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The 16-week Marathon plan


I am writing this plan on my blog to help runners who are contemplating bout running a marathon.  To share the lowlights and highlights and correct the mistakes i’ve done.

I am not a professional athlete or runner, I did run for fitness and I was happy, It turned to be a hobby now its a part of my life.

July 2006 was when I did my first fun run of 5Kms@ 28:xx mins, after 2 months or so, I decided to go for 10Kms I was training for two to two and a half weeks before my first 10Km race at the Milo Marathon in Manila, I did it at 1:05:xx hours.  That day after the race Roselle, a h@ppy feet mate, and I went to Max restaurant to have the post run breakfast.  Sitted by the window our eyes darted at Roxas Boulevard, watching the marathoners finishing their run, wondering when will we gather our guts to run a marathon soon.  I told her maybe in 1 or 2 years time.  It really look tough looking at the expression of their faces.  Specially the humidity.

Thalia, a Woodstock mate told me I should join them for Canberra Mara last December.  Vangie, on the other had was telling me to run with her in the HKG Marathon last February and that was already December which I think it was too short to train and prepare for it.

Now, not exactly 2 year but more than 2 years has passed, I finally decided and had courage to run a marathon.  Not quite, no pressure it was a maybe.  I decided to increase my mileage and do a marathon training.  But I did not know which event exactly.  I was waiting for a project stint in Malaysia too that period which is a deciding point which might change my training schedule.  I was doing well and the earliest Marathon feasible was Canberra Marathon.  Not getting a call from Malaysia team was a sign, so 2 days before the early bird closing date, I mailed my entry.  That was the hardest part.  Puting your foot forward and doing the first step.

Last year I was doing 30-40KMs pw for 10Km race training with cross training core and free weights.  And before September I decided to do my first half marathon as I increased it to 60Kms pw with same cross training activity.  Not until by November I was running 5 days a week straight no rest and I got slight injury.  So after that I took it slow and recovered.  After Christmas break came back to Sydney and started running again.  So here was the training plan.


Click to see the other columns

Extra Notes:
*Expected Total is calculation of 10% mileage increase from previuos week
*Had Physio consultations:  28/11/2008, 4/12/2008, 19/01/2009, 4/02/2009, 14/01/2009, 27/01/2009, 11/02/2009
*Every Wednesday in “x” are considered rest day, those were the Pilates days which started 18/03/2009 – It helped me stretch sore muscles and strengthen my core.  It also helped me in avoiding injuries
*Mileage in Bold were races/events
*Some days included weight trainings after a run and you can refere to my training diary



*Recommended Total is the 10% calculation increase for each week which I tried to follow and the Actual Total column is the total mileage I was able to run in actual
*Taper weeks was recommended from the longest run which is 36 KMs should be 3-6 weeks before the marathon.  Decrease in mileage from the last longest run is 20,30,50 and 60 percent (That’s what’s the Recommended and percent taper column all about)
*rest days is recommended after the marathon, No runs is made recommended within the week for  muscle repair (unless if you are asking for an injury), light x-training is good way to recover and keep blood flowing on those sore muscles.  if you want to run, JOG.

Interval Trainings
I believe that having tried to do regular Thursday Night Training with the Woodstock, my speed improved.  This is incorporated in my 16 week training.  Most of my trainings was on innerwest area that involves going up anzac bridge, Victoria road and Darling Street at Balmain and considering Sydney is very Hilly to the point that I was getting exhausted wanting and finding a flat course to train.  I can’t believe it I managed to pull through!

Important notes I took note of as I was Ms-Prone-to-injury
1. Increase in mileage each week should not be more than 10% of the total each week.  Build mileage on your legs, get comfy running long distances at 30KMs++.  Avoid too much too soon.
2. Three Consecutive run is the max, No running for 4 consecutive days
3. Listen to your body.  There were days I felt lazy and exhausted and unmotivated, I don’t do anything, It was my body telling me something, it was tired
4. Cross Train.2 day run then a x-train of either free or machine weights, trainer bike, pilates, swimming.  Strengthening your core is very vital.
5. Rest.  Even God have to rest.  I always have a day rest, 2 days is an indulgence.  Important to rest after a long training run.
6. Stretch before and after.  After a training is even more important.  It is recommended to do 2x the count stretch more than of what has been done before the excercise is as the muscles got compressed and needs to be stretched and be back to normal shape.
7. Recovery: Had remmedial massage 2-3 days before the long races of 25Kms/30Kms and the full Mara which worked for me well.  It was more worth to go to a physio :D, I went to a Sports Massage Clinic.  I had my Remedial Massage 4/03/2009, 20/03/2009, 17/04/2009, 20/04/2009-After the marathon
8. Eat well.
Training.Breakfast was either weet-bix or Muesli. Lunch was carbo (Sandwich,pasta or rice), Dinner is always either fish or meat and veggies and fruits.  The carbs at lunch is almost burned before you go to sleep and the protein at dinner is essential for muscle repair during sleep.  Milk and Yougurt was my source of calcium, and regular dose of Iron, vitamin c, multi vit, and vit B and Magnesium for Muscle repair.
Pre-Race.I did carbo load 3 days to a week before the Marathon and made sure I did excreted them before the race.  Had my usual breakfast, 2 hours before the race
9. Keep a diary of your training. Never do more than two days of hard work (Speed/hills in a week), if your a beginner, one of each is recommended.  Iou do not have agadget that yo can measure the distance, you can use pedometer maps by google.

Hard to admit but yes, I did prioritize my training over social life like parting on Friday nights.  I still try to balance and have a social life that is on Saturdays and Sundays.  that include cheat days on food like eating chips, burgers, pizza, softdrink, beer.

Considered too I was working as a full time employee but glad we were on flexi-time.  And Sometimes support work that involve night work.

Lesson learned
1. Give Enough Time. 16 weeks to marathon is not enough for a beginner.  You need lead time and expect that since you are working your physical body out, a “possibility” that your resistance lower and you MIGHT get sick so you need to be ready for rest time and recovery.
2. Train well.  Aside from regular runs, interval training for speed and cardio is a big contributor in getting better results.
3. Learn to pace yourself.  Train with different runner mates of different speeds each training day. – (learned from Steve Laws)
4. Confidence. If you knew you had trained for it it gives you confidence, but don’t get overly confident as it my damage your ego
6. Take it easy and don’t pressure yourself. Have fun.  Train only when you are happy of what you are doing.  It is better to be conservative of your expectation for the first marathon, it is better and be happy when you surprise yourself of what you can actually do than disappoint yourself.

Low lights
1. Torn muscle in left calves
2. Recovering from almost stress fracture
3. lower and upper back pains
4. Glute pains
5. Catching flu
6. Black toenail-(i’m glad I did have only 1, and it actually did not fall off)

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