A Recipe for Redemption

A spoonful of sugar may help you fuel on a long run, but you will need a lot more ingredients in your recipe to conquer  your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or maybe even your 33rd marathon

With a little less than 39 weeks until the 2018 Chicago Marathon, it was time to put pen to paper – with a good ol’fashion (and nerdy) Excel spreadsheet – to devise a comprehensive 39-week plan.  One that will hopefully keep my previous tendinitis at bay.

Things I wish I had known before my last marathon:

  • Cross training can increase your speed, recovery, and save your legs from nagging injuries – I spent weeks on the bike when I developed tendinitis 8 weeks before my first marathon
  • Obsessing over pace for your 1st marathon can be counterproductive – just focus onFoam Rolling finishing and pacing yourself consistently
  • Foam rolling + KT Tape are not fads – they are absolute must haves
  • Consistent hydration starts on Monday for your Saturday long runs – especially for last year’s humid-ridden running season
  • Always try your fuel (gummy bears, gu, anything) a day or two before your long run – for those experienced runners or those with temperamental stomachs, you will know exactly what I’m talking aboutCarb Loading
  • Food, food, food – carb loading (at least for a petite, bottom-heavier gal like myself) was a little overrated – eating balanced meals and definitely checking the box on your protein intake can boost muscle growth/repair and help preserve your immune system (key for the folks who train during any sort of cold/flu season)
  • Yin Yoga saved my life, joints, muscles, and pretty much everything below my hair that hurt after long runs – the long-held yoga positions felt like a good healthy dose of stretching and most classes were 1.5 hours.  I felt like a new lady after each class at my favorite studio Ebb + Flow Yoga

Set Up for Success

So with the 1st marathon in the rear view and the 2nd a little less than 39 weeks away, I pulled together a myriad of the Hal Higdon Supreme Novice 30-week mileage plan + cross training + physical therapy regiments to build a slow-mileage-progress 39-week plan with the end goal being the Chicago Marathon on Sunday Oct. 7, 2018.

Plan Stats:

  • Total mileage – 658.7 miles
  • Total weeks – 39
  • Phases – 2 
    • Phase 1 – 9 weeks (“PT” – physical therapy) phase – meant to gradually get back into consistent running, with an emphasis on cross-training. I am still not cleared to run more than 3-4 miles in a single run, so this phase is meant to build up to the start of the Hal Higdon plan
    • Phase 2 – 30 weeks adaptation of Hal Higdon’s Novice Supreme Marathon Training Plan 
    • Similar to the guidance from Hal Higdon’s site, Tues/Thur runs are designed to be midweek “easy” runs, so I have paired the strength training/muscle conditioning with those runs
    • Another valuable takeaway from my 3-month stint in physical therapy is 2x per week for key PT exercises, but also the importance of 3 basic daily activities regardless of the day’s agenda (bridges, push-ups, and planks)


Want a copy of the Plan?

Here’s the plan you can download yourself (in Excel):  Nerd Runner Redemption Running Plan v1

What next?

Additional details coming over the next week + beyond:

  • “How to’s” for the physical therapy and daily activities included in the plan
  • Example strength training routine
  • Weekly updates on progress, including journaling and races

…then there is YOU the readers, causal/serious runners, Instagram followers, and just the fitness nerd – I want to know what works for you all?

Tell me what worked for you or what you wish you had known before your 1st marathon!

One Comment Add yours

  1. acookierunnergal says:

    Pacing. Very important. No one talked to me about that. I figured it out fast! 🙂


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