Marathon Training: My low mileage plan & thoughts on out of town races

Now that a week has passed since the Nashville Marathon I wanted to answer a few common questions I received along the way regarding how I trained differently for this race compared to my first marathon (the Pensacola Marathon.) In general, my first training cycle featured very high mileages weeks and zero strength training. I trained with a local running store and followed the plan they prescribed. A lot of people questioned the lack of strength training but I completed the training and marathon basically injury free so not having the strength wasn't detrimental in that regard. I definitely missed the weights though! This training cycle featured lower miles and I continued to do core work 2x a week and a total body routine once a week. Training Plans

Do I think this training plan was more effective?

Honestly, that's impossible for me to answer. Going into this training cycle I already knew that I could run a marathon, and that was a huge improvement over cycle 1. I had a confidence I didn't have before, and I feel like my legs were in much better condition at the start of this cycle thanks to the heavy mileage weeks they were running a few months prior. As far as time/energy saving I think this cycle was more effective. Since the courses for the two races were so dramatically different (Pensacola marathon had very little elevation and Nashville marathon was nothing but hills) and my times were similar (4:44 and 4:52) I think I went into the race as prepared as I did with the first one.

Pensacola marathon1

Would I train this way again?

Absolutely. My body does not like the high mileage weeks. When I was preparing for the first marathon and running 40-50 miles weeks it often entailed waking up at 4:30 a.m. to get in 8-10 miles before work, and between running and working 3 jobs (60-70 hours a week) my body just freaked out. I stopped producing estrogen, didn't get my period at all in 2013 and was just tired. Of course this all happened a few months after my Hashimotos diagnosis so some of those symptoms went away as my thyroid medication kicked in, but I'm certain they weren't being helped by the stress I was putting on my body. For my next marathon I will continue to do similar mileage as I did with this cycle, maybe changing Tuesday's run to a tempo run.

2014-04-26 12.49.30

Would I do another out of town marathon?

Not unless I was very familiar with the city. I had read that some people can get cranky in the two week taper period before the marathon but that didn't happen to me the first time around. This time I was a wreck. The stress of having to pack and coordinate an out of town race was just too much for me. Going out of town adds new dimensions to the race like; waking up at 4 a.m. to make sure we could find parking at the start line, not being familiar with driving in a new city, making sure to bring food my tummy was familiar with to eat the days leading up to the race, and not being able to go home after the race and do my normal post-race recovery stuff. I'll be running in NOLA in January but I've been there so often I feel very comfortable there. I'd run a half out of town without stressing about it much, but I don't think I'll ever run a marathon in a city I've never been to again (unless it's somewhere amazing like Paris!)

For my general tips about running a marathon please see this post on surviving my first marathon. All of the same advice still applies! Of course if you have any other questions at all please ask them in the comments and I'd love to give any insight I can.

pensacola marathon

Want to know my #1 secret for having a great marathon? Check back tomorrow! {I know, I'm such a tease}