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 


Couch to 5k review and my first 5k experience! GUEST POST

I’m sure you all remember Sarah and her great post about starting the C25k program earlier this year.  Well, she’s only gone and finished it, and run THREE 5k races already!  I can’t wait to hear her couch to 5k review, so take it away Sarah! 


I’m back! Thanks so much to Pam again for letting me share my story here. I hope it helps even one of you reading to get hooked like me (spoiler alert!)

You guys, it’s been such a long time since I posted here about my first ever run I can’t quite believe how much has happened in that time. Are you ready for a rundown of 8 weeks in one go? Let’s get into it then.

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Home Stretch: My Final Half Marathon Training Update

Lose It For Science

Guys, it’s nearly here!  The More/Shape Women’s Half Marathon takes place this coming Sunday, and I’m on the last week of my training plan.  I’m feeling nervous for the race, despite all my training I still don’t feel like I’ve done enough to run 13.1 miles.

Training for a half marathon: How did we get here?

Let’s check out the training schedule:

training for a half marathon

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Training Update: Watch fails and Spartan effort

Lose it for science training update

It’s training update time!  Another week of half marathon training in the bag, I’m now starting week 6.  By the end of this week I’ll be half way through my training!  It’s been a week of mixed success, I’ve been working out consistently and eating much better, but I’m still not quite reaching the targets that I set myself at the start of this process.  So, what have I been up to this week?

Spartan workout – AROO AROO AROO

This weekend brought a free workout organized by Reebok Spartan Race, which consisted of a high-impact body weight workout in an empty parking lot in 27F / -3C temperatures.  I was layered up to the max, with long sleeve tee, short sleeve tee, another short sleeve tee, sweater and jacket!  Hat, gloves and 2 pairs of trousers finished off the look, and what a look it was.  I looked like the Michelin man!

I wasn't lying... a parking lot workout in 27F temps. Crazy people!
I wasn’t lying… a parking lot workout in 27F temps. Crazy people!

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Half marathon training update – the cold, the marathon and my shiny new GPS watch

It’s half marathon training update time!

You may have noticed that I haven’t been doing the weekly weight loss progress anymore, and that’s because I think a monthly update is a better frequency – it gives me more time to blog about other things that are a little bit more interesting!  That being said, I’ve had a busy month so we’re overdue a progress check.   Since I returned from vacation, I have been working on my half marathon training plan and trying to get up to speed for my epic year of racing (and my first marathon!)

A BIG marathon based update

So I talk a lot about running the NYC marathon.  I’ve relentlessly plugged my marathon plans on the blog, I’ve bored my friends to death with my marathon ambitions, and I completed my 9+1 NYRR races last year to get guaranteed entry.

However, this month I’ve taken it one step further and claimed my place!  My pocket is lighter to the tune of $220, and I have 9 months to train for what will be the biggest achievement to date in my running adventures.

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Half marathon training plan. 0 to 13.1 in 12 weeks


It’s a new year, and time for a new half marathon training plan!  We’re 3 weeks into January, and I’m only now just starting my 2016 training. For shame! In my defense, I have been travelling through Thailand for several weeks and only got home this weekend, so I didn’t have a chance to start earlier – but better late than never!

To be completely honest, I’m actually writing this blog ahead of time so that I have my training plan ready to go as soon as I get back – right now I’m lying in a sleeper carriage on a 12 hour overnight train journey from Chiang Mai to Ayutthaya, where we’ll stop for the day before moving on to Bangkok. It’s 9pm and I have 8 hours still to go!

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Vacation mid-way point – Checking in

Good old London town

Half way through my trip home already!  I’ve spent 3 days in London, 3 days in Glasgow and tomorrow I’m off to the in-laws in England for 4 days.  It’s been a great trip home, even if the weather hasn’t exactly been hospitable, lots of rain!  I’ve been staying with my cousin who has two new dogs, so I’ve spent a lot of time with my two new best friends.

Ollie and Alfie
Ollie and Alfie

In my last blog post I outlined my plan to stay on track while I’m at home:

  • Step 1: Pick your battles – choose a few ‘bad’ foods to eat at home, instead of eating ALL the bad foods
  • Step 2: Set exercise goals in advance
  • Step 3: Track EVERYTHING
  • Step 4: Be accountable!

So it’s the vacation mid-way point:  How is the plan going? 

I won’t lie.  It’s not.  I have really tried to stay on track, but it’s been a LOT more difficult than I thought it would be.  This is mainly due to two reasons which I’ll go into below, but before I start explaining – I know these aren’t excuses to fall off the wagon.

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Vacations: Good for the soul, bad for the diet

I am writing this blog post whilst sitting at a bar in JFK airport, drinking a wheat beer.  I’m very pleased to tell you that I am on vacation for the next 10 days!

Don't worry, I tracked the beer calories
Don’t worry, I tracked the beer calories

Well, I’m SORT OF on vacation.  You see, I live in the good old US of A, northern NJ to be exact, but I am originally from Glasgow in Scotland.  I’ve been living here for 3 years and need to renew my visa so that I can stay in this lovely country.  In order to renew a visa, I need to visit a US Embassy outside of the country and give them my passport for a week – so it makes sense to travel home and wait out my passport returning whilst catching up with my family.

I am so excited!! I have 3 days in London, then 4 days in Glasgow, then 4 days in south Yorkshire.  I’m planning to catch up with family and friends, and see my nieces for a few days who I absolutely love.  Get me on that plane already!

There’s just one problem with disrupting your regular routine:

How do you stick to your diet and exercise regimes?

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If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Weight loss plans are go

Three days in to my new eating plan and I’ve gotta say, it’s going well so far!   I’ve been very strict with my cardinal rule, which is if I can’t accurately track it, I don’t eat it.

Despite being only three days into my plan, I’ve already had a few opportunities to be led astray.  Yesterday, for example, I had a trip to the Jersey Shore with some friends visiting from my hometown.  Now, the Shore is not the place to go if you’re in week 1 of your full-accountability, no-nonsense, full-tracking weight loss plans.  Lunch options consisted of funnel cake, fried oreos, pizza slices, ice cream…. you get the picture.   Luckily, I anticipated this ahead of time and prepared a lunch of sandwiches and trail mix to take with me, calorie tracked ahead of time.   Continue reading