Monday, June 18, 2012

Goldilocks and the Marathon Training Plan

Searching for a marathon training plan had me feeling a little like Goldilocks.  I was looking for a training plan that would be challenging enough to keep me interested, but that wasn't so challenging I would feel broken at the end of every week.  Essentially I was looking for a training plan that wasn't too easy, wasn't too hard, but was juuuuuust right.

Admittedly, I didn't look too hard.  There are probably other training plans out there I could have considered, as well as other variations of the training plans I did consider that may very well have suited my needs.  In the end, these were the contenders:

Jeff Galloway's Marathon Training Plan: Too easy.  Jeff Galloway teaches the run/walk approach to running and thus, incorporates walking into his training.  As much as I find that fascinating, for my first marathon I want to run the whole thing.  I am interested in this approach, though, and will likely give it a shot in the future.

Cool Running Beginner Marathon Training Plan: Too hard.  As much as I would have loved the challenge, my current life schedule would not be able to handle the weekly mileage of this plan.

Hal Higdon's Novice 2 Marathon Training Plan: Juuuuuuust right.  Hal Higdon training plans are some of the most popular training plans out there.  I opted for the Novice 2 plan because the mileage is slightly higher than Novice 1, and because it incorporates "race pace" runs.  These runs are shorter in length and should be run at the pace I intend to run my marathon, as opposed to the long runs which should be run 30-90 seconds slower than race pace.

2012 Marathon Training Plan

I will also include three sessions of core workouts per week, following the workouts provided by the Nike Training Club app.  Have you guys seen this app?  So fun!  It provides you with a ton of different workouts, and as you accomplish each one, you earn badges and unlock more workouts (one of which features Hope Solo, the amazing U.S. Women's Soccer goalkeeper, of whom I am a huge fan).  I HATE core work, so this is a fun way to keep me interested (you gotta do what you gotta do, ya know?)

Home Screen for
Nike Training Club (NTC) app

There is a slight caveat to my training.  Since this training plan is only 18 weeks, technically training doesn't start until July (for my November 10th race).  But I'm too impatient to wait.  I started my training last week in preparation for a half-marathon I am running in early July.  After the half-marathon, I will dial it back a bit and start my training plan again from the beginning.

Runners just gotta run.  

Are you using a training plan to train for a fall race?  Oooh, what are you racing?



  1. I used Hal's plan for my first marathon! It seemed super easy to follow! Although I feel certain I messed it up at times. I need to come up with that perfect training plan too for Nov. 3 RNR Savannah marathon. Yikes, I feel unprepared!

    1. I figured Hal's plan was a good beginner's training plan. Do you recommend any others?

      I have yet to run a RNR. Missed the DC one this year. Do you travel alot for races, and if so, does the whole family go with? Sometimes I like the idea of traveling solo for a race, but I think I'd miss my (only) cheering section.