Wednesday, January 4, 2017

You Signed Up For A Race, Now What?

Congratulations! You made the commitment to a race! (Hopefully it's the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend and you used my promo code RUBEL17 for $10 off!) You paid the money, have the gear, but now what? YOU NEED A PLAN! With so many race plans out there, how do you know which one is right for you? Well, let me help!

First, you need to figure out how long you want your training plan to be. Most marathon training programs are 16-18 weeks long and half marathon plans are 10-12 weeks long. You need to figure out how many weeks you are willing to commit to your goal race. I usually do a 16 week marathon training and a 12 week half marathon plan.

You also need to decide if you are going to do a run/walk program or a straight run plan. There are benefits to both, and both are worth exploring. If you are looking for some information on run/walk programs, click here!

Next, how many days a week can you realistically run? For the longest time I trained five days a week. After a few injuries and taking up a few other projects, I realized a four day a week training plan works much better in my schedule. Some plans are a low as three days a week and go up to six. It is all what your body can handle.

Now, here is the tricky part, the actual plan.

You have established the length of your training plan and how many days of the week you want to train. Of course you are going to the internet. While this is fine for some people, there are a few options that are a little more personal.

1. A Running Coach - Running coaches can make you a personal training plan. A coach can mold a training plan to your schedule and work with you to adjust things as needed. The Pittsburgh Marathon has an awesome deal with RunCoach to get you up and running for only $20!

2. Training Groups - A lot of local running stores and groups hold training groups. This way you are following the same plan as other people and you know you will not be alone. This can be the motivation you need during those dark cold months.

3. Books - For my first half and full marathon I bought the Runners World Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training. I didn't know what to expect and really wasn't connect to the running community. A book seemed like the best way I could train and be successful. I use this book often for references and really enjoy having it.

4. Running Apps - So this is the wildcard. If you have a Garmin, you have a choice of training plans to pick from on Garmin Connect. They can be loaded right in to your watch in some models. There are a ton of apps you can use that will help you get ready for a race. You can also connect with friends and other people training for the same race.

Okay, so everything is in place! You have a plan that you are happy with. Now it is time to execute it! I would recommend you stop by your local running store and make sure your shoes are correct and you have the right gear for the season (hashtag wool socks, energy gels and body glide).

Another fun little tidbit to keep in mind, there are a few races that are held around the area that should line up perfectly with your training. Check my page at the top of my blog of local Pittsburgh Races for one near you. It's nice to do a training run with water stops and test out those race paces.

If you are interested the Pittsburgh Marathon is hosting a kick off run this Saturday (January 7, 2017). Come by for some easy miles, meet some new people and start your training off right! RSVP here!

No matter what you decide on, just know you are taking a huge step by signing up for a race. I want you to enjoy your journey and want to continue on it! There is an entire internet out there to help motivate you (or vice versa) through training. Connect with them! Use hashtags like #GameOnPGH, #RunPGH or #WeRunSocial. You never know who you will meet!

How do you decide on a training plan? Do you pick the race or the plan first?


  1. Great tips! I started out using training plans from Runners World. Now I don't usually follow a plan, but get in a good mix of speed work, hills and long runs.

    1. Good for you! I struggle a little without a plan adding in those types on workouts.