John 8:32 "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." NIV

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Marathon Training... HELP!

Okay expert marathon runners. You know WHO you are. The ones that have run and trained and felt good.

As I have written, the marathon of my choice is not until October 31st. Which means if I do the 18 week training program, I will not start until June 28th. Despite the October marathon date, I have been running and running and running. I am getting faster and running farther.

My dilemma is that the first week goes something like this:

Monday – cross – I do this with P90X
Tuesday – 3m run – I ran 4
Wed – 5m run – I ran 7
Thurs – 3 mile run – I usually run 5
Friday rest – I usually rest on Sundays and run 3-4 miles
Sat – 5m pace – I ran 10 miles at pace last Saturday
Sun – 10 m – I rest

So, what do I do? Do I back down on my mileage? My first idea is to back down on my mileage when the training officially starts and work on my speed. Also, looking ahead on the schedule, there is no hill workouts or track workouts. Does the typical marathon training plan have these in it? If you want to see the plan I am going to use, click HERE. But maybe I should be doing THIS one. Any advice?

Help... I know the 28th is closing in and I need to get a mental wrap around this before then.

I leave you with a picture (courtesy of Brock) for a new low: 131.8 lbs


Karen said...

I am not an expert but have followed training plans for two marathons. I have seen a variety of plans, some with speedwork others that focus on getting the mileage up so you can finish the race. Unless you have a specific time in mind, you could just make sure you get a couple short runs in during the week. The most important runs are the long ones. I have used Hal Higdon's plan twice now and it works great, there are plenty of others. I would just keep doing what you are doing (as opposed to cutting back), it will just make it easier for you by the time the 28th rolls around.

ShirleyPerly said...

Usually most first-timer marathon training programs are solely focused on building endurance to just go the distance, so no speed or hill work. If you feel you need more of a challenge, I think there's nothing wrong with starting a more advanced training program and seeing how it goes. You can always scale back if needed. In fact, many folks do as the longs start getting long (say, over 15 miles). The key, IMO, is running consistency and staying injury-free. Oh, and one more piece of marathon advice that has always come in handy for me: It's better to be 10% undertrained than 10% overtrained.

Best of luck!

slowly growing old together said...

I, too, was concerned that my training program didn't include hills (the last hill of the MCM is a killer - seriously, why make us run UP the hill at mile 26?!?!) or track work. My solution was to stick to the plan for mileage, but mix it up in terms of types of work outs. I would run hills on a day that had 3 miles on the schedule. I kept my hill day the same from week-to-week. Similarly, I would pick a day and run repeats at the track to improve my speed and find my groove at a certain pace.

The most important things are getting the long runs in and staying injury-free.

Learning to listen to your body is also important. I've learned that if I'm in good swimming shape I'm a better runner. So I cross-train a little more these days. I feel more in shape, have some variety to my weekly training, and give my knees an extra day of rest. Listen to your body.

Good luck! I'll be watching the MCM this year (maybe even volunteering at a water stop!!). Looking forward to cheering you on, Becky


OK, so what I would do (and what I would suggest to my clients) is to maintain your current weekly mileage until the program catches up with you. The most important aspect of marathon training is the long run and endurance building (while staying injury free). An easy fix to the plan you are doing is to mix up the workouts. Complete some of the miles as speedwork or hill work. Hope that helps!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

NOT AN EXPERT.. I say if you are feeling good and have the time then go with the distances that work for you. Hill training and speed work is especially important if you have a goal finish time..

The training I have done in the past were 16 weeks which is a LONG TIME!! I know others who do 18 weeks.. YOu want to avoid burnout and injury.

Marlene said...

You are dropping weight like crazy, girl! Looking great!!!

Does your marathon plan have any speed work? Often first-timer plans will be light on speed work .... if it's your first time building to 26.2, you want to go easy on the body since it's already working so hard to build the endurance.

Re: hills ... I never do hill repeats. All of my regular runs have decent hills and that has always been enough for me to tackle hills on race day. If you're running a particularly hilly marathon, you may need to approach this differently..

misszippy said...

You look great. Got my RRCA coaching certification recently and have run 8 marathons, but still not an expert! I would say do not back down on your mileage...take that base right into the training. If you feel like it, add some speedwork or hills on one day. You could also add a mile or two to your long run--just don't add both in the same week. Remember to keep the increases to no more than 10 % of your weekly mileage and stick with the hard/easy/hard/easy principle in terms of how you schedule your runs. Hope that helps.

Lauren said...

I don't have any advice cause I'm training for my first but what everyon else is saying sounds great :D

momof3 said...

I'm following TMB's strategy right now. What I'm seeing w/o doing a lick of speed work is increased endurance AND increased speed. I know, crazy talk. Don't worry about swapping the rest day out, NOT a big deal, just as long as it's there. I try to run one of my mid week runs on a hilly course. Not everyone does great with speed work. For me, it's like inviting an injury on an engraved invitation. My body loves running long slow distance though, and as i said, I'm watching my 5K times go down. At one point I was hoping to use this 17.75K on sat as a speed test, but it's going to be too hot. BTW- found inexpensive/cute swim wear today at Dick's Sporting Goods.. incase your suit falls off at the pool.

Running Diva Mom said...

You look great, Jen! Love the pic!


Thanks for the coffee info. In addition to the 10 cups of coffee or so that I drink a day, I also drink over 100 oz of water daily. I am constantly in the bathroom. I definitely use coffee as a means of not snacking, because when I am not at home I NEVER drink it. So basically, I am a boredom induced coffee drinker. I should probably cut back, but I get so sick of water and I hate calorie filled drinks ... Thanks again!

MCM Mama said...

I wouldn't cut back on miles, but would let the plan catch up to you. I did the intermediate plan and that worked really well for me for most of it, but I found that my body had a really hard time with the back to back runs towards the end. But, I also lost a lot of the early back to backs because of the snow we had, plus I was heading into warmer weather just as my 20s started hitting.

Anyways, I think Higdon's plans are good and if you start feeling like you need a bit of a break, you can drop back a bit later. Keep your starting base strong.

Pam said...

I have nothing to offer, but thanks for asking this! Keeps me from having to ask when my program officially starts in August! =)

Rene' said...

Runners World has a marathon training program in the July issue that looked pretty good. It had you running 10 minute miles one day, hills one day and tempo. I wonder if that would be good to follow. I definitely would not decrease your miles if you are already there. I like reading the responses as my first marathon is in November.

teacherwoman said...

I am not a marathoner and have never trained for one, so I am of no help. Do you feel like you are running too much?

Girl, you look great!

lindsay said...

i like TMB's advice - stay at your current level (with the occasional cutback week) until the plan catches up. however, i don't see anything wrong with bumping up the plan either... i just want you to make the most of your first-marathon & training for it!

Kirsten said...

Wow, lots of great comments and advice here. You've already heard me say way too much. But I say relax and don't worry so much about it. Just follow the plan, see how you feel and roll with it. Don't get obsessed about too many details before you start, you'll know what you feel like doing when you officially start following the plan. If you're worried about low mileage in the beginning, follow the first plan you listed but in the opening weeks you could add mileage to those 3 mile days. I also like the idea of using the 3 mile day for a speed day. But speed work isn't incredibly important in your first marathon. If you have some hilly runs in your regular run workouts you don't need hill repeats either. (And I know you have hilly runs...) The rule about not increasing more than 10 percent is a good one and the plan is set up too not increase too quickly. Trust me, you'll get to the point where you're at such high mileage you'll miss those easy opening weeks!! :)

Molly said...

Good luck figuring it out, I'm five weeks into training for my first marathon so I can't give you any advice....but I love your new layout!