Thursday, March 13, 2014

What Training Program Should You Follow?

So, you have been averaging 20 miles per week for the past month -- that's great!  You are ready to step it up if you would like, and begin your official marathon training program.  But, what program do you follow?  There are a gazillion programs available on the internet, in running magazines, and marathon training books.  You can find many "cookie-cutter" programs that will give you an 18 or 20 week training schedule based on your current base mileage, the number of years (or months) that you have been running, and your marathon finish time goal.  These programs will give you some general and often useful guidelines, but let's face it, these training schedules are made up for the general population -- the individual that put together these schedules does not personally know you, so there are inherent drawbacks. There is a reason that these programs are typically free of charge.

I recommend that, if at all possible, you hire your own marathon coach -- this can be done in several different ways with varied price points. Regardless of the price, a good coach will find out all about you and then tailor your training program to meet your specific needs.  Your coach will ask you about your health history (both medical and orthopedic), your time allotment, your finish time goal, and much more -- he/she will then develop a program that makes the most sense for YOU.  This can be done purely through online coaching or through a combination of in-person plus online coaching.  Obviously, there will be advantages of the latter, but you need to consider how much you are willing to pay for your coach's expertise and motivational prowess.

Whatever choice you make, please be a wise consumer --  research the credentials of the coach you are interested in hiring and be sure to get some references from other runners that have worked with that coach.  If you plan to follow a "cookie-cutter" program, find out if it is a valid one that has been developed and implemented by a knowledgeable and experienced source.

Stay tuned for a follow-up to this post with some recommendations for specific training schedules to follow or online coaches to hire.  If you are interested in hiring a coach that can also meet with you in person on a regular basis, let me know, and I will do some research so that I can recommend a coach that lives near you.  The follow-up post will be published on March 20th.