Every journey begins with a single step and now that I have my goal, the next question is how am I going to get there, right? I have spent the better part of the last 4 months reading books, combing the internet and asking countless questions to try and figure that out. What I have really found is that there in no one plan that was tailor made for me and everyone has their own opinion of what really is the right way to train. What I ended up doing is taking, what I think, are the best parts of different systems and molding them into a custom made plan for me. The base of my plan is rooted in the Hal Higdon novice version, but in my mind I didn’t think only one 20 mile run is enough to prepare me for the 26.2, so I went with his intermediate idea of three 20 mile runs. My friend Thomas, from my Ragnar team, is where this idea came from when I was asking him questions about his 1st marathon. In my opinion, the most important item I needed to consider was my time available to complete the training. Wednesdays being my day off will lend itself perfectly for my long runs. I don’t want to cut into my limited time I have to spend with Mandy each night so for the rest of the week days early morning before work is the only time I can really fit the miles in, and due to time constraints I really need to keep the mileage down on those days. For the weekends, Saturday is a work day for me so it has the same constraints as weekday so mileage will need to be kept down and Sunday I rotate having to work and work starts a little later in the morning so it seems to be the best fit for my mid length runs. Cross training is a little up in the air right now as to what I will be doing if any. I will ease myself into it though, I don’t want to over do it and burn my body out.
Below you can see my plan as I have it laid out. (click on the image for an enlarged view) I don’t want to say this is a fluid plan because I want to stick to it, but as my body reacts I might make some minor tweaks on mileage or which days I run. I tried my best to keep the other advice I got from my friend Katie, which is not to do two had workouts back to back.
Here is a more detailed laid out of my training plan:
Sunday - Race Pace: so for this day I will run my first mile and my last mile at my easy 9:45 pace and run all other miles at my 3:59:59 or better marathon pace of 9-9:10 per mile avg. I also threw in a complete easy pace day every two or three weeks to help curb any chance of over training.
Monday – Rest Day: No exercise or running of any kind, thank God!
Tuesday – Easy Pace: so for this day it is just about putting in a few miles at a nice steady easy pace of 9:45-10:15 per mile. The mileage starts at three and climbs to six during the meat of the training cycle.
Wednesday – Long Run: here is where it all counts, I start out with a mileage of ten miles and progressively build up to a total of twenty miles. I throw in a step back day every three weeks where I cut my mileage back to let the body recover. I have also set this pace at a nice steady 10:15-10:30 per mile avg., because on these runs, speed is not the goal, time on the feet is. I need to learn and get use to spending multiple hours on my feet, not only for the physical purpose, but the mental as well.
Thursday – Rest/Cross Training Day: Thursday is primarily a rest day, but if I decide that I want to do some cross training, this would be the day. If I cross train here is what I am thinking, a few easy miles on the bicycle just to keep the legs moving a little bit. Planks, push ups, squats and stretching are a few others that will be added as well. I was thinking yoga, but I don’t know of a good studio around me and I’ll admit it, I am a little scared to.
Friday – Tempo Run: Now I could totally be misusing this term, but for me it lets me know that I will run a set number of miles at a pace faster then my goal race pace. For this plan my Tempo pace will be 8:20-8:30 per mile avg. starting at 3 miles and building to a total of 6 miles. Now I have also given myself some leeway here and decided this could be turned into interval runs if the pace seems to be too much for me at these mile distances. The goal is to make this my 10K time, because according to the Runners World race pace predictor, a 3:59:59 marathon finisher should be able to run a 10K at that pace.
Saturday - Easy Pace: this is basically just a carbon copy of Tuesday’s plan. It gets me a few more miles on the road and running on tired legs from Friday’s run should simulate the later stages of the marathon. I hope anyway.
Well that is the plan; I hope my rambling makes sense to you all. I think I covered everything I wanted to cover, but if I missed anything then I guess it wasn’t that important. Please feel free to leave any feedback, good or bad, on my plan and my approach to the marathon. I think the only thing I really didn’t cover was nutrition, and that will be more of an on going experiment to find what works for me. I think I will have a good handle on that after my first or second 20 mile training run.
I am an impatient person by nature, so I can’t wait to see how this whole thing plays out for me. Really, Is it October Yet!!!
* For quick access to my entire Marathon training journal click the "Marathon Journal" tab just below the Running In The Fat Lane header