marathon training – the final details

my last step in making my training plan…  getting the final product together and adding in some final details.  if you missed the first two posts, i first picked a base plan, and then tweaked it around for my schedule and preferences.

some final details to consider:

  • the course:  is it hilly or flat? is it an out and back or double loop?  study the course map and make sure to plan some runs, especially long runs, to simulate your race.  add in hills in certain key spots, or run a double loop long run, or make sure to do some long flat runs if your course is really flat.      
  • paces:  what is your marathon goal?  are you currently at that ability or is it going to take some time to get there?  i typically try to train at the appropriate paces for my "goal" but sometimes i am not quite at the ability yet.  make sure you are training close to your ability so that you aren’t training too hard or setting yourself up to fail on your workouts.  if you are training at unrealistic goal paces you aren’t getting the most benefits to your workouts.  also make sure you know the general definition of your plans paces.  sometimes tempo for one plan may mean something different for another.  test your speed at some races to see where you are at and adjust them as need be.  i use the mcmillan calulator to help figure out my goal paces for workouts and like to do tune up races during training to test out my abilities.  

last i take a look at the schedule in total, i make sure the weeks flow, and everything makes sense.  there is always something that sneaks in or that i missed as i am going week by week.

remember, once you hit print and hang up your training program that doesn’t mean it is set it stone.  it’s a guide and things will happen.  if you get "behind" do not stress.  don’t try to make up workouts, just keep moving forward and adjust as necessary.  listen to your body, it definitely will be talking to you during training.

i make sure to remind myself of my rules occasionally and take a step back and look at the big picture.  it’s easy to get very wrapped up in all the details, miles, paces, etc that you miss the big picture of what is really going on.

and as always, make sure you are having fun.  marathon training can be cumbersome and sure, you are not going to want to get out there on every single run… but you are doing this because you WANT to do it, so make sure to enjoy the ride.  reward yourself after hard workouts, plan runs with friends, find new routes and make sure you are smiling sometimes through the process.


joanne said… Are you including the cycling as part of your training? – so on your cycling days, you won’t run?

i am not sure how i am adding this in yet.  i still have 6 days a week of running on my schedule, but won’t be afraid to back one day off if i want to ride my bike instead.  i also have gotten in a pretty good habit on easy running days doing some cycling also, so i might try that for a bit to see how i do.  i will be listening to my body and making sure i am not overdoing it!  i like cycling because it’s fun and new to me right now, so it’s a great way to mix things up and keep it interesting.

jaime said… When switching from 5 to 6 days per week, did you just jump in with another 7 or 8 miler, or did you slowly get your body used to it and begin with something "easier" like 4?

i definitely added an easy day (4-6) miles at first when adding a day of running.  i make sure to pay attention to the total miles for the week also, because if you are adding in another 8 miler, that can be a pretty big jump in miles for the week.  i think starting off easy definitely helps get your body used to it.

middle name marie said… WoW! You are a planner! I usually just find a plan on the internet and follow it. Am I doing something wrong?

definitely not!  that’s how i did many of my first few training programs, this is just a process i have come up with over time and getting to know myself and how i train.  i definitely think there are some great programs out there to pull right from the book, you just have to remember that sometimes they don’t work for everyone.  after every marathon cycle, i like to go back through my training and note what worked and what didn’t so the next time around i can make changes to make me more successful.  my training program will be a constant work in progress. 

any other questions?

11 days to go until training for marathon #8 starts!  i am thinking i will go through more comprehensive weekly recaps during this cycle, so i can see how things are flowing better since this will be my first time using this plan.  i am excited and kind of nervous, i feel like it’s been a long time (longest training break for me since i started running) since i was in training!


wednesday – track day.

uggg.  definitely not my best day.  it was pretty warm out and i just wasn’t feeling great.  when i started running i could feel the hillier bike ride i did the day before.  i had planned on getting in an extra long warm up but turns out we were being booted off the track so warm up was rushed so we could get in as much as we could on the actual track.

our workout: 5×1000 + 4×400

i definitely didn’t make it through all of those.  i got through 3 of the 1000’s before we were asked to leave (team practicing… which actually is throwing a new twist into my plan since it looks like we are switching track days!  just when i thought i was done) so we went to the parking lot, which was way more difficult (weird corners, hill, etc) and much hotter.  i was done before i even started but managed to get another 1000 in and that was all i had.  i jogged around for a cool down mile and decided that was enough for me. 

the 1000s were all over the place distance wise so just for comparison/detail sake i am taking the avg pace per my garmin: 7:15, 7:20, 7:23, 7:23.

whatever, i am over this one and ready to move on to the next one!

5.25 miles/44:49/8:32 avg pace

this morning i got up and headed out in the dark for my run.  the temps were cool which was nice but i am getting REALLY sick of the wind around here!  its been in the double digit mph for so long now and i just want it to leave.  i don’t ever remember it being this windy.

my legs were tired at first but i picked it up as i went and got faster every single mile.  i sun come up also.  can’t ask for much more on a run :)

8.0 miles/1:09:09/8:38 avg pace

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20 Responses to marathon training – the final details

  1. Emz August 5, 2010 at 6:58 am #

    You are the picture perfect runner, I swear.

    Look at those workouts! Times! Calculations! Miles!


  2. Petraruns August 5, 2010 at 7:48 am #

    I totally agree with Emz – you are very impressive. You should be a coach. My coach.

  3. Katie A. August 5, 2010 at 8:08 am #

    Loved this!

    Just realized, LB will be my marathon #8, too! I first have to get to Tahoe, #7 in Sept first, though!

    And the WIND is driving me CRAZY! CRAZY I tell you! I'm so over it. My only tought is that it could potentially be windy at LB so I'm trying to stay positive…trying to!

  4. Julianne August 5, 2010 at 8:08 am #

    You are seriously an amazing planner. I wish I was half as organized as you!!! Omg #8 is soon!! Wait, is that CIM??? Let's catch up tomorrow night!

  5. Julianne August 5, 2010 at 8:08 am #

    Dang just realized it was LB,not CIM… duh

  6. Denise August 5, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    i think you found yourself a new career or side job!

  7. marathonmaiden August 5, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    gosh. will you move to the new england area and coach me?! you are way impressive and so dedicated. i love it :)

  8. Marlene August 5, 2010 at 8:20 am #

    I love running through sunrise!

    Sounds like a rough night of track work. Way to pull through and bust out some decent splits. Next one will be better!

    Thanks for all the tips on fine tuning your training plan. I am definitely looking forward to seeing how this round goes for you!

  9. Mark August 5, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    It's a bummer to have to evacuate the track, good job on the 1k's!!

  10. J August 5, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    Great job toughing it out on the track workout – doing track workouts in the heat can be brutal! Watching the sun rise while running (and also the moon set) is one of my favorite things about morning running!

  11. Bethany + Ryan August 5, 2010 at 9:32 am #

    wow, you are such a planner!!! :-) almost time for #8! wohoo!

  12. Kristina August 5, 2010 at 11:14 am #

    I always feel so strange running around the track with a team practicing. Luckily they haven't asked me to leave while they practice (so annoying that they did it to you) but i get very self-conscience with 35 highschool boys around.

  13. Keri August 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Wow that is a tough workout 5 x 1000 AND 4 x 400! I don't blame you for being done!

  14. Running and living August 5, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    Looks great, you are becoming such an expert:) And I love how you roll with it and don't sweat it when runs don't go well. It's part of the game, right?

  15. Jamie August 5, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    I wish I could plan like you! That was one serious track workout. I would be done early on that one too!

  16. August 5, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Im falling in love with the track again!!! Thanks for sharing your training plans with us! You will rock #8!!!! Great job on the runs too

  17. Josh August 5, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

    Hi, hope it's OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout ( Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog ( ). thanks, Josh

  18. All Things Jaime August 6, 2010 at 5:31 am #

    Thanks for answering my question!! :) I love new plans so you must be so excited that you're getting ready to start training for #8!! :)

  19. lindsay August 6, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    you really are just perfect all around :) mrs perfect runner, perfect vegetable gardener, perfect party-thrower… if only i were half as awesome!

    so… you aren't even gonna give a glimpse into your goal time?! c'mon now!

  20. onelittletrigirl August 7, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    I need to live in CA so you can be my coach!!!!

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