Marine Corps Marathon — Take 2

Marine Corps Marathon 2015
I’m in!

I won the lottery again — the Marine Corps Marathon lottery!

Earlier this year, I was on the fence about whether or not I should enter. Was I ready for another full marathon? Did I really want to put in the time for training?

In the end, I decided to go for it – and I got in!

This year is the MCM’s 40th anniversary, so I imagine the race festivities will be great. Also, I really enjoyed the course last year, and I’m hoping that being familiar with it will give me an advantage in improving my time. Of course, it’ll take more than just knowing the course to set a PR. I’ll have to focus more on training this time around.

Last year, I used a slightly modified version of Hal Higdon’s 18-week marathon training schedule for beginners.

Hal Higdon's Marathon Training Schedule - Novice 1
Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training Schedule – Novice 1

I’ll be honest, I missed more than a few many training days due to various reasons — time, weather, fatigue. I always completed my long runs on the weekends (which is key to marathon training), but I was not as consistent with the shorter runs during the weekdays. One of my goals is to work on that.

I briefly considered signing up for the Experienced Marathon Program offered by the Montgomery County Road Runners Club. While there is no requirement for speed/pace, runners must have a strong and consistent mileage base of at least 35-45 miles per week in order to safely build to the suggested peak mileage of 55-65 miles per week. Runners must also be able to comfortably run 12-14 miles as a long run (the first long run is 14 miles). I can do the latter, but my current weekly mileage base is maaaaybe 15-20 miles right now (on a good week). So I’m not quite there. I was going to try and build up to 35 miles by the time the program starts in late May (and I still may try), but realistically, I probably not experienced enough for this program.

Instead, I’m going with another Hal Higdon training plan – his Intermediate 2 this time. It looks challenging enough where I think I may improve, but not overly difficult where I’ll want to shoot myself (I don’t think…)

Hal Higdon's Marathon Training Schedule - Intermediate 2
Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training Schedule – Intermediate 2

The first long run is 10 miles – that’s doable. The mid-week runs are little longer than in the beginner plan, and also includes three 20-mile long runs, as opposed to just one in the beginner plan. Another noticeable difference between Hal’s two plans is the back-to-back runs on the weekends – the long runs on Sundays are followed by pace runs on Saturdays. And cross-training is now on Mondays. I like doing my long run on Saturdays because it gives me a little extra time to recuperate. Hal doesn’t recommend it, but I may switch it around some weeks (long run on Saturday, pace run on Sunday).

Overall, I like the plan and I’m actually excited to start. I’m planning to start mid-June, so it’s going to be hot and humid (just like last year), and it’s likely my excitement will die as soon as the weather gets sticky. But right now I’m looking forward to it, and will try to hold on to the excitement and motivation for as long as possible.

In other news, I’m heading to Nashville on Friday to run the Nashville Rock n Roll Half (aka Country Music Half). Rolling hills and country music, here I come!  My co-worker, Erin, gave me a list of must-see/eat/things to do. It’s going to be a short trip, but hopefully I’ll have enough time to cross off at least a few items on her list.


  1. Eeks training is around the corner! I’ll probably modify the plan I used from last year (PRR) and see how they compare to Hals (which I usually reference when I form my training plans).

    1. Yep, right around the corner! Don’t think I’m familiar with PRR. Looking forward to hearing more about it on your blog. 🙂 Congrats again on Chi!

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