One of the most requested topics recently has been my current marathon training schedule!
Before I dive into my current training regimen… I want to rewind back to the Chicago Marathon last fall.
3 weeks before the Chicago Marathon I came down with a kidney infection. I was sidelined for almost a week. If anyone has had one before you guys know how PAINFUL kidney infections are. Low back pain, fever, chills, poor appetite, total body aches— I was put on antibiotics right away and on the couch for almost a week. I missed my 2nd twenty miler of my training cycle due to my infection. The next week I was back to running but didn’t push it too hard. When I hit the strand for my last few long runs, my body didn’t feel the same. I couldn’t hold the required paces and my body just felt drained.
My body finally felt better the week of the marathon. I was so excited to head to Chicago and hoped my hard work would pay off!
On the day of the Chicago Marathon I woke up feeling great. I had my oats and Nuun hydration drink, then headed to the race with Rob to line up in my corral. Once the race got started I felt good up until mile 14. My quads started cramping up and felt like they wanted to explode. I didn’t know how I was going to finish the race feeling this way. I still had 12 miles to go. Unfortunately, I had to run/walk the remainder of the race. T his left me feeling completely devastated. I just put several months into training for this race after coming back from an knee injury. I wanted this to be my race and wanted a new personal best. I crossed the finish line with a time around 4:28. I never went back to see my official results because I was just too upset. I couldn’t figure out why my quads cramped up. I thought I had fueled properly and looking back I wouldn’t do anything different the days leading up to the race. All I can attribute this too was my kidney infection. I don’t know if my body was 100% ready to run a marathon.
The next several months after the race I made strength training a priority. I stop running during the week and saved the weekends for my longer runs. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to run a marathon again after Chicago. I didn’t want to put the energy and time into training for another one if I was just going to end up with the same results ( I know that sounds super negative, but this is how I felt for months).
Over the winter I ran a few half marathons. My times weren’t great because I wasn’t seriously training. I started to miss running regularly and having a goal to reach for– so in March I finally decided to sign up for another marathon. I signed up to run Revel Big Cottonwood on September 9, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Utah is one of my favorite places to visit so I figured this would be the perfect excuse to take a trip to SLC + Park City.
After signing up for Big Cottonwood it was time for me to find a running coach. When I first started running marathons in 2016, I injured my knee– which was probably due to overuse and training. Since then I’ve chosen to work with running coaches to not only keep me accountable for my training, but also help prevent me from overtraining and getting injured again. I decided to sign on with Relentless Runners and work with coach Toni for this training cycle. Before my official training kicked off, I chatted with Toni about my goals for this race. I told her that I didn’t want to put as much pressure on myself training for this marathon like I did for Chicago. I still gave her a finish time that I wanted to aim for, but I really didn’t want that time to be the focus of my training. I also told her how important my strength training was to me and didn’t want to miss out on gym classes at Body One Fitness during my training. After we chatted about my goals, Toni came up with my marathon training plan:
GOAL: 3:45:00, 8:35- 8:40 PACE
Monday– easy/ recovery run + mobility/ maintenance
Tuesday– hills, track workout, or tempo run
Wednesday– recovery run/ easy run + strength training
Friday– easy run + strength training
Saturday– long run
Toni really wanted me to pair my hard running days with strength training to make the HARD days HARD and EASY runs truly EASY days. It’s kind of difficult to do this with my schedule, so she came up with the above schedule. Sometimes I do change up my schedule a little (not the running portion unless my body really needs a break) ….for example- sometimes I’ll add a strength workout to my plan on a Tuesday afternoon if I have the time and just stick with an easy run on Friday instead of adding in strength like my plan says to give my body a rest before the Saturday long run.
This is the first training cycle where I am running 5 days/week. In the past, I have never ran more than 4 days/week. I didn’t like running on work days where I had to be at the hospital for 13+ hours so I only ran on my days off from work.
I am currently in the middle of recovery week. I am still running 5 days/week this week, but all of my runs are easy or recovery pace.
Last week was the highest mileage week of my training cycle so far. Here’s what my schedule looked like:
Monday: Easy run- 6 miles
Tuesday: Tempo run- 9.5 miles (3,2,1 workout— 1 mile warm-up, 3 miles at 8:35-8:40, 1 mile recovery, 2 miles at 8:35-8:40, 0.5 mile recovery, 1 mile at 8:35 or faster, 1 mile cool-down)
Wednesday: Recovery run- 6 miles
Friday: Recovery run- 5 miles
Saturday: Long run- 16 miles
Tuesdays have been my harder run days. I’m either doing a hill workout, track workout, or tempo run. This training this cycle has had quite a few hill workouts. The Revel race series is known for it’s fast downhill and Big Cottonwood has a net drop of 5,200 ft. Toni’s been preparing me for the downhills, as well as the uphills on the coarse. I ran Revel Mount Charleston a few years ago and definitely wasn’t prepared to run the downhill. I’m excited to give Revel another try, hopefully with a better outcome this time around!
My current strength training regimen
Right now, running is my first priority. I frequently get asked- which do I recommend first— running then strength training or vice versa. If running is your main focus then I recommend running. Why? Because you have more energy for your run. If you go to the gym and train legs then try to head out for a 6 mile run your legs are going to be shot. I try to do most of my runs before the gym. Sometimes it doesn’t work out this way because of my schedule and the time of the classes at the gym….so you may see me working out at 5am followed by a run (which will only be an easy or recovery run—never hard runs). If my main focus right now was strength training, then I would head to the gym to lift before running and prioritize that.
Also, right now I’m not lifting as heavy as I usually do in the gym. I take breaks when my body tells me to take breaks and try not to overdo it. Sometimes the gym classes I go to are filled with burpees, box jumps, dead lifts, and pistol squats and my body sometimes is too drained from running to go all out with those type of movements and workouts. I just do my best and listen to my body. Strength training and cross training are an important component of marathon training, but I just try to lighten up during the 16 weeks of training.
How do you ramp up your mileage?
I leave this to my running coach. She plans out my schedule and decides when I should increase mileage.
If you don’t have a running coach and you’re not sure how much to increase your running mileage by then try to stick to the 10% rule, which says that you shouldn’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent over the previous week. This helps prevent overtraining and overuse injuries
How do you maintain your fitness when you’re not training?
When Im not training for any races I still try to get in a weekend long run depending on my schedule. I aim for 8-12 miles on weekends in the offseason so that I can sign up for a half marathon if I feel like it. During the winter I usually try to get in a HIIT treadmill run 1-2x week. I’m not a big fan of the treadmill— that’s why I stick to HIIT workouts to make the time go by faster. Once the weather gets nice and the days getting longer then I usually hit the strand for a few short runs/ week after my strength training sessions.
Who else is running a fall marathon? Let me know! I would love to hear about your training regimen!