Marathon Planning Session


April 18, 2012 by Danielle

UPDATE-Why, hello there! I’m the featured interview on Healthy Page today! So, if you have a moment, stop by and check it out (I promise I’ll love you forever)

And now, back to regularly scheduled programming…


After I came down from the high of registering for two marathons in less than two weeks-first was the California International Marathon and then the  San Francisco Marathon, I realized that I would need a plan of action to accomplish everything I wanted during my first 26.2 of the year-the San Francisco Marathon.

When I set out for my first marathon, I trained to break the four hour barrier using a beginner’s marathon training plan from the Runner’s World Marathon Challenge. Itaped the torn out page on my bedroom mirror and ticked off workouts as I completed them. Although I came up just 15 minutes short of my goal (thanks for the 80 plus degree weather mother nature!), I knew my plan had played a huge part in making my first marathon experience a relatively painless success.

This time around, I’m implementing a few new training tools to run my way to a sub four hour time.

First, I decided to try out the Hal Higdon Novice 2 program, which I had first heard about through fellow blogger Kristine. I picked this particular training program for a few reasons-

  • Hal (yes, we’re on a first name basis) has trained  thousands of marathon runners to success,  has published countless books on the 26.2, writes for Runner’s World and  is one of the founders of the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA). If you want to learn more about Hal, check out his official biography.
  • Probably more important than all of his professional accolades is the fact that Hal reminds me of your typical grandpa figure…so I’ll think of that for comfort while I’m slogging through those long Saturday runs.

Hal, grand poobah of marathon success (source)

Second, instead of scribbling my workouts on a sheet of paper like I did last time, I stepped into the 21st century to keep track of my plan progress.

Oh, hello Google Calendar

I entered the entire Novice 2 plan into Google Chrome and color coded my runs to track progress; as I complete runs, I change the entry to “green” and record my Garmin splits in the notes section. I’ve posted an interactive calendar here, so if you want to check my progress, offer tips or yell at me for skipping a run, please do!

I’ve also been using Garmin Connect to keep track of my runs-both calendars have been really great visual reminders of the progress I’m making toward my goal of a sub-four hour marathon.

Data, data, data.

Last but not least, I used the McMillan Running Calculator which is a SUPER cool site that helps you calculate all of your target goal times for workouts of various distances. This tool makes it easy to find out how fast I should be running for any type of training workout, from 800s to tempo middle distance runs-try it out, it’s fun!

So there you have it! If you’re training for a running event, I hope some of these ideas will help you cross the finish line with a smile on your face (and maybe even a PR).

Check out these articles for more tips on planning your way to marathon success-


2 thoughts on “Marathon Planning Session

  1. […] coworker Laurel is 3 weeks away from running the San Francisco Marathon, which will be her first 26.2 race (yay Laurel!). As we were walking home yesterday, we were […]

  2. […] bit of intention. Well I’ve got a fix! If you remember, I created a Google Calendar for my San Francisco Marathon training and that was a great way to stay […]

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