Seattle Marathon: Beginning

For the last two weeks, I took a complete break from running to fully recover before starting a training block for the Seattle Marathon. This will be my first marathon, so I don’t have particular time goals. I guess just finishing sufficiently strong without injuring myself would be a great start.

My present shape is that I can pretty comfortably run 36-mile weeks with 12-mile long runs with the most recent 5k time being 21:50 and half-marathon of 1:45:51.

I have sixteen weeks until the race, and to make things more interesting, I’m not planning to use any pre-made training program, rather I’ll try to DIY. So far my plan is the following: partition sixteen weeks into blocks of 4 + 4 + 3 + 5 weeks, where in each block except the last I’m slowly building up the weekly mileage with the last week being a recovery week. The last five-week block is special, since it’ll end up with a 3-week taper (which includes the race week).

There are two approaches for marathon training for “slow” runners:

  1. Build up to at least one twenty-mile (32 km) long run, even it means running for 3+ hours in one go
  2. Don’t bother with it, and have longest run of at most 2.5 hours

Given that it’ll be my first marathon, my current plan is to go with the option 1, mostly to build some confidence. I still need to see how I feel during the higher-mileage weeks to know how much of speed work I should add, but likely it’ll be a combination of the following (in the decreasing order of priority):

  1. Threshold runs (with pace 7:25–7:30 min/mile)
  2. Progression during long runs (with the current conservative estimate of the marathon pace of 9:00 min/mile)
  3. Occasional VO2max intervals (last time it was 6x800s in around 3:20–3:25 with similar breaks) and hill repeats (never did those properly)

Finally, I know I should be better with strengh training during this cycle, but knowing how much I normally hate it, let me not even try to commit to it.

Overall, I’m pretty excited to start the training, especially because of the two-week break, which made me super hungry for running. I really hope I will be able to minimize niggles and injuries: always better to under-train than over-train and damage oneself.