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Right now I’m following a marathon training schedule from www.runnersworld.com — You can make one there too by using the Smart Coach tool. You enter a race time that you’ve had and it can compute exactly how many miles per week (and per workout) and at what pace you should do them to reach your goal.  It’s pretty cool!

Each of my week’s workouts has some similarities. I run three times a week. One easy, short run (often 2 – 4), a medium distance speedworkout/interval workout/hill workout or tempo run (often 6 – 8 miles and the specifics are given by the smart coach), and a long, slow, distance – (this one is usually a mile or two longer than the one the week before — and every fourth week it is shorter (say going12, 14, 16, 7) — so that my body can recover before I take the next leap (in this scenario it is 18 after the 7 mile week.) I typically run about 25 miles a week at this stage in the training, although when I first started it was MUCH less since you need to gradually build up weekly miles incrementally. I follow the 10% rule for everything!!!! Never run 10% more in distance than the week before and never run 10% faster than the week before since increasing either too quickly is more likely to result in injury. And — never increase both at the same time. That’s why some workouts are speed workouts, for instance. In those, after a good warm up, you focus on speed – but the rest of the week, you hold back. You should not run all of your runs at the exact same pace. Vary things up to get the most from your workouts! 

Here’s my workout schedule for this week from my smart coach program to give you an idea:

Sun – rest, Monday – Easy Run – distance 2 miles @ 11:43, Tuesday – rest, Wednesday – Tempo Run – Distance 7 miles including warm, 5 miles @ 10:18, cool, Thursday – rest, Friday – rest, Saturday – Long Run – Distance 18 miles @ 11:43 – for a total of 27 miles this week.

As you can see — I have no cross-training at all. It’s still an area I stink at. In my favor though, I did just read a runner’s world article this month that said runner’s are usually more efficient and run more smoothly if they don’t hit the gym. In other words – the theory was — to be a great runner – you just need to keep running. The writer said gym buffs tend to overdo the upper body and it throws off the balance required for a track or distance runner. If you have a look at most elite distance runner’s you can see that they have stick-thin upper bodies, so I suppose there’s something to that. I’m not sure if I buy it entirely — but I’ll go with it since I’ve been too disorganized to get any real cross-training into my life.  Honestly, though — I do think I benefit when I’m working my core more with things like Pilates and I feel better overall when I do Yoga. My upper body is still pretty soft. So…..I admit, I am inspired by the rest of you gals here who seem to be able to juggle it all better than I do! 

IF – and that’s a big “IF” — I am up to par on race day, the course is favorable without too many hills, etc and the temperature is as perfect as can be — this schedule is supposed to prepare me to do the 26.2 at a pace of 10:53 on Marathon Day for a time of 4:45:45. I’m not expecting that good of a time, since that is only in “perfect” conditions and with me pushing it hard on race day. I’m actually planning to hold back the first half and see how I feel in the second half. If I feel good – I’ll go for that pace, otherwise, I’m actually expecting to be around a 12:00 or 11:30 pace for most of the race and I’m ok with that too.  This program, by the way, was created using my 10K race time in June where I did it in 1 hour exactly. So, holding about a 10 min/mile pace for 6.21 miles wasn’t too bad – but there’s no way I could hold that pace for 26.2 miles! This schedule kind of puts that into perspective. Everyone slows down when the distance is longer –well.. MOST of us! I hope that gives you a peek into what my workouts look like. And I’d encourage you to head over to www.runnersworld.com and look for the TOOLS menu. You’ll find the smart coach there. Try it out! It’s free and it’s seriously one of the best tools I’ve used for creating a safe, structured running program! Happy Running!!!!

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