I love making training plans. After running 7 marathons and training with many different ‘programs,’ I have pretty much tried it all. I have learned a lot about what works for me and what doesn’t. This time around though, I knew I had some new things to consider. While creating my training plan for this marathon, I knew I needed flexibility first and foremost. Now that I am a mother, it’s very difficult for me to follow a plan that has workouts on specific days of the week set in stone. That is why I decided to make a plan based around the workouts I want to complete weekly, and then do them as I want to throughout the week. I am hoping this will reduce the pressure of needing to do certain workouts on specific days, and stressing out if I miss one for some reason. The workouts I am aiming to complete weekly include:
- 3 runs (1 easy, 1 tempo/speedwork run, 1 long run- I want to focus on the quality of my miles rather than the quantity… plus that is all I have time for these days!)
- 2 strength workouts (body pump, at-home with DVDs, Nike Training Club, cross-fit style workouts, etc.)
- 1 day of cross-training (spinning, walking, cycling outside, rowing, elliptical, swimming, etc.), OR an optional 4th run
I wanted to make sure I incorporated workouts I could do with the baby, like taking the stroller on my easy or long run, going for a walk, doing an at-home strength workout while he naps, and things like that. Since I’ll be home with him this summer, we’ll be spending a lot of time together!
I also knew I wanted a plan that was longer than the standard 16 weeks that I usually do. This is because I haven’t trained for a full marathon in 2 years and I wanted to make sure I gave myself enough time to build up a good, strong base. My plan this time around will be 20 weeks, starting the week of June 24th. I also have quite a few 20 milers planned, and I am peaking my training with a 22 miler. This is to help with my confidence since it’s been so long since I’ve trained for a full. I also know that 20 milers usually don’t go as planned, so I want to give myself more than one shot at the distance.
Here is the plan! I took the 3 weekly running workouts from Runners World Smart Coach. I left the strength workouts and cross training/run #4 blank so that I can fill them in as I complete them during the week, since I’m not sure what I’ll be in the mood for when the time comes. Like I said, flexibility is KEY for me.
In addition to this plan there are a few things that I feel are important to incorporate into my training.
- Trail Running: Miles 10-13 of the course are on a soft trail through a park. This scares me because it’s early in the race which means it could destroy my legs if I am not trained for it. So I am going to make sure I spend some time on different trails, especially in the middle of some of my long runs. I think it’s important to prepare myself mentally and physically for this type of course.
- Hills: This course is not very hilly, except for the miles that are on the trail and a big bridge at mile 23. Where I live in Virginia is very hilly already, but I’m going to try to put a large hill in the end of my long runs to practice running them on tired legs.
- Stroller Runs: I really do feel that running with a stroller makes me stronger and helps with resistance training. I think it is partly what has helped me regain my speed after pregnancy, because when I run without it now I can run faster without as much effort.
- Finishing my Runs Strong: My weakness in races of all distances (5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Full Marathons) comes at the end of the race. I almost always struggle to maintain my pace and positive attitude, and it has cost me to miss a few of my goals (hello, 4:00:04 marathon while going for a sub-4 hours). During training, I really want to try to focus on finishing my runs strong and pick up the pace for the last couple miles if I can, to prepare me physically and mentally for those last tough miles of the marathon.
What are my goals for this race? Well, obviously I would LOVE to PR. I really feel like I can with proper training and a lot of work. Even if it doesn’t happen this time around, I want to try to run at training paces based on this goal. I plugged my half marathon time from February (1:51:38) into the McMillan Running Calculator, and set my goal time for the marathon at 3:55:00. My current PR is 4:00:04. These are the paces I will be going for.
I really do think this goal time is attainable, if things come together well for me on race day (course, weather, how I feel, etc.) When I put my half marathon time into the calculator, it gave me these equivalent times at different race distances. I have already beaten those times in the 5K (23:07) and 10K (49:35) within the last 7 months, so I really think I have a shot! The 10Ks and Half Marathons that I have built into my plan should help me see my progress and if that goal is realistic or not.
I’m so excited to begin training again! Let the fun begin!