I decided to "reward" myself with a marathon to celebrate my 50th birthday. I'd had no exercise in six years, so I was starting at square one, or a little further back as I was a bit overweight. I'm five months into my training, tirty-two mpw, on track, and injury-free. Here's what I did.
In a nutshell, I looked at all the schedules I could find, averaged them out and came up with a weekly mileage figure for each week in an eighteen-week program. The sites mentioned elsewhere usually have guides for beginners, intermediates, and advanced runners. Pick a level that seems doable. I picked intermediate because I ran quite a bit in a previous life and my body seems to remember.
Anywho, I split the miles between the days I plan to train with a long day, a short day, two medium days, and a speed/hill day. Finding the right schedule was a challenge, trying to balance other demands on my time and all, but instead of imposing a schedule, I looked at my log, saw which days I ran, and created a "plan" based on a couple of months' trial and error.
I started on a treadmill back in January. Once I got to four workouts a week, I moved one outside, the next week I swapped another, and so on. On the 'tween days I biked and/or lifted weights, hoping the cross training would spare my old joints a bit.
I increased one run and each week I increased another until all were at six miles. Then I increased my long run in mile-and-a-half-weekly-increments to twelve miles back in May. Playing with my schedule I came up with this: cross train, twelve, three, and six miles, cross train, six, and four and a half miles.
I'd planned a December marathon, but once I hit the magic 30 mpw I figured I'd keep going and am planning to run Ocean State in October instead. That's nine months from step one.
So far everything's coming along fine. I'm two weeks into an eighteen week program culminating in three fifty-mile weeks with twenty-one-mile long runs. All very doable with only a ten percent weekly increase, easy weeks every so often, and a proper taper before the race.
While I have a time goal, I really think my first marathon will be simply a matter of survival, especially with so little training under my belt. It takes a while for the body to adapt. And there's a big difference between training in good conditions and racing in whatever the gods dish out.
Good luck! Train hard and have fun!
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