A mum of 2 trying to stay sane in an overly airbrushed world.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Marathon Training Plan

If you're anything like me you'll have googled the title of this post to death. I like you also wanted to find some magical training plan to make running a marathon less of a marathon.

I'm gonna save you some time and tell you it doesn't exist. There are lots of great examples of 'other' peoples training plans...but its gonna be pretty tough to find someone who has the same body profile, running ability and lifestyle factors as you. I'm afraid you really do need to sit down and think about this seriously, realistically and honestly.

Like parenting, awaiting the arrival of your first marathon will draw 2 types of people to you:
1. Previous marathon runners
2. Wannabe marathon runners

Number 1 will come at you with all their horror stories, tips and snippets of wisdom, which may seem annoying but remember the parenting analogy...if someone has been brave/stupid enough to take on a marathon then they will have something to say that you need to hear (its called experience)!

Number 2 on the other hand you may want to switch your headphones up on with their age old tales of toe nails falling off and Brenda's third cousin who died just trying to open an Excel spreadsheet to write his training plan.
Always revert to my earlier revelation - this is about YOU and however you tackle it will be right and its going to be you having to live with these decisions come race day. Do it your way!

The best advice I have received so far has come from @morningcoffeerun who told me to book a half marathon to keep me motivated and build up a solid foundation by concentrating on spending time running rather than achieving set mileage targets and @stringersport who directed me to Hal Higdon who has a great website with printable guides for base plans and a breakdown on the sorts of distances you should be aiming for each week as your race gets closer.

In my previous post 'Running Nowhere Fast' I was struggling training up from 5k to 10k. Nothing in my running seemed to be consistent, I was seeing little to no improvement and it wasn't getting any easier. Since writing that I got my London marathon place, had breast reconstruction surgery and read Julie Creffield's book 'The Fat Girls' Guide to Marathon Running', the mix of those three things has helped me greatly - its meant I have had to rest, I have had to accept that I will be running a marathon and understand that is wholly possible because I want to do it (the end). Reading Julie's book has been a total game changer...nothing she writes is revolutionary but seeing it written down has allowed me to make peace with a lot of parts of my running. I am not 'fat' but the book is one big positive mental affirmation for me and I now embrace certain facts:
  • I will need to walk parts of it.
  • Its not all about time. 
  • Being able to say I've done it IS enough. 
  • It is all about putting the work in.
So put the work in I will. My 'official' training began w/c 15th October and I will be following this rough plan for the next 12 weeks:

1 = 4 runs: 20 minute run, 5 minute walk.
2 = 4 runs: 25 minute run, 5 minute walk.
3 = 4 runs: 30 minute run.
4 = 4 runs: 30 minute run.
5 = 4 runs: 3 x 3 miles and 1 x 5 miles.
6 = 4 runs: 3 x 3 miles and 1 x 6 miles.
7 = 4 runs: 3 x 3 miles and 1 x 7 miles.
8 = 4 runs: 2 x 3 miles, 1 x 4 miles and 1 x 5 miles.
9 = 4 runs: 2 x 3 miles, 1 x 4 miles and 1 x 9 miles.
10 = 4 runs: 2 x 3 miles, 1 x 5 miles and 1 x 10 miles.
11 = 4 runs: 2 x 3 miles, 1 x 5 miles and 1 x 7 miles.
12 = 4 runs: 2 x 3 miles, 1 x 6 miles and 1 x 12 miles.
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