Marathon #2 Training Update

March 19th, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Life

I am 5 weeks out from completing my second marathon. I thought it would be a good time to check in with those of you who may be interested in hearing how my training is going. I haven’t been talking about it nearly as much as I did with my first race and I’m doing things quite a bit differently!

2014-03-14 09.39.13

For my first marathon I trained with a local running store, Running Wild. The program was 16 weeks and we were divided up into pace groups based on our prior race times and running history over the last year. We all followed the same training schedule that looked something like this:

Monday: Everyday run

Tuesday: Medium Long run/Tempo run

Wednesday: off

Thursday: Medium Long run/Tempo run

Friday: Everyday run

Saturday: Long run

Sunday: off

They didn’t prescribe any strength training and I ended up stopping mine all together because I was just so damn tired all of the time. Many weeks we were running 40-50 miles and I was often getting up between 4:30-5 a.m. to get 8-10 milers in before work. My body kind of hated me. So, I wanted to do things a bit differently this time around and my ‘plan’ looks something like this:

Monday: 5k + 30 minutes of strength or abs

Tuesday: Medium long run/tempo run

Wednesday: 1 hour of strength or barre, sometimes an afternoon session on the bike/stair climber

Thursday: Everyday run/tempo run

Friday: 5k + 30 minutes of strength or abs

Saturday: Long run

Sunday: off

Reduced overall miles, maintained strength training and I’m also trying to do more of my long runs at my actual marathon pace. Considering I successfully completed a 20 mile long run this past weekend I’d say the plan is working out for me so far. I don’t really expect to improve my time much in Nashville because of how hilly the course is, but I’m hoping to come in at about the same (4:44.)

I think the biggest difference between training cycles is that I know I can do it this time around. Training for my first marathon included a lot of self-doubt. Almost every weekend for the last 2 months we had long runs scheduled that were farther than I’d ever run before, and I was sometimes genuinely worried I wouldn’t be able to make it. Now, a 20 mile run is still daunting but knowing I’ve done 26.2 before reminds me that I can 100% do 20.

I also know the importance of preventative measures. I’ve had a few minor aches and pains come up but nothing as dramatic as I did the first time. I’m using trigger point 3-5 times a week to keep my ongoing shin splints at bay.  I’ll typically spend a few minutes with it after most runs, and then immediately put on compression socks. I’ve been jumping into ice baths after runs over 16 miles and I foam roll after every single run.
trigger pointNot having a set plan has also made this marathon feel much more fun and stress free. If I don’t feel like running on certain days, I don’t. If I need to adjust my tempo run pace or long run pace, I do. I think I feel strong and confident going into this marathon because I trained so extensively for my first. It was around this time (5-6 weeks out) last year that I started to get sick of running. I just missed other workouts and was constantly tired. Not the case this time! I went out yesterday for a medium long run of 8 miles and felt absolutely fantastic.

2014-03-18 11.03.10Assuming I still don’t hate running after Marathon #2 I think #3 will be the Pensacola Marathon again this November. For that one I will be aiming for a specific goal time of 4:30. That’s the group I trained with last time and clearly I didn’t meet that the first time around but I will own it in round 2!

If you are planning to run in the 2014 St. Jude Country Music Marathon & 1/2 Marathon presented by Nissan you can use code ERICARUNS for $10 off your registration!

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25 Responses

  • I’m excited for you Lady! :) I think that’s what I like least about training for runs– feeling like I “have” to run.

    • Erica House says:

      I did okay doing the 5 runs a week up until about the 10 week mark last time. Then I just started to get super sick of it. I was looking over the paper schedule I had printed out from #1 and I wrote next to a lot of the runs around this time ‘tired’, ‘not feeling it’, … so I’ve successfully avoided at least that this go around!

  • Caroline says:

    It sounds like you’re having a great training cycle, and I’m glad that you’ve been able to incorporate other types of cross training.

    • Erica House says:

      In a perfect world I’d be swimming and biking as my cross-training! I still dream of doing a tri someday but the start up costs are just to much for me right now.

  • It takes some trial and error to determine what kind of running plan your body does best on. I often feel much better on 3-4 days of running so I’m not exhausted all the time and can actually hit my goal paces! Glad it’s going better for you this round!

    • Erica House says:

      I have noticed that it is much easier to hit my goal paces on my runs this time. During cycle 1 I often felt like I was struggling just to maintain my everday run pace and that’s definitely not the case now. Now, I’m often going 10-15 seconds quicker then I ‘need’ to be which feels great!

  • I love reading these marathon training updates! I’m currently training for marathon number 1 that’s on June 1st. Those long weekend runs are incredibly daunting! But I do feel amazing after I complete those miles for the first time. I’m following a first time marathoners plan from Runners World and I really like it so far. And I keep strength training in my schedule on the lower mile days because I do not want to lose that! Good luck with your training; sounds like you’re doing great!

    • Erica House says:

      I think the main reason why I want to do an ultra is to have those distance PR’s again. When training for your first every weekend feels like such a huge accomplishment, because it really is! Can’t wait to see how your first goes.

  • misszippy1 says:

    That’s the nice thing that comes with experience–learning what does and doesn’t work for you and tweaking the plans to customize to your needs. I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

    • Erica House says:

      I always told myself if I ever got to the point of not liking running anymore I wouldn’t do it. This type of training (more intuitive) has made me fall in love with it all over again!

  • Rick says:

    I think you are doing great. My first marathon was a 4:44 and I ran so much in prep for it that I was always tired. For the next one I cut down on the number of running days, kept my long run and tempo runs and then did cross training (swimming, biking, weights or whatever I felt like). I cut down my time to 4:18! I felt better because of my training, plus the knowledge that I did it before and I can do it again helped. Good luck! I am doing VT Marathon on Memorial Day. This will be my 7 marathon (and in July doing my 3rd 50k!).
    Keep us posted!

    • Erica House says:

      Wow – you are giving me some hope I may be able to shave a few minutes off! How did you find training for your first 50k in comparison to marathon training? I think I’ll do my 3rd marathon in November and there is a 50k in February of 2015 I’d like to do.

  • Andrew says:

    Sounds like you have your arms around a great training plan.

    Nashville and this race is a good time. The part of the course by Belmont University is beautiful. As I tweeted you earlier … the Pancake Pantry is a must-do.

    Keep up the injury-free training. Great Job!!!

    • Erica House says:

      I’m a sucker for anything Pancake related. With almost 20,000 runners in town I’m sure that place will be swamped with carb-loaders!

  • I love that you are changing things up to what works better for you, I think that is really smart and really important. I am a big believer in changing training plans to be more personalized. Do you find the trigger point helps your shin splints? I have been dealing with them in my right leg for a few weeks now and looking for some new things to try.

    • Erica House says:

      I feel like trigger point 100% helped eliminate my shin splints. My shin splints were being causer by ridiculously tight calf muscles. The tight calves limited the range of motion for my entire lower leg and it felt like my shins were ‘seizing up.’ The TP kit really focused on the soleus muscle and within a few days all my shin splint pain was gone. You can see the kit I use and a bit more on how it works here:

  • Valerie says:

    Hi I’m a newbie runner, I’m actually running my 3rd 5k this Saturday. I enjoy reading your article and posts about training! Please let me know if you have any tips for newbies…I can use all the help you can give :)

    • Erica House says:

      Good luck on your 5k this weekend! I just ran my first 5k about a year and a half ago so I vividly remember what it feels like to be a newbie runner. I wrote a little bit about how I got into running and the plan I followed in this post :

      I will likely do another ‘running for beginners’ post soon as I have a friend who’s starting to train for her race and I’ve been reliving what it’s like being new to the world of running!

  • “If I don’t feel like running on certain days, I don’t. If I need to adjust my tempo run pace or long run pace, I do.”
    That’s my kind of training!

    I mentioned I had goals of doing a half at the end of the summer, but logistically, I just don’t think I can make it happen. I bought a double jogging stroller specifically for running, but I HATE running with it! And the amount of time needed to spend training for a half is something I can’t commit to unless I can bring my kids along since I run outdoors & don’t belong to a gym. Anyway, times & seasons…& I haven’t totally made up my mind yet. But it IS a pretty big time commitment. Training for a half requires me to be more than just a casual runner, which I’m not sure I’m there yet.

    • Erica House says:

      I see the women running with strollers and I honestly don’t know how they do it. I mean, I guess it’s either that or not running at all for a lot of them but I can’t fathom pushing 50-60 lbs in front of me as I run.

      Thinking about my training today and I realized the only difference between being in marathon training and not is the long runs on the weekend. Otherwise, I always run at least 3 days a week and on the weekends I did 8-12 between December-February. I’m just loving how little marathon training has disrupted my life this time around. Then again, I don’t even think I’d be able to find time to put my shoes on if I had 5 kids!

  • I find you so inspiring! I’m toying with the idea of starting to train for my first half marathon. My doc gave me the okay to start introducing moderate and gradual runs in (we’re trying for a baby, but husband will be gone until June…just gotta make sure the lady parts keep working okay, haha). I’m starting with a 10K schedule, but if everything goes good this month then I will bump it to an 8-12 week half marathon sched. The only downfall is that most of the halfies in the Southwest are in the Spring or Fall which I just realized last week, haha. I’m considering flying home to Chicago for the Rock n Roll Half at the end of July, but I’ll only do it if I can get my best friends or brother or sister on board. MAD props to you for running a marathon- Baller.

    • Erica House says:

      I actually thought about doing the Rock N Roll in Chicago as well! It is a bummer that race season stops from about May-Oct down here. I try to focus on it as a good time to work on strength and speed work but I really miss the races and long runs during the summer.

  • Carla says:

    I need something :-)
    rumble rollers, trigger point, something something something STAT.