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Should I be running more miles for Marathon Training?

by Nellie

Should I be running more miles for Marathon Training?


When I started marathon training last year I really had no idea what I was getting into. I saw the miles ahead but I really had no clue how I was going to execute them and how fast/slow they would be. As I approach week 9 of marathon training I’m beginning to notice that a lot of people are doing a LOT of different plans that calls for tons of different mileage, but which one is right?

I always thought that you needed to progressively build up when it came to mileage for a marathon. For example, last year I did a 16 week plan and my first long run was 7 miles. It went up every week after that, usually by a mile with some cutback weeks happening in between. Imagine my surprise when I saw one of my local running groups planning a 18 miles simulation run on the same week that my plan calls for a measly 11 miles, still building ever so slowly.

I had to check twice to make sure that they weren’t training for the Chicago Marathon which is about 4 weeks before the the NYC Marathon–but nope, 18 miles with 12 weeks to go! At first I was crazy intimidated, like I am nowhere near 18 miles, I likely won’t even be there for at least another 6 weeks (at least). It makes me feels a) I didn’t choose the right plan for me and b) I am NOT running enough miles per week.

I know in theory that every single plan is different. I also know that a lot of people run 18 miles for fun, and this is SO not me. Somehow even knowing that I will be running my 18 in October it still gives me pause and a lot of FOMO to be missing out on this epic 3 bridge 18 mile run. I am steady trying to be better about my training this year vs. last year. Unlike last year, My training runs are definitely not a chore, I can complete the shorter runs during the week with barely any issues. The long runs have been a bit harder to schedule with busy weekends and kids that haven’t returned to school yet but overall I am feeling good about my training.

Yet, I can’t help but feel a tad of jealousy? Nervousness? Doubt? Under achiever-ness? When I see all of my peers training way harder than me. My goal is to finish 30 minutes faster than last year. Was picking a conservative plan the right choice?

A major goal for my second marathon is that I also don’t want to completely hate running by the time I’m finished. Confession time: I hated running SO much for the first two weeks after the marathon was over. I only made up with running when I ran a decent 5 mile turkey trot on thanksgiving day 3 weeks later. It was pretty touch and go for a minute!

Continue As Scheduled

I will run my own race, my own miles and put on the blinders to everything else. I was so happy when I came across this article from Runner’s World that says:

Rule 2: Mileage requirements increase as performance goals increase.
If your goal is simply to finish a race, you can run fewer miles than if your goal is to finish with a fast time.
In the end, yes, my training plan is different but, what works for me. I encourage all of you to stick with a plan and hold to it, do more if you want a fast time, but if you just want to cross the finish line (like me, no shame in my game) maybe don’t pay attention to epic 18 mile bridge runs. 🙂

Have you ever trained for a race dramatically different than someone else?

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Allie August 19, 2016 - 5:46 am

This happens all.the.time. Stick to your plan and drop the FOMO. You are doing what is right for your mind and body. The marathon cannot be rushed and, for all intents and purposes, you are still fairly new to running. Your build up should be just that and taking it slowly will insure no injuries. I know it’s super hard to not question everything when you see that but, believe in your own training and stay the course!!
So proud of YOU!

Janine Huldie August 19, 2016 - 6:58 am

I truly am the last person to say anything about this as I am not a runner by nature and just hate it, but that said I think you are amazing with all your running goals and than some. So my hat is off to you and you keep on doing what works for you always!! 🙂

Kimberly G August 19, 2016 - 8:20 am

I’ve noticed the same thing in regards to all the different mileage that people are running. Im currently on week 5 and my long run this weekend is 12 miles and I’ve alreayd had my first cut back week. This looks so different when compared to other plans, but it currently working well so I just continue to trust my training plan 🙂

Leslie August 21, 2016 - 3:15 pm

Don’t worry about your training plan, Nellie. The Husband’s training plan has him doing very long runs pretty early. For example, his half marathon is in November, and he was already scheduled for a 9-mile run this weekend. I can’t even imagine running a marathon at all, so I’m impressed you’re training for your second!

Tamara August 27, 2016 - 11:51 pm

YES. I mean, no marathons or physical things but pretty much everything I do is different from everyone else. I’m just a different learner. Sometimes it works out exceptionally well, and sometimes I fall very behind.
I have a feeling that’s not the case with you for this.


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