Where I’m at with my Baystate training & things to remember!

(for the first Baystate Marathon training post, you can go here)

This post has taken me a while to write. The words just WOULDN’T COME. and it took me a little while to figure out exactly WHY: I’m not 100% happy with my plan. The summer is flying by at quite an alarming rate. This week puts me at 12 more Sundays until Baystate. Whaaaaat! It feels like I just started training last week!

The way I’m feeling lately, I am 100% ready for it. I have been sticking to the basic workout outline for my training plan. For me, the long runs are a piece of cake. During training, it’s always the “workouts” that I have slacked on. Not this time. I have been doing my due diligence with speedwork, tempos, and hills. The variance with the types of runs I’m doing is working to make me a faster runner.

My “easy run” paces are much faster than they used to be. It shocks me to look down at my watch during a run on tired legs that are not pushing it to see that I’m hitting a low 8 minute miles. My training plan has me taking my 3:45 PR from February and turning it into a 3:18 finish for Baystate. If when this happens, I think I will cry out of sheer happiness.

But. All of my runs are actually going much faster than the plan suggests, and my “average pace per a mile” is getting faster on a weekly basis. I know it is because of my commitment to running a variety of runs. I seriously can’t stick to my training plans easy run pace suggestions. I would be holding myself back way, way too much. I know the plan is designed to make you ready to give more during your actual “workouts”.. but…I don’t find myself holding back on those either.

So, what now? I haven’t decided if I should scratch this plan, and write a completely NEW one. Or, should I keep it and loosely follow its workout days as I have been doing? I consistently follow it for the speedwork/tempo days and stick to its paces and mile repeat suggestions. I also follow their long run mileage for the week.


This is my plan for the first ten weeks of training. My “easy run” pace currently is about 8:07-8:15-much faster than the plans range of 9ish avg pace. So now I ask all of you: do you stick to your training plan and follow it to a t?? Let’s hear your suggestions!

Things to remember about marathon training:
There is an average of 12-18 weeks in a given plan. Many, many days of running like a crazy person. (84-126 days to be exact!) Often times we find ourselves so overwhelmed playing the “numbers game” of how many miles we are running. This week is my seventh week of marathon training! Among all the chaos that accompanies it-I wanted to take a minute and address a few areas that I myself am even guilty of forgetting!

1. Try new stuff! Never stop learning about your own body Take notes of what works for you and what doesn’t. Sneakers, fuel, clothing, paces…gosh. Everyone is different. Find what works for YOU and keep learning from it. Often we fall into a rut of sticking to the same exact things, all the time. I get that-I am a Brooks snob and that most likely won’t ever change, but I know I need to keep trying new products and things!!! I didn’t even try NUUN until this year. Keep looking at all there is out there because there is a looooot of variety for every area of running.

2. Do not, I repeat:DO NOT stop having fun with your training. Runners are focused crazypeople, are they not? Eyes on the prize, pace driven beasts. As you go through your days, don’t forget that this is also FUN. I don’t know a single marathoner who goes through an entire training cycle hating it. Why would you be doing it if you hate it? This is something for you! Each run has some little piece that is fun. Maybe it’s that you’re running with a partner, or a gorgeous sunrise. Even when a run is crappy, try to remember its FUN pieces, too.

3. Reflect back on old runs to see your progress. Look at your apps/Garmin software, running journal and compare a run you did last week or last year to a run you just did. Do you see your improvements? Yay! Comparing runs is one of my favorite things to do–> I love to see my own progress! I mean..nobody but me truly cares about it but it’s so cool to see.

4. It’s okay to rest. You won’t lose fitness, I promise. If you are dragging yourself through multiple runs, or feel twinges in places that shouldn’t have twinges–take a day off. Or, take two. Listen to your body. It’s the only one YOU get.

5. Celebrate your hard runs, or the run you didn’t want to do. I sometimes hate speedwork while I’m doing it. But when I’m done I’m soooooo proud of myself. I love the sense of accomplishment after I kick my own a**. You should feel proud of yourself! As you’re racking up the miles and doing your new longest run-give yourself a high five, or keep that promise to yourself that you can buy those new sneakers…whatever gets you from the start to the finish of your run…just do it. maybe your celebration is that you can take the next day off from running after? There’s a million ways to celebrate!

6. Remember your WHY******** if you forget the other five things remember this one!!!!! Why are you training? Why did you start? Your motivation behind your running and training is personal to you but please don’t ever forget it. For me-my motivation is to BQ. I want it so bad, I can taste it, and fewer things are as powerful as personal motivation. Remember yours!

Training plans-follow them strictly or loosely?

What do you have trouble remembering about your training?


28 thoughts on “Where I’m at with my Baystate training & things to remember!

  1. I stick to my training plan because I’m still less than 2 years into running and I’d be more likely to run myself ragged if I didn’t have wiser people telling me what to do.

    However, I have a McMillan training plan and I use their calculator for helping me determine my paces. Based on your most recent race, I’d say the plan you’re using right now is way too slow. Just a quick plug in and your long run paces would be in the 7:45-9:00 range, which sounds much more in tune with your current fitness level.

    Obviously I’m no expert, but maybe you could continue to use the workouts of your current plan, but adjust the paces using the McMillan calculator or a similar tool.

    • I think a pace less plan is awesome-you are doing your first half and that can feel daunting if you’re supposed to hitting pace x and aren’t-so distance is really important for you to focus on right now for sure!!:)

  2. I think a training plan is a rough guide (Disclaimer – I’ve never run a marathon) and listening to your body is the key. If you are doing your hard workouts HARD and can still comfortably run your easy miles at that pace then that’s where you’re at.

  3. I think its important to be flexible…a lesson I have yet to learn! But now I am hoping that since i have gone through the RRCA training that I will trust myself more and be willing to change things up as needed.
    I would say that as long as your easy runs are truly easy and you are really pushing it during your harder workouts that you should keep doing what you’re doing! I mean all of what you said sounds awesome, and if your training continues like that you are going to have an amazing PR! But as the mileage increases and the workouts get harder, maybe your easy runs will slow a little…and thats ok, and expected:)

    • Thanks Lisa, and you’re so right-the deeper I get into training and have more difficult runs-I might find myself pulling back with the easy days and it will definitely be worth it bc my body will get stronger with hard runs AND rest from them! 😊

  4. I think modifying the plan is necessary a lot of the time because there is so much unknown going into it. If you’re truly finding low 8s to be easy you just have to listen to that and go with it. Running by feel I think will get you further than sticking to a predetermined pace that just might not be right for you. You know yourself best at the end of the day! And as long as you’re feeling well there’s no need to hold back just to stay on plan. I would adjust it to what you’re feeling and then pull back if it’s too much.

    • I absolutely love this. I LOVED your Garmin-less post this morning (and couldn’t comment!) and it got me really thinking… I always run with it on, but I think I go by feel/perceived effort BUT I do like to look down at it when it beeps to see the split!
      Thanks for your wise words!

  5. I adjust my race plans depending on how I’m feeling. I like using plans that are adjustable and even say “these pace are just recommendations”. I know easy runs are important because it allows your muscles to really recover…as long as you can hold a conversation at your new “easy” pace, you’re probably not hurting yourself, and you’re well on your way to that new marathon PR!!

  6. Great post – and it is a challenging thought … does not meeting the plan always mean something bad? No … and like you say, maybe you had bad assumptions going into the plan. In which case modifying the plan makes sense. I always worry when one key item is ‘inability to do easy runs’ … because that can mean the easy pace is too low or that you are pushing hard (which can end up badly as well).

    Also I think #2 should *always* be the key – unless you are a pro, this IS a hobby, which should remain fun unless you are really short-term focused and willing to have a limited career before burn-out.

    After that, #6 is definitely critical – and really should also have #2 embedded. In other words we run to have fun, meet speed / endurance / whatever goals, health/weight/fitness goals, and so on.

    Great post – and certainly echoing many thoughts people mid-stream through marathon training are feeling now!

    • Thanks for the wise words -that’s what I was worried about too “the inability to do easy runs”
      #2 came about because I often read runners journeys where they are over stressing and just not seeming to enjoy it-it’s important to remember the FUN in it too!!:)

  7. I allow myself to run whatever pace truly feels easy I’m easy days, within reason, 30 seconds a mile slower than race pace should not feel easy. If that is consistently the case I will update my race pace to a faster goal. I also find it helpful to keep a range of a few minutes as my goal time, that way I’m not stressing on those days when it’s hard to hit goal pace in a workout, or conversely, feeling great and thinking I can go much faster than is realistic.

    I strictly follow a loose training plan! My two workouts (tues, fri) and long run (Sun) I will only skip/modify if injury or fatigue pop up. Every run in between I don’t worry about pace and will simply play it by feel, adding or subtracting mileage as needed to recover properly from harder efforts. With the exception of making sure I run short hill sprints after the easy run on the day after long run.

  8. I’m training for my first marathon right now and I just wanted to say I totally agree with you about finding it hard to stick to an “easy” pace when your training plan calls for it. I’m guilty of this too. My “easy” runs almost always end being closer to tempo runs or swapped out for speedwork. I think everyone should just do what works for them. If you have enough gas in the tank to push yourself during workouts and still have the energy for the next day’s workout, then go for it. Besides, I think training plans are written to allow for some flexibility anyway. They know you’re not going to follow it to a tee. I almost always make some little modifications to my week’s workouts, like moving things around, although I always keep the long run as it is and stick to the weekly mileage.

  9. So I am a huge advocate for adjusting your training plan when you feel you need to. I have a general plan that I follow with my long run and total weekly mileage and goals for 1-2 other hard workouts during the week (with other runs being easy), but my schedule is so crazy that I’m always adjusting which days I will do what runs. The mileage and pace I do depends on how I feel (and whether I’m outside vs. the treadmill). I think if your easy pace is different than what the plan originally called for, make the adjustment! That’s great that your training is going so well 🙂

    Also, I love reflecting back on old runs. This is my second time training for the full marathon and it’s amazing to see how much I’ve progressed since my first time last year! I’ve still got a lot of work to do (don’t we all?), but it’s amazing to celebrate all the hard work that pays off.

  10. Eh’ I never follow my training plans 100% I usually use them as a guide only. I follow the suggested mileage but I adjust I arrive ay the total mileage the a given week and I also tend to adjust and create my own speed workouts only keeping the suggested miles for the workout. Most plans are so cookie-cutterish that I like to tweak the plan to personalize them a bit and changing up the speed workouts tends to shock my body and keep it guessing

  11. I LOVE this post. Probably because I’m in week 4 of marathon training and also aiming for a BQ!! 🙂 I have been following the Run Less, Run Faster plans but adding some easy runs and not always cross training as it suggests… And sometimes I add hillwork amd/or sub a trail run or hill run in place of speedwork. But I definitely try to stick to the game plan. Looks like you have a great plan laid out. Excellent marathon training tips too! You’re right on.

  12. I think it’s all about listening to your body. If you feel good during your workouts and you’re hitting those times, then do what your body needs on easy runs. I totally agree that sometimes if you go TOO slow, it’s almost worse. It affects your form, and you don’t get the same mental release that you would when you were just running at the pace that felt right. I’m a fan of following the plan loosely! You’re right, marathon training plans are LONG. It’s almost impossible to predict where your fitness will be 5, 10, 12, 16 weeks in the future. So things have to change!

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