Thinking Out Loud Thursday – Marathon Training Plan

How is it Thursday already?


Another Thinking Out Loud Thursday, linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons



As promised, I will discuss my training plan for the NYC marathon and thoughts about how my training cycle went. I designed my own training plan that was created by looking at a few other training plans that are out there, making sure my weekly KM’s fit the 10% rule and arranging runs to fit my wacky schedule. You can see my training plan here

For the first time ever in a training cycle, I completed most of the runs on the plan. Although I had to modify some workouts, I ran at least 3x a week and completed all the big long runs. I did not complete the last few short runs of the training cycle because of my IT band flaring up, but other than that, ever week was completed.

If you look at my plan, it was a very low mileage design. This plan was for a “Marathon – To Complete”. I had just come off a stress fracture before starting this plan, and had not run for over 4 weeks. Originally I wanted to train with an 18 week plan, but because of injury, I took an additional 2 weeks “off” and started my cycle with a 16 week plan. The two weeks prior to this were just a bunch of running drills in my garage and a few short runs. The low mileage plan was created for two main reasons: time issues and not wanting to become injured again. I’m not sure that many people would recommend training for a marathon after just finding out about a stress fracture, but I was careful and made it through.

In terms of how the plan worked: The plan worked for me to “complete” a marathon, although a slow one. As mentioned in my recap, my splits were fairly even and I did negative split the second half of the race – but I wasn’t winning any age group awards. If I did not have “bathroom issues”, I would have been very close to the 5 hour mark, which I believe is a very respectable marathon time for someone who completes 5K’s in 26:00-27:00 and half marathons in 2:15-2:20 on average. There is no way, even with a more intensive plan, was I going under 4:30 – that doesn’t make sense when comparing my half marathon times and it just isn’t going to happen yet. Prior to 2014, I had run 1 half marathon. In 2014, I improved my half marathon time and finally got used to the distance. I wasn’t going to be running a “fantastic” marathon time this year – it was just about finishing.

A few people have asked “well if so and so can run a 4:15 marathon, why can’t you?” – First thing – I would need to run significantly more in order to get faster. Part of the reason my Army Run Half this year was so successful, was because I was in the middle of marathon training and actually completed all my long runs. Secondly, as mentioned above, I’m just not there yet. Speed will come with more time and becoming more aware of my running abilities. For example, it took me years to get below 27:00 in the 5K – now I can run a 27:00 5K without an issue.

The plan was fairly easy to run – although the last 3 long runs were time suckers, I didn’t feel over-stressed about the amount of running I was doing. Not being burnt out was another big factor is actually enjoying the marathon experience.  However, one of the big factors in all of this is my very flexible work schedule. If I was still working an hour away from home, I would have had great difficulty following a marathon plan. In order for me to run another marathon one day, it will have to be in the Fall when I have 8 weeks of summer to train through, and I have to work in a location that is close to home.

If/when I sign up for another marathon, I will probably use the same plan again. I may add a few extra KM to the mid-week runs and add some speed work, but I felt that the plan worked for me. Since I now know what a marathon “feels like”, odds are, I will become a bit faster. I had a comment that my marathon recap made it sound easy – and to be 100% honest, running at around a 7:10/km pace wasn’t that hard. Yes, my legs hurt towards the end, because I was running for 5 hours – but I never thought for one second that I couldn’t do it. Next time, less potty time and quicker steps!

The next steps for my running will be discussed in a later post – but the overall idea for 2015, is to run more 10K races, keep long runs on my weekly training plan,have the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront half Marathon as my goal race, and strength train.

Happy Running!


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  1. Lisa @ Lulus Big Adventure

    When I saw the title of this post, I was like OMG seriously you’re starting another training plan already? But then I understood hahaha. I’m glad things worked out for you!
    Lisa @ Lulus Big Adventure recently posted…Chilling at the Beach & Sea Kayaking to Cathedral CoveMy Profile

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      haha – I have a loose plan in the works to maintain fitness, but not another marathon cycle until the Summer at the earliest. It is way too hard to get any runs beyond 10K done around my neighbourhood in the winter. I really want to run Around the Bay – but the late March race date = winter running!


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