Marathon Training Plan

Marathon Training Plan

If you don’t remember, I am registered for the St. Louis Rock and Roll Marathon in October with my lovely ladies Tiffany and Kristin!  And I’ve finally decided on a marathon training plan!  Ok, so I might change my mind but I’ve chosen one for now so I don’t get caught off guard.  Here were some issues I ran into though when trying to decide on a training schedule.

1.   Runners don’t think its necessary to strength train.

2.   Cross training is only once a week in most plans.

3.   I am a beginner (first marathoner) but I still want to do speed work.

Now, the plan I chose still has all those problems but I am going to adjust it to my own taste.  Here is where I could use the advise (approval?) of veteran marathon runners out there.  I know its going to be a lot but I know my limits and if I find the schedule to be too demanding, I will scale it back to avoid injury or overtraining.  Ok, here is Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 training plan (free on his website!) which I will be using as my base:


If you recall a while back, I was very excited about an article in Runner’s World about using CrossFit as a marathon training tool.  Now, I would LOVE to do that plan but the problem is that I don’t know CrossFit well enough to do it at home by myself (besides not having the proper equipment) and I can’t afford the local CrossFit gym.  So I’m going to work with what I’ve got.  Here is the basic weekly plan using the one above:


I’ve moved some of the runs up a day and also added in various workouts.  I need to work with what I have on hand so I have to make some choices for the other workouts you see:

Strength Training
NROLI can do a number of things for this category.  First, I can join my school’s gym and start up the New Rules of Lifting for Women again.  For those who don’t know, it is a heavy weight, low rep, muscle building workout.  I did it in the past and found that I was really getting stronger and more toned but I’m not sure it will help my running that much and it can take up to 90 minutes spent at the gym (mostly standing around, lol).

p90x_posters_fam_lgThe other option is to add in P90X.  I had all the DVDs but have never done the program so I wouldn’t even know where to start.  Which DVDs would be most helpful?  Also, I will be running on the same day so I don’t want to do an intense 90 minute DVD and then an hour long run.  That is headed for disaster.  But Wednesdays, I am free for a very long workout without a run after.

BHStrengthThe third option is to use my other DVDs like Jackie Warner and Bob Harper (Inside Out Method) as my strength training.  These DVDs really kick my butt and I’m thinking its not a bad idea.  I would really have to sit down and figure out which would be the best to use.

I really want something for the strength training to be most similar to CrossFit in that high powered, explosive training.  I’m not sure between the last 2 which would be best.

Cross Training
The cross training will be the easiest to decide on because I’m in the middle of Insanity right now!  I am only in month 1 so I can only rate the videos I’ve done so far but I already have 2 that I could do each week that would really help me with my cardio and running power (plyometrics anyone?).  Also, I will be training in the middle of the summer so I could always swap out my Sunday cross training for a nice long bike ride with Rob or maybe even some tennis!


Speed Work and Abs
I mentioned that I wanted to do speed work also.  I know I am going to be pretty pooped from a lot of the other workouts so my only real plan for this is to turn that medium run into speed work.  I can do hill repeats, mile repeats, tempo runs, etc.  I can use a mile to warm up and cool down so it won’t seem like so long either.  That will be my play day and if I’m really tired, it will just be another moderately slow run.

Also, ab work is really important in running.  I can’t even emphasize how critical it is.  I have lots and lots of DVDs for this so I’m covered.  I just have to make sure I do them.  Basically, any day that I do a non-running workout, I will also do an ab workout.  Most of those workouts are only 10-15 minutes long so there is really no excuse to skip it!

After Insanity ends, I will have about a month before my official training starts.  That will give me plenty of time to get back into distance running.  I will need to build up to 5 miles again and get used to running 4 days a week.  I will step back the other workouts at first since I will have just come off a high intensity training schedule.  Oh, I also wanted to note that I built in rest weeks during the marathon training where I will minimize or even completely skip some of the strength training and cross training.  This will hopefully prevent over training also.

So that’s it!  I really searched high and low for a training plan that I liked that didn’t say you had to have run 16 marathons prior to considering that plan.  LoL.  I guess most people who like to do workouts other than running usually don’t sign up for a marathon.  Well, I’m a rebel what can I say?  Seriously though, I really think there is a major gap out there!   Just gotta do it myself!

Have you trained for a marathon before?  What type of training did you do?  Is there something you felt you needed to do more of?

5 thoughts on “Marathon Training Plan

  1. Go girl! I totally love that you’re doing so many races and was jealous of all your medals [and your crafty holder!). I agree with the training plans not putting enough emphasis on strength training for me, too. I’m glad that you’re open to reevaluating your plan as time goes by because it’s important to allow for how you feel along the way.

    I’m excited to follow you through the journey – especially because you’re doing it Paleo!! As far as getting enough cals… you’re just gonna have to eat non-stop! haha. It could be worse… 😉

  2. Went to a lecture at UPenn last night – Christopher MacDougall! Yes, he lectured on the Born to Run book, and it was hard for him since Caballo Blanco just passed…anyway, one thing that I took away from all that he said, in light of our Marathon training coming upon us, is don’t over think it. Just run. Don’t keep checking the watch, don’t focus on pace, distance, etc. Just go out there and enjoy it. It should be fun, not torture. He signed our book and wrote, “Run Wild!”…Caballo’s signature phrase was, “Run Free!”. So while I think you are on target with a plan (and you know how I feel about ST and running!!!) because you can’t just wake up one Oct. morning and run 26.2, just don’t over think it! Enjoy it….

    1. So true! I’m actually looking forward to my “transition” period between Insanity and training day 1. I’m just going to get out there and see how long I can go on a Saturday run. Just keep making circles near the car for as long as I can (key word being “can” and not “want to” lol, my brain runs out long before my legs sometimes). My week runs will be nice and short just to get out there. Nothing but enjoying the run!

      And I’m so jealous you met him! How cool!!!

  3. yea!! marathon training haha. I havent even thought about starting to train yet, when is it 18 weeks out? or should I start now?
    Ok. Im officially nervous haha
    I guess I need to take Tiffany’s advice and just have fun…

    1. LoL don’t let my planning-paranoia scare you! I just need to be prepared or I will be caught off guard (just too busy so I have to plan ahead). I plan to officially start training at 21 weeks out on May 27th so its coming up soon!
      PS. I’m changing my plans up again (I knew I would after getting advice!) with lots of good advice from Tiffany’s awesome hubby. I will share more later in another blog!!

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