Run less, run a marathon

I’m five weeks in on an 18-week marathon training plan for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 2. It’s crazy to think that I’m almost a third of the way done with this journey. I feel like I still have so far to go both in strengthening my body to be able to run 26.2 miles, and strengthening my mind to BELIEVE I can run 26.2 miles. This long distance running business is way more a mental game than physical test.

My training plan is from the book Run Less, Fun Faster, recommended to me by a friend. You run three times a week (sprint, tempo, and long) and cross-train twice a week.  I bought the Kindle edition, but if I could do it again I’d buy the hard copy because I’m constantly referring to charts and tables that are tricky to find quickly on an electronic version. It differs from many plans in that you only run three days a week, rather than four or five. But they are serious runs that you have to nail, and you target pace is specified for each run so you know what you need to hit. It’s not a lazy plan; it’s a serious plan that leaves no room for junk workouts.

Here’s a few stream-of-consciousness-things I’m learning along the way.

General Running

  • Try not to step in goose poop.
  • Don’t lace shoes too tight.
  • Try to keep Lucy (six-month-old puppy and future running partner) from eating the goose poop. (She joins me on the first warm-up mile or two, scampering along with the park trainer. She’s gotten pretty good at responding to my commands. Except with the goose poop.)

The Long Run

  • On long runs, skip the loops around IWU. Too many turn-around possibilities, places to cut it short. Go for the way out and backs.
  • Planning for the long run on Friday or Saturday starts the day before; hydration (sip sip sip), nutrition (no, two brownies aren’t the best choice today), and routes.

The Sprint Workout

  • I dislike my Monday sprint workouts, but they really do help with endurance. I need to stop cutting them short.
  • IWU track has been under construction all summer long, so I use an app to track my distance. This week, my sprint workout was five 1000-meter sprints, so I did five .6 mile sprints. (okay, actually three.)

The Tempo Run

  • I actually like the tempo runs. They’re a nice doable distance – about 6-7 miles right now at target marathon pace.

Cross Training

  • Strength training twice a week. Shoulda been doing it all this time. Very happy with how it’s helping me feel, well, stronger.
  • I also either bike or take Lucy on a long walk on CT days.

Fuel for the Run

  • Poor eating choices will show themselves on the run.
  • Carbs are fine; you need them to run. Just pick the RIGHT carbs!
  • Enough with the sugar.


  1. //

    Nice tips. I’ll have to try some… whenever I stop abusing my foot and it gets better.

  2. //

    Wow, I’m so proud of you. I just don’t have the discipline to do serious workouts. I really admire your determination. You go, girl!

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