As we’re about 6 months out from the fall marathons, I thought this may be a good time to talk about marathon training. I’ve run 4 marathons with a PR of 4:18:37 (Chicago, 2014). There’s no use sugarcoating it, the training is a lot, but the high upon finishing is totally worth it!
While there are a hundred training plans online, I don’t and never have religiously followed any of them. I took the pieces of advice that were common to most plans and incorporated them with what I thought I needed. For instance, I know I can’t run more than 4 days a week on a regular basis. It’s too much with my work schedule and other responsibilities, so I don’t do it. I was also careful to heed the 10% rule (don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%), which I’ve found helps keep me from pushing it and getting injured.
I usually spend 2-2.5 months working my base mileage up to 32 miles per week. That breaks down to 20 miles over 3 runs during the work week and a 12-mile run on the weekend. Once I’m 14 weeks out from the race, I increase my long run to 13 miles and then increase the long run by 2 miles every other week until I hit 23 miles. I decided to max out at 23 miles because I know even on my worst day, I can push through 3 miles. The psychology of training is as important as the mileage itself.
|Week 1||6 miles||8 miles||Yoga||6 miles||Yoga||13 miles||Off|
|Week 2||6 miles||8 miles||Yoga||6 miles||Yoga||12 miles & yoga||Off|
|Week 3||6 miles||8 miles||Yoga||6 miles||Yoga||15 miles||Off|
|Week 4||6 miles||8 miles||Yoga||6 miles||Yoga||12 miles & yoga||Off|
|Week 5||6 miles||8 miles||Yoga||6 miles||Yoga||17 miles||Off|
|Week 6||6 miles||8 miles||Yoga||6 miles||Yoga||12 miles & yoga||Off|
|Week 7||6 miles||8 miles||Yoga||6 miles||Yoga||19 miles||Off|
|Week 8||6 miles||8 miles||Yoga||6 miles||Yoga||12 miles & yoga||Off|
|Week 9||6 miles||8 miles||Yoga||6 miles||Yoga||21 miles||Off|
|Week 10||6 miles||8 miles||Yoga||6 miles||Yoga||12 miles & yoga||Off|
|Week 11||6 miles||8 miles||Yoga||6 miles||Yoga||23 miles||Off|
|Week 12||6 miles||6 miles||Yoga||6 miles||Yoga||12 miles & yoga||Off|
|Week 13||6 miles||6 miles||Yoga||4 miles||Yoga||8 miles & yoga||Off|
|Week 14||4 miles||Off||2 miles||Off||2 miles||Off||RACE DAY!!|
In addition to the mileage and yoga on the chart, I also incorporate 15 minutes of strength training focused on my hips and glutes 3 days per week. My routine includes side-lying leg lifts, side-lying clam exercises, straight-leg lifts, and squats – generally 3 sets of 15 on each side.
My training plan may not work for you and I’d advise anyone considering a marathon to talk to a doctor and/or trainer before starting a training regimen. But regardless of anything else, listen to your body – that’s the best piece of advice I can give any runner!