Using a Marathon as a Training Run

The body is a funny thing. After my tough boxing workout on Tuesday, I was feeling pretty sore. So, it’s not surprising that my runs on Wednesday and Thursday didn’t feel the greatest. My legs each felt about 80 lbs. I still hit my workout paces, and I think it was in part due to me reminding myself that working through when I’m tired will help me mentally and physically during my marathons. It’s important to note that when I say tired, it does not mean running when my form has devolved into a mess. That’s how you get injured.


I got a good night’s sleep Thursday, and Friday my workout went astonishingly well. Like the kind of run that gives me faith in all the hard training I’ve done. The workout was prescribed as a 90 minute 3rds progression run, meaning for 30 minutes I should run easy, the next 30 moderately, then the final 30 at moderately hard to hard pace.

My legs felt awesome, and I felt like I could’ve gone longer and faster at the end of the 11 miles. It’s a good thing I had to pick up my son, or I’d have been tempted to go 13.1 — just because.

20140216-225249.jpgToday was 18 miles, with the first 9.5 with the running group and the remainder on the treadmill. The outside portion of the run was unpleasant because it was fucking cold. Wind chill of -3 cold. I couldn’t wait to finish. The treadmill was much faster (and sweatier), at a 8:24 pace. I ran the last mile at an 8:05. Then I dissolved into a puddle for an hour of yoga.

My first marathon is two weeks from today. As I’ve mentioned, it will be a training run with a tentative goal time of 4:30, meaning a 10:18 average pace. This really ought to be doable, with my biggest risk being going too fast and being too tired to jump back into training within a couple days.

My goal marathon is May 4, and my goal time will be 3:55 or better to achieve a BQ. Based on all the fancy race calculators, I’m on track to make that goal. But the key is to keep training smart, which means not being aggressive for my training run race. That will be difficult.

Has anyone else used a race as a training run (as opposed to a tune up)? I’ve read a few accounts that seemed to work really well for people. I think it will give my body a chance to get an idea of what 26.2 miles will feel like, plus there will be a marked course, aid stations and portapotties. Not to mention I get to be in Florida and out of this frigid weather.

This picture is inside our porch


8 thoughts on “Using a Marathon as a Training Run

  1. Sounds like you’ll do great. I like the idea of running a marathon as a training run as long as you take it slow. I know I went out too fast and had to walk/run the last 10 miles (and took 5 months to recover). Good luck!!!!

  2. My first marathon is a week away!! and i don’t have high goals for it so I guess you could say it’s a training run?? I’m very competitive so of course I secretly do have a time I’d like to finish by but I’m not going to dwell on it too much if I don’t make it. It seems to me like you’re definitely going to make your 4:30 by the times I’ve seen you post! You remind me of a friend who also just started running last year and is super fast lol! Some people are naturals 🙂

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