Preparing for Marathon Training

Although October 9th sounds so far away, as all of you know, a marathon is a big commitment, and training starts months in advance. Since I have never done a marathon before, I spent a lot of time reading about the various training programs, and trying to determine which would work best for me.

I know lots of people have a lot of success with Pfitz plans, but I also know that I’m not running nearly enough miles to jump into one of those plans. I’ve heard rave reviews about Hanson’s plans, but with it being my first marathon, I’d be scared to not have any training runs over 16 miles (I know this is totally a mental thing, but I can’t help it!). The Galloway method is often recommended for beginners, but I feel like I can tackle the marathon without the run-walk strategy, although it certainly is a great option for many people. I bought the Jack Daniels book a few months ago, so that was what I was leaning towards, but I have also had several friends use a Hal Higdon plan with success. I looked through the Higdon plans, and thought the Novice levels were a little too low of mileage for what I thought I was capable of, but the intermediate plan looked reasonable. The Jack Daniels plans specify the key workouts, but are rather open for you to fill in the other days, and determine what you want your maximum weekly mileage to be. I ended up decided on the Hal Higdon Intermediate plan because it was very clearly laid out, and I think it will help me reach my goal (which is primarily just to finish!).

For the most part, I am planning on following exactly what the plan has laid out everyday, but there are a few races I have on the schedule that I had to fit into the training plan: a trail half marathon in August and the Ragnar trail event in September. With a little bit of tweaking, I was able to fit them into the plan. I had all of the workouts written down on a piece of paper, but that didn’t seem like it was quite enough for my first marathon, so I made a giant poster. πŸ™‚

You can’t totally tell from this picture, but it’s such a giant poster board πŸ™‚

I love it, and I’m looking forward to be able to check off each workout day by day. The plan officially starts on Monday (June 6), but I’ve been trying to make sure to get in approximately 20 miles a week for the past few weeks so that I’m not ramping up too much right at the beginning of the plan. This past week I did the first week of the training plan as a prep week–today I did a 5 mile pace run (in the rain!) that felt great! I hope I’m at a good enough starting point to make it through this training cycle uninjured and feeling ready to tackle 26.2–I guess I will find out soon enough! πŸ™‚

For those of you who have done marathons in the past (or are training now), what training plan do you follow?

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