Wednesday, October 27, 2010

marathon training plan update

"I think I get used to, even addicted to, the feelings associated with the end of a long training run. I love feeling empty, clean, worn out, starving, and sweat-purged. I love the good ache of muscles that have done me proud. I love the way a cold beer tastes later that afternoon. I love the way my body feels light and sinewy." -Kristin Armstrong, author and runner. (And thanks to my friend Chip, who posts daily inspiration quotes about running to Facebook!)
The Houston Marathon is just over three months away. That seems like a long time, but it's not - not really. Despite claims that I've renewed my dedication to my training and am going to kick the marathon's ass, I haven't really been living up to my bravado. My long runs have been hit or miss. My pacing is off (which can be partly blamed on the fact that we're still having summer weather, even in late October). And besides yoga, my cross training has been nil.

What to do? After tossing around a few ideas, I decided to re-configure my training plan - setting it up as a 13 week plan using Smartcoach, based on my most recent half-marathon time (2:04 in Tyler) instead of my PR (1:58 in Groveton) and starting over on Monday, November 1st.  I think this is a good plan for the following reasons:

1. I'm not a very fast runner and my previous plan had been shooting for a 4:05 marathon. While I can run a fairly speedy half (if conditions are perfect and the course is flat) I tend to slow down considerably when I run anything over 15. Pacing is not my strong suit and trying to hit the paces of my current plan has been hard, discouraging, and unsuccessful. The new plan has me training for a 4:15 marathon, which I think is actually possible.

2. Even though I'm "starting over," I'm really just adjusting my current plan. "Starting over" doesn't erase the miles I've put in over the last month (62 miles in August, 61 in September, and 75 and counting for October, not to mention a pretty successful half in Tyler!).

3. While we're supposed to get some fall-like weather in the coming weeks, it would be nice to actually meet the pace goals in my training plan. Even though the runs are a bit slower, I can still possibly run a 4:15 marathon, and that would thrill me! This is my second marathon, and trying to break 4 hours this year is setting myself up for failure, disappointment, and most important - injury!

4. I have more confidence in this plan, and in my ability to complete it. That, more than anything, is a good reason to readjust my goals. Running is a challenge, and I enjoy pushing myself, but there has to be some element of pleasure in the process.

And so, without further ado: THE PLAN. (click to enlarge!)

PS: Don't forget to vote today! I'm currently lucky 13!


  1. Starting over is incorrect, as you point out, it's sounds more like "reassessing and re-evaluating" whioh should be done throughout any project. I have to admit I'm off the running train right now, but reading this sparked some hope in me that I might one day want to face those sneakers again :)

  2. Thanks, QVR! I had definitely bitten off more than I could chew with the plan I was following previously, and it caused me to dread my runs. I'm feeling really excited and eager now that I have my revised plan set up!

    And I'm still waiting to read the full dramatic story of your half! I hope you recover soon. ;)

  3. Your revamped plan sounds fantastic! I really wish my marathon were still about 3 months away. I am less than 3 weeks out and feeling rather discouraged right now with how this training cycle has gone.

  4. That picture...have you run there? That looks like an awesome route!

  5. Wow. Your plan is so great/detailed! Did you get it somewhere or just come up with it on your own? And I think 4:15 is great to shoot for. I keep thinking in my heart that I can run a 3:50 or better. But then those last 20 miles come, and I know that if I'm lucky enough to get to the start of Philly, I should stick between the 4:00 and 4:10 groups. GOOD LUCK! :)

  6. @Erica - I've only run that route once. It's the bay near my parents' house on Long Island. Super pretty and peaceful!

    @Ashley - I got the plan from Runners' World Smartcoach training plan generator. You enter in a recent race time, the distance you're training for, how many weeks you want to train, and how many miles per week you want to run. Then it spits out an amazing training plan for you! I like my plans to be really detailed because I'm a sucker for numbers and stats. I used the same program for my half marathons and my last full, and I have no complaints!

  7. Wow, what a great plan! I'm going to have to steal some tips from you when I get on my 1/2 marathon training. It looks like I'll be doing one my birthday weekend in March in 2011 if all goes well! I hope you're having an awesome Halloween weekend!