Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Alright, Runners. Need Your Advice.

I was in Utah this past week and mentioned to one of my friends that I would be running the full Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco this October. She asked me about my training regiment and I asked about hers.

I generally run an increase of two miles every other weekend for my long runs. (12, 14, 16 etc. every other week) building up to 20 miles two to three weeks before the race. Then I taper. The last few marathons I've doubled up on my 20 milers. For 10 marathons, it's worked. Tried and true, but my friend's training schedule piqued my interest. Here goes:

16 weeks of training. Runs varying from 4-8 miles during the week and then weekend runs as follows:
  • Weeks 1-4: 10 miles, 10 miles, 10 miles, 10 miles
  • Weeks 5-8: 12 miles, 12 miles, 12 miles, 12 miles
  • Weeks 9-12: 14 miles, 14 miles, 14 miles, 14 miles
  • Weeks 13-16: 16 miles, 16 miles, 16 miles, 16 miles

Does that make sense? You run straight 10 miles every weekend for a month, 12 miles every weekend for a month, etc. etc. etc.

I'm intrigued and wanted to know what your thoughts were. Here are mine:

  • Pros: Different training, more interesting, try something new, no super long run
  • Cons: Lack of recovery in between weekends (especially during month 4), no super long run before race

My friend has run 26 marathons. The training's all about endurance. It's worked for her. So, what do you think? Should I do it?


  1. Nike will be my very first (full) marathon...so I just had to de-lurk to say so.

    I will be doing a training schedule more like you have done. Especially for my first. But I am intruiged by your friend's.

  2. Mrs JP Chaos, so glad you delurked. :) Good luck with your training!! So exciting. That race is just amazing.

  3. that's an interesting schedule, especially with no really long run. i had a trainer for my last half marathon, and then for the marathon i was going to do until i got injured, and she had me running pretty much non-stop long runs each week with no recovery, and i thought it was fine. she said your body really doesn't need that recovery (although it is beneficial to have a recovery week in the middle somewhere so you don't get overworked or burnt out). she says the more miles you run, the better off you are going to be. within reason of course. i asked her about this specifically because she was doing it so different from the hal higdon schedules i'd used in the past.

    on a similar note... i have heard that it is also just as good if not better, to replace your 20 or 22 miler with a 12 miler 2 DAYS in a row. that way you are fatiguing your legs, and then running on fatigued legs the very next day. it's supposed to help recovery time as well as training your legs to run when they are tired.

    i also like that idea, and your friend's plan, for the fact that it is not as time consuming.

  4. Oh wow. I would be totally scared to go from running 16 miles to running 26 miles. I think if you are only going up to 16 miles, you don't really need recovery between your long runs. Very very interesting.

    I do like the idea of doing the distances 4 times in a row. I had never thought of that.

    Would you feel more comfortable doing 16, 16, 18, 18 the last month? For me the mental jump from 18 to 26 isn't nearly as hard as from 16 to 26.

  5. I'm with Molly. I'd be afraid to do 16 and then 26 right off the bat. I'm sure the long runs each week would help with endurance, though, so I like that aspect of it.

    I think it would be more mentally draining than anything for me. Sometimes those 8-10 milers are just a good, solid, mental break.

    You're doing the full!? Sucker...i'll see you at the finish. We'll split off at 12 and I'll say it to your face. :) Just the half for me. Unless I get crazy between now and October. It's happened before.

  6. Maren, you KNOW you want to run it with me. YOU KNOW IT! :) :) :) DO IT, DO IT!

    Sidenote: I cannot tell you how many times I've said "SUCKER" in my mind when I've peeled off at the 1/2, full split. I'll admit it.

    I really value your opinions, and like your option of perhaps running a 16, 18, 16, 18 or something along those lines for the last month of training.

    The jump from 16 to 26 really doesn't scare me a TON, just a little. After 10, you know it'll suck no matter what sort of training you've done, even a 23 miler and a 20 miler. Know what I mean?

  7. Unless you are trying to PR in this run and don't want to risk it, I would try the new training schedule. Yes, the same things works, but could the new one work better?

    And I ran a half with my longest run being an 8 miler...kind of the same? Okay, not really. But when I ran the ONE full-marathon, the longest run I got in was an 18-miler and I was fine; slow, but fine.

  8. Wow! You people are hard-core!

    Before my first and, so far, only marathon, my longest run was a 13.1 mile trail race two weeks before.

    Of course, being old and fat, my goal was to survive, where you guys more than likely want to excel. It was scary, though, thinking "I'm going to run a half-marathon farther than I ever have!".

    Good luck at the Nike Marathon! I'll be in San Francisco that week, but, being male, I don't think I'd be welcomed as a participant. Maybe I can be a spectator. I am planning on running the Silicon Valley Marathon the following weekend, though.

  9. Wii Fat Marathon (funny name)-- Men are absolutely welcome in the Nike Marathon. :) Unfortunately it's so popular that the lottery for who got race numbers was over and done with a long time ago. The rest of us are out of luck.

    Can't believe you ran a marathon after only doing 13.1. Crazy!