Marathon Training Plan Advice

Its no secret that I wear many hats and juggle a lot, including being a mother to a toddler, a full time teacher, and a wife.  Being a runner is only one of the many hats that I wear, and while taking on the challenge of training for my first marathon is a time consuming task, I also recognize that it’s a task that I cannot devote 24/7 of my life to.

Last week I shared some thoughts both here on the blog as well as in a couple of Facebook groups that I belong to, in search of advice of how to go about personalizing a marathon training plan.  I greatly appreciate all of the suggestions and tips that I received, and it left me with a lot to think about.

marathon-training-plan-advice

Some of the big takeaways are that:

  • Stretching out marathon training over too long of a period of time will lead to the risk of overdoing it, peaking too soon, or burning out.
  • Maintaining a running base prior to the start of marathon training will help prevent the need to stretch a training plan out over too lengthy of a period of time.
  • Needing to consider how many days per week I will focus on running vs. cross and strength training
  • Make sure to enjoy the marathon training experience
  • Be prepared for an emotional journey, especially once tapering starts

After taking some time to digest everybody’s advice, my plan is to follow an 18 week training plan, which puts me at starting my Chicago Marathon training the week of June 5th.  This works out well with ZOOMA Annapolis, and allows me to choose whether I want to run the half marathon or 10k based on my preference and not based on where I will be at in marathon training.

While training for Chicago, I will continue to run three times per week (two week day runs plus a long run over the weekend), which will allow me additional time for cross and strength training, which I’ve also tried to incorporate into my half marathon training plans.  This will also allow me the flexibility that I need when it comes to fulfilling the other commitments in my life and on my personal calendar.

Thanks again to everybody who offered suggestions.  Your input has been quite valuable!

QOTD: Do you have any additional advice as I work on solidifying my marathon training plan?

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43 Responses to Marathon Training Plan Advice

  1. Great tips! I’ve never trained for a marathon but it sounds like you have a great plan ahead of you. Most of all, have fun!

  2. TakisK says:

    1. Build up your Long runs before you start your Marathon program. The “Base build-up” period of your training (at the beginning of the 18 weeks) will feel a lot easier when it starts in June.
    2. Put together a Nutrition plan for your entire 18 weeks and a Fueling strategy for your Long Runs especially when they get to be longer than two hours. This will make you or break you during your Marathon.
    Good Luck!

  3. Lea Genders says:

    sounds like you have a great plan! good luck!

  4. Karen :0) says:

    That sounds like a great plan and you received a lot of wonderful tips! This is going to be a tough but exciting journey!! 🙂

  5. Sounds like you are all ready! I find that keeping a strong base ensures that I am ready to ramp up for marathon training. My training plans are typically 12 weeks. But I do run 4 days/week. Make sure you cross train, too! Endurance is endurance.

  6. Rachel says:

    All great tips. I try not to create plans past 18 weeks because if I get burnt out, I know my clients probably do, too. And I’m a running addict so that’s saying a lot. 😉

  7. I have not done a full marathon so no real tips on that. I would just say to please keep enjoying it because that’s what it’s all about.

  8. SuzLyfe says:

    You can incorporate some speed work into your long runs as well–that way you can have a medium run, hard run, and easy long run with some tempo miles. I wouldn’t do it every week, but it could be great for your training!

  9. Lesley says:

    I haven’t done a full, but I’ll say have fun! It’s so exciting.

  10. kookyrunner says:

    I did my first full last year and I followed a 16 week training plan. At first I considered a 20 week plan, but I’m glad that I didn’t as I think I would have felt burnt out as you mentioned in your blog. The most important thing for me during my training was to look ahead at week of workouts on Sunday nights so that I could mentally prepare myself for all the runs, corss training, etc.

  11. Elle says:

    I think it is imperative to personalize the training plan and also make changes as needed. I hope you have an awesome and injury-free season!

  12. Sounds like you have a solid plan in place. I would say, that while I know you are not using the Hanson method, think about what percentage of your mileage your long run consists of. Your long run should really not be more than 25-35% of your weekly mileage. When I was training for my first few marathons, my long run would easily be 50% or more of my weekly mileage and that was problematic. I would look at prior successful training cycles and try and mimic the percentages, if that makes sense (basically don’t run 10 miles during the week then do a 10 mile run on saturday…). You’re gonna do great!

  13. Above all else, enjoy the journey (I think you already have a grasp on that, though). Like having your first baby, you’ll never get to experience your “first” marathon ever again…accept the innocence, relish the knowledge gained, and marvel at what you accomplish 😉

  14. Good luck in your training! I wrote this post a while back but it might help: Create Your Own Marathon Training Plan: http://coachdebbieruns.com/create-marathon-training-plan/

  15. I think you’ve got it covered! Everyone is so different, with such different needs, so it’s really hard to say what the best course of action is. However, it sounds like you have weighed your options and have a solid path ahead of you. You are going to rock it!

  16. Cassandra says:

    Great plan! I like that you are incorporating cross training and strength training. I think that’s very important and something that alot of runners neglect to do. Good luck in your training.

  17. Clarinda says:

    Sounds like you have a great plan! I’m excited for you. 🙂

  18. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets says:

    You had a lot of great advice and it looks like you’ve got a great plan! All of the strength training will help you as you progress in your training plan. I also agree that having a solid base before marathon training is key. And yes, enjoy the experience!!

  19. I would just say that while running and training for a marathon is great, don’t get too wrapped up in it. At the end of the day, or after the race is over, it’s just gone but you still have your family and friends. 🙂

  20. this sounds like a terrific plan for you! Those long runs can be a doozy and take so much pre-planning but when you rock the race, you will be so glad you did!

  21. milebymileblog1 says:

    Sounds like you are on the right track! I would definitely say to start out easy so you dont peak too soon…when I followed an 18 week plan that happened for me. 3 days a week of running seems like good amount to get in the mileage while also balancing everythig else!

  22. evandjuni says:

    If you have a goal of totally enjoying your training period you may fall short. At some point you are going to say, “I don’t want to run” there are a million other things I want to do. Yoga, dance, sushi, anything. Enjoy what you can.

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