April, 2016 Monthly Archive

My Honolulu Marathon Training Schedule

So here it is.
My schedule for the Honolulu Marathon.

I’m using a modified 16 week plan that doesn’t have endurance runs over 18 miles, plus I’ve converted it over to kilometers. 18 miles is about 28 kms, but I did put a 30 km run in there for the week of Nov 14th.

If you are a new runner and have never performed runs over 2-3 hours, you should keep your milage under 28 km. The reason you do endurance runs is for the time, not distance.

In most cases, you should not extend past 4.5 hours in a long run (assuming you are at a training intensity between 70-80%). Otherwise you could be over training and be prone to health issues or injury.

Remember, you are working up to a marathon, not doing one.

So even though I added a 30 km run, I could have make it 28 km. But for that run, I might do a little walking, too. It’s not an exact science, as there are a lot of factors and it’s hard to know in what shape I will be when mid-November rolls around. Nonetheless, I’ll keep it at 30 km for now as it is a nice round number. 🙂

So this schedule starts at the end of last week’s Preconditioning Stage I.

Then I take 10 weeks over the summer months to build up a solid training base. One hiccup in the plan is that I really wanted to do a 10k in Montréal on June 18th. The 5k that they offer is okay, but the 10k takes me through my old high school stomping grounds, some fun trials, and old running routes. Those routes will definitely remind me of those cold winter nights when I was training to carry the Olympic Flame in the 1988 Olympics.

Come mid-August, it’s time to get serious and put that 16-week plan into place. From there, the mileage gradually increases towards the ‘Endurance Run’ stage and then tapers off the last few weeks before the marathon. The last two weeks are pretty crucial, so I’ll be talking about them come November.

Now, because marathon training involves long distances, mental training and nutrition are just as important. So I’ve added a column for goals and focus. This involves the mental aspects of marathon training and will remind me to cover all the requirements to get through the training. The notes may seem a bit cryptic for now, but don’t worry. I’ll be talking about these in the coming weeks and let you know what works and doesn’t work for me.

The exciting part about training is that you can also add some races in between. After all, I believe that marathon training is more about the journey than the destination. So there are few races I’m interested in and I’ve added them to my schedule. I strongly encourage you to do the same.

Now, some of the longer miles may scare you, but just remember that you are working your body up to this milage. The most difficult part to the whole training plan will be mental aspect. Marathon training requires a mental game plan and I think I’ve got that area pretty well covered. But of course, you do need to stick with your plan and not party too hard when you should be getting up early the next day for that long run.

I’ll be talking about all these other things as the weeks go by (how run, what HRM to get, what type of running shoes to look for, what mental games to play, etc.), but for now…

Here is my training schedule.
Tailored to me, knowing that there will be some hot months and travel that I need to think about.

Hope it helps!
PS: Just click on the schedule below to get the PDF version.

Honolulu Training Schedule


My Running Schedule – Stage 1

Okay, the first step was to get out everyday and put myself in a proper state of mind. To convince myself that I’m ready for being ‘dedicated towards my training’. This is no easy task, believe me. Some days it’s so easy to say it’s too dark, too cold, too windy, it’s raining (which is rare in my neck of the woods), too sunny, etc. But I did it. Yeah!

Each day I got up early and did at least 45 minutes or 5.5k. Now I’m ready to start my training. It comes in 3 stages, Preconditioning, Base Training, and Endurance Training.

Stage I – Preconditioning

Everyone is at a different level when it comes to running. Since I’m starting from ground zero, preconditioning is crucial. With no regular daily exercise, I’ve let my muscles slacken and put on a few pounds. So I know my knees, ankles, and feet (not to mention my heart and lungs) won’t be too happy if I get onto a running schedule without any preconditioning.

So the goal of Stage I is to build up my aerobic and skeletal systems, such that I will be running 30 minutes 3-4 times a week with no serious injury or pain. The only thing I need to worry about is being mentally committed to do this. But hey, I already proved that by getting out there every single day last week! Yes!

When training begins, I will be running with an average max heart rate between 70 and 80% or a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) between 3 and 5. I call this my Training Intensity. If I pop over that rate, then I need to slow down or (more likely) start walking. I will be running with a heart rate monitor, but I will also use the RPE Scale during Stage I. This is because I don’t know my exact max heart rate, even though my (Garmin) watch does a pretty good job of determining that for me (or I can use the famous 220 – your age as a starting point). After all, it’s important that when first starting out, you don’t train at too high an intensity because this can lead to fatigue, injury, or worse (you know what I’m talking about… just… don’t over do it!).

Another reason for this is because, since I’m starting from ground zero, it’s very easy to quickly push my heart rate above 80% max. So I’m thinking to start the first part of the run interval a little lower and more relaxed – like a 2 to 3 RPE. That way I can get through the run portion of the day’s training, have a less likely chance of injuring myself, and recover more quickly for the next training day. My previous running posts (when I was training for my first marathon at the age of 50) included the RPEs for each run. It was a good way for me to see how I did on a particular day or in a particular run. I plan to keep a running log on my iCal calendar with the RPEs along with weight, blood pressure, hours slept, miles ran, etc…

So here’s my Stage I Schedule. I’ll put up the rest of the Stages over the next week or so. Also, for the record, I’ll be starting at week 5, since I’ve already done the required walking up to week 4.. But for those who are reading my blog and following along with me… if you’re just starting out, go ahead and begin at Week 1 or wherever you feel most comfortable based on your level of fitness. There’s lots of time to catch up (more on that later).

Oh! …and for my RPE Scale go take a look at this blog entry.

Regular Walk 17-20 min/mile or 10½-12 min/km
30 min
Regular Walk
30 min
Fast Walk 13-16 min/mile or 8-10 min/km
30 min
Fast Walk
45 min
5x2m/5m Run 2 min, walk 5 min, repeat 5 times
30 min
3x5m/5m Run 5 min, walk 5 min, repeat 3 times
30 min
2x10m/5m Run 10 min, walk 5 min, repeat 2 times
30 min
2x15m/5m Run 15 min, walk 5 min, repeat once
40 min
1x20m/5m Run 20 min, walk 5 min
25 min
1x30m Run 30 minutes
30 min
1x30m Run 30 minutes
30 min
You’re Ready Time for a 5k race and Stage II
The Running portion should NOT exceed a max heart rate of 80% (RPE 5). If you get to this point, try running slower or switch to a walk. If you miss any of the days or cannot maintain the run duration without walking, repeat the week.

Just to recap, I’ll be starting with Week 5, but start at any week that you are most comfortable with. There’s lots of time to get preconditioned and ready for Base Training before the Honolulu marathon. As a matter of fact, I might split up my Base Training and just do maintenance runs over the hot summer months (TBA).

So that’s the first schedule for now. It doesn’t matter how far or how fast you go. The first step is to build up your aerobic and skeletal systems. I’ll be putting the other schedules up next week along with a PDF file that you can download for everything.

See you out on the trails!