Last week I ran 14 miles on Sunday. I hit my 30 miles over the course of the week, the point I have established as some base mileage over the past few months. I checked my calendar and then got a little bit nervous. Why?
16 weeks! Marathon #2 is already just 16 short weeks away and training needs to get official!
I’ve known that it’s coming for awhile now, so I shouldn’t really be nervous. In fact, I’m pretty excited for the race itself. The nerves mainly hit when I think about training.
I do LOVE the training part of the marathon. I just know that I loved it a little too much last time and made some stupid mistakes. Now I want to train smart so I can run strong in this coming marathon…but I haven’t been able to determine what that will actually mean in my training. I have researched, revised, and overanalyzed training plans and my previous training to try to figure things out.
Errors of My Previous Marathon Training Ways
- I went from running 3 days per week to 5 days per week without any transition time or base building period to increase my mileage.
- I completed speed, tempo, AND pace runs each week. I had thought to do just one per week, but I always “felt so good” that I ended up doing some sort of speed work almost every single run. No easy runs.
- Then, I ran my long runs way too fast. I ran my long runs often around 9:00 minute miles, which would be faster than a reasonable goal marathon pace. Or over one minute per mile faster than those runs should have happened for safe training.
In sum, I got cocky. Yea, I’m owning up to it.
picture from a previous post after a too fast 8 mile run…just a few weeks before injury struck
Based on my previous half marathon times, the McMillan running calculator predicted I could run a full marathon in around 3:52 or something like that. So, I assumed I had it in the bag and trained at paces to achieve a 4 hour marathon. In reality, I should have recognized that the marathon is a completely different beast and I should have approached it with zero time goal and certainly more of a focus on steady, easy paced mileage. You all know what happened – injury #1, injury #2, and quite the struggle of a first marathon experience.
It’s what brings me back. Not only the fact that conquering the marathon provides such an intense experience and thrill, but also because I know I can do better and train smarter. But then what does smarter and better even look like for me?
I’ve been gradually rebuilding up my mileage and have settled at around 30 miles per week for awhile. I’ve discovered imbalances and things to take caution around with training in this cycle. I plan to run slow and steady more often than not and force myself to keep long runs even slower than that.
I’ve toyed with the ideas of following the Run Less, Run Faster book I reviewed before, considering running only 3 days per week. Then, I know the principle to be able to tackle a marathon on only 3 days of running per week means those 3 days need to be more intense training. I don’t trust my body to do that much speed work yet. So, that doesn’t feel right. Most other plans include 5 days of running per week and/or very little other guidelines. I know the extra training day and mileage doesn’t work too well for my body. So, those plans didn’t feel right either.
I picked and chose a variety of things and created my own plan with 4 days of running per week, more frequent scale back weeks, and only one conservatively paced tempo/pace/cruise interval training run per week. Even still, I was unsure of how that plan would play out and if it revolved around good training principles. That left me turning to an expert.
Hi, Heather! She has run numerous marathons, completed Ironman triathlons, and holds a USATF certification to make her a reputable running coach. On top of all that, she is a trusted friend who I know I can trust her experience and advice. That means I’m not quite sure what my training will look like just yet, but I will a week from now! And I can trust she will work with me and my body in the best way possible. I’ll get in a standard 30 mile week this week and then off we go! Let marathon training officially commence!
Your Turn – Do you enjoy working with a coach and having a plan laid out for you? I guess I’m used to CREATING the plans, that it took a lot to give up my control tendency ways to say “Help me, Heather!”. I know I will be glad I did, though. And that I still really have the control since she will listen to me and my feedback. She’s a good coach/person like that.