I remember my first marathon: Austin 2006. The start was delayed by an hour due to an ice storm the night before. Traffic getting to the race was atrocious! After sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, and having moved a mile in about an hour, and already missed the start by 30 minutes, we decided to just run to the starting line. So really I ran 27.2 miles that day! It was freezing, sleeting, or drizzling throughout the run. I had trained for months for this run, I was prepared for the pain ahead of me, I was definitely not prepared for the weather, or the chaos of the start because of it, and I had no idea about the psychological battle I was soon to face (if three and a half hours later is soon!) But I finished, and to be honest, I don’t even remember my time now! It is such a feeling of accomplishment and pride at the finish line. You literally have given your all, and you will be addicted to the race from then on!
Although much of a marathon is a mental battle, only a fraction should be physically straining, assuming you are well trained. This is a training plan for the first time runner. I’ve written it for someone with a goal to run and finish their first marathon. Feel free to adjusts the days you do each workout; there is no law stating long runs must be run on Sunday. Just be sure to keep your runs in the same order, you need recovery days between speed and endurance runs. The most important run of the week is the long run. They build endurance (both physically and mentally) but they also teach your body to burn fat and conserve glycogen, which will be crucial for successfully completing 26.2 miles. These are not the runs to miss. However speed workouts will make you a more efficient runner, and can therefore lead to an easier race. If you have the goal of finishing within a certain time, you’ll want to give a little more attention to these speed (pace and stride) workouts. There will be more posts focusing on speed workouts in the weeks to come.
Should you get sick or injured, don’t worry too much about missing a few runs. Just build your endurance back up slowly and adjust the long runs so you are not building more than 10% from your previous week.
Next Thursday: Experienced Marathon Training Plan