My First Marathon Training Plan

Ever since I finished my 9+1 last November and received my guaranteed entry to the New York City Marathon for this year, I’ve had people asking me how I was going to approach my training. It’s no secret that I’ve never followed a training plan before. I’m not particularly fond of doing things just because someone else is telling me to (“because I said so” is probably my least favorite response to “why”?) and even though I considered trying to stick to something for my first half, when I was able to do it after figuring it out for myself I simply carried on that way. Yet the marathon is different. To successfully cross the finish line I need to get advice from those who have been there before and use a training plan so that I stay on track. I think I’ve now settled on my first marathon training plan, but getting there was definitely a process.







I claimed my guaranteed entry in March, but my focus then was on the upcoming New York City Half Marathon and other things going on for the spring. I had eight months to go. I knew I wanted to stretch out my training over 5 or 6 months rather than the typical 4 so I could increase mileage slowly and avoid injury, but felt like I had plenty of time to settle on a plan. Of course, the time since then has flown by, it’s almost May, and I hadn’t really done my research.



United Airlines NYC Half Marathon 2016




So I started with Google. I had heard good things from a multiple-marathoner neighbor about the Hal Higdon plans, and they seem great for a basic cookie-cutter approach. But reading plan after plan and being unable to tell which kind was right for someone in my particular situation made me wonder if there was something better out there. Then I stumbled upon Laura’s blog for the first time. Somehow, in my year and a few months of blogging, while I’ve discovered lots of amazing bloggers and blends I’d never come across hers. Reading about her marathon training and nutrition tips made me think that a plan developed by her could suit me well. I was inspired and assured by posts like this one on being ready to run your first marathon, and others about fueling on runs (something I’m pretty concerned about). I saw that Laura offered coaching services, and while I had not up to this point considered hiring a coach, decided to make an inquiry.



Bishops Park run



As it happens, Laura was about to launch a virtual coaching program for runners training for Fall 2016 marathons. The timing couldn’t have been better. The program will be tailored to suit each runner even at the basic level, which was important to me. And the cost for the program is very reasonable. Since cost was the main reason I’d never considered a coach (in person coaching is not something I could spend on at this point in my life, with running a very recreational love of mine) I was excited to see the options out there. I’ve been following Meredith’s training with Laura and thought the type of plan and feedback was just right. I decided to sign up.



Central Park Bridle Path





I won’t be starting until June, as I’ve decided to stretch training over the 5 months from June through October. I think that should give me enough time to build slowly like I wanted to, while also giving me a little break in May that I didn’t know I’d need until now. I’m not injured, but I am coming off a month-long period of a 10K sandwiched between two half marathons, so a few weeks to run easy and not worry about what I’m doing is on the agenda. After that I’m looking forward to embarking on my first marathon training plan! (Probably only. But it sounds better this way πŸ™‚ )









Do you tend to use training plans or just run according to how you feel?


Any marathon training tips for me?


What kind of training progress would you want to see shared on the blog?













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20 thoughts on “My First Marathon Training Plan

  1. I’m also running my first marathon in the Fall! I had the same approach as you and just Googled training plans. Of course Hal Higdon’s plans came up and I decided on the Novice 2 plan. BUT I don’t have to start following the plan until July so going to keep doing my research. Will check out Laura’s blog now! Thanks for sharing!


  2. I guess I run according to feel, because I can’t really run more than 3 days a week, so I haven’t found very many plans that do 3 days a week. πŸ™‚ I hope your training goes really well! Stretching training over 5 months also sounds like a good idea.


  3. I definitely need a plan when I’m training. It keeps me on track & mentally let’s me know that going in to race day I am prepared for the distance. I’ve used Hal Higdon plans in the past (I’ve run 3 full marathons) but I always tailor them since I only like to run 3 days a week & fill the rest with strength training & cross training.

    Good luck!

    I would be interested in reading about your workouts & a focus on how running with a coach is different from doing things on your own.

    Stopping by from TOL.


  4. This is so excited to read about and I look forward to seeing how your training goes. We are bringing in ON shoes to my work and I’m really excited to try them out.


  5. I am SO excited and honored to have you on board! Thank you for all the link love and kind words here! πŸ™‚ I’m very excited for you – the first marathon is such a fun journey. It sounds like you have a great plan in place before training begins as well! Running by feel is how I go between training plans – I have an idea of rest days and days I’ll run, but then I just usually go easy for how long feels right that day. It’s good to listen to the body!


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