A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Building a marathon plan

on July 21, 2016

I’ve mentioned that training starts 8/1 for my very first marathon but I haven’t talked much about what that training plan is going to look like. I’ve never run a marathon before, so this will be new territory, but I have run a bunch of half marathons with a variety of training plans. That experience, plus a TON of reading, are helping me to choose a marathon training plan that will get me safely and sanely through the biggest athletic goal of my life!
What have I done?!

Looking back, for my first 10K and my first half marathon, I used Hal Higdon’s novice training plans for both of those distances. His plans are freely available online (here) and are very straightforward. The novice plans are just steady progressions of distances without speed work, tempo runs or hills. As a beginner at the 10K and half marathon levels, that simplicity made the whole process seem less intimidating and worked to get me across the finish lines is good shape. In subsequent half marathons, I’ve done more aggressive training plans with more specific workouts, but I’ve had time goals for those races. My only marathon goal is to finish with a smile. I think going back to my tried and true basic Hal Higdon plan is going to be least overwhelming way for me to safely get through 26.2 miles. I read a lot about marathons and other training plans and feel comfortable that his progression of miles will get me where I need to be.

The other thing I have to consider is where to fit in the back to back half marathons I signed up for in October. The I-35 challenge will involve me doing a half marathon in Kansas City on Saturday and another half marathon in Des Moines on Sunday. Obviously that’s going to require a different kind of training that a typical marathon plan, right? Conveniently, the Hal Higdon plan includes a “half marathon” halfway through the training cycle, so my plan is to use the Hal Higdon marathon plan from my half marathons in October forward (with a week for rest of course). To get to the back to back half marathons, I’m going to use the Jeff Galloway plan provided by the I-35 challenge. Looking at the first half of the Hal Higdon marathon Novice 1 plan I’ll follow, the long runs actually match up fairly well with the difference that there will be two of them each weekend. I’ll certainly be adequately trained for the back half of the marathon training plan – the trick will be avoiding OVER training! When I did the back to back training for the Star Wars races, I used the approach of slow paces and easy walk breaks. That worked well so I’m not worried about the Galloway plan being too much based on my prior experience.

I’ve got some races plugged in to make the long runs more fun, like the Peak 2 Peak 10 miler in September on a 10 mile run weekend and a half marathon the day of my first 15 miler (planning a two mile warm up), but all of these runs will be taken at easy training paces. My goal is to finish safely, period. One of my favorite quotes about training is that it is better to arrive at the starting line undertrained than overtrained. I just want to get my body used to the distances, especially my cranky lupus-y joints. There’s a lot I need to think about in terms of distance, recovery, nutrition and injury prevention over the next 5 ish months. Worrying about pacing is not something I’ll worry about for now.

I’ve updated my training plan page here and have my workouts set in my Google calendar so my family knows what we’ll be doing. It’ll take some juggling when we get to the really long runs in November and December, both on weekdays and weekends, but we’ll make it work.

Jennifer over at Dashing in Style is working with a running coach and the Hanson’s method for her first marathon and I confess to you guys that I’m definitely following along for some vicarious coaching. 🙂 I’m also reading and re-reading everything I can about marathon training and making the jump from half marathon to marathon. I’m starting to wrap my  mind around the fact that I am really doing this, amazing as it seems!
Waiting for medals!

I got this medal holder from my sister for my birthday and just thinking about having my very first marathon medal hanging here feels like all the motivation I need to get started with this training plan!

How do you choose a training plan? Do you choose different plans for different goals or new distances?

10 responses to “Building a marathon plan

  1. swosei12blog says:

    For the first marathon, I pretty much trained to finish. Now for my second, I’m learning how to eat while I run.

  2. Jennifer @ Dashing in Style says:

    Smart training plan! You’ve obviously done a ton of research into what would work best for all three races. What you chose sounds ideal. Excited to see a photo of that medal holder with your first marathon medal on it!

  3. How’s your training going? I’m doing Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 plan, with my first marathon in November. Best of luck with training!

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