Gettysburg Marathon Training : Quarter Point Check In

Hi everyone!  I can't believe it, but I'm already 1/4 of the way done with marathon training.  I mentioned before that I was planning on doing a 20 week training program, and I just finished week 5.  Today I'll be talking about how training is going, what's worked and what hasn't, and what will change going forward.

A Look Back

I've been following Kara Goucher's Half Marathon Plan, which I really like.  So far, I've modified the long runs to be longer (started with 7.25 and I'm up to 10), and added an extra rest day each week (the plan calls for 1-2, and I've been doing 2-3 depending on how I feel.)  Here's a look at my training so far at a glance:

This week I officially switched over to a Marathon Training Plan (using this one from Women's Running).  The transition has been easy since the mileage is really similar.  I'm continuing with the speed workouts in Kara's plan because I really like the variety.

So far, my best workout has been the Ice Cream Sandwich.  This was supposed to be a really challenging workout, and I was happy to crush it!  I felt strong and focused the entire run.  The next week I had my worst workout (and the only one that I had to cut short so far)- the Pace Checker.  I was only able to make it through half of the reps and did not feel good at all during this workout!

What's Working

I've changed up a lot of things when I started this plan.  I honestly feel like a new runner and like I'm ready to take on the world!  Here are a few things that I've changed in my running routine (and life) that have been helping me:
  • Morning runs.  I always used to be an evening runner, but switched to morning running a few months ago.  It's always dark by the time I'm home now, so I know that if I didn't get my run in before work I would most likely skip or shorten every workout.  Getting my run done before work has been a game changer for me!
  • Daily yoga.  This has quickly become one of my favorite parts of the day!  It's so relaxing to end a long, hard day with some soothing yoga.  This is definitely helping my mind, body, and spirit!
  • Becoming a student of running.  I just finished Meb for Mortals, and one piece of advice that Meb gives is being a student of the sport.  This means learning as much as you can, absorbing information, and taking a general interest in the sport.  Lately I've been feeling like running has been on my mind 24/7, and it's definitely helped me get faster and stay motivated.  I'm listening to podcasts, reading books, following inspiring runners on social media, and learning as much as I possibly can.  If anyone has podcast/book/movie suggestions please let me know!

What's Not Working

At this point I'm really happy with my training.  I haven't had to miss any key workouts, and only cut back one speed session so far.  Other than that, I'm really proud of my paces and how I'm feeling.  My only complaint is something that I have no control over, and that's the weather.  I've lived in Pittsburgh my whole life and have been running here for almost 3/4 of my life, so I've learned to just suck it up.

But, it would be boring if I pretended that training is perfect, so here are some things that I want to work on in the next part of training:
  • Better fueling.  Most of the time on my long runs, I feel really hungry.  I need to work on eating a bigger breakfast and finding food that will sit well in my stomach.
  • Staying hydrated.  I have to admit that I haven't been very good about drinking water lately!  I've been trying to work on drinking more at work, so now I'll make it a goal to drink 50 oz a day.
  • Slower easy runs.  Mileage is increasing, so I want to slow down my easy runs.  I'm usually pretty good about keeping these nice and easy, but I can be way too competitive with myself and try to have a good pace.  I might need to start running without a watch on these runs to make sure I take them super easy!


What's Next

I'm scheduled for my first race of the year on Saturday- the Chilly Cheeks Challenge. To be honest, I'm not sure if I'm going to end up running this race. I haven't signed up yet, and the weather is predicting ice in the morning.  I'll keep watching the weather, but it's not really worth it to me to pay to run a race that could potentially injure me, or get in an accident on the way there!

Other than that, I'm going to be picking up the mileage for the next few weeks.  I considered the first quarter of training my build-up phase, and now I'm in the hard work phase.  Things are going to start to hurt and long runs are going to start getting long (my week 9 long run is going to be 16 miles!).  I feel like this part is going to be the toughest mentally for me, but if I can push through it I know I'll make it!

What races do you have coming up?
Have you made any big changes in your training lately?
Morning or evening runner?
linking up with Annmarie, Nicole, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday.


  1. Morning runner for sure. And, right now, morning walker (but I can't wait to get back to my morning runs. CANNOT WAIT). Great plans forward and a great look back at what you have done. Being a student of running is, in my mind, the big change that gives you the advantage in your training!

  2. I love Mebs advice about being a student too, we can always learn more to improve.

  3. You're doing so great! I used to be an evening only runner, but now I've switched to mornings which was really hard to do at first but now I like it way better! If I ever had to do speed work or tempo runs though, I'd have to do those in the afternoon. My morning pace is much slower than my regular pace.

  4. It's nice to think of your training in mental chunks like this and see what you've accomplished and learned in the first 5 weeks!

  5. It sounds like your training is going really well! I like the idea of checking in every quarter on your overall progress. I used to love running before work, but it's just a little too dark for me since I have to be at work at 7 am.

  6. Way to rock your training! I LOVE your little chart you made- super cute!

  7. Sounds like you're doing awesome!! It's such a game changer when you find a training plan you like. Keep it up!

  8. Right now I need to focus on just running easy miles because my endurance/speed has really taken a hit this fall. But once I'm in better shape, I'd like to try some of those workouts that Kara wrote. Especially the ice cream sandwich as there is a perfect hill just over 2 miles from my house!

    I like these sort of training reflection posts. It's a good way to review not just the miles but all the extra stuff like nutrition and cross training and identify areas for improvement. Keep it up!

  9. Yeah! You are doing so awesome! You are going to crush this marathon! :)

  10. You might want to check out the book How Bad Do You Want It. I know it's so popular, but it's so good!

  11. Way to go on getting through the first quarter, girl!

    Good luck with your race this weekend, girl! I hope the weather holds out for you!

  12. Staying hydrated is my goal this month!!

  13. I love that training is going so well for you. Your enthusiasm and positivity is inspiring! I used to be that student of running but am sidetracked this training cycle. I never thought how that could help me stay motivated, but now I cam totally see how. I need to get back to it!


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