Air Force Marathon – The Plan

When I started toying with the idea of running a full marathon, the first thing I did was to buy Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training, and read it cover to cover. There is some really great information there – nutrition, injury prevention, etc. and I think even experienced runners can find this book helpful. The book also has training plans in the back for half and full marathons at 3 different levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). Since the advice in the book was so sound, I decided that the plans would be winners as well. I used the beginner’s plan and LOVED it! I thoroughly enjoyed this training plan and when it was time to plan out my schedule for this race, I turned back to this book.

When I sat down to plan out this schedule, however, I wasn’t sure what to do. Having only done 1 marathon I’m not exactly a beginner, but I’m certainly not intermediate by any means.  I decided to combine the two plans and make my own.  I’ll still be using the beginner’s plan as my base, but will (try) to incorporate some of the intermediate speed work into my training.  I’m pretty terrible at most speed work and have never stepped foot on a track before so this should be interesting 🙂 .

Since the race is on a Saturday, I’ll be shifting the plan one day and doing all of my long runs on Saturday  versus Sunday.  It’s finally light outside nice and early (and also getting pretty roasty-toasty and humid) so I’ve been trying to get all of my running done in the AM hours before work which is fantastic. I know at some point this will come to an end (the biggest reason being that I am so slow I can only manage to get about 4 miles in before I NEED to get ready for work), but for now, it is awesome.

I read somewhere (Runner’s World Twitter account I think…) that when you set up a training plan for any distance, it’s helpful to break the plan into smaller sections. For this 16 week training cycle I decided to break it down into 4, 4-weeks mini cycles.

I think this is a great way to stay focused on the current week, and not look ahead to “how am I going to run xx miles in 13 weeks??” and instead say “I know I can run xx miles this Saturday”.  Another option that this will give me, is to make adjustments as I go – after 4 weeks I can re-evaluate and see what’s working, what isn’t, etc and reset for another 4 weeks.

The first 4 weeks look something like this:

Weeks 1-4




Right now, the tentative plan for my 2nd 4 week cycle is keep one day of hills and add in another fartlek or *shudder* a tempo run (I’m so bad at these!).  We’ll see what happens! 🙂

I’m halfway through Week 1 and right on track! Hopefully I can keep this up for the next 15 weeks!

I’m a total nerd, and love hearing how other people train and create their training plans.  How do you set your training plans??



2 thoughts on “Air Force Marathon – The Plan

  1. Very cool, thx for sharing. I really like the 4-week mini plans, that would have helped me during the cold dark month of February when looking at the whole remaining plan (not ending until May 4) was overwhelming.

    I followed a similar novice-intermediate hybrid. The real thing I wanted from the intermediate plan was the inclusion of three 20 mile long runs, rather than the novice plan that had only one, but I didn’t want any speed or track work from the intermediate.

    For building the plan, I build a spreadsheet to get the basic structure. Then I enter all the workouts into Google Calendar, which is what we use for family calendar planning. This allows me to adjust the training schedule around real life. Once I’m executing the plan, I enter each workout after it is complete into my running log spreadsheet. Plus upload it to Garmin Connect. Plus write in the Weight Watchers activity points tracker. Plus blog about it! Geez, I’m a data nerd, but it works for me.

    • Whatever works for you! I’m super old fashioned and just write it down in my monthly planner! I really like the idea of using Google Calendar to coordinate all of your schedules! That’s brilliant! 🙂
      I think blogging about it as well will be really beneficial – next training cycle I can look back and be reminded of some of the smaller details I will forget!

      I love the idea of multiple 20+ mile runs! My beginner plan calls for two, which is why I used it the first time around…for this time, I’m thinking I may throw in one 20 mile run and then a 22 or 23 mile run as my longest!

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