Tinman Marathon Training – What I Learned

Hey how’s it going runner?

Coach Kyle here and I work with primarily plant-based runners all over the world to improve their running through optimized training, strength work, nutritional guidance, and anything else that may need alignment such as meditation practices or race strategy.

Today you’re going to learn about a few of the things I realized over the last three months as I trained towards my September 13th marathon. This training block was unlike any that I’ve ever had before and I certainly took a lot from it.

To give a quick recap I received my training plan from Tom Tinman Schwartz whose primary focus is elite distance runners. He’s an exercise physiologist and has done quite a bit of online writing. I think I’ve read just about all of it and I’ve taken a lot of my own training methods and philosophies from his own work.

Prior to receiving the training from Tinman I was considering how to go about deciding on what training I was going to do for the next 3 months. Typically I’d like to give myself a little bit more time but I developed a little calf problem in Guatemala, I suspect from living in a town with only cobblestone streets and sidewalks, but once I was over that problem I decided to commit with a coach.

If I wouldn’t have committed to the training from Tom Schwartz the last 3 months would probably have looked very different and I’ll go over what might have been in this video along with a few other things I learned.

1) I’m capable of more than I thought.

I think the most impactful realization to come from this training campaign was that I’m capable of more running than I thought.

It’s most likely that on my own I would have averaged around 60 something miles per week. I likely would have taken two full rest days weekly and only had done one midweek workout. The long runs would likely have had some higher en running within them as well.

However, with Tinman training I’ve averaged 70 to 80 miles per week and I’ve done 10 runs weekly without a single day containing less than an hour of running. Never would I have purposely decided to put myself through this!

2) Give training adaptations time.

But next up is the realization that if I would have been following my own training and felt how I felt 4 weeks into it I would have backed off, yet since I had the training coming in from Tom I stuck with it and it got better!

I have a cycling background and one of the things you often hear about these long multi-day stage races is that the riders fitness will often improve over the duration of the two or three weeks and I actually found that true for myself. That first month of increased mileage, twice as many runs per week, and two workouts plus a long run very nearly wrecked me! but part of the benefit of having a coach is that they sometimes believe in you more than you may yourself. Tom knew my background in my history and he thought I could both do this type of training but also benefit more from it, so I stuck with it and it got better!

3) The importance of easy running.

One of the main tenets of Tom’s training philosophy is very easy easy runs. This idea is often one of the first things I really focus on with a new client, dialing in what a true easy run is.

Part of how I was able to handle such an increase in volume and run frequency is that I am very mindful of easy running and putting it into practice. We’re talking 5K race pace plus three whole minutes. my marathon goalpace is a 6:40 something per mile and sometimes my easy running was a 10 something minute mile and rarely was it faster than 9 minutes per mile. Most people, including yourself, probably run their easy general volume too hard and this is a huge mistake. There’s absolutely zero way I would have been able to survive this training campaign if I would have tried to force a certain pace for my easy days or ran them at anything but a super easy conversational level of perceived exertion.

4) Getting training from someone else is really nice.

This next one is something I already knew because I have already experienced it myself and my clients tell it to me all the time, but getting your training from someone else is a huge relief!

With myself as a highly knowledgeable runner or with many of my clients who are often in positions of leadership or in such jobs that they are constantly making decisions for themselves or other people It’s a huge weight off their shoulders to have somebody else just tell them what to do.

For runners who may be less knowledgeable further benefit is that they don’t have to spend time researching what training plan to do and hoping they pick the right one.

And any runner and coach can testify to how motivating and how much accountability comes from having someone both prescribe you tasks to do but also expecting you to do them. I constantly hear from my own clients that they didn’t feel like doing the strength work or a run but they didn’t want to let their coach down and they went out and did it, but the nice thing is they’re always glad they did! It just takes a little bit of extra accountability or motivation to get started 🙂

5) The importance of ancillary work.

Something else that I focus on with my clients and myself is all the extra anxillary work to support the run training.

Tom didn’t give me any of this but as it’s such a big focus for my own training I was already on the ball. I mentioned earlier that when I have a new client come to me for coaching one of the first things we often focus on is nailing down the easy running, aside from that the focus for the first month may also be on integrating regular strength work, flexibility or mobility sessions, and self massage.

One of the best ways to improve as a runner is simply to run more, but one of the best ways to run more is to do things that both let you run more and recover or adapt to that extra volume.

Different activities or considerations that I kept in mind every week and every day where things like doing a good 5 to 10 minute warm-up before the big workouts and some of the smaller ones, getting in at least three or four good strength sessions weekly, spending some time most days doing a little bit of stretching and massage gunning, and especially being mindful to eat enough calories and protein. Research shows that taking in carbohydrates during training runs can help you recover from those big sessions faster so one thing I did during this training campaign is taken more carbohydrates during my workouts and long runs than I have ever done in the past and I started supplementing with straight up pea protein to increase my daily intake of this macronutrient.

6) Easier workouts

What I found curious was that while the easy running, the total volume, and the run frequency was far more than I ever would have done on my own The workouts themselves were actually easier! It’s highly likely that left my own devices I would have done more individual 1 km or mile repeats or slightly longer tempo runs than I did under Tom’s training. The actual goal times for the workouts would have likely been the same because we use the same running calculator but he likely had me doing one or two fewer repeats for interval workouts or one or two fewer miles for tempo runs then it would have done on my own. I’m not saying it’s better or worse it’s just different and it’s a way that I wouldn’t have necessarily gone about it, so I rather enjoyed it! Another big benefit of getting training from someone else is that you do things or try things you wouldn’t have normally done and that’s something I certainly experienced during this training campaign.

7) Double days

The final thing I want to talk about is something basically every high level runner puts into practice, it’s something I’ve of course known about for a long time, something I’ve tried to do myself but failed, and that is frequent and consistent double days.

Scientists are not 100% sure where the benefit of these double days comes from. It’s no doubt that one benefit simply comes from running on fatigue legs. There’s something called muscle fiber cycling where the brain will phase out fatigued muscle fibers and bring in new ones. I suspect doing tired leg runs, which is what I often call them for my clients, helps with this benefit. Sometimes these runs happen the day after a hard workout but if time allows sometimes they happen the afternoon or evening after a hard morning workout such as in my case as a self-employed online running coach my schedule is quite open.

Some others believe that double days force the body to recover faster since you may have only had four or eight hours of rest between runs. This continued forcing of quicker recovery may accumulate over the weeks and the months and the years to simply improve your fitness and help you handle higher training volume and load.

For the research has shown there’s benefit from training in a glycogen depleted state where your onboard stored muscle carbohydrate hasn’t had time to fully replenish yet and there are likely training adaptations that come from this

And finally I think many runners who have put consistent double days into practice will tell you it’s simply easier to run 80 or 120 mi a week with double days versus single run days. Almost every high level runner runs at least three double days a week and many will run five or six. Over the last three months I’ve averaged 10 runs weekly, I haven’t missed a single double day! They started with a super easy 15-minute jog at least 4 hours after the morning track or tempo run and built to 35 minutes each. Sometimes they were at a 9-minute pace and sometimes they were a 10 something minute per mile pace where I walked a bit, the point was just to get out there and run easy on tired legs!

So there we have it! As of filming or writing this I’ve just begun the taper and I actually haven’t done the race yet. I’ve always known that for myself I enjoy the training much more than the races. I suspect I’d rather have an enjoyable 3 months of training and a subpar race then crush the race but not have fun during the training, but I say that now yet I’m going to give this marathon my best shot and I hope to beat my 259 PR by a couple more minutes! So we’ll see on September 13th if all this training paid off.

If you want to take your run training to the next level and bring someone into the fold who will believe in you, sometimes more than you will yourself, but also help you work towards and realize the expectations and goals you may have, get a hold of me and let’s chat about how we can work together to make this upcoming fall in winter your best block of training yet!

I’m lucky to have a marathon to run but that is not the case for many people who may have to wait until next spring or summer for their next big goal event. I’ve said in the past that summer races are made in the winter and right now is your chance to really bring that to fruition. Throughout this pandemic many of my clients have realized how big of a deal their run training is to their physical but also their mental health and I hear every week how helpful it is to have a teammate like myself watching their back, holding them accountable with doing what makes them better spouses, parents, and friends, and eventually when races come making them better runners as well 🙂 when I don’t want you to do is not contact me and wish you would have in three or six months! Regret sucks and you can’t take it back so hit that contact application form at KyleKranz.com or email me at coach@kylekranz.com and let’s chat!