Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Changing training plans

I love my trail season pass, but I will say that it has taught me two things...first, training for a half is much easier and shorter to commit to, and second, altering a training plan around races you've scheduled is as much of an art as a science. Well, I think. Since this is my first time training for a marathon, I'm assuming that that's what all the mixed responses means.

Since my trail pass has monthly races and marathon training goes for over 3 months, there were some conflicts. Namely, a 5 mile race that fell on an 11 mile day, a half that fell on a 17 mile day, and a 4 mile race that fell on a 20 miler day. Being a novice I knew I didn't want to skip races that I'd paid for but at the same time, I wasn't sure exactly how to adjust around those. I asked on a distance group and a few friends who have been running much longer (and many more marathons) than I have.

And almost no one gave me the same answer. For the 5 miler most people said warm up 3 miles ahead of time and 3 miles after, one person said do the long run a different day and don't race the 5 miler. (I ended up doing that - 11 miles is still low enough that it's a distance I'm very comfortable with, so I felt okay adding extra to the week, I just took the trail run very easy.)

For the half some people said add miles to warm up and cool down, some people suggested flipping weeks in my training schedule, and one really helpful person actually had me send him my training plan (which I have plotted out on an excel sheet) and he redid it to accommodate all the races, with notes.

And for the four miler some people said skip and some people said do the 20 a different day.

Personally, I am taking a little bit from each person I talked to and sort of hodge-podging it, along with my best instincts for what my body is capable of. It makes me uncomfortable though - for my first marathon, my instinct mostly says - follow the plan! Do not deviate!

What about you? Do you alter training plans, or do you stick to them to the letter? Or do you not bother with plans?


  1. That's great you got input and advice from them! I agree with what they said - add mileage to the longer runs but move the long runs on the weeks when the race is short. You don't need to do your long run the same day each week. And you don't need to "race" trail races.

    I don't bother with training plans, although I did lay out my long runs for my fall marathon so that I don't have to do backwards math each week to decide what range to run in :)

    1. I feel very lucky to have so many to reach out to for input!

      That sums up what I decided to do much more succinctly! I felt like warming up and cooling down 6 miles for the 5 mile trail race wasn't right for me, so I just did my long run another day. My half will have a 2 mile warm up and a 2 mile cool down. And the 4 mile I'll do another day.

      I don't think I could really race a trail race...I'd be worried about face planting! I plan on walk/running the two short ones in conflict (well, I already did one of those, haha).

      I envy your experience! I feel like I could do that well for a half but the marathon seems so intimidating still.

  2. I write up a training plan for each race and then tweet them as needed considering what is best for me each week. You will figure it out as you go along.

    I'm having a terrible time commenting from the iPad so if it comes up unknown, it's me, Jillian at Jillian loves :)

  3. I constantly tweak my training plans. I think in Hal's book he says it's okay to break up long runs, but you don't want to get in the habit of doing it all the time - your body needs time to adjust to the extra time spent on your feet.

  4. My training plan is going to be one major tweak from start to finish since I can't run right now. My last one was too (and that was for my first marathon). Don't worry, you'll do great!