November 19th, 2012

An Unconventional Marathon Training Plan

With the 18 miler done, I feel more confident that the Houston marathon is doable.  I am waiting to hear back from the National MS Foundation, but I should be able to run it with them again as a fundraiser.

In the meantime, marathon training feels real now.  As I mentioned before, I don’t have time to increase both speed work and mileage, so I’m trying to balance the two with extra cross training.  It will be an unusual training plan, but I’m experimenting with a mix of harder and easier days, cross training days, and am spreading out my long runs to allow for full recovery.

My plan is a combination of many plans, and my own schedule, spin classes and determination to stay injury free.

Here’s what the last two weeks looked like:

And here’s how I mapped out the remaining 7 weeks.  Eek! That’s not very long! Two of my long runs fall over holidays when we’ll be in PA, one the Monday after Thanksgiving and one the Saturday before Christmas, but having extra family to watch L and allow me to nap and recover might work out pretty well.

I’ve been re-reading Advanced Marathoning, and found the following words appropriate and timely:

The primary reason to cross-train is to provide additional cardiovascular fitness without increasing the repetitive wear and tear associated with running.  If you’re careful about increases in mileage and intensity, the surfaces you run on, and the like, and you still can’t consistently reach the level of weekly mileage you’d like, then you should incorporate cross-training into your training program year round.

No form of cross-training is a perfect substitute for running because our bodies adapt very specifically to training…. Use cross-training in place of recovery runs, and if necessary, in place of your general aerobic conditioning.

As much as I’d like to be running higher mileage for marathon training, I am determined to train conservatively and remain injury-free. At this stage, cross-training is necessary for general aerobic conditioning. This may translate to a sacrifice in speed, but I’m okay with that.

I’m going to do my best to relax and have fun with it.


So there’s the plan! I’m taking it easy this week before the 5k (which I know I’ll race whether I plan to or not), and pushed my 20 miler back to Monday to be extra cautious. I’m really excited to make this official.  So excited, that I’m calling it the Marvelous in my Monday and linking up with Katie!

Does cross-training play a role in your training year round, or only if you’re injured? 

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