Selecting and Modifying a Marathon Training Schedule

“I’m Never Running Again… Oh look! A race!” — Liz after the Portland Marathon

I ran my first marathon at the Portland Marathon last October. I trained for months and mentally prepare myself as much as possible. But when it came to game day, nothing could prepare me for mile 22 when I was mentally shot and in more pain than I had EVER experienced, vowing never, ever again. But in classic Liz fashion, after a few weeks of recovery I was signed up for another marathon!

I am now excited to be running the Seattle Rock ‘n Roll Marathon this coming June! Last year I ran the half so I am excited for the new experience (ok, maybe I just want the cool finisher’s jacket). Although June may seem like a long ways away, I have already put my training schedule together and I would love to share it with you!

In planning,  I wanted to keep in mind what did and didn’t work last time.

What Worked

  • variance in types of activities
  • sticking to a consistent long run schedule

What Didn’t Work

(my hypothesis)

  • not enough runs in a week
  • giving myself the occasional two off days in a row, which I think made me miss out on an opportunity for muscle memory
  • hydration

Finding a Plan to Address those Wins and Misses

Once I established what I think did and didn’t work last training round, I set out to find some suggested training schedules on Runners World that addressed some of the misses from last time. Thanks to a coworker also training for the Seattle Rock ‘n Roll, I settled on the First-Timers Marathon Plan.

Adjusting the Plan

This plan provides the variance I want, while increasing the number of runs per week. I am really glad that I purchased one off runners world, as it had a ton of helpful tips throughout the plan. Once I had the plan, I did the following:

  • Read through the whole plan
  • Jotted down reminders that would help me consistently throughout my training on the top of the calendar
  • Added more detailed notes in the calendar for some of the training days (this way I don’t have to reference the detailed training plan every day).
  • Wrote the week start date next to each row on the calendar so I am reminded that there is no room for slacking!

You don’t have to do this, but I find it really helpful in mentally preparing myself to start a tough training regime. Some of my notes included:

  • How much water to drink daily (calculated using this tool)
  • How many calories and when to consume during hard training days
  • My training paces (calculated using this tool)

Plan for the interim weeks

Now that I’ve established when I need to start training and how I’m going to train, I need to establish how I’m going to spend the weeks prior to my training plan start date. The steps I took include:

  • look at my first long run on the training schedule
  • ramp up my weekend runs to slowly hit that distance on week 1 of the training plan (i.e. if I need to start the plan at 10 miles, then I’m going to do a 3 mile saturday, 6 mile saturday, 8 mile saturday, etc.)
  • establish which days I will take off
  • work in some of the training I will be doing into the remaining days

My interim schedule ended up looking like this:

And there you have it – my journey to marathon number 2 is planned out! I hope this information is helpful in your training planning. Please feel free to reach out in the comments with any questions!


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