Fall is a popular time for marathons, so it’s probably not surprising that I’m following a lot of bloggers who are training for marathons right now – you probably are too!
Since I’m training for my first marathon, I have found it really interesting to see what type of plan everyone else is following.
My awesome coach, who I fully trust, writes a custom plan for me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like to compare my plan to everyone else’s! : ) Mine is definitely a bit different than most of the others I’m reading about.
When I was training for my first half marathon I would build mileage for around three weeks and then take a recovery week. From what I’ve seen, I think most marathon plans are built using a similar philosophy.
My marathon plan differs from most others in that I don’t build mileage consistently for X number of weeks before taking a recovery week. Every other week I alternate between a long, easy run and a long-ish run with a fast finish.
Last week I ran 15 easy miles, but this week I’ll only run 13 miles where 10 are easy, but the last 3 are fast finish miles. Then the following week I’ll run 16 easy (omg)!
At first I thought this plan was a little bit weird (sorry, coach!), but now I am really seeing the benefits from it. By pushing for a specific, fast pace during my “fast finish” miles at the end of a long run I am building my confidence.
Not only have I been shocked at the paces I can throw down after first running 10 miles, but knowing that I can put down those paces during a long run gives me the confidence to push even harder during my weekly speedwork sessions which are (obviously) shorter.
For example, at my last 5K race in February I finished averaging 12:49 pace which brought me close to my 5K PR (yes, I’m pretty slow).
During my last fast finish run I threw down a 12:29 minute mile after first running 10 miles. That was a big confidence builder for me, especially since it was 86* out with 70% humidity. I wasn’t sure I had that in me, but now I know.
I imagine on marathon day (just 72 days from now!!!!) remembering these fast finish training sessions will give me a little extra oomph when I need it most.
So I have to say that I really like the way my marathon training plan rotates between long, easy runs and long runs with fast finishes.
With my former coach I increased my distance, but not much else. With my current coach and training plan I feel like I’m becoming a more well rounded runner in all aspects!
I’m still slower than most people I know, and I’m pretty okay with that. I used to tell myself that I didn’t really care if I ever got faster (because I didn’t think I could), but I’ve recently realized that’s not true.
Nicole (The Girl Who Ran Everywhere) went from running a 6:30 marathon to now having broken 4 hours. That gives me hope that with enough hard work I’ll someday run much faster. But that is most definitely a someday that comes after I first chase my distance goals.
Runners who have finished multiple marathons: did you use different plans for your races? Did you find you liked one better than the other?
Do you ever include fast finish miles at the end of your long runs?