Calling All Marathoners

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Today was been pretty ho-hum and relaxing.  I’ve been doing blogging-related tasks all day and preparing for my Operation Beautiful TV appearance (which is tomorrow AM! I will try to post the clip).  I’ve also sent the Husband to the grocery store with a long list of things to buy.  🙂


I had a serving of California apricots around 11:


And a wonderful lunch a little later:


I had brown rice, kidney beans, and salsa with a side of broc.  I had to make the "Executive Decision" about whether the organic salsa fell into my Crap Free Day parameters (pro’s: organic, recognized all the ingredients, no added sugar; con’s: in a can, added sodium).  I decided it was fine and went for it.  I’m glad I did because it kicked up the dish and made it extra spicy!


I did rinse the extra sodium off the canned beans!  🙂


And I just snacked on watermelon:


Calling All Marathoners


I would like to start preparing my marathon training plan, but I want YOUR recommendation on what training plan to use.  I have used Hal Hidgon’s plans for half marathons in the past and thought they were great.  BUT – I’m not crazy about Hal’s plans for marathons because I really do not have time to do long runs 5 – 6 days a week.  I know a marathon is a big time commitment, but I cannot do that.


I would like a plan that had me running no more than 4 days a week.   Also, I cannot do a lot of speedwork because it kills my knees.  Training doesn’t start until September, but I want to know in advance what level I need to get up to so I can work towards that goal.


What plans work the best?   Suggestions?



  • Anonymous July 5, 2009, 1:16 pm

    I used the Jeff Galloway method when training for NYC '04. If you pick up his training book, it offers tons of different versions of training schedules to fit your life and goals. He also is a big proponent of taking walk breaks, which I found extremely helpful, good for your body and surprisingly good for your finishing time. I sort of tapered off the walk break thing by the time I was in marathon shape, but it was sooo great for someone like me who was injury prone and limited to training on concrete in New York. Good luck!

  • Katie July 5, 2009, 1:20 pm

    I'm running my first marathon in November and I'm planning to use the plan on I used their half marathon plan and really liked it. Good luck! I love reading your blog!

  • Abbie July 5, 2009, 1:22 pm


    I am using Runner's World Run Less, Run Faster Program. As someone who has had knee issues in the past, and also likes to do other things besides just running, this plan is perfect for me. It focuses on 3 runs a week, with cross training and rest days for the other days. Even though it is only 3 days a week, it is difficult, because you are doing one day of speed work, one tempo run, and one long run. I have been following it for over a month and am loving it. I bike on the days I am not running, and find that I am not getting burned out (like I have in the past) and my knees feel great because I am never running 2 days in a row. In June I ran a marathon and knocked 10 minutes off of my time from March and know it is because of this program.

  • Meganerd July 5, 2009, 1:24 pm

    I'm also using the Run Less, Run Faster for my 10k though… I was planning on using that for the marathon!

  • KatieF July 5, 2009, 1:30 pm


    I've trained for four marathons (ran three and got hurt just weeks before the fourth–my fault, not the training plan's) and I used the Runners' World Smart Coach tool on their website ( the last two times. I loved it. It takes into account your current skill level, your current mileage, and how hard and how long you want to train and comes up with a training plan for you. You can tweak it to meet your individual needs as well.

    That being said, no matter what plan you choose, be prepared to tweak it to meet your needs. Plans are designed to meet the needs of large groups, not of individuals. I've never found a plan that I was able to follow to a T, but the Smart Coach program was the closest I got.

    Good luck! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

  • sara July 5, 2009, 1:36 pm

    I would try the runners world plan Abbie suggests until your Team in Training program starts. I couldn't run a mile when I started with TNT for my first marathon. Now I have done 3 of them and love their plans. The coaches are generally great as well with people with injuries.

    Now I train with a basic Runners World plan for half when necessary.

    Enjoy your first marathon! Its so much fun.

  • Anonymous July 5, 2009, 1:39 pm

    I like the plan that KatieF mentioned, on the RW website — however, like she mentioned, it needs some seriously tweaking. You really need to play with a lot. I run fairly high mileage already, so the tool just redistributed my miles in a wonky way. On my first couple of tries, it had me doing 9-10 mile runs several days in a row (in addition to the long runs), which just isn't reasonable, imo.

  • Matt July 5, 2009, 1:58 pm

    There are some good plans on Runner's World.

    A marathon is a big commitment, but you need to make sure you train properly. Without the right training, you are likely to get hurt or not be prepared for the race.

  • Jennyh July 5, 2009, 1:59 pm

    I uses the NYC marathon training plan both the 1sttime marathoner and the casual plan for thearatjons I've ru. And found them to be the perfect fit. They have the traing plans on the marathon website, check it out.

  • Erin July 5, 2009, 1:59 pm

    I second the Galloway method. Great for building endurance.

    Good luck tomorrow! What station will you be on? I'm in Orlando as well. 🙂


  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 5, 2009, 2:01 pm

    erin – fox! 😉

  • inmytummy July 5, 2009, 2:07 pm

    I did Hal's novice marathon runner training plan. Only 4 runs a week!

  • runeatrepeat July 5, 2009, 2:08 pm

    Yeah, I would agree with the suggestion of 3 run days and 2 cross training days. There are a couple of training programs out that work this way. I was going to use the Run Less, Run Faster book, but it's a little advanced for me.

  • Jen and Rob July 5, 2009, 2:20 pm

    I've also heard a lot of great things about the training they have on Runner's World. I joined Team in Training almost a month ago and really like their plans too. I can email you a copy of ours if you'd like.

  • Erin July 5, 2009, 2:28 pm

    F-O-X! 😀

    Just posted about latest Winter Park trip! 🙂


  • Randi July 5, 2009, 2:51 pm

    I agree with the Runners World Smart Coach option. I used that for my last marathon and great success.

  • Tami July 5, 2009, 2:55 pm

    i am using the FIRST marathon program, three days of running but it includes one day of speed work, but maybe you can change that around. this will be my first marathon. i have the book that goes along with the FIRST program-they have a website as well. i have most of the program all written out on my blog some place if you are interested.

    one thing you might like is all the cross training in the first program, swimming and biking

  • Kate July 5, 2009, 4:03 pm

    I also used the Furman Institute (FIRST) programme. It requires lots of cross-training which I think would be good for you, but it worked great for me for my first marathon in 2007- I ran a 4:04 on a very hilly course! I really enjoyed the flexibility, and having target paces spoke to my Type-A side. You can use your 5k times to determine your paces and goals.

    It's probably pretty similar to the RW programme discussed above.

  • Linda July 5, 2009, 4:26 pm

    Just curious, did you add the salsa to the rice and beans? I couldn't see it in the picture.

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 5, 2009, 4:28 pm

    linda- yup its mixed in!

  • Katherine July 5, 2009, 5:32 pm

    I've trained with TNT and really liked it, but I'm using the plan from the latest issue of Runners World for my marathon at the end of October. I'll run 4-6 2x per week, XT 3 days and then do my long runs on Saturdays. I'll be posting my full plan later this week so check it outand let me know if you have questions about it. Whatever you decide, have FUN with it!!

  • Holly July 5, 2009, 5:39 pm

    I used a 4 day/week program from this book (I think!):

    I took 18 minutes off my time and qualified for Boston, so there is definitely something to be said for not overdoing it in training! I even had a friend do a 3 day/week program and she got a PR in her marathon, too.

  • runnerskitchen July 5, 2009, 5:43 pm

    My biggest piece of marathon-ing advice would be to focus on quality long runs. I think that running at least one 18-mile run and one 20-mile run before the big day is essential. Other than that, make sure to schedule rest days before and after running long. I'm pretty convinced that my IT band problems are a result of too much mileage, not enough rest. Good luck! You're going to have so much fun 🙂

  • Angie Eats Peace July 5, 2009, 5:49 pm

    My running group uses something very similar to the Galloway method.

    Best of luck tomorrow on your appearance!

  • traveleatlove July 5, 2009, 6:07 pm

    I didn't use any particular method, but came up with a plan that worked for me and my reoccuring stress fracture:

    1 long run/week, increasing distance for 3 weeks, then stepping back a few miles, then increasing

    1 hill workout a week, along with a 3.5 mile run or so

    1 medium run at a good pace (for you) 3- no more than 10 miles

    1 day of hardcore cross training (I have a stationary bike so I would do an hour or more of that)

    Plus arm strength workouts 3x a week

    I would throw a track workout in once in awhile too. I met a man at a conference once who was an amazing runner who told me he never ran more than 4 days a week, and he had done hundreds of marathons. This worked for my last Boston, and I am currently applying it to my Newport Half training.

  • leslie July 5, 2009, 6:07 pm

    good luck tomorrow! so exciting. wish i could help with the training plan, but it looks like you've gotten some great advice!

  • Christina July 5, 2009, 6:08 pm

    Good luck tomorrow! Can't wait to hear how it goes 🙂

  • irunisweat July 5, 2009, 6:10 pm

    Galloway (all the way!) I LOVE his plan because its almost made for people that have full time jobs (or in your case a full & part time job) because you only log long runs on the weekends.

    good luck on whatever you choose!

  • Krista July 5, 2009, 6:13 pm

    I ran my first marathon in March and used a plan that my training group gave us. It was definitely based off of Hal Higdon's training schedule, working up to 20 miles a few weeks before the marathon and tapering! It worked great for me! Good luck! 🙂

  • Island Girl Eats July 5, 2009, 6:19 pm

    Hi! I went on to make my schedule. I am actually using Schedule 1 & Schedule 2. I started half way through Schedule 1 as I have been running now for about 4 1/2 years. It is working out pretty well for me.

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 5, 2009, 6:20 pm


  • Serena July 5, 2009, 6:54 pm

    If you haven't already, check out this month's Runner's World magazine. They have a great article on marathon training – and they have about 10 staffers training, each with a different issue/goal (injuries, time challenged/busy schedules, PR goals, etc) and advice for each person on how to train. It's a great issue and super motivating!

  • Alicia July 5, 2009, 7:12 pm

    Caitlin, I strongly suggest Tom Holland's book 'The Marathon Method'. I used it to train for my first half marathon, and am currently using it to train for the 2009 Chicago Marathon. I ran the half in 1:52 only running 3 days a week and staying injury free. His book is insightful, and his experience (countless marathons and Ironmans) AND advanced education have made me a believer. Good luck!

  • The Faux Foodie July 5, 2009, 7:26 pm

    For my first 1/2 marathon I used Galloway technic and it was fantastic choice for the first timer. If you pick-up the new issue of the RUNNER"S WORLD they have a whole work out listed to get you ready for the 1/2 marathon in 10 weeks….good luck

  • Jamie July 5, 2009, 8:23 pm

    I used Runner's World Smart Coach for my last marathon in May and it had me running 4 days a week and cross-training another 2. Also I've heard a lot of people really like the FIRST program where you complete 3 quality runs a week (speed, tempo, long run) and fill in the other days with cross-training and weights or easy running. Good luck finding a plan that works for you!

  • Anonymous July 5, 2009, 9:51 pm

    I was very concerned about my knees for a marathon I did in April – my training was running 3x/wk and 2x/weights (sometimes those workouts were pure weight lifting, other times I mixed it up with intervals/cardio).

    The running was really kept to a minimum. 2 of the 3 days I never did more than 7-8km. Once my long run was more than 20km, I would only increase the distance by 2km every other week.

    End result was amazing – my knees held up and the next day I felt like I could run another 42km!

    Good luck!

  • heyitstay July 5, 2009, 9:52 pm

    I trained half following Hal Higdon's plan and half following the training plan Nike provided on their website for the marathon. I switched around runs to fit my schedule, and probably ran 4-5 days per week (usually took the day off before and after my long run). I generally focused mostly on the total weekly mileage, and worked 6-8 mile runs throughout the week (plus the long weekend run) to try and reach the designated miles per week. I didn't work in any type of interval or tempo training runs. I just went for distance.

    Was I prepared? You betcha! Did I overdo it/overtrain? Yes, I'm pretty sure I did. So, looking back now, I'd recommend sticking to 4-7 mile runs throughout the week (mostly 6 or 7 miles, maybe one or two 4-5 mile runs). Listen to your body!! If you're exhausted, back off for a week and take it easy. But I'm sure you will be able to successfully train just by doing 3 base runs during the week, plus long run. It's really those long runs that you build up your endurance upon!

  • Susan July 5, 2009, 10:03 pm

    I used Hal's novice program for my first two marathons, and he only has you running four times per week + one day of cross training. The plan is supposed to get you to the starting line without injuries while still getting you to the finish line. I recommend it!

    I've also heard of the FIRST program, which is three runs per week + cross training…you might want to look into that too.

  • Mandy July 5, 2009, 10:48 pm

    I'm currently training for the Chicago Marathon in October (my first!!) using a Jeff Galloway program (from his book 'Marathon! You Can Do it!'). It's 4 days a week with a long run every OTHER weekend (which REALLY helps me because I run slow and do NOT have 3 hours a weekend to dedicate to a long run every single weekend!). The weekday runs are fairly short. I trained for my first half with Hal, but I'm realizing that i have too many other things I want to do besides just running so I searched for another program that required less of a time commitment but still got results and Galloway is what i came up with! Best of luck!

    P.S. You may want to think about looking into some training books at your local library. Mine had tons of them and allowed me to compare several programs for free!!

  • susanah July 6, 2009, 3:15 am

    caitlin i know this sounds silly and i'm sure many will think otehrwise..i ran my first marathon 2 weeks ago..i didn't follow any training plans as i signed up for it 3 mths before but ended up injuring myself, hence taking 1 whole mth of running (stress fracture) after that i kinda didn't really have much time..i just wanted to complete it healthy and fine..which i did..i did take 4:40 tho but i guess for someone who didn't train and havign to have toilte stop , shoelace stop (5 times) it was ok..also i did stop at every water station (3km marks) as i didn't carry any bottles..i'm not justifying my slow time but what i';m gettign at is, whilst plans are great to begin with, realistically in an imperfect world where work/study etc schdeule changes, its kinda hard to stick /follow a plan..i suggest u just do one long run a week (20+ km), one mid distance (say abt 15-18km)and one interval sprints…that what i did actually..for my interval sprints, i included both speed work and hill runs..
    thats just my own 2 cents..

  • N.D. July 6, 2009, 4:12 am

    Have you tried smartcoach at ruuners world ?

  • EmLit July 6, 2009, 5:28 am

    This plan doesn't fit your parameters exactly (it has five runs a week and you can incorporate speed work if you want) but I used it for two marathons and had great results–I finished my first with a very decent time and then PR'd by about 14 minutes the second time around. Here's the link:,7120,s6-238-244-255-11937-0,00.html

    The New York Times is also running a feature on marathon training with a bunch of different plans that have been designed by a variety of coaches and trainers. That might be worth checking into as well!

    Good luck finding a plan that works for you!

  • Allison July 6, 2009, 6:39 am

    I like the training programs in Marathoning for Mortals by John "The Penguin" Bingham and Jenny Hadfield. I will be using their half marathon training program starting in November.

  • The Shabby Princess July 6, 2009, 6:59 am

    I'm not a "marathoner"–yet! So, I don't really have any "advice", but, the plan that I have been following that has helped me up my mileage has been the Smart Coach on the RunnersWorld website. You plug in your goal time, how much you run now, if you want to train easy, moderate or hard, etc and it creates a little running plan for you. I really like it because you can choose which day of the week you want to do your long run on and that's a big help for me because most plans have those on Sunday, and I cannot do Sunday, so, I end up having to switch it all around–meh! That's what's worked for me thus far. I also joined a running group's marathon training program–it starts this week, so, we'll see how that goes.

    Good luck!!

  • Carolina John July 6, 2009, 7:06 am

    I used a FIRST plan for my june marathon and it was fantastic! it's only 3 days a week of running and 2 days of cross training, so it fits the tri training much easier. the long runs are still long, but only once a week. the other two runs are speedwork and a tempo run.

  • Katie July 6, 2009, 9:35 am

    the FIRST program in Run Less, Run Faster appears fantastic! I'm using it for my first 1/2 marathon and am loving only running 3 days a week, my knees NEVER hurt any more! Its tough because of the paces you are supposed to run but I shaved a minute off my 10k time and I've only been doing it for a couple weeks!

  • Amy July 6, 2009, 10:56 am

    Hi Caitlin! I am using the program in the book The Non-Runner's Guide for Marathon Training by Dawn Dais. I picked it because it has me running 4 days a week and because it includes one 22 mile run–I wanted the longer distance because I think going from 22 to 26 miles seems like nothing, whereas going from 18 or 20 miles seems like a lot of distance. Let us know what you decide to use!

  • RunToFinish July 6, 2009, 10:59 am

    ok lots of folks have commented already, but truly i found this last marathon I could do only 4 days of running and be fine. as long as there is a mid week long run and a weekend long run, seems the rest takes care of itself

  • mamasweeds July 6, 2009, 11:09 am

    Hal has a new training program called "Novice 3" which only has you running 3 days a week.

    Check it out.

  • sirenjess July 6, 2009, 3:04 pm

    Hi I've never commented before but Bart Yasso has a training plan in runners world that is good and I used Hal Higdon for my first. If you can try your local running stores and see what training plans they have that's what I've been doing and I really enjoy it. Great way to meet people.

  • Jess July 7, 2009, 5:35 am

    I just completed my first marathon with Team in Training. My chapter provided us with a training plan that worked well for me. I developed tendonitis by taking my long runs a bit too fast for my own good, but the coaches helped me adapt my schedule so that my training wasn't really effected.

  • nibblesandwiggles July 10, 2009, 10:55 am

    My husband and I have been loving the Galloway Method. I picked it because of my frequent injuries and it seems to be working great.

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