Preparing for Marathon Training

Preparing for Marathon Training

At the beginning of the year I wrote about my resolution to run my first marathon in 2016.  Somehow we’re already 3 months into 2016 so I thought I’d give you an update on my progress.  Spoiler alert – there has not been much progress as far as running!

I’ve run a grand total of 85 miles so far this year.  No where near what I need to be doing to survive a 26.2 mile race.  But I’m not panicking (yet).

Running stats for 2016

Though I may not have run many miles, I have be preparing for my first marathon in other ways.

First and foremost, I’ve chosen a race!  I’m planning to run the Philadelphia Marathon on November 20th.  And Matt and my mum are definitely running with me!  Registration for the race opens on April 1st so I plan on signing up and fully committing that day.

I’ve also found a training plan.  After looking at hundreds of training plans online, I’ve decided to go with Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 training plan.  It is an 18 week program that includes long runs, race pace runs, easy runs and cross training.  It does not include speed-work or hill workouts, but my goal is simply to get across the finish line this year and I believe this plan will get me there.

Since I have chose my training plan, I’ve also marked my calendar.  I counted back 18 weeks from the day of the race – July 18th is the magical day when I will officially start training!  However, the Novice 2 plan recommends an average weekly mileage of 15 to 25 miles prior to starting the plan.  So before July 18th I will be working on consistently running these weekly miles.

Strength Training -

Though I haven’t been running that much, I have been strength training.  I want my entire body (not just my legs!) to be strong going into training and the race.  I plan to continue strength training up to July and throughout the 18 weeks of marathon training, though I’ll most likely cut back of the number of strength workouts per week as my mileage increases.

I’ve also been working on my diet. I’m definitely carrying a few extra pounds of fat around with me at the moment!  And I know it’s a result of my poor diet.  When I start increasing my mileage, I’m going to need to fuel correctly (and try not to start eating everything in sight).  So I’m working on incorporating more healthy carbs (fruit & vegetables) into my diet.  I’m also working on eating more plant-based proteins like lentils and beans.  If I start eating these healthy foods now, my body will be happier going into training.  And it’ll be easier to continue to eat well throughout training if the habit is already established.

Hydration is another habit I’m working on leading up to marathon training.  I’m carrying a water bottle with me everywhere I go to make sure I stay hydrated throughout the day.  Again, if I get into the habit of drinking plenty of water throughout the day now, it’ll be easier to continue good hydration throughout training.

How do you prepare for marathon training (or any race training!)?  Are you a planner like me or do you just jump into training?  Have any other tips on how to prepare for a successful training season?

Michelle at




P.S.  I’m linking up with Patty, Marcia and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.  Sorry I’m off topic again this week!!

17 thoughts on “Preparing for Marathon Training”

  1. I think you are doing everything correctly. I like to plan certain races and then sprinkle some shorter ones in the middle. Marathons were never my thing but I know you need to plan a lot for them.

    1. Racing some shorter distances during training sounds like a good idea. I’m sure I’ll be less nervous on the day of the marathon if I have practiced my race day routine a few times.

  2. I have heard many people use the Hal Higdons plan and they were quite happy with it. Strength training is crucial for marathon trainer. Great job in keeping up with that.

    1. Thanks Lacey! I only started strength training regularly last year and I noticed such a difference in my running.

  3. Sounds like you are on the right path to 26.2! Good luck!

  4. Congrats! You’ll love training. Well, maybe. I loved training for a marathon but I know a lot of people who don’t! Lol. Good luck!!

    1. Haha I hope I love training! I really enjoyed training for half marathons last year so hoping this will be fun too! But I know the marathon is a much bigger beast than the half so we’ll see how it goes…

  5. Jennifer @ Dashing in Style says:

    I’ve also decided to run my first full marathon this year AND also decided on Philadelphia! Yay! Excited to meet someone else running Philly as her first full!

    1. Yay! That’s so exciting!! I love that Philly is a big city race but you don’t have to qualify. And the course is pretty flat! Should be perfect for our first full!

  6. So exciting! I just started following you, and I’m planning to run my first full in October using the same plan! So I will be so excited to see how your training is going!

    1. That’s great! I hope the training plan works for both of us!! What marathon are you running?

  7. Good luck with the training! We started training in December with the same plan… if my fiancé says to me one more time “The Hal Higdon plan says” I might lose it and just eat a donut! Marathon training in the winter taught me a new appreciation for warm weather!

    Strength training is essential! good job on keeping up with it! I need to add one more session per week to my training.

    This sounds like crazy advice, but I have found it that after long runs, say 18 + miles, walking about .50 miles helps so much with soreness and pain later that day and the day after.

    1. Thanks! How are you liking the training plan? Think it’s a good one? I still have a few months until I start training so want to make sure I’m picking the right plan!

      Thanks for the tip – I’ll definitely try to walk a bit to cool down after the long runs. Anything to reduce the pain!

  8. Congrats on choosing Philly. I used to live there, but I never ran that race. I used Hansons Advanced for both of my marathons (because my training group was using that) but I know that a lot of people have had success with Higdon (and I used his plans for my first half). Good luck! I would agree that getting up to a good steady weekly mileage before you start training will be really helpful. I planned really well for my race, and they turned out well. Looking forward to hearing about your training!

    1. I’m going to check out these Hansons plans because a few people have told me they’re good. Glad to hear planning well worked for you. That’s my goal!

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