Rest of Winter + Spring Training Plan

Last Wednesday I decided to sit down and plan out the rest of my winter and the spring. I’ll start training for the Chicago Marathon in June which means I have about four months to do whatever I want.

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I’ve decided what I want is to get back into the shape I was in this time last year. That means being able to run about 13.5 minute miles for long runs up to 13 miles.

Here are my splits from the Miami Half from last year compared to this year:

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That’s pretty disheartening to look at, but also a good reminder that I can definitely run 13 minute miles now because I’ve done it before. I’ve basically been injury free for four months (minus tight hips, which are probably just a thing I’m going to deal with forever) so it’s time to refocus and recommit to my big running goals.

Over the next four months, if I can get my easy pace back down into the 13 minute range, then I can realistically dream about running the Chicago Marathon in 5:59 or 13:41/mi, which was my A-goal in the windy city last year.

The best long run I’ve had in recent weeks was eight miles on January 17th that averaged out to 14:14/mi.

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Eight miles isn’t thirteen but in my training journal I wrote that I finished this run feeling like I had plenty left in the tank. It probably helped that it was in the 60s the whole run but putting weather aside for now, that run makes me feel like getting back into 13.5 minute miles in four months is definitely doable with the right plan.

Using the Runner’s World SmartCoach training planner I plopped in my fastest half marathon race time from this season, which was 3:16 or 14:53 per mile. That race I was on track to finish with an average pace of 14:15 – 14:20 until the morning warmed up to 80+ degrees around mile nine. After that I was toast.

Anyway, using the Runner’s World SmartCoach planner going from 3:16 to 3:00 for the half marathon distance over the course of four months came out what they call a moderate-level training plan.

I’ll be running 25-30 miles per week, which is what I used to run all the time. Most of my week day runs will be super easy paced, I’ll have one dedicated speedwork day and one long run day.

The only thing that concerns me is that this training plan has almost all of my long runs at 13-14 miles. When I was at the peak of my running abilities last year most of my long runs were only 10 – 12 miles.

I’m worried that a long run of 13-14 almost every week will burn me out by the time marathon training comes around in June. I’m considering modifying the plan so that my long runs are tiered between 10 – 13 miles followed by a down week. Hopefully that variety will keep me from burn out while still helping me work toward my goals.

I’m very excited to get back to where I was before. I know it’s not going to be easy… I remember it being hard before … but it’s worth it (I remember that too)!

The plan starts TODAY!

What are your goals for this spring? 

18 comments

  1. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

    It’s super interesting to read this because I just posted my winter/spring plan as well, and we have similar goals but different ways to go about it. I’m going to make 2/4 runs every week speed-work or speed-oriented, and 2/4 easy, including my long run. Either way I’m glad we have similar goals because I think that will help motivate me!

    I always forget, somehow, that winter is short here. Soon we’ll be dealing with the heat again, and then I’ll see how my plans have to adjust! 🙁
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    1. Kristina

      I know it! Yesterday it was 78*F and sunny when I went out for my run and I thought it was annoying. I can’t believe in just a couple of months (maybe sooner? eeek) it’s going to be in the 90s again!

  2. Running schlub

    That’s pretty awesome that you have some down time and are choosing to dedicate that to your running. I have the same concern as you, burn out. I know a year ago I was running 20 milers months out from my marathon and I ended up getting burnt out. I know you will do great and look forward to following along.
    Running schlub recently posted…Getting Inspired To RunMy Profile

    1. Kristina

      Yeah, exactly! It’s so easy to be super pumped and full of energy + good intentions during the first month of a training plan. I’m going to make adjustments as I go along. If I am feeling extra tired one weekend I might do 10 as opposed to 14 miles, etc. As long as I’m not cutting my long run short every weekend I think I’ll still be working towards my goal while keeping burn out at bay. we’ll see!

  3. Megan @ Meg Go Run

    I worry about burn out too! I mean, I know training is supposed to be hard and time consuming, but it is also supposed to be fun. 🙂 I recently wrote out a training plan for myself! It am running a 10 miler in the beginning of April and may cash in on the training from that to run a 1/2 a few weeks after. 🙂
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Weekend Wrap Up!My Profile

    1. Kristina

      Yeah, it’s so easy to be full of optimism and energy at the beginning of a training cycle and kind of pooped out at the end. Like you said, I think that’s supposed to happen and it’s why we build in a taper. I’ve given myself 2-3 weeks after this training plan ends before I need to start marathon training so I think everything will go smoothly … fingers crossed!

  4. Heather

    With Chicago still 9 months away I would be worried about burnout as well. I think it would be fine to keep your long runs at 10-13 miles instead of a steady 13-14 every week, especially if you were to redistribute the missed mileage amongst your other runs for that week. I have found that overall weekly volume is more important than the long run (but, of course, every runner is different!).
    Heather recently posted…5k Training: Week 3My Profile

  5. Staci

    I completely understand the worry of burnout when considering a plan. I think your adjustments sound great and if that is what works best for you, you will grow more from it. This must be the month of new plans! I have read a lot of them out there!! 🙂
    Staci recently posted…My Favorite Workout PartnerMy Profile

  6. Karen

    It is good to have a plan!
    I would rethink the long runs though, you are right , that is a burnout danger. I would cut them down for sure, maybe twice a month long and 2 shorter ones…
    You do want to feel fresh when June rolls around 🙂

  7. Kerry

    This sounds like a great plan! I know what you mean by burnout. I definitely felt that this winter and it probably cost me the PR at A1A. Don’t overdo it so you feel ready and excited come June. I can’t wait to hear more about your plans for Chicago. Good luck in your next few weeks of training!
    Kerry recently posted…Colfax Week 6: The Sinus Infection From HellMy Profile

  8. Cocomama

    It’s awesome to feel excited and hopeful about the upcoming running season (vs. being injured and having no clue about where you’ll be fitness-wise)! So happy for you!!!!

    I gotta say, I’m loving my commitment to stick with 5K’s this year. My Saturday long runs are probably going to peak at 10 milers, and I’m sooo ok with that.
    Cocomama recently posted…Week in Review!My Profile

  9. Christine

    I use smartcoach to help create my training plans. I have found that I can’t usually run 5 days a week without risking over-use. But I do like the pace goals for each run! I still haven’t decided all of my goals for the year. After my goal half ( next month) I think I’ll have a better idea of what I want.
    Christine recently posted…RnR DC 1/2 Training Week 6My Profile

  10. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    Sounds like a great plan! Right now 13-14 mile runs sounds like so much to me- I haven’t done more than 10 since the marathon! I think I would definitely need cut-back weeks if I was following that kind of plan.
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Weekly Recap: A Hint of SpringMy Profile

  11. Sam @ Grapefruit & Granola

    My goal is to get back on my bike. I need to start with some strength training first. I tried about 2 weeks ago but felt a lot of pain in my stomach from where I just had surgery. I can’t wait to work out again! I hope you don’t get burned out but you know your body and mentality best. Maybe modifying the plan to fit your needs better is not a bad idea.
    Sam @ Grapefruit & Granola recently posted…New WheelsMy Profile

  12. Lauren @ Lauren Runs

    Smart choice to focus on getting faster! A few thoughts to add in are to make sure to keep up with strengthwork/ working on your weak areas so you prevent injuries from recurring, and also to check out the 80/20 Running book. You’ve got the same general idea: a lot of base miles will help you get faster & fitter, but they go through some of the more nuanced principles, and give you ideas for some of that speedwork/workouts. Good luck!
    Lauren @ Lauren Runs recently posted…Favorite Race MedalsMy Profile

  13. Jennifer

    Sounds like a good plan. I completely understand taking a “break” 🙂 My first race of the year in March! (well partially my fault..I missed a couple freebies in January/February…..so wasn’t on purpose) 😉 I know you can do it!
    Jennifer recently posted…Gate River Run 15K Training Week 2 – 1/4-1/10My Profile

  14. Kristen @ Glitter and Dust

    Do you have any big races on your schedule between now and June, or are you just going to focus on consistency and getting back your endurance? I think you are completely capable of gaining your fitness back and then some! It sounds like you are incredible focused and determined, which is key #1!
    Kristen @ Glitter and Dust recently posted…Postpartum Exercise and BreastfeedingMy Profile

    1. Kristina

      The Miami Beach Half Marathon is in just a couple of weeks. I was planning to do that race so I could earn my Storm Series Challenge medal but now I’m not so sure I want to do it. I do want to complete the challenge, but my heart just isn’t into this racing season. It’s been kind of mentally draining. I keep telling myself these races are for fun, but it still stinks to finish a race a lot slower than I was capable of a year ago.

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