Runners Tell All: Running Routines

Marathon Training: Sub-4:00 hours or bust!

So I’m waaaaay late on this link-up but I’ve spent most of the past week wrapping my head around my upcoming marathon training, so I still wanted to share those plans!

One of my “28 Things” is to run a sub-4:00 hour marathon. I’ve decided I’m going to do this next January, which means my “official” training starts in less than 3 weeks. I’m sort of combining Hal Higdon’s intermediate plans (they’re basically the same; the Intermediate 2 plan has slightly higher mileage. Combining them means I have a mileage range for the longer runs and gives me a little wiggle room to cut a run short by a mile or two).

Aside from the Saturday “pace” runs (ranging from 5 to 10 or so miles at my goal pace, which is 9:00/mile) and the Sunday long runs, the intermediate plans don’t prescribe any actual workouts — just 3 weekday runs from 3-10 miles and 1 day of cross-training. Honestly, it’s very likely I’m going to go over on the weekly mileage and I’ll probably switch the rest days around a bit week to week. Since I’m not shooting for anything super crazy fast (like Boston qualifying time or faster), my #1 goal is to make sure my legs are fresh and healthy enough for the pace runs and long runs on the weekends.

BUT I’ve also heard that the course I’ll be racing on is deceptively hard with lots of rolling hills, so I want to be prepared for that. So my ideal week will look something like this:

MONDAY: Cross-train or easy 3-5 miles (cross-training will be 20-30 minutes strength training followed by a 30-40 minute easy session on the stationary bike)

TUESDAY: Yoga and 3-5 miles. May be on trails or sand, or include a hill or two (not for speed, just to get used to inclines and declines)

WEDNESDAY: 5-10 miles. May get split into two runs, one of which may be on trails or sand

THURSDAY: 3-5 miles and 20-30 minutes strength training. Also may be on trails or sand, or include a hill or two

FRIDAY: Rest or yoga

SATURDAY: 5-10 miles, mostly at race pace

SUNDAY: Loooong run. May be split into two parts since I’ve gotten in the habit of taking Onyx for a 3-4 mile run on the weekend

The idea is to do about 3-4 miles on sand once a week for some strength, and to make sure at least one run includes some serious inclines. And on the “step-back” weeks I may totally take it easy and just get the miles in.

And some other stuff I’ll throw in…

Core work. Definitely need to include at least 2-3 moves during those strength sessions, and I need to get in the habit of doing planks or a 5-10 minute core routine 5-6 days a week.

Foam rolling. I ran 4+ miles completely on the sand over the week and pretty much every major muscle group in my legs were TIGHT the next day. A shakeout run helped, but foam rolling would’ve helped more, and doing that AT LEAST before and after the longer runs will make a world of difference in how fresh my legs feel and how well I’m able to recover.

Strides/pick-ups/drills. Once or twice a week, after the shorter runs, I’ll do 4 or so strides at the end (start slow and gradually pick up until you’re almost sprinting, over 50-100m or so). And…even though I’ll have to get over looking completely ridiculous…the drills I used to do in high school, like high knees, butt kickers, skipping.

I feel good about this; I’ve never been one for making my own training routines or sticking to them. The long runs scare the crap out of me because those are what did me in the last time I trained for a marathon, but I know I’m capable of everything in this plan. And if not? Well, I have over 30 bottles of wine that need drinking…

Lastly, two secondary yet really big goals for this training cycle (the primary one being survive it + run sub-4:00):

Track my workouts. Like, really track them, not just scribble down the mileage and time or load workouts into Garmin Connect without really looking at the data like I usually do. Note the time of day, the route, how I felt, and things like how well I’ve been sleeping, what I ate before and after, etc. Which brings me to…

Pay attention to fueling. Make sure I’m taking in some protein after runs, bring water or a sports drink or gel or something with me on long runs (more than I need! Even when I do bring Gu or whatever I’m pretty sure I stay underfueled) and pay the eff attention to how it affects me. Try not to go overboard carbing up and make sure my meals stay balanced.

What are your running routines or training tips?

Runners Tell All w/The Lady Okie and Sunshine to the Square Inch

I’m linking up with The Lady Okie and Sunshine to the Square Inch for their Runners Tell All monthly series! Check it out – plus they have a giveaway!

photo credit: Celso Flores via photopin cc edited with Canva




3 thoughts on “Runners Tell All: Running Routines

  1. Pingback: Weekly Wishes: New Site! New Site! Edition | The Ponytail Diaries

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  3. Pingback: 28 Things While I’m 28: Halfway Through | The Ponytail Diaries

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