Hey guys, guess what? Yesterday, I completed the first run of marathon training cycle #2! I can’t believe that I’ve started the 18 week journey towards the Marine Corps Marathon on October 27th. Woohoo!
For my first marathon (CIM), I worked off of Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 training plan along with some tweaks (recap). It worked fairly well, so for MCM, I’m going back to good ol’ Hal, but this time I’m upping the ante to the Intermediate 2 plan. The main differences between Novice 2 and Intermediate 2 are:
- Volume. For CIM, my biggest week was 34 miles, whereas the Intermediate 2 plan will peak at 50 miles.
- Longer midweek runs. For CIM, I moved the Wednesday runs to Friday, but I never did the prescribed distance (up to 8 miles). One thing I wanted to do in this 2nd training cycle was to increase my endurance by doing midweek 8-10 mile runs, which is what the Intermediate 2 plan calls for.
- Back-to-back long runs on weekends. There are THREE 30 mile weekends (10 miles on Sat, 20 miles on Sun). This sounds intimidating, but again, I think that running on tired legs will help me in the end.
- More running days. The Novice 2 plan has 4 days of running, 2 days of rest, and 1 cross-training day vs. the Intermediate 2 plan with 5 running days, 1 day of rest, and 1 cross-training day.
I trained 17 weeks for CIM, and my MCM training plan is 18 weeks long. One very intimidating factor is the difference in total mileage. For CIM, I ran a total of almost 414 miles, whereas this new cycle has a grand total of 643 miles. Now, you may be thinking: “Sounds like a big jump, Jen. Are you sure you’re ready for this?” Well, yes, you’re right, it’s a huge leap, but here’s what I’m thinking:
- I’m going into this training cycle with a solid base, unlike last year, when I had just come back from a 3+ week vacation with no running, and spent the first few weeks gradually getting up to 20+ miles.
- I’m not going to follow the plan to a T if it doesn’t suit me… whether that means switching runs around (which I’m already doing in week 1), or if I’m feeling burnt out or injured. I’m definitely willing to take a rest day or cut back… mostly because I *know* I can finish a marathon with 400 miles of training. The extra 240 will just be icing on the cake.
- I’m not making any time goals until closer to MCM. This means a lot of low intensity miles for a majority of my runs. I’m tinkering with the idea of heart rate training to keep my easy runs truly easy. More on that later.
As I start a new marathon training cycle, there are a lot of things I’m looking forward to. For one thing, I’ve already planned some long runs with friends, which is always more fun than going it alone. Second, I’m looking forward to the challenge of back-to-back runs and pushing/testing my training volume. Finally, I hope to use my long runs to explore new trails and running paths.
Then, of course, there are the things I’m sorta dreading — the negative impact on my social life, being consistently vigilant about what I’m eating/drinking, and the never-ending pile of laundry. But, hopefully, it’ll all be worth it come October 27th!