The 26.2 Plan

by Holly on January 5, 2012

in life,marathon training,running

Sooo…I’m running another marathon.

And it’s going to require a plan…a MAJOR plan.

Because I’m 100% certain the only thing that’s getting my out-of-shape butt 26.2 miles across the finish line with my already-waning sanity intact is (1) the thought of an ice cold beer afterwards and (2) a customized Everythingtarian marathon training plan. It needs to be doable, effective and most importantly, provide me with flexibility for my over-stuffed life. Because I plan on working full-time, taking a graphic design class, blogging regularly, freelance writing, catching up on six seasons of How I Met Your Mother, having a life and running 26.2 miles in 115 days.

Yes, I know I’m crazy, but crazy enough that this plan just might work?

Let’s go with that.

(1) Follow Hal Higdon’s marathon training plan…but with modifications.

My body cannot and will not run five days per week. It’s getting old, my knees are creaking and quite frankly, my muscles like to relax and watch How I Met Your Mother too. Instead, I will run three days per week: one short, one medium and one long run. This will give my body more rest days AND allow me to go to yoga 1-2 times per week for much-needed stretching.

P.S. I’m only on week #2.

(2) Schedule, schedule, schedule!

You want to know what’s written down in my planner? EVERYTHING. Lately, I’ve been making a conscious effort to take 30 minutes every Sunday to schedule workouts, blog posts for the week, blocks of time for freelance writing and social activities – then, I follow the schedule. It’s getting to be a routine, and while I don’t like routine, it is making me a very efficient person.

(3) Eat food. A lot of it.

Marathon training makes you hungry…really hungry. Despite my caveman appetite, I still lost about five pounds during my first marathon and am guessing that will most likely happen again. Regardless, I plan on steadily increasing my grocery bill to continue to fuel myself on a mostly vegetarian diet with ample amounts of beer, dessert, coffee and nachos included.

(1600-2000 calories) + calories expended during run = how much I will aim to eat per day

protein smoothies / PB+B toast / vegan ice cream oatmeal / uniquely yummy salads / grilled cheese sandwiches + tomato soup / Indian lunch buffets / my favorite sweet potato concoction / Easy Vegan Chili / buffalo chicken anything

(4) Rely on my marathon partner for support.

She is my friend. Her name is Lauren. She may have to piggyback me to the finish line.

(5) Listen to my body, my mind and my craving for ice cream.

I’m not qualifying for Boston. I’m not looking to make a specific goal time. I’m not counting on this marathon to make me lose 10 miracle pounds. But I AM hoping to enjoy the experience, so if that means quitting a sucky run or taking the night off from everything to watch addictive YouTube videos or popping open a carton of Ben & Jerry’s, count me in.

And when I do cross the finish line of the Nashville Rock n’ Roll Marathon on April 28th, you can bet your precious Vitamix blenders I’ll be celebrating Rocky-style…and with a beer in hand.


MacKensie Gibson January 5, 2012 at 10:36 pm

I will be doing this same thing this year, except I live in Florida. I was considering the Seattle Rock ‘n Roll marathon though simply because I feel like my first marathon needs to be rock ‘n roll themed, so I guess Nashville isn’t completely out of the picture. :) Good luck!

dana @ my little celebration January 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Oh my gosh! How have I never seen ‘s*** girls say’?! I totally say all those things! Bahahahaha.

Oh, and I can’t believe you’re running a mary. I’m so proud of you! Good luck, friend!

Erica January 5, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Im sure planning is so key!! Im thinking about a half and know that with work, a baby, teaching at the gym and blogging, planning would be super impt!

Lauren @ The Climbing Chef January 6, 2012 at 1:03 am

You can do this! I understand the balance thing when it comes to exercise, work, school, life, etc. Why is it that all of the foodie bloggers I know/follow/love/stock (who said that?) are TOTAL overachievers? Hm… any way, GO HOLLY!!!

Lauren January 6, 2012 at 5:49 am

Girl, you’ve got this!! ;)

Amy B @ Second City Randomness January 6, 2012 at 6:14 am

Yay!!! You can totally do this! Goodluck with the beginning of training! I’m just starting up my half marathon training, too. Sorta can’t wait for it to be my excuse to eat more burgers and things of the like… I’ll need protein. Obviously.

Amber January 6, 2012 at 6:15 am

If all else fails tie a beer on a string have your marathon buddy hold it out in front of you. Then you’ll have your motivation all the way through. ;)

Hillary January 6, 2012 at 6:20 am

You make me want to run a full marathon. And then I remember that I’m training for a half marathon, and that’s plenty of running for me. I do like that we’ll be virtually training together, though (yup. I’m counting you as a training buddy. Hope you’re ok with that!)

You got this!

Madeline - Greens and Jeans January 6, 2012 at 7:44 am

Come back to Philadelphia please!

Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon January 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

Good for you, running another marathon!! Good luck with your training!!!

Meister @ The Nervous Cook January 6, 2012 at 8:27 am

Okay, okay, fine — is this my year to run 26.2 too? Everybody else is doing it and so excited, and here I am just wracking up the milage every week for no real good reason.


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 6, 2012 at 9:22 am

Good for you! I’m totally impressed – the thought of a full still makes me want to hurl. Not that you will hurl. I should shut up now.

In conclusion, you rock and you will conquer this race like a Kenyan!

emily (a nutritionist eats) January 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

You go girl!!!!

hippierunner January 6, 2012 at 9:45 am

You can do it! Sounds like you’ve got it under control! I have a marathon in 72 days, am looking forward to hearing how your training is going (and keeping myself accountable!).

Carolyn January 6, 2012 at 9:46 am

One of my 2012 goals is to do another half marathon. As someone who is as busy as you are, I had a hell of a time fitting in training for a half, much less for a full marathon! But then, I’m 10 years older than you and a slow runner! :D

Also, replace “beer” with “wine” and “nachos” with “pizza” and we pretty much have the same caveman tendencies! ;)

I’ll be curious to see how your short-medium-long 3x week running plan works – if so, I might have to give it a go. What’s your plan on increasing mileage each week?

wendy @ ABCs and Garden Peas January 6, 2012 at 9:47 am

You’re my hero. Totally. I can’t wait to hear how it goes. A half marathon is my big goal for after my baby-makin’ days are over. For now, I’m in a love affair with my new Bosu. It comes with an exercise video featuring a Daniel Tosh look-alike, and if that isn’t pure gold I don’t know what is!

Happy running to you! and by the way, now I want Buffalo chicken. Thanks :/

Elizabeth January 6, 2012 at 10:30 am

Ha! Awesome & good luck! You know, I do believe Runners World puts together a solid 3 day per week running program, although it might cost a little $$. I’m sure you have someone helping you with your plan, perhaps Lauren? In case you don’t and just want to make sure the plan will get you to the finish line in minimal pain, feel free to send it my way. :)

Caitlin @ Vegetarian in the City January 6, 2012 at 10:37 am

congrats on starting this awesome training schedule! doing a marathon is on my bucket list. i’m just not sure when i’ll get around to it. also, your meals look amazing especially that sandwich in the middle!

Sarah January 6, 2012 at 11:01 am

Awesome! I signed up for the Vermont City Marathon again at the end of May. I too just want to finish with a smile on my face and be able to enjoy a beer. AND, like you, I’m getting older and going with the three-days-a-week running plan. Have you heard of the FIRST method? It was developed by professors at Furman University? It’s essentially an easy run, fast run, and long run. That’s what I’m going to follow.

Good luck and happy new year!

Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) January 6, 2012 at 11:51 am

I like your plan! And having a marathon buddy is KEY, especially in these cold, dark winter months when curling up on the couch and watching HIMYM is so tempting.

Fact: I ran on the treadmill at the gym on Wednesday and the only thing that made it bearable was back-to-back episodes featuring Barney Stinsen.

Oh Patrick Harris <3

Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 6, 2012 at 11:57 am

Good luck! I definitely agree with scheduling out everything, it makes the week less stressful!

Mackenzie January 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm

once again, you are HERO STATUS! git it, homegirl!

Matt @ The Athlete's Plate January 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm

You’ll rock it Holly!

Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles January 7, 2012 at 11:46 am

Oh man, I’m pretty envious of your ambition here – I’ve been gearing myself up to start training for a half-marathon and was thinking April wouldn’t give me nearly enough time to be ready, haha! Maybe I really need to push it.

Maya January 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I can’t wait to read about your progress. You go, fellow curly haired girl!

Katie January 7, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Gooooooo! Holly!! Hal Higdon is my best friend…except on those long runs. Then I loathe him. But kind of love at the same time. Actually, that sums up my whole relationship with marathons.

Frances January 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm

if you happen to rive through Ohio on your way to Nashville…let me know!

also, re:beer- i always run better after-ale. go figure.

Sarah (I Dream of Beets) January 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Congrats on the plan! I just signed up for my FIRST marathon. I’m scared. I finished my first long run this weekend – 12 miles at 8:40 pace. It went well, but now I’m pretty much finished for the weekend. I figure adding more to my schedule will make me more productive, right? My planner looks a LOT like yours – teaching full time, taking a writing class, Crossfit, and marathon training. Scary. GOOD LUCK!

C January 8, 2012 at 9:48 am

rock chalk!

Denice January 8, 2012 at 11:29 am

Ha! Holly I just love you! I read this when you posted it, and had to come back to say that you inspired (or guilted) me into making a running plan for myself. I have a half marathon coming in 6 weeks from today (eeekkk!!!). So I am getting ready to head out for my first official structured long run for the race. If I am going to hope to finish it at all in one piece I need to really stay accountable to my plan. But I do love my caveman ways just like you and Carolyn (I am sure that the fast food from last night post 3 hours of dancing isn’t going to help me at all today). Best luck! And Thanks again for the motivation.

KaraHadley January 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm

You get to eat that much when you’re training? Hmmm, maybe I should train for a marathon. But I guess eating more isn’t good enough of a reason, right?
This plan looks so doable. G’luck!

julie January 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm

own that marathon biotch. the marathon, not you obvi ;)

Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] January 9, 2012 at 3:03 am

sounds like a genius, well thought out plan.

& yes, always listen to those ice cream cravings!

elise January 10, 2012 at 8:07 am

you are a stud. im sooo out of the running game but kyle and i signed up for a half in april and i desperately need a plan to up my mileage. i havent done anything over 6 miles in a year i dont think. this plan looks highly organized. i may need more wiggle room.

Mari January 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Good luck with your training! I am running a half in March (I think the one you did last year in DC) so should probably get on the old training schedule. : ) Keep us updated.

Laura @ Backstage Balance January 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Yeah Holly! You are going to own the sh*t out of that marathon. One word of advice: as I mentioned in a previous comment, it’s hilly. Do some hill training a few times of month and you’ll be glad!
Would you consider doing a post on how you organize your planner? I am pretty much helpless when it comes to that and would love to see more about your technique!

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