It’s Ashlee’s fault.
I’ve run a full marathon before. I finished it. It rained, nay…GUSHED on me the entire time. I’m glad I did it, but I really wasn’t hot to do another one. I knew I probably needed to since the my only one was completed in such miserable conditions, but I was reluctant. Half marathons are definitely my long distance of choice. Long enough to be a challenge that you need to train for. Short enough that I don’t get bored and/or think I’m going to die on the course.
But there are those people who could ask you to bury a body, and you’d simply grab a shovel. So, my bestie Ashlee and I are going to be running a full marathon on November 8 in Pensacola. She’s done the half marathon version of that race before and reported it as having great course support. So we’re in.
But I don’t want to stop lifting . . .
I’ve had such awesome results and a great experience doing my morning weight-lifting workouts for the 21 Day Fix. I don’t want to stop. I also don’t really know if I have time to run more than 3 days a week. That’s part of the reason I started the whole 30-minute home workout journey.
So I started searching for a 3 day a week marathon training program. Runner’s World had an article about training just 3 days a week that I had seen before. (Check it out here if you want.) I liked the idea as it incorporated cross-training and had you running less. This past spring, I kind of did that by accident while running several half marathon races. And it worked well. I didn’t have to be out pounding the pavement like I used to, but I felt even stronger and didn’t suffer in my performance whatsoever. (Not that I’m super fast. At all.) I read up on the basic concepts and started drafting what you see below…
To address some things up front:
– The schedule is different. The way the original 21 Day Fix schedule works is brilliant. It balances muscle groups and rest days to prevent injuries. When you incorporate running and the impact it has on your joints, I needed to move some things around a bit to keep things balanced. I’m NOT an expert at this. So if you feel you need to do something different to make the running and 21 Day Fix hybrid idea work for you, do it. And tell me about it! Feedback is always welcome.
– Cardio Fix was eliminated completely. Obviously running is pure cardio. In the interest of balance and fitting in the good cross-training, I cut it out. Please share with us if you have a different opinion on this.
– The mileage can change to work with your plan. Some people prefer to run to run two 20+ mile long runs during their training. That whole column of long run days can definitely be messed with to make it work for your plan. This is not set in stone. It’s just meant to be a good starting point or idea base for your own training plan.
Your diet needs to change a little too.
The 21 Day Fix eating plan is brilliant. I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s a perfectly balanced, portion-controlled meal plan for dummies. You can’t mess it up. That said, it doesn’t quite have enough carbs for a distance runner in training. But don’t abandon it. There are some simple tweaks that can make it work for you while you’re training.
– Eat an extra yellow container (a high quality one like quinoa or sweet potato) the night before your long run.
– You may need to bump up a calorie level as you get into your higher mileage. If you’ve trained for a marathon before, you know how “rungry” you will get sometimes. Which can lead to weight GAINS over the course of training. It happens all the time. But it doesn’t have to happen to you. Stay balanced and stay the course. Just give yourself a little extra high-quality, balanced fuel by bumping up to the next calorie/container level in the 21 Day Fix plan.
– Go easy on the ‘carbing up.’ You really can’t hold that much glycogen. Don’t take the carbs to excess. Test out your ‘carbing up’ plan on the week before your longest run to how it’s going to work for you. Try eating two extra high quality yellow containers on all three days before your race/longest run. Cupcakes are NOT high quality carbs. Go for whole grains and things that are HIGH on that yellow list in your 21 Day Fix eating plan book.
– Don’t bother to count the race fuel (race gels, chews, etc.) during your long runs. As long as you aren’t taking them excessively, you will be burning off what you take it. Unless you’re just tied to a particular gel, try some natural fuel like dried dates, honey, banana, or chia gel.
– If you need electrolytes (and you will), avoid the sugary sports drinks. There are numerous other options, like electrolyte pills, NUUN, coconut water (no sugar added), and Himalayan sea salt. I’ve used Hammer’s Endurolytes for a long time now with great success. And no, they aren’t paying me to say that. I’m VERY EAGERLY awaiting the upcoming release (late July 2015) of Beachbody’s Performance Line
, which includes electrolyte replacement. I will be getting the system as soon as possible and writing about it, so stay tuned for that.
We just started our training. If you can slog your way through a 10k, then you’re at a perfect level to join us. We are all about taking walk breaks and using intervals, so speed is NOT a requirement for this program. And if the full marathon is not your current goal, no worries! I’ve got a half marathon plan coming SOON.