My Marathon Training Plan

Monday night I rushed out of work and straight to the Marathon Training kickoff meeting at Running Wild. Before the meeting my feelings toward marathon training were evenly split: 50% excited and 50% WTH did I get myself into. After the meeting: 75% excited to 25% Get out while you still can.



Photo courtesy of Running Wild's Instagram

The meeting was hosted by Paul Epstein, who co-owns the store with his wife Cherie. When he came in at 10 seconds past 5:30 when and apologized for being late I knew I was going to like him. For the next hour he went over the general points of the program, introduced some of the pacers and opened the floor for questions.

I really, really liked his approach. He said one of his main goals of the program isn't to get us to finish our first marathon - that's easy ('easy' being used very loosely.) His hopes are that the training inspires us to sign up for Marathon #2. Meaning - many people have a bad first experience with marathon racing because they get injured or overload themselves training to quickly. He hopes that we not only finish our first successfully, but that we continue to love running just as much after we cross the finish line. That may be a lot to ask after logging in around 600 training miles!

The training plan itself definitely surprised me. It is a 16 week program and we walked away Monday night with an outline of the first four weeks. For the first month each week has the following:

- 2 Easy Runs

- 2 Tempo/Speedwork Runs

- 1 Long Run

- 2 Rest Days

The mileage varies from 28-32 which is a bit more than the 20 I've been averaging lately but I'm ready to kill it! Paul was also very clear that we need to follow a pace chart that they gave us that tells us what pace to run each of the runs at based on what our goal marathon finish time is. For example, my goal is 4:30 and according to the chart my long run pace needs to be around 11:15. My normal long run pace is about 10:30 so I'm looking forward to slowing it down and seeing the difference it makes.

I went on my first tempo run today. LOVED it. I've gotten into this groove where it doesn't matter if I'm running 3 miles or 10 my pace is always 10:30. It was nice to vary it up a bit today.

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Now, the part of training I was a bit surprised with; Paul made it very clear that the only exercising we should be doing from now until the marathon is running. No strength training or other aerobic activity.


As you can imagine that prompted some concerned questions from the audience. As a veteran runner and someone who's hosted marathon training programs for years I trust that he knows what he's talking about. The chances of injury significantly increase the more strain you put on your body, and for your first marathon your primary focus is to train your legs to run. Makes sense. Not that I'm quite ready to give up my Barre workouts or strength routines though. We will find out who are coaches are next week and I may speak to mine about keeping 1 day of upper body strength training.



I'll be filling you all in on how training is going on Fridays when I do my usual weekly workout summaries. As always if you have any tips, suggestions or questions please don't hesitate to ask!

What scares you the most when you think about running a marathon?