great top see an organiser responding / taking onboard feedback from runners. Just to add to the comments re the 800m loop. If possible do this on the FIRST lap. 2 good reasons for this. 1) runners are less bunched and the sign can be taken away after the last runner has passed. 2) Less time for us runners to remember the loop, especially when tired!
Before I started training under Phil I'd be just crushing every other workout, banging my brain out 5 or 6 times a week, whether it was a challenge from another athlete, or a part of my planned speedwork. Of course I did do some aerobic training. But, after 4 or 5 months and a few races I'd have the mid-season blues. Now, my goal is to stay even all year round. I want to compete well at the beginning, middle, and end of every season. This training plan and Phil's philosophy is a great way to maintain that balance.
I can't tell you how long it will take to get results from this plan. It depends on how healthy you are. A person who has a history of sickness, injury or over-training could take a year to regenerate his or her body and get healthy again. There are no set guidelines. Some people will improve overnight, others might take months. You will have to be patient and trust your heart watch. In time, the results will come.
I first encountered Phil's training plan while competing against Mark Allen. Phil had been working with Mark for a few years using this plan, and Mark was winning everything in sight. I don't want to take anything away from Mark's natural ability or his dedication to the sport but I couldn't help but think that at least some of his success was due to his training plan. I noticed how consistent his career was going and that when Mark and I had heart watch wars during some of our longer rides together, his heart rate was always 10 to 14 beats lower at the same pace. Eventually, I decided to try the training plan.
The first year I worked with Phil's program, I committed to it, and I followed it. The only problem was that Phil wouldn't let me do any anaerobic speed work for a long time. He kept me training in the aerobic phase, week after week, month after month. He said I wasn't healthy enough to do speedwork yet. For someone who was used to hammer-head rides and gut-wrenching track sessions this was quite a shock.
After five months of aerobic training, the Tri season came along, and the first big race I decided to go to was the World Cup in Australia. This was a real crisis for me because I had always prepared for a race by doing lots of anaerobic training. It was always a confidence builder if I did my standard hard sessions in the months prior to my first race. I called Marci from Australia the day before the race, and I was almost crying on the phone. "You know I haven't done even one fast workout." I told her, "They're just going to blow me out of the water. I can't believe I even came down here." As it turned out, I won the race by about three minutes, and yes, Mark Allen was there. I felt awesome. That was when I became a firm believer in listening to your heart.
The following is from the introduction to my Triathlon training plan for PC Coach, thought it mught encourage you...
Introduction A Word From Mike: Here are two stories that should help get you started using our Triathlon Training Plan. Hopefully these anecdotes will help squelch any reservations or doubts that are only natural in beginning a new training plan. The first story is about a great training ride and the second is about a great race Down Under.
One of my favorite rides goes from our house in Arcata all the way up to my parents cabin in the mountains. The road up there goes over three mountain ranges, each a 6 to 8 mile climb. Back when I was 24 my roommate, Chris Hinshaw, and I decided to race up to the cabin. That was a big-time "Ego" day. We were riding hard on the flats, challenging each other on the hills, just trying to blow each other away, all the way to the cabin. We finished the ride in 3 hours and 15 minutes, a record. When we got there I was totally nuked, my heart rate was between 170 and 180 for most of the ride. I had used up all my glycogen stores. I had to lay flat on my back and sleep for 3 hours. The whole reason for the ride was to go up there and help my dad do some work but I had absolutely no energy. All I could do was eat and sleep.
A few years later I was introduced to Phil Maffetone and a whole new way of training. I started Phil's program and for 5 months I trained aerobically, which for me was with a heart rate of 155 bpm or under. Then, I decided to do the cabin ride again, solo. This time I stayed within myself and kept myself aerobic the whole way. I completed the ride in 3:09, all the time keeping my HR between 150 and 155 bpm. Not only had I improved on my previous "race" to the cabin, I felt good enough to go for a ten mile run as soon as I stepped off the bike. I felt great for 10 miles. It was awesome to see the improvement in efficiency I had acquired.