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Marine Corps Marathon Training Plan

After months of talk, promises of base building and a little bit of procrastination…I’m finally ready to share (and commit to) my Marine Corps Marathon training plan. For some background information on why I chose this race and who I’ll be running it with check out this post.

Now, prepare to be underwhelmed by this plan. I am the first to admit that ever since I started practicing yoga to help with running injuries and imbalances that I’ve fallen in love. I don’t feel the constant urge to run like I used to. It’s really become my second love. I thought that this would pass but it just hasn’t. I’ve been so much happier with a mix of running, yoga and teaching BodyPump.

I was really looking for a “bare bones, get me to the finish without injury and let me maintain my yoga practice and teaching BodyPump” kind of training plan. I plugged all my info into the Runner’s World Smart Coach application and it happened to spit out the plan of my dreams.

I really struggle with injury during marathon training. I spent a lot of time in physical therapy while I was training for my first marathon (achilles tendonitis) and ended up having to drop down to the half when I was training for my second due to injury. Every time I hit 40 miles per week I end up injured.

With this plan I will only be running three days per week and max out at 30 miles per week. Before you judge me, please keep in mind that I just want to stay balanced and have fun with this. My friend Meghan is running it with me and this will be her first marathon. I am not leaving her side. Smart Coach says I’ll finish in 4 hours but I will finish when Meghan finishes. I will never forget her encouraging words at mile 25 of my first marathon when I thought I couldn’t go on.

So here it is…click this link to see it in a Google Document.

And just for fun I wanted to share a few photos from my first marathon – the Merecedes Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama in February 2009.

Feeling good at the half.

Giving my wedding rings to my dad at mile 15 when my fingers were swollen like marshmallows.

My mom had to run with me for a little while around mile 20. I really hit a low point and was in tears. My stomach was KILLING me.

Crossing the finish.

Official finish photo.

TOTAL emotional breakdown at the finish. I have video footage of this that I will try to get up on YouTube soon.

Okay, I will admit that this post got me more excited about the race and about training. I’m so happy that I have this blog where I can document the ups and downs of training. I promise to keep you guys in the loop on everything I’m feeling and how it’s going. I know you will be a great support system.


Have you ever run a marathon? If not, do you want to? And how do you balance training with other things you enjoy?

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • brannyboilsover July 15, 2010, 8:57 am

    I totally respect you running with Meghan. I did the same thing with my running partner earlier this year — I committed to training with her and running at her pace rather than running at my (faster) pace. It was a great decision and I’d rather give support to my fellow runners than make/break records. GL!

  • kayli (Running On Sunshine) July 15, 2010, 9:01 am

    I totally understand your desire to maintain balance! My first marathon training left me with zero energy for other workouts I love (yoga, weight training) and I also spent more time in physical therapy towards the end of training than I did in my running shoes! My mom had to encourage me too because I was in tears at one point. Marathons not only test physical strength, they test emotional strength 🙂 I’m looking for a training plan for my next one, so maybe I’ll use yours!
    Good luck with training and LOVE your blog!

  • Josie July 15, 2010, 9:03 am

    I think it looks like a great plan that will hopefully keep you from being sidelined by injury. I’ve never run a marathon, but I want to so badly. I trained for Disney in college, and then came down with strep right at the peak of training and didn’t recover in time. I keep saying I want to pick one and do it, but I have commitment problems, haha. We have some friends running Disney, so maybe I should bite the bullet…

    • Jen July 16, 2010, 2:03 pm

      Josie – I know you can do a full! It just takes so much time and dedication but it’s all worth it when you cross the finish line.

      Edited to add: I think Disney looks like a really fun marathon!

  • kat July 15, 2010, 9:50 am

    Good for you for committing! I’m glad you found a plan that works along w/ the other things you love. I keep saying I want to do a marathon but then I hear all of these horror stories from WAY bigger runners than I, and it makes me wonder, “why exactly do I want to do this???”. I’ll prob try a half first, still just running 10Ks now, which I do enjoy. A half sounds like fun – a full sounds like torture. But it’s on my bucket list so hopefully one day I’ll do it!

  • Stephanie July 15, 2010, 11:13 am

    I totally teared up looking at that last photo.

    I ran my first marathon in October 2009 with a finish time of 3:46:25. I am currently training for the Chicago marathon with a goal of finishing in 3:40 or less.

    It’s really hard balancing my training along with being a mom & wife, working full time, etc… Right now I feel my life revolves around my training. I am trying to get a better grasp at fitting everything in without feeling overwhelmed. It’s tough though.

    Good Luck with your training!

    • Jen July 16, 2010, 2:02 pm

      Stephanie – thank you so much for sharing your story. I feel like my life is so busy right now and have so much admiration for moms who run! I don’t know how you fit it all in.

      AWESOME finishing time for your first marathon. Are you trying to BQ in Chicago? If so, good luck!

      • Stephanie July 16, 2010, 4:27 pm

        Yes, I am trying to BQ. Some days I think “I can do this” other days I think “what the H E double hockey sticks am I thinking”.

  • becca July 15, 2010, 11:25 am

    jen, best of luck with the training! every time i see these mercedes photos, it chokes me up. that one with your mom; mom’s truly know how to get their daughters going. i’m not sure i’ll ever run a full. but before i kick it, i will run a half. or at least try to run a half.

    • Jen July 16, 2010, 1:59 pm

      Becca – thank you so much for your comment. I know that you WILL run a half – you can do it!!!

  • Cristen July 15, 2010, 3:15 pm

    I take one week off from the computer(vacation at the beach last week) and I have to spend an hour catching up on your blogs! I loved being informed about your daily trials and tribulations. Glad you had a fun trip to Mema’s and that you are hitting the trails again. Can’t wait to hear about the new job. Camille had her 15 month shots today 🙁

  • Meghan July 15, 2010, 3:47 pm

    Thanks for already committing to sticking with me!! Ok, so soon we are going to need a “how not to get an upset stomach while running” post. That is honestly my biggest fear after the half.

    • Jen July 16, 2010, 1:58 pm

      I have a list of topics that I want to blog about and “stomaching long runs” is now one of them! 😉

      Coming soon!!!

  • Miriam July 15, 2010, 8:34 pm

    I was hesitant to commit to my second marathon, my training with my sister made it SO much fun 🙂 I love your realistic approach to training. I think that the blend of work-outs will keep you motivated (and sane). Rock it out 😉

    • Jen July 16, 2010, 1:56 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement and it’s so good to hear that you had fun! I’m hoping that running with a friend will make it so much more enjoyable. I hope my realistic approach to training works out for me. Eek – just taking it one day at a time!

  • runnerstrials July 16, 2010, 10:47 am

    Your training plan looks great! I’m all about putting in the least amount of miles to run a successful race. I’ve never run more than 35 miles in a week and honestly don’t know how people can put in 60, 70 or more miles. I wish you happy, injury-free and fun training! I hope you’ll be happier when you cross this finish line 🙂

    • Jen July 16, 2010, 1:53 pm

      SO nice to hear that you are also in the reasonable mileage camp! Can’t wait to long run together soon! 🙂

  • Lee Broadway July 18, 2010, 9:16 am

    Thanks for sharing the pictures. They are too sweet.. You are going to do great with your training. I am enjoying reading about all of it!! Love ya!

  • Javier July 23, 2010, 3:30 pm

    hey Jen,
    You can do this..just keep on training. I’m doing the Chicago and MCM both this coming October.
    I’m doing all that I can to get ready and maximizing my weekends around everyone’s schedule in my house. Best of luck and see you in DC.

  • Juliann August 22, 2010, 6:15 pm

    thanks so much for this forum. i am half way through my training for my first marathon and i am struggling to stay motivated.. i googled ‘ups and downs’ of training and your blog popped up..thanks so much for the motivation.. keep it up and good luck with your training..

    • Jen August 25, 2010, 10:28 am

      Juliann – I am so happy that you found my blog and that it is providing a little motivation for you. I totally know the ups and downs of training for a marathon – especially your first. When I was training for my first marathon I always just focused on how it would feel to cross the finish when I was feeling over marathon training! Hang in there! If you stick with your training you WILL cross the finish line.

  • Teresa July 8, 2012, 4:45 am

    Hi Jen! I’m new to your blog…found it when I googled “MCM Training Plans”! I love it…going to subscribe to it through Facebook. I am running the MCM in October also so am checking out the training plans that are out there. This will be my 15th or so marathon but my first MCM. I hear it is pretty tough with lots of hills… are you planning any specific hill workouts? I saw that you live in NC so not sure how many hills you have around you. I was thinking about incorporating one treadmill hill interval workout per week (as torturous as that sounds) because I live in Dover DE and we only have 1 overpass for a hill! Just curious if you thought about it.

  • Cait August 14, 2012, 5:20 pm

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog and found this post! I am training for my second marathon. I ran my first while dealing with some knee issues, trained for a second but was sidelined 3 weeks out due to another injury and now have my fingers crossed for a 3rd. I’ve been dealing with posterior tibial tendonitis and some imbalances in my body due to weak hips. I made my training plan so I maxed out at about 32-34 miles a week and am only doing 3 days of running with 1-2 days cross training. I was just really starting to doubt my plan of attack here, but this post makes me realize that it is possible to train this way! And you had a kick ass time!

  • John March 21, 2015, 3:27 pm

    This is great. I was looking for exactly this – a marathon prep plan that incorporated less running and more alternative stuff. I’m preparing for my first marathon in October, if I’m lucky to get a lottery spot, and can use all the help I can get. May I ask – what do you think triggered your stomach pain and what, if anything, do you think you could have done to prevent that? Different hydration during the race, different pre-race food intake?

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