May 4, 2013

Journey to 26.2: The Training Plan (003)

It's taken me a little while to finally wrap my head around training for a full marathon - 26.2 miles.  It's a long way and I will spend many more hours prepping for and training for the race than the actual race duration (or at least let's hope so!!).  My focus for the summer and fall is on successfully completing the marathon, but I also have the runDisney Dumbo Double Dare Challenge over Labor Day weekend to manage.  And then there's the runDisney Dopey Challenge looming in January.

Thursday night I told myself I would start digging through all of the various plans.  I spread out at my desk with my two marathon books - Run Less Run Faster (by FIRST - Bill Pierce, Scott Murr and Ray Moss) and Marathon: You Can Do It (by Jeff Galloway).  Then I pulled up the Dumbo training plan. And then I grabbed the runDisney Dopey training plan. And then another Dopey training plan from my online training group.  My head was spinning.  Different numbers of weeks, conflicting mileage. AAHHHHHHHHH!!!!
My set up...yes a glass of wine was part of this!
Quite frankly, I was overwhelmed and luckily some of my Twitter buddies immediately understood.  After 'talking' it through with them, I decided to put Dopey on the back burner and focus on the marathon; once the marathon was done, I would start ramping up for Dopey.  I would weave in some back to back workouts to prepare for Dumbo Double Dare over labor day weekend, but generally stick with the mileage prescribed in Jeff Galloway's marathon training plan for experienced runners, with a finish goal.

I settled on a hybrid of three plans and came up with something that will (hopefully) work for me, given all of the other races and considerations for the way my body handles training.
  • I took the long run mileage from Jeff Galloway's Marathon: You Can Do It book.  His plan is longer than many others, getting you anywhere from 23-29 miles.  Knowing Dopey is on the horizon, I think that getting higher in mileage will be important and also give me a great confidence boost for Marine Corps.
  • I added mid-week mileage for tempo runs and speed work from Run Less Run Faster.  Depending on how I'm feeling, I may back off some of the speed work and instead incorporate easier mid-week runs or hills.  Speed work is my favorite workout of the week, so perhaps some indulgence may be in order throughout the training plan.
  • I incorporated Dumbo Double Dare back-to-back runs/walks from the official runDisney training plan from Jeff Galloway.  I will likely plan to walk many of the shorter mileage days for the back-to-backs to avoid injury but I know I need to get my body ready for it.
The next 6 months!
I would be lying if I didn't tell you it took me over 2 hours to get organized and pull together a plan for the next 6 months.  I printed a basic calendar from the iCal program and started putting pencil (yes, pencil not pen...I erased a lot!) to paper. I differentiated the training weeks for Dumbo and MCM using colored highlighter, although they were the same in the beginning.  Once I added the training for each month, I reviewed and captured a few goals for each month.  Some are silly (i.e., eating birthday cake in October) and some are more serious (i.e., get strong and take care of IT band in May).  All in all, I think it's manageable and something I can stick with.

I'm fairly certain this little plan will go with me everywhere to keep me motivated and on track.  Any tips for marathon training?



  1. I'm so excited for you!!! Kudos on creating your own plan :) My biggest advice is to listen to your body. Sometimes it needs a break - so its OKAY to miss some runs. I struggled with that at first, but you know your body better than anyone else! I can't wait to follow along (and cheer you on!) during your training!

  2. This is amazing! I did something similar last year when training for Dopey, I like to make my own plans on a calendar incorporating my yoga and cross training so I can check each workout off as I go. I really need to sit down and get organized for this year since I have the same busy fall schedule as you with Dumbo, MCM and then Dopey!

  3. Wow-good for you for getting your training plan all organized. That's half the battle right there. It's always best to have a goal and plan in place so you know pretty much what you need to do each week. Can't wait to follow your journey! I've never trained for a marathon or multiple races, so I don't have any advice for you, but I'm cheering you on!!

  4. My advice is the same as Megan's. The world won't collapse if you miss a run now and then due to...whatever. We sometimes get so focused on a plan that we stress if life gets in the way. Marathon training is built over the long term. If you miss a day here or there, even a long run day, because you are hurting or tired or even busy elsewhere, you won't lose conditioning. Remember that rest/recovery days are said to be even MORE important than training days, so don't forget those.

    Advice aside...LOVE the orgainization!

  5. I agree with everyone else. Last year I was training for the NYC Marathon and ran a PR at the Disneyland Half after not running for two weeks prior to that race. Burn out from training for the NYC marathon in Arizona heat and some personal drama sort of side tracked me for a little bit. Obviously, my body really needed a rest to recover and I pulled out a PR. I think over training can be a really big problem for distance runners.

    Best of luck to you! You'll do great. I wish I could tackle Dopey in 2014, but I'm going to have to wait until 2015!

  6. This is so awesome - looks great! I love the "happy birthday me" post - so important to celebrate your achievements from the past year! :) We aren't getting older, we're getting more experienced. Or at least that is what I keep telling myself! :)

  7. Wow Christine...pretty impressive! I look forward to following you along with your training...MCM is right in our back yard...I'd love to be able to do that one at some point~
    Your so organized...loved seeing your process....

  8. AWESOME! So excited for you Christine!

  9. How wonderful! I am excited to read all about your training and how it is going!

  10. This reminds me that I need to start planning my training too! I am horrible at sticking to a training plan but I think I had better for the BIG one this fall!