Sunday, November 14, 2010

Need training plan advice!

So here's the deal: I've been obsessing about my Master (first ever marathon) Plan and I think I found a training plan I want to do BUT I'm in a bit of a quandry and need ADVICE.


  1. I figured I would need to spend at least four months building up a running base of about 25-30 miles/week before starting a marathon training plan, which would put a marathon about 8 to 9 months out from now.
  2. Mr. PT recommended a training plan of shorter duration to save my joints. So maybe planning a marathon 9 months from now is too far out?  
  3. I researched about five or six different plans, each with varying intensity of workouts, number of running days per week, etc. Pretty much all are 16 weeks long.
  4. I found a plan I like: The Furman FIRST plan seems almost ideal. It requires only 3 days of running per week so would perhaps be easier on my joints AND fit into my schedule well. Each workout in the plan is very high intensity: track workout, tempo, and long run w/ speed every week. You supplement your hard runs with 2 days of cross-training. The long runs for this plan start out pretty intense, beginning with a 15-miler and include five 20-milers throughout the program. YIPES! Maybe too intense? (That part can be modified.)
  5. The Furman Plan recommends having a base of 25 miles/week for at least 3 months. 
  6. The catch: It will take me about six weeks or so to get to 25 miles/week, so that puts me back at a 9-month training program. 
  7. UG!
  8. If I fudge on the 25 miles/week for 3 months prep, I figure I could get enough training in to safely run the Seattle RNR at the end of June. I really don't think I could plan on a marathon any sooner than that, though I had high hopes of running the Vancouver BMO Marathon on May 1. If I do this, I would have to: 
    • Start the official program the first week of March. Seems so soon?!
    • Change up the Furman long runs so that I start with something shorter than 15 miles and reduce the number of 20-milers. I could keep the speed components of the program though :)


(keeping in mind that I'm currently running only about 8-10 miles/week due to my dumb ankle)

Do I pick a marathon next August / September, following the Furman plan to a "T?" 
[IF I make it through the training injury-free, there is a good chance that I would not only finish the marathon strong, I would finish with a good time. The Furman plan has repeatedly been shown to help people run faster than they ever have, plus I'd just be in better shape from having spent more time training.]


Do I just start training with a minimal base and go for broke with the Seattle RNR, just a little more than 7 months away?
[If I do this, I wouldn't be able to go into it with the idea of racing so much as just finishing and not killing myself.]


Other suggestions?


  1. I'm currently using the Furman plan (albeit somewhat loosely) for a half marathon in 4 weeks. After that, I'm going to try to keep my mileage around 25/ week, then start training for a May 1 marathon. So I'm not following the guideline to prepare for 3 months with 25 miles/ week beforehand. The program is tough; but I am definitely getting faster.

    If you're currently nursing an injury, then you might want to in fact build up mileage slowly first (that is, an August/ Sept. marathon).

    Depends on what your goal is- just to finish the Seattle race, or a well-trained-for September marathon? Either way I'll say I'm happy with the Furman plan so far.

  2. I'm leery of spending too long in intense marathon training, but base building and 25 miles/week is doable. It seems like you would want a really good base before tackling that plan! You might consider doing Portland in early October and doing the Seattle R 'n R half instead. I did the half in both this year. In Seattle I am really glad I kept to the half but in Portland I am kind of itching to do the full. (Though hopefully we won't get the same rain next year.)

  3. My marathon plans peak at around 30 miles/week and I only run three days a week (one long, one recovery (2 or 3 miles easy), and one tempo or speedwork). I am extremely cautious about overtraining injuries, so half of my weekly training time is spent on cross-training, rather than more running. I use the Smart Coach feature on and yes, I lie to get the numbers I'm aiming for.
    If your PT says to go for a shorter duration training plan, I would definitely listen to him. Take the time to just enjoy your first marathon, rather than racing it - you'll still get a PR!
    (And, thank you so much for the birthday wishes!!!)

  4. I think - knowing you for the brief time I have - that you would rather kill than 'just finish'.

    So why not aim for a Sept/Oct marathon and do the Seattle RnR half with me in June? :) I need a running budddy!


  5. If you want me to anonymously send someone the Christmas list post, just email me an address at littlemp at gmail dot com.

  6. I have a feeling you know in your gut what would work best for you...go for that! :)