Marathon training: Following a training plan

I ummed and aahed over whether to follow a training plan for my first marathon. My ‘training plan’ (in my head) for my half marathons works very well, so shouldn’t I just do that? But with a much longer run on a Sunday?

Generally when training for a half marathon I do two four mile runs in the week, parkrun on Saturday and a longer run on Sunday. As I get closer to the big day, I will increase the four mile runs to six miles runs. I could do that for a marathon, couldn’t I?

But a marathon is a challenge. It’s about your whole body and pushing it to the limit. Doubling an already long distance isn’t going to be easy. And maybe just doing an 18 mile run on a Sunday instead of a 10 mile run won’t be enough.

So I thought I’d look for a training plan. But there are so many to choose! And what sort of runner am I? I’m an experienced runner, but not an experienced MARATHON runner. I would need to adapt a plan.

And then I thought, sod it, a plan is a plan. So I might as well just follow the one on the Newport marathon website.

The first two weeks of the 15 week plan actually involved less running than I do in a normal week. So for those weeks, I just stuck with what I already do. But the main difference in the actual plan and my own plan in my head is that it includes different types of running, as well as body conditioning and yoga. When I looked at that plan, I didn’t even know what body conditioning was. And although I have a theoretical knowledge of what yoga is, I don’t know any yoga.

I kept having the same thoughts, shall I just do the distances, but not bother with the other stuff? Not bother with running at different paces and not bother with body conditioning (whatever that is) and yoga?

No, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it properly.

The plan is designed to increase strength and avoid injury. Just because the way I usually run doesn’t injure me over 13 miles, that’s not to say it won’t injure me over 26 miles.

So I’m following a plan… I’ve found out what body conditioning is and I’ve discovered that it hurts. I now know not to do more lunges than recommended just because they seem easy at the time, because they will HURT the next day.

I’m learning to do tempo runs and intense runs, as well as to run more slowly a lot of the time. I sometimes have to adapt what days I run on to fit in with own life, but I will be running five times a week as the plan progresses. And from next week I will even be running parkrun more slowly than usual because Saturday is a ‘light run’. I can’t tear around the course in 23 minutes, only to find I’ve pulled something and can’t run 18 miles the following day.

I’m enjoying the different way of running and really hoping that following the plan will get me round my marathon course in May.

Training plan, Marathon training following a training plan, Running, Newport marathon

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Thanks for sharing your plan, it’s really interesting to see what I should be doing! I’m very much winging it, I have tried to follow a plan in the past and failed dismally which I found quite demoralising. I’m going to try to do the long runs that are recommended in the training plans but the rest of my training will be shorter runs and swimming. I am sure you’re going to do brilliantly in your marathon, it’s a great sense of achievement when you finish and I bet you’ll do a fab time too.

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    • Thanks very much! I can understand that about being demoralised if you don’t manage to follow your plan. My daughter is ill at the moment and I was so worried that I might not get my six mile run in yesterday, although I did manage to do it in the end. I’m being sensible about my time – I’d love to do it in under four hours, of course, but I’m setting myself a slow pace and sticking to it. It will get me in at under four and a half hours and that’s a good starting point. I don’t see this as my only marathon, it’s my first marathon and I will go a bit faster next time if I manage this one OK! x

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    • My plan does have yoga or pilates on it and I must admit I haven’t done that. There just aren’t hours in the week, even though I know it would be good for me. I’m doing the body conditioning every week at lease.

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  2. So without me going down a google search rabbit hole, what is Body conditioning? Is it doing cross training / sitting on a bike / rowing machine type stuff?

    Interested to know what you did for that.

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    • I just did various stretches and core work – planks, lunges etc – some of them holding small weights. I just googled body conditioning for runners and followed a couple of online programmes.

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