04 November 2011

What's the plan, Stan? Phase I

Y'all know I've decided to run a marathon, right?

That will be 26.2 miles. Some of my readers are not runners and don't know this is the official and always marathon distance. I think I've mentioned this before. So... yeah... 26.2 miles. For fun.

Shhhh...she might be listening. 
I don't care...she's psycho. 
Well, yeah, but she's a funny and nice psycho so shhhh...you might hurt her feelings.

Sometimes I talk to myself. 

Running 26.2 miles takes some prep work. Some people use training plans. Others like to wing it. I will be using a training plan. And like Ryan Hall, no coach. Well, God is coaching him...

My training plan is self-designed based on a bunch of stuff from the past and present. It is flexible because it has to be... I have a family and stuff to do and things sometimes come up. I tend to be really good at holding myself accountable without getting anal about things, so flexible and self-designed are a good fit for me. That said, I also welcome observations and suggestions :)

I have chosen the Eugene Marathon as my target. It's close enough to my birthday to meet that requirement and it's an 'easy' enough course (if you can ever say that about a marathon...reminder: that's 26.2 miles) that I might have a snowball's chance in hell of hitting my insane goal time and getting a real PR... as opposed to a 'return to running' PR. 

Right now we are at Week 6 of the 32-week plan. But I missed the first two weeks because I was getting ready for that unpleasantness that was the Long Beach Half-Marathon. And because I am going with Eugene and not Avenue of the Giants, it will need to shrink to a 31-week plan (Week 29 becomes 28 and I'll be figuring out what I need the most when that time rolls around).

The first phase of this plan continues through the Rock n' Roll Las Vegas Half on December 4th. The running mileage in this phase is between 20 and 25 miles per week. It consists of 0.6-mile repeats @5K-pace on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, a tempo or progression run type of workout on Thursdays or Fridays, and a long run on Saturdays or Sundays. In between those workouts, I might ride my bike a little bit or do a P90X workout, like Core Synergistics or Plyometrics or X-Stretch...depending on the day's circumstances. 

My goal with this first phase is to get my legs used to turning over more quickly with the speedwork, to build a bit more stamina with the tempo/progression stuff, and to get really used to being on the road on my feet for 10+ miles with the long runs.

It will be interesting to see how Phase I pans out when I run a 5K Turkey Trot on 11/24 and then a 13.1 in Vegas on 12/4. I am very curious.

While I do have Phase II already written down, the results of Phase I Testing will have some bearing on how I proceed with Phase II, so we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. 

If you've ever run (or are planning to run) a marathon, how long of a training plan do you use?

Do you usually use a training plan when prepping for a race, or do you just wing it? If you use a plan, do you stick to it like glue? Do you freak when you go off-plan?


  1. I follow a plan. and I stick to it. You see I am a type A person, a rule follower, a former straght A student...yeah one of those...I know poor Bill. But hey I am NICE.

  2. I can't wait to see you in Eugene!

  3. awesome! excited to see how it goes! good luck!

    i always make a plan...and then end up following the LRs and thats about it. haha. I tend to go with a medium-length...whatever that means...but I get burnt out so easily if I am in "training mode" too long.

    i am so excited for the VEGAS race!!!

  4. My plans have been 18 weeks. I'm proof that you can run a marathon even if you don't hit every run. Not a great way to train, but I've finished both times. Hoping to actually buckle down and get a PR this time around... I don't freak all that much, but maybe I should (se above).

  5. I follow a plan year round, usually planned out 6 months in advance. For a marathon, I have used anything from a 12 week to 24 week plan. all depends on where I am at going into it.

  6. I'm so not a runner- but I can cheer you on! You can do it!!!

  7. I need a plan to keep me on track, but I took one and customized it for my marathon training. It's 27 weeks (I think - something like that). I'll probably continue to change it up a bit as things go on (the long run gets really long - not sure if I'll do that.

  8. I like a plan. Sometimes it needs to be adjusted, but without one I get off kilter. Good luck!

  9. I've always done a 16 week plan, even with my first marathon. I think 32 is probably much smarter. Vegas baby, can't wait. Where are you staying?

  10. I used a Hal Higdon plan for both my marathons and they went well. I'm using it again for my third marathon next year.

  11. I'm a 16-week plan girl. But, I trained for Eugene in 12 although, I had a pretty solid base. Also, I LOVE Eugene! Go my BQ there! Never in my wildest dreams. It is a great course and beautiful! Enjoy!

  12. I used training plans for my first half marathon and for my marathon. I faithfully logged almost all of my runs the way they were designed for the half. I had a combination of life getting in the way and some tendonitis problems that made me miss quite a few marathon training runs. It was a 16 week program, though, that became a 19 week program, of which I ran about 14 weeks worth of the miles. :P

  13. If I would ever run a marathon I think I would choose a 6 months plan. I wouldn't want to rush it.

  14. YAY for you!!!! I usually do a 4 month plan, but when I go for another in May I'm doing a 6 month build up because right now I'm not really running at all!! HAHA!

  15. Not sure I will ever run a marathon, but I did follow (generally speaking) a plan to finish my first sprint tri and I think the structure (with some flexibility) was good for me. I think it appeals to my Type A personality. I'm sure if I ever took on a challenge like 26.2 miles that I'd do a nice long plan like you have.

  16. It seems like you have it pretty much well thought out.

    I was happy to see that you will be "substituting" (my word, possibly not the best, but you know what I mean) some runs with plyometrics or PX90, given your hip issues. I might suggest that if you can, consider running specific weight training or pool work as other go-to substitution workouts - you'll get the same mechanical running benefits from these workouts with way less stress on the body.

    And make sure 70% of your actual miles are easy ones, I can't quite figure it out from the way you have it laid out.

    We'll be talking....

  17. I've done everything from a week-to-week plan to a 20 week plan, just depends on what the goal is or where my head is. Looks like you have some help steering you in the right direction ... it's going to go well!!

  18. Psycho...wait...did I say that out loud?
    Actually, I have no right to call you psycho. Just yesterday after I finished my workout, I said to my son Wyatt: "You're mother is psycho. Did you know your mother is psycho?" His reply: "Yes." No additional comments like, "But I still love you!" or "But you're an inspiration." So to you I say, "You're psycho, but you're an inspiration and I still love you!"

  19. What I always do is.... Okay, I'm kidding. You knew that. I read about people being physically fit. While I'm eating cheese.

    I wish you an easy training program! Best of luck!!!! You know you can DO IT!!!!

  20. Always good to have a plan, but make it your own. I map my own out each time but it is very loosey-goosey so that I can be flexible with how I am feeling, what I need to work on, etc.

    Yay marathons!

  21. Thanks for visiting my site from Fitness Friday Blog Hop!
    Congrats on your decision to run a full marathon! I've only participatedin 5k runs, after my second child was born I was preparing for a half marathon until I got pregnant with my 3rd and then stopped training.

    My plan was a 12 week plan 2 week days interval training using my heart rate monitor and Saturdays were my long slower runs. On my off days, I did light cardio such as walking or eliptical and 3 minute weight training, focusing on core stregnth. I'm thinking 2012 I'll try for a half. I look forward to reading more of your posts to help get me motivated to stick w/ a running plan!

  22. Good luck to you!! That's why I'm not sure I could run a marathon...the training part of it. I just love to run and I'm afraid if I have to "train" for something, I'll not want to run anymore.
    I'm strange ;)

  23. My husband and I use Hal Higdon's plan. I've done a bunch of 1/2 and he has done 2 marathons. I just decided on all the races I want to do in 2012 so I'll need to work on my plan too! Good luck!

  24. Well I don't run but if I did I would probably use a plan especially to run 26 psycho miles! I am so impressed with that!!

  25. Sounds like your "non training plan" is a good plan! It's hard when you have kids and a life and need to schedule around it. I think the hardest thing for me has been the cross training. When can I fit that in?


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