16 Week Marathon Training Plan

Are you planning on running a marathon?  Me too!  I’ve technically turned my 16 week training plan into an 18 week one, so I’ve already started two weeks ago.  However, technically the plan I’m following starts today.  How exciting!

Queens 10k NYC

Not only that, but in 15 weeks and 6 days time, I’ll have completed my first marathon.  How scary is that!

Get the plan right!

You all know my mantra – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Training success is all about the plan.  It’s step 1 on your journey, and there is a wealth of great information out there on how to get started.    I always recommend the Hal Higdon programs – they’re free, easy to follow and effective.  I used this for my half marathon training earlier this year.

Another great starting point is fellrnr.com and their amazing marathon training plan guide – it compares a LOT of online, free plans and gives recommendations on which is right for you.  It’s a wonderful resource for new and experienced runners!

Normally I spend a lot of time planning out my training and making a spreadsheet for races and training runs, colour coded and updated with training paces and comments as the weeks go on.  This time, I’ve opted for something a little different – don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me a good spreadsheet, but I’ve been so busy in work recently that I haven’t had much time to focus on devising the perfect plan.  I therefore opted for a ready-made plan using the NYRR Virtual Trainer program.

NYRR Virtual Trainer 

NYRR Virtual Trainer is a personalized 16 week marathon training plan with an online system to track your progress.  You start by adding your goals, your current race paces, your current mileage and ability – and the website will pop out a personalized plan for you.  There are a few tiers of training plans, so you can choose between a conservative plan for your first marathon, right up to a more challenging plan if you’re trying to BQ (Boston Qualify).  There’s an option for everyone!

16 week marathon training plan
My personalized plan – just looking at it brings me out in a cold sweat

You can see my mileage above, but the virtual plan online has much more data than what I’ve shown here – it gives expected paces, types of run (easy run, regular run, intervals etc), and it also recalculates targets based on the run data you input as the program progresses.

I’m interested to see how my projected finish time changes over the plan, this morning I was targeting 5 hours and 30 minutes, but I had a slow run tonight in the crazy humidity and it’s set my expected finish time back to almost 6 hours!  The most important thing is finishing, though, so I’m going to keep following the given paces on the plan as this should be the best way to avoid injury.

marathon training plan
A sneak peak of my personalized 16 week marathon training plan

 

110 days to go

I am very excited to for this plan!  There is a small fee for access to the virtual trainer, but so far I think it’s great value for money for the wealth of metrics and personalized targets that the plan provides.  I find it incredibly intimidating, especially as it’s more mileage than I currently do and I’ve had all these damn injuries to deal with.  However, I feel like I’m ready for this, and ready to give it my all.

I can’t wait to share my progress!  If you want to follow along, you’ll find me mostly on Instagram and Strava.

Here we go!  110 days till marathon!

Pam x 

 

Marathon Training Is Go! 18 Weeks Until NYC

Guys, I haven’t posted in a while.  I’m sorry!  I’m switching jobs in work and have been working pretty long hours, so everything has taken a back seat for a while.

However, that’s all about to change – MARATHON TRAINING HAS OFFICIALLY STARTED!   My First Marathon Ever is in 18 weeks, how scary is that?!?

There will be another post later this week to outline my training plan, nutrition plan and target goals for the marathon, but for now I wanted to check in and catch up on what on earth I’ve been doing with myself for the past few (several) weeks.  I’ve not been blogging, but I’ve certainly still been working out.  Here’s a quick recap of what’s been happening since I last blogged (in May.  Shame!)

 

George Washington Bridge 10k – June 5th

Pre-race selfie. This is the only face I know how to make...
Pre-race selfie. This is the only face I know how to make…

The American Cancer Society George Washington Bridge 10k is one of my favorite races in the calendar.  This is the 3rd year I’ve run it, I opted for the 10k this year but took it very easy as I was still struggling with my neverending stream of leg based woes.  I really enjoyed this race, it starts with the crowd rushing down onto the lower level of the George Washington Bridge (which is obviously closed to traffic!), then you loop back and forth twice before making a wonderful downhill sprint to finish in Palisades Park.   It’s such a fun, fast race.  That downhill section… if only all races had one like it!

GW Bridge 10k
Heading down onto the lower level of the GW bridge.
George Washington Bridge
Running across the bridge… such a cool experience!

Finishing time: 1:09:01, pace 11:06min/mi

The only down side to this race is that the bridge really messes up your GPS.  My watch thought I’d run 4.5 miles when I’d finished the 10k!  Then, when I uploaded the data to Strava, their algorithm thought I’d run 6.6 miles.  So on the plus side, all my Strava PBs were hit at this race (10k, 5k, 1 mile, 1k etc).  However, it’s annoying because all those PBs aren’t real.  They’re based on inaccurate data!

GWB 10k
I just ran across that bridge, now I’m totally running under it
GWB Race
Obligatory “I just finished a race, look how happy I am” selfie

 

NYRR Queens 10k – June 18th

Oh dear.   How do I describe the ordeal that was the NYRR Queens 10k?  Let’s start by saying it was the slowest 10k I’ve ever run, it was incredibly hot and humid and entirely in the blazing sun, and every single step was an absolute struggle.

‘Running’ probably isn’t the right word for it, it was more like a slow shuffle for 100 yards, stop, walk, drink, cry, faint.  Resume shuffle. Lather, rinse repeat.  Cross the finish line like a boss, 12 minutes slower than your 10k PB.

I won’t describe this race in too many words, because I took this photo after 3 miles and it tells you all you need to know about this race:

Queens 10k
This is not the face of a happy runner

I really, really had to work for this one.  After every 100 meters I wanted to stop and walk, and I had to push myself to keep going.  I stopped at every water station.  I had TWO energy gels (for a 10k, I know!).  My heart rate reached 190 which is higher than is theoretically possible for someone my age.  Wow, worst race ever, huh?!?

Do you know what though?  It was worth it!  I was proud of myself for finishing this one because it was the first race where I genuinely didn’t think I’d make it across.  I even got a shiny medal too!

Finishing time: 1:17:17 (seriously, it was that bad), pace 12:27min/mi

Queens 10k NYRR
Check that out for a medal! And check out the solid block of red heart rate zone – I told you it was a struggle!
Queens 10k NYC
Posing post-race, of course!

 

A weekend of races!  NYRR Pride Run 5M and Achilles Hope & Possibility 4M, June 25th-26th 

June saw the first time that I ran two races on consecutive days – I’ve run training runs back to back, of course, but not actual races.  Now, I haven’t pushed for time since March so it was the same as doing a training run – but it’s definitely much more fun when you run in Central Park with several thousand other people!

LGBT Pride Run
Identical pre-race selfie number 235930432

Both days were hot and sunny, but not quite the blazing humid inferno of the previous week’s Queens 10k.  Needless to say, these two were much more pleasant!  Saturday’s race was the LGBT Pride Run 5M in Central Park, a fast 5 mile loop around the park starting on the east side, heading up over Harlem hill and then back down the west side.  The race was so fun, the atmosphere was great – and any race which gives out rainbow ice lollies at the finish line is a winner in my book!

 

Finishing time: 0:58:44 , pace 11:45min/mi

The following day saw the Achilles Hope and Possibility 4M, again in Central park – although this time there was no Harlem Hill to contend with as the route cut through before we reached the top of the park.  Bonus!!

This race was a little easier and I pushed a little harder than the previous day, but still didn’t give it my all – I am really concerned that I’ll injure myself again before the marathon, so my days of trying to hit PRs are over for the time being…

Post race fun (and some harsh truths)
Post race fun (and some harsh truths)

After the race, there were some fun activities including a photobooth where you created your own captions.  You can see that I decided to stick to home truths – when you’ve got nobody to run with, don’t be sad about it, just own it instead!

Finishing time: 0:46:01 , pace 11:31min/mi

I didn't take a lot of photos this weekend unfortunately.  Have a photo of me on the Iron Throne instead
I didn’t take a lot of photos this weekend unfortunately. Have a photo of me on the Iron Throne instead

 

My legs still hate me

Yes, they definitely do.  I’m still struggling with twinges and pains when I run – sometimes it’s my calves, sometimes my hips, IT band, hamstring, you name it.  I’ve started going regularly to a PT who is helping me work through it, but it’s a slow process.  I have lots of new exercises though that I’m doing daily to try and prevent any future injuries – hip strengthening, glute strengthening, stretches, and FOAM ROLL, FOAM ROLL, FOAM ROLL.   Oh, and I almost forget – OH DEAR GOD THE FOAM ROLLING.  It’s a big part of my life now.

I have a new dynamic warm up routine to complete before every run too, I’ll save that for a future post as I’d like to discuss it in more detail once I’ve tried it out for a few weeks.  So watch this space!

Jon’s doing C25K! 

I’ve saved the best for last – after a year of relentless nagging on my part, JON HAS GIVEN IN TO THE PEER PRESSURE.  He’s started Couch to 5k!   Jon has been my biggest supporter throughout this journey, but has been very resistant to the idea of running.  Until now!

Pre-race - Jon doesn't know what he's letting himself in for yet!
Pre-race – Jon doesn’t know what he’s letting himself in for yet!
Mid run - clearly he's loving it
Mid run – he’s obviously loving it
Just finished running... clearly Jon has a new found passion in life
Just finished running… clearly Jon has a new found passion in life

Jon finished Week 1 Day 1 and did a great job!  He’s yet to start Week 1 Day 2, but we are also in the middle of a crazy humidity heat wave so I’ll forgive him for that.  Next week though, I wont!  We’re looking for a 5k to complete in a few months time so he’ll have a goal to work towards too.

I think I’m more excited about this than he is!

He survived the first day!  Here's to the next 23 runs!
He survived the first day! Here’s to the next 23 runs of C25k!

So that’s a quick recap on what’s been keeping me busy for the start of the summer.  This weekend I’m traveling to upstate NY for the Boilermaker 15k race, and I am SUPER excited about it as it’s one of my top 12 races for 2016.  However, I’ve heard it’s a tough course – and it’s looking like it’ll be a hot one this weekend.  I’ll definitely earn my post race beers at this one!

Now that marathon training is officially underway, I’m definitely focusing on my eating, my workouts and my recovery!  It’s time to get even more acquainted with the old foam roller, I’ll be seeing a lot of it in the next 18 weeks.

I’m going to be putting more time into the blog too, I started this blog not just as a running journal, but also as a place to objectively review all the bad diet advice you see online.  I wanted to show that losing weight is basic science – calories in, calories out, nothing more (hence the name Lose It For Science!).  I’ll definitely be putting more effort in over the next few months to add more articles and interesting stuff to go along with the running.   Funnily enough, the blog gets more hits on my one non-running article (The Myth Of The Fat Burning Heart Rate Zone) than on any of the running stuff!  Who would have guessed?

Guys, it’s nearly here, 18 weeks till D-Day.  What am I letting myself in for?

Until next time guys!

Pam x

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