A lot of people have been asking about my training plan: how closely I follow one, what is the best for each level, etc. The best answer I have for this: do your research. That is, after all, what I did before I decided I was going to go through with training for a marathon. While you are doing your research, think about how dedicated you can be with your training. Take a look at how many miles are included during the week and consider if you can and are willing to take time each day to achieve them.
After my own research, I found that using a mix of plans would work best for me. I can keep up with about 28 – 35 miles per week, including the long run. I considered the fact that I have a schedule that allows me to run as many miles as I need to. Take this into consideration when finding the right training plan for you. There are A TON of options for training plans out there including the most popular: Runner’s World, Hal Higdon, Fitness, etc. Make sure you take a look at enough plans to figure out what works best for you. Do you want to include cross-training and strength training days? No matter the answer, make sure you find a plan that correlates with the workouts you want to include.
The last suggestion for when considering and using your training plan, is to listen to your body. Sure, training is intense and it is going to take time to get used to the increased mileage. However, the most important thing I’ve learned thus far (almost half way through my training)…you can’t be too hard on yourself. Did you miss a day because of exhaustion or not run the distance you were hoping for because it didn’t feel right? Let it pass and hop back on the track the next day. Pick yourself back up and NEVER give up on yourself or your goals. Training is important for any goal to be accomplished; marathons are no different. Getting bored? Play with it a little bit. Include hills and speed days. Be creative. All the hard work will pay off in the end once you pass that finish line and your goal of accomplishing 26.2 miles! Now hop to it! – Ashley