Air Force Marathon Training Plan

What a crazy week! I can’t believe it’s June. I have been really busy with wrapping up the school year and my grad classes. We officially began training for our next race too! We will be running the Air Force Marathon on September 17th. For this race we decided to use a training plan that was created by the Runners World SmartCoach tool based on our previous times for the National Half Marathon that we ran in March. We decided to use that time as the basis for the plan because during the Country Music Marathon a lot of things happened that were out of my control, and as a result I did not perform as well as I feel I could have that day. I ran my half the month before in 1:48:55 and I felt I was in shape to run a 4 hour marathon in April. Instead I ran a very disappointing 4:41:24, my worst time yet, and I even considered taking a DNF during the race.

After that race I am even more motivated to get my sub 4-hour marathon. My current PR is 4:07:43, and I KNOW I can do it this time. We modified the SmartCoach plan to fit our schedules, needs and goals, and came up with the following basic plan:

  • Running: 4x a week (2 easy runs, 1 speed/tempo run, 1 long run) @ paces determined by SmartCoach. I will also be trying to get in the habit of finishing all my runs fast. I know that my biggest weakness is keeping my pace steady in the last few miles of the marathon. That is when I lose control every time. I know that adding speed at the end of my runs will help my body adjust to maintaining speed when I am tired.
  • Cross-Training: 2x a week. Spinning, Zumba, Yoga, Elliptical, Row Machine, Biking outside, etc.
  • Strength-Training: 3x a week. This is something that I always have good intentions of doing when I begin a new training cycle, but it quickly gets pushed to the back burner when the mileage picks up. I want to focus mainly on my upper body and core because these areas can definitely get stronger and it will improve my running.
  • Rest: One day (or more depending on how we are feeling that week) of total rest.
  • Sleep: At least 7 hours a night… This is very, very important to us this time around!
  • Nutrition: I eat a vegetarian diet 100% of the time and Kevin eats that way probably 80% of the time. We eat mostly whole, natural, unprocessed foods and although we have good percentage of carbohydrates, fats, and protein in our diets, it can sometimes be hard to eat enough to fuel our high mileage and keep our energy up. We are going to pay a little more attention to our basic calorie intake/outtake to make sure that we are maintaining a good balance!

In addition to this plan we are also going to use some of Adaptive Running principles to guide us. I recently read the book Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon: How to Be Your Own Best Coach by Brad Hudson, and he believes that Adaptive Running is the key to success in all training plans. Adaptive Running is all about listening to your body and adjusting your planned runs depending on how you feel. This is going to be difficult for me, because I notoriously follow my training plans religiously no matter WHAT. But I know that doing that is not the best thing for my training and my body. I hope that by using Adaptive Running principles I will remain uninjured and not get burned out like I have before. If I need to cut back (or add on!) mileage, pace, etc., then I will. If I need to take an extra rest day or cross-training day, then I will. I’m going to try to be more flexible with my training, be more ‘in the moment’, and not so set in following a plan that was created months before. I guess we will see how it goes! 🙂

Our entire plan from May to September can be seen in Google Docs.

Here is my weekly workout recap for Week 1 of training:

  • Monday: 5 mile run (44:52/8:59 pace)
  • Tuesday: 7 mile tempo run- 1 mile warm up, 5 miles @ 8:13 average pace, 1 mile cool down (Splits were 8:10, 8:09, 8:06, 8:13, 8:31- BIG HILL!)
  • Wednesday: Rest + 20 minutes of arms and abs
  • Thursday: 6 mile run (56:55/9:29 pace)
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 12 mile run (1:52:08/9:20 pace)
  • Sunday: Insanity Workout – Pure Cardio (40 minutes) + Abs (20 minutes)
I skipped Zumba and Spin class this week because I was REALLY tired and was feeling weaker than usual. I think that is a result of running hard 5 days in a row while I was at the beach over the holiday weekend. I just couldn’t help it though- I love running at the beach! So using the Adaptive Running principles, I listened to my body and rested on two of my rest days, and did 5 miles instead of 6 on Monday. This made the rest of my runs much better and now I feel refreshed and ready to take on Week 2 of training!

One response to “Air Force Marathon Training Plan

  1. Pingback: Air Force Marathon Training Check-In | Run Inspired

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