Marathon Planning — Game on!

Watching the ING New York City Marathon today and all the runners who ran it were truly inspirational — congratulations to Dori, Ashley, Shannon, Gia, Kelly, Melissa and many others who crossed that finish line!

NYCM 2012 -- pic from Google

I watched the women’s and men’s top runners race to the finish on TV for a little over 2 hours, totally enthralled the whole time– I never thought I’d be so into running! Seeing Mary speed ahead at the beginning and then lose it at the very end (I felt so bad for her, although I was secretly routing for the NY’er from the Bronx to win!) got me thinking about how important a solid game plan is for training and race day.

When I registered for the Paris Marathon (my first marathon!), the race was still a good 7ish months away. Most marathon training plans are 4 months, so I felt it was to soon to seriously commit to and start a training plan. I also don’t want to overtrain and wear myself out. Now that the big day is creeping slowly closer and I’m down to 23 weeks, I think it’s time to start crafting a plan. I’ve been checking out marathon plans from Runner’s World, Hal Higdon, Cool Runnings and one Kristine kindly copied for me from the book  “Run Less Run Faster.” To be honest, I don’t feel like any of them fit me perfectly, so I’m going to craft my own training plan, taking the general logistics from all the training plans I’ve read through. Here’s what I’m going to incorporate in my training plan:

– 3 days of running, 2 days of cross training (one can be swapped out for a slow/short run)

– 1 to 2 days of strength training — this particularly will be hard for me since I’ve somehow grown to dread it, but I need to at least commit to 1 day a week. I will also be doing my PT exercises more often.

– 1 or 2 20mile runs and 1 22mile run — I’m starting my training in advanced and I want to take advantage of the time. I will not be doing my 20 milers near each other time wise. I’m well aware that it is not generally advised to run above 20 miles before your marathon, but from the advice of some friends that have run marathons before, the last 6 miles are TOUGH. They’ve recommended going a little farther during training and I’m going to at least give it a try (nothing’s ever lost in trying!). I’ve mentioned before, I don’t want to just cross the finish line, I want to cross it strong. I don’t want to be crawling the last 6 miles.

– Following the pattern of 3 weeks building up mileage, followed by 1 easy week.

– Flexibility! I’m going to be mostly training in winter and we all know life can through us curve balls, so this is a big one. My goal each week is to stick to the set mileage, but days can vary.

– Speed work once every week or every other week — I’ve been reading about the Bart Yasso’s 800’s so I want to try those this week!

There you have the fundamentals of my training plan, I will be working on the actual plan this week and will post it when it’s complete.

As for time/pace goals — I’m going to be happy with just finishing, but for training purposed I’m setting 4:30:00 as my time goal. I know this is extremely aggressive for my first marathon, especially since I’m not speedy McSpeedster, but hey, go big or go home! After all, If you don’t at least try you’ll never succeed. That being said I’m SERIOUSLY going to be thrilled with just making it the the finish line.

Since I’m going on and on about commitments and a plan, I figure I should probably start by just committing to this week :-). Here’s what’s on tap:

Monday: 6 – 7 mile run with 4 800 meter sprints @ a 4:30 pace

Tuesday: Cross Train — 30minute bike ride

Wednesday: 4 – 6 mile run @ marathon pace of 10:18 min/mile

Thursday: Cross Train/Strength Train

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 15 miles @ slow pace (around 11:00 min/mile)

Sunday: Rest or 2-3mile recovery run

And this is the time where I need the advice and feed back from all you amazing runners out there that have trained or are training for a marathon!

QUESTIONS: Anything I’m missing in my training outline?? Any feedback/advice on training?All of you that recently ran a marathon — what do you wish you would have done in training and what are you glad you did do? If you have a training plan that has worked for you, would love to see it! Am I nuts for going for a 4:30:00 first marathon??? Ok, maybe don’t answer that…

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8 Responses to Marathon Planning — Game on!

  1. Hi Katherine,
    Great start and love that you are incorporating strength training. It’s key to finishing strong! I would suggest that you train for 18 weeks, meaning your marathon training plan is no more than 18 weeks. You will have a strong base since you are already a runner and in good shape. Marathon training is challenging and most people hit a breaking point. Highly recommend at least 1 20miler. You don’t need to do 22 (unless you feel strong the day of that long run and you want to go for it). Speed work is going to be important and will make the most difference in terms of time. My biggest piece of advice – have a support network and people to run with! Like I said, it’s easy to hit a breaking point and you’ll want to lean on those people during that time. A 4:30 is a great goal. I advise clients to create a few goals, with number one being: finishing and smiling! Paris is on my list!! Can’t wait to read updates! -Meghan from Hot Bird Running

  2. PorcelinaTweets says:

    I think it sounds like a great plan, plus anything with speed in it is super fun – I LOVE speed work, especially with others and especially in the place of a tempo or 4 mile easy. You can really get some sweat going on and some frustrations out!

    I’ve got no experience with marathons and don’t know if I have 26.2 in me, but my Dad ran 8 Londons and NYC. He did all sorts of training – fartleking, hills and long runs. I know he used to get up to the 22 milers and is a fan of running up to the distance and over the distance, whether or not that includes marathons I am not sure. I can ask him?! Running buddies in my club get up to the 22 but it’s a personal thing. You know what you have to do. You are an experienced long distance runner with many miles in the bank and strength in your head and legs, Paris will be an amazing experience for you! In fact my buddy has ran it and LOVED it.

    You have no idea how tempted I am to jump on the Eurostar to watch and cheer! I’ll take any excuse to go to Paris – you are going to love it!

    • I would love if you came to Paris to cheer me on!!! The only person I’ll have there is my boyfriend and I’m not sure how many points he can get to ahhaa

      • PorcelinaTweets says:

        He needs to get some roller skates! LOL!

        If, nearer the time, I can afford it I so will!! (but not in a crazy blog stalker type way! 😉 )

  3. Ahhh! All the excitement yesterday got to me too! I remembered that you had suggested the NYC Half (which is in March), so I am going to sign up (through a Parkinson’s disease team, running it in honor of my grandpa)! Depending on where you are with training, maybe I’ll come into the city on some Saturdays for a morning run!

    • Hey, that’s great!!! The Half I recommended was the More Half Marathon though, not the NYC Half. Although I’m sure the NYC Half is AMAZING.

      Good luck and definitely let me know if you’re ever in the city for a run!

  4. ahh love reading your goals!

    whichever plan you chose, just remember to trust in your training. i stressed myself out in the beginning looking between 3 different plans and felt SO much better when i settled on one.

    you can do this!

  5. Pingback: Slight Change of Plans | sweatpassionandtears

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