Debbie’s Marathon Training Plan

When Mike and I decided to sign up for the 2013 Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN, we sat down with pen and paper and started sketching out our training plan. We had looked at several plans online and in books and decided most of them, for the level we were training at (this being my second marathon in 6 years and his first), did not have us logging enough miles for us to feel as though we could be successful. We’ve both ran several half marathons with great success and decided to take what we did for our half marathons and use the same strategy for our full marathon training plan. We have always been most successful with our training when we have done it based on time, rather than on distance. In a way, its still based on distance because we figure out about how far we want to run and multiply that by what pace per mile we will be running, and that determines how many minutes we’ll be hitting the pavement on that day. When creating our training plan, we decided that we wanted to get in three runs that were 20+ milers (preferably 20, 22, & 23) with the last long run being two weeks before the marathon. I know many training plans have the last long run be 3 weeks before, but for us, having two weeks for the recovery time was perfect. It allowed our legs to recover without feeling like we had been mentally taken out of it by tapering too long. We also do all our long runs at our anticipated race pace. I know that some training plans will have you train at a minute or more slower than your anticipated pace. For us, this was not appealing so we chose to do all our runs at a pace that felt right. We listened to our bodies and let our bodies guide the running pace.

Overall, our training plan was a success, and I would use it again in a heartbeat. I finished my marathon with a time of 4:00:53, and Mike finished his in 3:51:22. I was a little disappointed with my time and should have been right there with Mike. You can read about it in my Country Music Marathon Recap. I attribute that to the hills on the course and to the fact that I was unable to complete the hill workouts I had in my plan once I got to about the midway point of the training due to a quad and hammy problem. If I would have been able to do these faithfully, I believe the result would have been much different.

How the plan works:

Below is the training plan we put together. It includes five days of running with two rest days. Each week includes one hill workout or one speed workout, alternating every week (during our plan we just did hills because of Nashville being so hilly, but I would change this the next time no matter what the terrain of the course to alternate between speed work and hill work). Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday I’ve included how many miles your goal should be to run x’s whatever pace you think you will run. We picked a pace to run that would challenge us but allow us to still carry on a conversation while running. We actually ran faster than our expected pace every time so usually ended up logging more miles than planned, which we figured was okay. Basically, I would say to pick the pace that you usually run. So, looking at the first training day in the chart below, if you usually run a 9 minute mile pace, take 9 times 6 and you would be running 54 minutes on that day. We liked doing it this way because then we weren’t so focused on the route we were running. We would get lost in conversation or thoughts and find that we ran a lot better and usually faster than expected. I carried my phone with the Map My Run App so we always knew our exact distance when we were done.

Hill & Speed Work

Every Wednesday you will alternate between a hill workout and a speed workout. I like doing these on the treadmill. You can see FitnFab’s Treadmill Hill Workout and FitnFab’s Treadmill Speed Workout for two great workouts to follow. Both workout take 40 minutes so that is why it say “40m Hill” or “40m Speed”. If you prefer to do this workout outside, you can find a track or a route with consistent hills and do a workout that is similar. When doing speed work outside, I like to find a track and do fartleks (run the straightaway at a faster pace, about 1 – 1:30 min. faster pace than your regular pace) and run the curves about :30 – 1:00 min slower than your regular pace) for 40 minutes. As for hills outside, I try to find about a half mile loop that is very hilly or goes up hill most of one way and run it over and over for 40 minutes. There are other great plans you can find online. Once you hit 20+ miles, I have taken these workouts out during the heavier training weeks to allow your legs to be fully rested by the time the next long run approaches.

Recovery Run

On Sunday I have a 40 minute slow run scheduled. This is a great way to loosen up your legs after the long run the day before and to work out all the lactic acid. I usually would try to do my slow run at about :15-:30 sec. slower than my regular pace.

Total Miles

At the end of every week I have listed about how many miles you will probably have completed. I say “probably” because this can vary depending on if you go a little slower or faster than your anticipated pace and how fast you do your speed, hill, and recovery workouts. This plan has three 40+ mile weeks, which I found to be beneficial. Also, once you hit 17 miles and higher, you always have a fall back week the following week to allow your legs to recover. By the time the next long run approached, my legs felt refreshed, strong, and ready to go.

Good Luck on your goal of running a marathon! Remember, everyone has the power and strength inside them, you just need to let it out and keep your goal in mind! Please feel free to email me @ fitnfabfoody@gmail.com, Facebook Message me on my Fan Page, Tweet me @Fitnfabfoody, or comment below. I would love to help encourage you along the way to running a marathon and completing one of the greatest accomplishments a runner can achieve! Best of Luck!

FitnFab’s Marathon Training Plan

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wed

Thur

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Total Miles

Week 1

Rest

6 x Pace

40m Hill

6 x Pace

Rest

11 x Pace

40m Slow

31

Week 2

Rest

6 x Pace

40m Speed

6 x Pace

Rest

12 x Pace

40m Slow

32

Week 3

Rest

6.5 x Pace

40m Hill

6 x Pace

Rest

13 x Pace

40m Slow

33.5

Week 4

Rest

6.5 x Pace

40m Speed

6 x Pace

Rest

12 x Pace

40m Slow

32.5

Week 5

Rest

7 x Pace

40m Hill

6 x Pace

Rest

14 x Pace

40m Slow

35

Week 6

Rest

7 x Pace

40m Speed

6 x Pace

Rest

15 x Pace

40m Slow

36

Week 7

Rest

7.5 x Pace

40m Hill

6 x Pace

Rest

17 x Pace

40m Slow

38.5

Week 8

Rest

7.5 x Pace

40m Speed

6 x Pace

Rest

12 x Pace

40m Slow

33.5

Week 9

Rest

8 x Pace

40m Hill

6 x Pace

Rest

18 x Pace

40m Slow

40

Week 10

Rest

8 x Pace

40m Speed

6 x Pace

Rest

13 x Pace

40m Slow

35

Week 11

Rest

9 x Pace

6 x Pace

4 x Pace

Rest

20 x Pace

40m Slow

43

Week 12

Rest

9 x Pace

40m Hill

6 x Pace

Rest

13 x Pace

40m Slow

36

Week 13

Rest

6 x Pace

5 x Pace

4 x Pace

Rest

22 x Pace

40m Slow

41

Week 14

Rest

9 x Pace

Speed

6 x Pace

Rest

13 x Pace

40m Slow

36

Week 15

Rest

4.5 x Pace

4.5 x Pace

4 x Pace

Rest

23 x Pace

40m Slow

40

Week 16

Rest

7 x Pace

6 x Pace

4 x Pace

Rest

10 x Pace

40m Slow

31

Week 17

Rest

4 x Pace

3 x Pace

2 x Pace

Rest

RACE!

PARTY!  

 

**If you are running a Sunday Marathon, I would follow this sequence the last week – 4 x Pace, 3 x Pace, 3 x Pace, 2 x Pace, Rest, RACE!

 

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One response to “Debbie’s Marathon Training Plan

  1. Pingback: Novice Half Marathon Training Plan | fitnfabfoody·

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