Training for a Marathon

You know what?  I’m going to do it.

Buffalo Marathon Course
Buffalo Marathon Course

I kind of pushed the idea out of my head after the Buffalo Half Marathon because it’s terrifying, it’s a lot of miles, and each half marathon I’ve finished (okay, just two) I was like “Wow, I can’t imagine running ANOTHER one of those!”  But the mental part of running is what hinders me more than my legs.  If I didn’t get injured after the half, I would have continued my summer training upping my longest runs into the 15-16 mile range so I could run a half marathon just like I can run a 5k, 10k, 15k previously.

If I can get myself into a solid training regimen early (which I’m trying right now) with my full time job and teaching classes, I’ll be successful.  Besides, my eventual goal in life is to BQ and in order to do that, I have to get some marathons under my belt (fully prepared that any family and friends who read this that don’t run are going to tell me I’m crazy and I shouldn’t do it… nyah, I love running.)

If I hadn’t gotten injured after the half, I would have upped my long runs into the 15+ mile range and carried into 40-50 mile weeks.  I would have run another half marathon in the fall and I know I would have run sub 1:40 (and gone sub 22 in the damn 5k, 3 freakin’ seconds off before I decided I had to stop running and get a PT).  Combined with what I’ve learned in physical therapy, add in some solid training, increased mileage, and the classes I teach – I can have a healthy, injury-free run towards my first marathon next May.

So that being said, anyone have any recommendations on marathon training plans?

The marathon I’ll run is the Buffalo Marathon, which is the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.  By the time I start training (January or February), I will be averaging 30 miles per week, maybe more (depending on if I need to have a higher base to start and how my regular running is going – I could be pushing 35-40) and be comfortable with a 13 miles (I’m thinking about racing the Lake Effect Half Marathon in February).  I also do not want to run more than 4 days/week since I will be cross training Monday – Wednesday.  

My anticipated schedule will be:

  • Monday
    • PM: cross training – 30 minutes each – weights/spinning
  • Tuesday
    • AM: Run
    • PM: cross training – 60 minutes – weights
  • Wednesday
    • AM: Run
    • PM: cross training – 30 minutes each – weights/spinning
  • Thursday
    • Rest, rest, rest, rest, rest
  • Friday/Saturday/Sunday:
      • Two days of running, one day of rest – arranged according to schedule

Basically, I’m begging for any advice, training plans, tips, must do’s and must do not’s from everyone.  Begging.



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Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

12 thoughts on “Training for a Marathon”

  1. Honestly, any cookie cutter training plan that fits into your schedule and has appropriate volume for your fitness will get you to the marathon. The most important part is that it simply fits into your schedule so your compliance to the schedule is high.
    There’s 100’s of plans online and in books, and each one has worked for thousands of runners. Look around and find one that fits into your life 🙂


    1. I think I’m probably going to end combining plans that I like (as I tend to) between their speed/mileage. I’ve never been able to find a plan where I like every single workout 😛

      But I completely agree – it has to fit in my schedule or else I’m not going to be successful to the plan, and then I’ll end up making it up as I go… not a recipe I want!


  2. I recommend the training programs in Runner’s World too. I recently completed my first marathon, and to be honest it felt a lot easier than I thought it would be. I have a lot of info on my site about my training, but basically it consisted of one very long run(16 or more miles) per week, 2 half marathons per week, and some shorter runs(4 – 6 miles) in between the long runs. Plus one or two days a week of rest.

    It usually added up to 35 – 45 miles per week. My cross-training consisted of juggling, and sometimes walking, though I often wish I had a bike to do some cycling as cross-training. I did strength training on my legs twice a week usually.

    Maybe drinking a lot of tart cherry juice helped me recover faster, but sometimes I’m not so sure. Exactly 1 week after the marathon, I ran a half-marathon distance and I am running just like before the marathon. With the right amount of committment you will conquer this, don’t worry. The main thing is to have fun. I know you will do well!


    1. Thanks for the input! I’ll have to check it out.

      I’m hoping I have enough time in my life to run the adequate distance during the week, but that’s what scares me! I only have about an hour to fit in a run on Tuesday/Wednesday due to my two jobs, so the max is probably going to be 6 miles once winter hits, unless I take it to the treadmill (ew).


  3. I don’t have any recommendations for running half plans but I do know just upping your long run 1-2 miles weekly is the easiest way to get there. Run what you want throughout the week and then a longer run on Sunday. Only increasing overall mileage by 10% and you won’t find yourself injured. Never make Lake Effect a goal race (since the conditions) but it would be a perfect training race 🙂


    1. Ha, my boyfriend was like “a February half marathon? Why would you do that? Your time will be horrible.” Silly boy, he doesn’t understand it’s for the fun of saying you ran 13 miles… in February… in Syracuse…

      That’s what I’m thinking as far as my long runs, too. I tend to like training plans for things like speed – I’m clueless about speed for marathon (and I don’t like not training for speed just because I haven’t run a distance). But that leaves me w/ speed on a treadmill for this race and that sucks too… decisions decisions!


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