Friday, June 29, 2012

My Marathon Training Plan

One of my goals for this year was to complete my first marathon and it is officially training time!  The Chicago Marathon this year will be on October 7th. 
When I trained for my first half marathon, almost two years ago now, I used Coach Jenny Hadfield and John "the Penguin" Bingham's run/walk training plan from Marathoning for Mortals.  I love their training philosophy and have used modified versions of it for every other long distance race I have trained for.  So why not go with what works for me, right?  I decided to reread the book and will be following the run training plan for the marathon.  They set the training program at 20 weeks, but I had just finished the Soldier Field 10 Mile race at week two so just picked up with week four to start my training.  I made a chart with all the dates and specified workouts for each day that I can mark on.  I may have to switch some days because of work, but my plan is to pretty much stick with what they have laid out.  
The plan has me run three or four days a week with two days of cross training and one or two rest days depending on the week.  I usually only run three days a week, but completely understand why some weeks there are four days of running, I mean the race is 26.2 miles long, I've gotta log some miles.  The longest run planned is 20 miles and I know you can run a marathon only having done 20, but I think I might try for at least 22.  They emphasize in the book that it is really about how long you are your feet, not necessarily the miles run so weekday runs are set as a time and long runs are miles.  The long runs are also done at a slower pace, so you are on your feet longer.  I just feel like 22 miles will make me feel more prepared for race day, but I'm going to go with how I feel and cross that bridge when I get to it.  

Another major factor with the Marathoning for Mortals training plan is running on effort or heart rate and not pace.  My nifty Garmin is also a heart rate monitor so I will be using it during all my training runs to track my heart rate.  I usually use it when I train for a longer distance, but haven't recently.  Rereading the book reminded me how important training by effort rather than pace is, especially because so many things can effect your pace from how much sleep you got to the weather.  I want to be careful not to overtrain either, because I do not want to hurt myself.  I am making sure to warmup before each workout and cool down after.  Plus I am stretching and foam rolling after runs and icing my knees.  This is the real deal people and I would be disappointed if I was to hurt myself.  

So I have completed the first two weeks of my 17 week training plan.  I am tracking all of my workouts on Daily Mile and marking them on my paper training plan.  For cross training days the past few weeks I have been doing yoga, either at Core Power or Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown DVD.  I plan to continue to keep yoga in my routine to help with my tight muscles throughout training.  I worked the morning shift at work the past week so I had a few very early mornings to get my runs in.  This ended up being OK though because I beat some of the heat.  Thankfully for my long runs it was a bit cooler.  In fact my 8 mile long run last week was done after work around 2pm, and it was cloudy and cool outside which was nice for running.  

Today marks 100 days until the Chicago Marathon!  Nine miles are the schedule for tomorrow!

If you have trained or are training for a marathon, how many weeks is your training program?   Where do you go to figure out a training program?