Marathon Training Approach

I consider myself to have been in marathon training mode since the beginning of June, but thus far, there is no “training plan” per se, at least not in the view that I’ve used in the past and posted on my blog. 

I’m signed up for the Fox Valley Marathon with no formal plan at this point. It really hasn’t bothered me too much.  I’ve been using the FIRST marathon training program as a guide, but that’s even not too much. 

I am also getting triathlon training schedules from Chicago Endurance Sports as I’ve signed up for their summer triathlon training program. 

When Corey started blogging this week about her non-plan training plan, it really resonated with me.  As she blogged over the course of the week, her strategy has gone from general guidelines (e.g. Monday = Easy Run) to more of a checklist approach.  That sounds exactly like what I’ve been mentally doing – now it’s just time to get it on paper!

(Side Note: Thursday night I wanted to plan out my Friday AM track workout.  Since I didn’t have a plan really saved anywhere easy, nor did I bring my chicken-scratched calendar, I downloaded the FIRST training program again to print out and bring along with me to dinner.  Nothing like planning the morning’s workout with a  margarita from Gallo Blanco

So now here’s my strategy:

  • Run checklist is listed out until the end of my marathon (September 18, baby!)
  • My Triathlon training group loads the workouts every few weeks into Training Peaks.  That gives me the specifics, but basically each week we should be doing (to prepare for the Chicago Triathlon):
    • 2 swims (pool or open water)
    • 2 bike rides
    • 2 runs
    • 2 strength workouts

So I’ll fit in my runs around the scheduled group workouts and additional triathlon training activities.  The training plan I’ve put together looks similar to Corey’s checklist:


The next week looks busy, since I have the details on what I’m supposed to do for my triathlon training group.  Knowing that I’ve been a bit loose on my training the past two weeks, between travel and other things, I don’t know if I’ll truly get to do everything.  But this at least gives me a better picture of what I should try to do – and the power to decide what I will do and what I’ll leave out. 

Later weeks are less because I don’t have all the detail of the triathlon program, so I just have what’s on the FIRST runs for the week.  image


I’m amazed that I feel comfortable with this type of a training plan right now, since in preparation for the Illinois Marathon I put together a whole calendar before I even signed up for the race!   I am more confident that I can finish and in a decent time, and the work I do this summer is toward improving my time.  And life is so crazy right now that I know I will have to look at my weekly workout checklist and prioritize which workouts I have to do that week and which ones would be omitted if there isn’t enough time (e.g. if I’m working or travelling like crazy again). 


3 thoughts on “Marathon Training Approach

  1. Amy

    I am totally a planner. I had my 2011 training schedule spelled out last October. BUT, I’m also super flexible about stuff (too much so, sometimes). I do like the checklist approach; definitely works well when one needs more flexibility!

  2. bobbi

    I like the idea of a checklist – I always have a plan spelled out, and I always try to get all my weekly workouts in, but they often don’t end up being done on the day I scheduled them. A checklist approach is something I hadn’t heard of, but will definitely look in to!


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