Preparing to Train (Again)

This will be the third training plan I have written since my injury.  I started the first plan because I thought I was getting better and was ready to start base building to set myself up for the marathon.  Then I read all about heart rate training and decided to go with an MAF training plan.  Now here I am today, so over the heart rate training plan (next winter!) and I need to base build into the Lake Effect Half Marathon which will officially kick off my marathon training.  The third time is a charm, right?

Ultimately, this is a “soft” training plan, one that I won’t print because I will need to alter it as needed — dates of workouts, paces as fitness increases, scratching workouts, etc.  Actually, as I started making this training plan I was basing it on my teaching Monday – Wednesday and that’s already changed now that my gym/work was bought out by sold out to LA Fitness.  Because of that, I may just post weekly or bi-weekly portions as it comes up.

I don’t like to use just one plan because they don’t really work for me.  Not every runner is the same and it kind of irritates me when people think one training plan fits all.  I created this one using a combination of a plan preparing for the Boston Marathon (beginner) and the cycles from Elite Marathoning (along with training paces).  I used the Boston plan to prepare weekly mileage goals and long runs. I used Elite Marathoning for everything else.  I really enjoyed the reasoning behind the workouts, the paces, and all the information provided by Mark Hadley.  I highly recommend checking it out (and don’t worry, it’s not just for elite marathoners!)

All that being said, the starting point for my paces right now is based off my most recent race which was the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 8k.  I finished the race feeling somewhat like I had I more to give, which was okay because I didn’t want to push it too hard.  Using that finishing time (40:59), I’m setting my times up according to the Elite Marathoning Neutral Predisposition paces.  I went on the faster end of the spectrum rather than slower (my 8k is between the paces listed) because I felt as though I did have more to give.

Training Paces

Not a bad place to be at right now if I kept the same fitness and increased mileage considering my goal (besides finishing) is 4:00.  

My training plan begins with the New Year.  It feels like a fresh start for me.  I’m also hoping my Believe I Am journal arrives with the start of the new year (so glad I caught that they found a “secret” stash and I put an order in!) which would make my slight OCD tendencies very happy.  It shipped today so it probably will arrive in time!

Following the Elite Marathoning aspect of training, I will be in the “Fundamental” stage until middle of April, then I will jump into the “Specific” stage until I run my marathon, and then finally into the “Regeneration” phase until I feel sufficiently recovered enough to base build again (probably about 3-4 weeks) in the “Fundamental” phase.

I also intend to use a 7-day microcycle with two stress days since I’m a newbie marathoner, I’m coming off a long time without consistent running, I don’t want to burn myself out, and at the time of writing the plan, it was what fit into my schedule with three classes each week.  I’ll save the three stress days for the half marathon PR I’m setting my sights on for the end of the summer.

Even though the “Fundamental” phase includes some speed and tempo work, I don’t want to burn myself out or worse, injure myself.  I plan to keep it strictly to base building until I run the Lake Effect Half Marathon at the end of Feburary, meaning no planned speedwork.  I will probably run some tempo or light intervals to keep it interesting, but I will not put them on the schedule.

I’m really excited to have a plan.  I always am.  But I don’t have just a plan like I did over the fall to just start up running again.  I have a goal.  I am training to run a freaking marathon.  

It still amazes me to see that in writing.  I will run a marathon in six months.  I have long term goals that I believe are 110% attainable based on one year of training (Hello, you infamous BQ!) but I need to not get ahead of myself.  One step at a time, one foot in front of the other.  Marathon number 1, healthy and happy, comes first.

Do you create your own training plans?
If so, how do you determine what your workouts should be?


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

3 thoughts on “Preparing to Train (Again)”

  1. I make my own plans- but usually pull the framework of it from general plans and tweak it (a lot) so it suits my schedule, my needs and what works best for me.

    YAYYYYYY for Buffalo marathon training for you! I’m going to be screaming my face off for you, I hope you are aware of that.


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