doing a calf raise but turning around so your heel is on the stair (or whatever) and you’re dipping your toes.

I’m gonna do cardio intervals on the rower twice a week. Rowing actually has better cardio benefits that running as a matter of fact and I included it sporadically but the treadmill was always calling to me.

Plus my daily diet of pull ups and kettlebell swings, I’m going to keep working on pistol squats to strengthen my ankles. I’ll do a post mid-month when the routines have settled and if you know of any exercises runners should or shouldn’t do let the world know.

Until then Leave No Doubt.

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