Five creative ways to get the middle-distance runs in during marathon training

by lachicaruns on

I’ve been increasing my mileage for the past 16 weeks as I follow Hal Higdon’s novice marathon training plan. He’s had me go from nine miles per week to 40 per week after last week’s 20 miler.

It’s been relatively easy to fit in my long run: just meet up with some friends early on Saturday morning and run for hours. The middle-of-the-week mid-distance run? That’s a completely different matter.

At 12:30 or 13 minutes per mile, the up-to-10 miles I had to fit in last week — on a weekday no less — meant more than a two-hour commitment. What’s a chica to do? She gets creative. To whit:

  • Get it in first thing or just before bed. I am a morning person but often already get up at 5:30 to get things done before the rest of the family is up. I could not fathom getting up at 4:30 to run. But that’s what I did several times so that I could still get ready and to work (relatively) on time. A few times, I was on my treadmill at 9 or 10 o’clock at night.
  • Flex time. If you are fortunate to have some flexibility in your schedule, consider a morning or late-afternoon run before or after work. If you have an awesome manager like I do (hi, Ruth and Mike!), you can get six or seven miles before work and still get a full day’s work by staying later or working an hour or two more on other days.
  • Split the run. My friend Janet suggested I get half my run in first thing and the other half in the evening. I never could bring myself to doing this but it might work better for your schedule.
  • Run it on the weekend. Not remotely ideal, but the Higdon plan does allow for switching the order of your runs. A couple of times I had to run my middle-of-the-week run on Saturday and my long run on Sunday. Not ideal, but it allowed me to get the miles in.
  • Be realistic. Despite my best intentions, there were weeks when I genuinely couldn’t fit in another six, seven or eight mile run. Instead, I ran as much as I can and moved on. Ignore the guilty thoughts. As long as it’s not a regular occurrence, I’m told by experienced runners, it’ll be OK.
8 miles

Got about eight miles in before work this week.

Was my training perfect? Um, not really. Will it get me through to the finish line? Absolutely. I used Higdon’s half-marathon training plan last year and I finished with a smile on my face.

Feel free to borrow my mantra: Trust the plan.

What’s your hardest run to fit into your schedule? How do you manage?


Written by: lachicaruns

My name is Gisgie. It's pronounced geese (like the birds) and gee (like the letter). Now that we've met, I'm glad you're here. I'm an injury-prone runner who manages to find reasons to keep coming back to the road despite ongoing challenges. Most recently, I've struggled with piriformis syndrome. I'm currently winning. Most days.

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