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It’s marathon training time: what’s the plan?

Marathon training time: picking a marathon training plan

Last year around this same time I made some grand declarations about running a fall marathon. Life got in the way, and I never did make it to the start of the race. This year, a lot more is at stake. We know we’d like to add to our family soon, so this is sort of a last big training season for me before pregnancy and stepping back from intense workouts. I’m ready for it, but I also want to be cautious since I haven’t run more than 14 miles in nearly four years.

As I mentioned in my Bride Run Half Marathon recap, I’ll be running the Wineglass Marathon this year since it’s relatively local and gives me adequate time to train. This means if I’d like to embark on a 18 week program, I’ll need to start in early June, which is right around the corner.

Wow. Time flies!

I’ve already enjoyed a couple weeks of a much-needed break from running. In the past, I didn’t take my time off as seriously and would continue plodding straight through until my next calendar would start. After reading this sound advice about running breaks from the pros, I knew my body and mind could benefit from the rest.

Now that I’m officially recharged, I’ve been giving various plans a lot of consideration. I’ve decided running 5 days a week, which is the method I’ve used in the past, just isn’t going to work this time around. I could claim it’s because I’m a parent and don’t get predictable sleep. Or because my life is just generally more hectic now. But in reality, I know my body  and running more than 4 days a week with higher mileage always ends in IT band woes. (Related: Help for IT Band Pain)

Last year I had also considered going for a more “radical” approach and training just three running days per week, like Jen is planning on doing. Thing is, we got rid of our gym membership this year so my access to quality cross-training as the temperatures soar won’t be solid. We don’t live in an area with winding roadways for bike riding, and swimming laps is usually my non-running activity of choice. So a four day plan appears to be the best fit for me.

I found a modified version of the popular Hal Higdon Intermediate I plan (that I’ve completed twice) on an Oklahoma City Running Club site. I immediately recognized the mileage, but I liked how the workouts were laid out with plenty of rest in-between. There’s four days of running with one day of 30-90 minutes of low- to moderate-intentiy cross-trianing, which I can see as walks, hikes, spins on my spinning bike, and whatever else I can do at home. Then two days of rest, which should help keep my IT band problems at bay.

I’m feeling excited as the start date approaches. Right now I’m just ramping my mileage back up to its previous levels and trying to acclimate to the warmer weather. I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of my training journey along the way, and I’m excited to experience the process again – hopefully with a sub-4:00 finish. But just completing will be prize enough for me!

Are you training for a fall marathon? What’s your plan?

Written by Ashley Marcin.