A year to prepare
November 4, 2014 10:09 AM   Subscribe

I just finished my 9+1 to get entry to next year's NYC marathon. If I had time to do one thing in addition to my running program, what should I add to my training?

So, I'm good with my actual running program. I have one sorted out, I'm going to take about 25 weeks on the program to prepare. But I have a year to get ready. I don't have a lot of extra time in my day - with work, family, volunteering, and training, I'll be nearly full up. But I think I should have about 20-30 minutes a day to add some sort of complementary exercise to my training. What would you recommend?

Here is where I'm at right now:

Me: female, 39 yo, been running for about 4 years. Never ran longer than a half marathon, but have run a number of those. PR is 2:04, but I typically run around 2:08 to 2:10, so am a very very average runner. Distances shorter than 10km I run about a 9 minute mile.

I am overweight. Not by a lot, but I'm 5'8' and about 175lb. I have good running technique, and aside from a stress fracture of the fibula in summer of 2013 I have been injury-free.

At the moment, I run about 15-20 miles a week, usually two 3 mile runs, a 5, and an 8 or so in the weekend (long run distance is dependent on whether I have any races coming up). I have never run more than 25 miles in a week, but I'm very sensible about increasing mileage slowly, and I am not concerned about the running aspect of my training. I try very hard to do yoga three times a week, but it's usually twice. And that's it for my exercise regimen. I live in NYC, so I walk quite a bit. A couple of my runs during the week (never the long one) end up being on a treadmill, because of logistics (kid, husband working long hours).

My goal for the marathon is simply to finish. I would be very happy with 4.5 hours, and feel like it's doable for me, but I don't have a lot of ego about it, so staying injury free and enjoying myself is more important.

So, with about 20-30 minutes a day, what would you add? I feel like I would be a better runner if I lost some weight, and I would have to do that first before I started ramping up the running, otherwise I'll be too hungry. Strength training? Swimming? Getting 20 minutes more sleep a night? Lay your wisdom on me, running mefites!
posted by gaspode to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Strength training improved my husbands running by a large margin (took him from a 8 minute mile to a 6:30/min mile). He started out just lifting for a two months and saw some small gains but then we started Crossfit 3x/week and his running really took off.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 10:37 AM on November 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: seconding strength training. Improving your core strength does wonders for your form and endurance. 20-30 minutes is plenty to do some lifting - and i have had good success with No Weight Workouts

I also do what i call "baby squatting" where I hold my 30 lb niece in front of me at chest level and do squats while babysitting. She adores it - so you can mix quality time with the kids and strength training at the same time!
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 10:46 AM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 25 weeks is too many to marathon train. You'll burn out. Spend the next nine or so months working on your base, and then grab either a 12, 16 or 18 week plan. To go from a 2:10 to a 4:30, you'll probably want to peak between 55-60 miles, so be prepared to be doing 35-40 every week leading up to when your training starts.

You can absolutely add some core training, but I wouldn't add any more cross training than you're already doing. The best way to run a good marathon is to run. A lot.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:50 AM on November 4, 2014

Best answer: The easiest way to get faster and remain injury free is to lose some weight. You don't have to go nuts and you still need nutrients to train and rain injury free but over 25 weeks a few simple changes could result in a decent amount of loss of body fat. Like quitting desserts or beer until after the race.
posted by fshgrl at 11:06 AM on November 4, 2014

Best answer: I'll add to the chorus of strength training, but for a different reason. SInce I started working as a mechanic - using my core to pull on stuck bolts, picking up tires, etc - I've progressed far beyond my running buddy, a desk jockey who actually logs more miles than me.
posted by notsnot at 12:15 PM on November 4, 2014

Response by poster: One comment: roomthreeseventeen you mention having a base of 35-40 miles/week before starting a program... I decided on using one of the hal higdon ones that a few of my friends (who are reasonably similar to me in ability) used with success over the past couple of years and it *peaks* at 40 miles per week. The first few weeks have fewer miles than I do now. My friends ran 4-5 hour marathons with this plan. I was going to increase the mileage by a couple of miles at every run. So I don't think I'm looking at burnout.
posted by gaspode at 2:49 PM on November 4, 2014

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