World’s Worst Marathon Training Plan

So I never really talked about my marathon training ‘plan’ for lack of a better word.  Training disaster?  I’m probably really, really lucky I didn’t injure myself.  Several times I suspected I was close to getting shin splints.  I signed up for Disney almost a year in advance and decided that last year would be a year of almost no races in order to focus on building my base and slowly building my mileage up so that, by October, I’d be in the best running shape of my life.  Wow, how that completely fell apart.  Instead I had the worst year of running in 5 years and by October I was running only every couple weeks.  Very inconsistent.  I had signed up for the Disney Wine & Dine half marathon as well which was in early November.  I thought that would have been a great prep race.  (It would have been)

Fast forward to the first week of November when I got back from my cruise.  I was a bit panicked and went for an 8 mile run.  Or tried to.  I walked about 3 miles of it.  Took me over an hour and a half to finish.  There was only 9 1/2 weeks until the race.  The most aggressive plans I ever saw were 12 weeks.  Polar’s site wouldn’t even let me create a marathon plan for that duration.  And, realistically, I knew I needed 2 weeks of taper so I had to be ready for the race distance in 7 or 8 weeks.  I could barely run 5 miles.

A little luck and a lot of listening to my body and focusing harder on recovery than I ever had before, I was able to coax out the mileage that I needed on a weekly basis.  I got stronger by the week and faster.  I refused to push myself when I knew I shouldn’t but I did push when I felt it was safe to.  The only part of that that sucked was I skipped my annual Thanksgiving morning race.  It didn’t fit with my schedule.  My goal was to do a 20 mile run on Dec 30th.

I decided the only way to make it was to commit to increasing my long run by 2 miles a week.  This was risky as I was increasing my mileage by 25% a week early on rather than the much safer 10%.  By Thanksgiving I realized there was a half marathon around the corner from my house in a couple weeks that fit perfectly with my training schedule.  So I signed up and suddenly, that’s when the entire sense of where I was in my training changed for me because I PRed the race by 6 minutes.  I knew at that moment that I’d complete the marathon and feel pretty good about it.

A few weeks later, I did my 20 mile run in 3.5 hours and a week ahead of schedule.  I thought I was on track for a 4:30ish marathon time.  Unfortunately extremely hot weather conditions got in my way but overall my crazy training plan really worked.  I highly suggest no one follow my 9 – 10 week race training plan but if you’re careful, its also not impossible!

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