marathon training: tweaking the schedule

this is following up on my post last week where i started to go through the steps i take when creating my training schedule.

to recap: i have assessed what i am looking for in a training plan, picked a base plan, and now it’s time to tweak!

first things first… i take out my “life calendar” and line it up with my “running calendar”.  the two will not always work together in perfect harmony so there is definitely some tweaking required!  this is the step that tends to stress me out a bit.  here are some things i consider: 

specific days for specific workouts

i want my track workouts to be on wednesday, since that is when i meet my team at the track.  i still have yet to find a training plan with a track workout no wednesdays so i have to make it work.  this also requires tweaking the rest of the schedule because i don’t want to do back to back hard days (tempo day after a track day).  i like to have an “easy” day in the middle.  so this requires moving a couple of the days around.

since i do my schedule in excel, i copy and past columns over the others and voila la, a plan.  then i have to take a step back and look at the big picture to make sure the weeks flow together.  do i have a hard long training run on saturday or sunday?  then i probably need to make sure there is a rest or easy day before jumping straight into another hard one.  it’s hard to make it all balance, but eventually you will find the right flow. 


are you lucky enough to have a vacation planned during your marathon training?  sometimes these can be great and can really bolster your running, but other times running may take a back seat.  anticipate this and plan accordingly.  shift around your long runs to get them done before you leave or after you get back, incorporate a recovery/step back week and cut down the mileage, and basically just do what you can to help set yourself up to succeed.

life events

do you have parties, weddings or other important life events on the weekends that might put a damper on a long run?  i like to make sure that i am not missing out on every fun thing during marathon training,  so if i have something going on, i do my best to plan around it and get it done early, just incase i won’t be feeling up to a long run on the sunday morning after a wedding.  if i am scheduling my long runs for sunday, but know that one sunday i most likely won’t be able to, i shift it to saturday, which then requires some tweaking of the rest of the week. 


are there tune up races you want to run or have committed to?  i love racing during training and think it really can help my training, but i have to make sure to fit them in during the right spots, and run the race accordingly.  do i need to not “race” the race and just “run” it at long run pace?  if i am racing a 10k, then i probably don’t need to do that tempo run the day before?  are you going to need to recover from the race?  i ask myself all these things when i am looking at incorporating races into my schedule.  there is definitely some tweaking of both the schedule, and of the race goals that comes into play.

we all know that a training schedule isn’t set in stone and it won’t always go perfectly, but i think planning ahead, anticipating where you might hit a bump, and setting yourself up to succeed really help out the process.  you know yourself the best and it’s all about making a schedule that is suited for you. 

what are things you consider when tweaking your schedule around?

next up… the final details/product!

i will also be answering any questions left on the last post or this one,
so feel free to ask away in the comments if you have any questions!


22 miles on the bike this morning with a teammate and i felt a million times better.  i was so much more relaxed, not so stiff, felt more in a groove and i really had fun!  yay!

22 miles/1:27:29/15.0 mph

tonight is track and tomorrow is another bike ride with jolynn – can’t wait!!  i love staycation!

don’t forget to enter the CSN giveaway!!

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18 Responses to marathon training: tweaking the schedule

  1. Marlene July 28, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    Working with the "life calendar" definitely brought the most challenges this time around, especially being SUMMER. There is just so much going on.

    Another excellent and HELPFUL post – thanks!!

  2. Emz July 28, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    every time I read your posts I think "why can't I have it more together like her?" You are awesome.

    I need a training "plan". I just run. slower some days…faster other days . . . ?!?!?!!

    And yay on the awesome miles on the bike!

  3. Running and living July 28, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    Lets see, you pretty much got it covered. One thing that I started to do recently is working on my weaknesses. For ex., I am strong at track, but I get slower the longer the distance (e.g., my marathon is slower than what is predicted based on my other distances PRs). As such, my endurance is lacking, while I have speed. So to work on this, I am doing a 22 and a 24 mile run 2-3 weeks before the actual marathon. I also don't do track every week anymore – I still hit my times – and am focusing on longer during the week runs and tempos (I have 1-2 10 milers during the week).

  4. seejessrun July 28, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    Last time I tweaked my schedule to do my long run on Mondays instead of the weekend. It really freed up the weekend.

  5. marathonmaiden July 28, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    i don't think i've ever had to tweak a schedule. i guess it's just because i've been training while at school. i have had to move around LRs before if i'd had a little too much to drink the night before though haha

  6. Heather July 28, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    I do a lot of tweaking when making a schedule, and usually more as it goes along. Kid sick? Run has to take a back seat . . . life happens! Glad you're enjoying your time off of work!

  7. J July 28, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    Summer always seems to be super busy! I don't know what is worse – training for a marathon in the summer and trying to get around the life calender, or training for a marathon in the winter and battling the snow!!

    Enjoy the track workout tonight!

  8. All Things Jaime July 28, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    I always do my track workouts on Wednesdays. I run tempos on Monday, track on Wednesday and long runs on Saturday. I run easy on Tuesday and Thursday! :)

    Enjoy the rest of your "staycation!"

  9. Adam July 28, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    you figure out how to get a 8th day in the week yet? I'm counting on you to make that happen. :)

  10. Tara July 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    I need you to make me a schedule for Chicago!!!! >.< Too many life events this year! lol Sounds like you're having a great staycation…miss you on chat though :(

  11. Bethany + Ryan July 29, 2010 at 2:47 am #

    good luck! looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

  12. Kristina July 29, 2010 at 8:13 am #

    Great post. This is really helpful. I also forget to look at my life calendar and end up having to make some last minute changes when things come up (that were planned a long time ago).

  13. Jamie July 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Very helpful, thanks! It's always interesting to know how others plan their running.

  14. Ms. V. July 29, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    When I go on vacation I have the hardest time running. Like, I won't, or will run very little… It's BAD!

    Great post.

  15. Joanne July 30, 2010 at 5:38 am #

    Are you including the cycling as part of your training? – so on your cycling days, you won't run?
    I've started cycling but don't want it to take the place of a run.

    I totally agree with your tweaking plan. It looks good and you've considered all the variables.

  16. Denise August 1, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    ok…tomorrow! i have to figure out my schedule tomorrow. i can't put it off any longer!

  17. Petraruns August 4, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    Great post and very useful. I have always rather slavishly followed a schedule so this is interesting to me – I've never tweaked a schedule like this but it makes sense..

  18. Anonymous November 21, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

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