I’m now officially in Week 3 of my 16-week marathon training plan. I haven’t joined a running club, or a gym, and I don’t have a trainer. I’m doing this on my own.
To be honest, I prefer to train this way. I’m more or less a self-taught runner, and while I enjoy running with friends the odd time, to me, this is the ultimate solo sport. I love the flexibility, freedom and peace that goes along with it.
There are many training plans available online, but I decided to go with the beginner marathon plan in my Runner’s World training guide. It includes four days of running every week, with two short runs mid-week, as well as one on Saturday, and a long run on Sunday. So far I’m loving the schedule because it takes the pressure off during the hectic work week and gives me more time on the weekends. I’m not sure how I will feel tackling a long run when the Saturday runs get longer, but I know the idea will be to keep them slow and easy.
To me, the grand plan is to keep it smart and simple. I’m not going to restrict my diet, but I want to fuel and recovery properly. I’m not going to wear out my body during workouts, but I want to include good amounts of stretching and strengthening to prevent injury. And building up mileage gradually will be key.
While the long runs do look daunting, I find it more manageable if I break it down. Really, there are only four weeks that include scary distances – 15 miles (24 km) and beyond. The Sunday long runs peak twice at 20 miles (32 km), which is freaky but just 10 km longer than I’ve ever gone. Heck, even if I walk half of that, I’ll be happy.
Now I’m off to wind down for the evening before so I can run 4 miles on the treadmill in the morning before the toddler wakes and the work day begins. Feels like not hitting the snooze button is half the battle.