Fitzgerald and I To Have Trial Separation....

Four weeks into Fitzgerald's Brain Training plan, and I'm calling an audible and moving back to a more FIRST-themed program.

In a nutshell, I've got a nasty shinsplint, which I'm pretty sure isn't a stress fracture but I think it would really like to be one when it grows up.

As discussed in earlier posts, Fitzgerald is basically six runs per week (though 1 day can be a cross-train day). FIRST is three runs, plus two cross trains.

My shin problem isn't exactly new. I had a tender spot throughout the last month of my marathon training but kept the pain minimal through frequent icing. Also, the FIRST program, with no days of consecutive running, kept me in good shape, too, so that while I finished some workouts sore, I never started them sore. Now, I'm sore at the beginning, which isn't a good thing.

I should also mention that the Fitzgerald philosophy promotes abandoning workouts when you're sore and changing up the intensity, too. Moreover, I was attempting to do a level 2 Fitzgerald plan, and level 1 does have a 4 run per week program. So to be fair to Matt Fitzgerald, perhaps I'm not abandoning his plan so much as I'm abandoning the idea of running 5-6 days per week in favor of running 3-4.

It's also true that - even with an ease up period over the next week - January will likely come in as my highest running volume month to date, so it's not like the plan's been a failure. But at the end of the day, you have to know when your body is adapting and when it's simply breaking, and I'm certain enough of the latter that I'm mixing things up.

And while it's way to early to make a call on my plans to do the Wilmington Marathon, I'm not really interested in running a marathon that I'm not in peak fitness for. If February doesn't take me to a place where I feel like I can kick butt in May, I'll just modify the training and focus on short races in the spring, preparing for another marathon assault in the fall.

George Sheehan said it best: We're all an experiment of one.


  1. Hey Marcus,

    Sorry to hear you're having shin problems. You're smart to back off a bit before they get too serious.

    So far, I'm doing pretty well with the level 2 "Brain Training" half marathon plan, but I have taken extra rest when I need it. I'm planning to stick with it through my spring half barring any problems.

    However, once I get into training for my planned fall marathon, I'm not sure I'll be able to do as much mileage as called for in the plan, so I may go back to the FIRST plan as well. Or maybe the level 1 Fitzgerald plan instead? I guess I'll just see how things shake out in the next couple of months.

    I hope your shin problem resolves itself quickly!


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