What Have I Done?


I just received my official marathon training plan.  Over the next four months, I’ll be running a total of 471 miles.  471 miles!  To put that in perspective, it’s almost 50% more miles than I’ve run in the past six months combined I could run from Kansas City to Chicago, Dallas, or Minneapolis in that distance (that’s as the crow flies, so I’d have to run through the air, but still!)  Everyone, just take a deep breath…

Last week, I blogged about how I’ve been running less, cross-training more, and focusing on getting my nutrition in check in between training programs.  I’m happy to report that it’s going well – I’m feeling good, the weight is coming off, and it’s been fun trying different fitness classes.  It’s funny though how, when I’m running regularly and with purpose, I very much consider myself a runner.  Not a fast runner, not even a good runner, but a runner nonetheless.  However, just a couple of weeks where running isn’t my priority, that identity changes and I wonder how a non-runner like myself could possibly run a marathon.  Thank goodness for my unwarranted overconfidence in other areas of life, it will have to get me through this.

If you are interested in what this marathon training program looks like, read on.  If not, you can stop reading here and tune in next time.  I promise, my feelings won’t be hurt.

The marathon training is broken into three parts:  Endurance, Strength, and Peak Training.

Endurance:  This phase focuses on 3-5 mile recovery runs (which are slow and easy-ish), just a few speed workouts which include faster intervals, and long weekend runs ranging from 8-14 miles. This phase is similar to the half marathon training I just did so I should be fine once I get my groove back.

Strength: This phase is the longest and includes longer recovery runs of 5-7 miles, more speed training, and long weekend runs ranging from 12-20 miles.  Yes, I said 20 miles.  That will happen twice.  Let’s not talk about it yet though, I’m just not ready.  This phase also includes hill runs which are pretty self-explanatory.  Some of the hill runs are “hill repeats” which means that you find a big ol’ hill, you run up it – intentionally, mind you – walk or jog down it, then repeat that over and over.  You know what they say about insane people.  I’ve never done a hill repeat, and quite frankly, I have a hard time imagining myself doing this voluntarily, but it’s in the training, so it’s gotta happen.

Peak: The last phase is only few weeks and it is the tapering period.  There is still plenty of running, but most of it is in the form of recovery runs and the long weekend runs are relatively short at 10-14 miles.  I know, I just called 14 miles short which does not represent my worldview at this particular moment, but I can only hope that after I run 20 miles a couple of times, 14 miles won’t seem so bad.  For the record, the furthest I’ve ever run in my life was 13.1 miles, so this is going to require a pretty big mind shift.

Is this all doable?  Of course.  Does it feel that way at this very moment?  No, not really. But in the end, it doesn’t matter if I think it is doable or not.  It just matters that I do it.



2 thoughts on “What Have I Done?”

  1. Love this!!! I have one suggestion, that you can come back and read later on when you’re mentally ready lol! My first full marathon stopped me at a long run of 20 miles. As you well know, long distance running is SO much mind over matter and for me, those last 6 miles during the real thing we’re really tough mentally for me! The second full I did, I made sure to have a 22 and 24 mile run under my belt during training. I felt much more mentally prepared, as I could talk myself into completing the last 2 miles during the race. It was nothing compared to the 6 I was trying to talk myself through during my first one. I felt so much better prepared, and if there is anyway for you to add a 23 or 24 mile to your training, I really think it would benefit you if you are a mental runner like me 🙂


    1. That’s really good advice, and I’ve heard it from others too. Everyone says those last 6 miles are really tough, but most training stops at 20 miles. It’s hard to imagine running more than 20 miles now, but maybe I can make that second 20 mile run a 22 or 23 miler.


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