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Why ALL Runners Should Learn about Marathon Training Plans


Sure, we all know that marathon runners benefit from marathon training plan research but in the opinion of this running coach, ALL runners should learn about marathon training plans. Spending just $5 on a single marathon training plan book, 30 minutes to an hour of free time online, or hiring a running coach can revolutionize your running enjoyment and effectiveness. Here is why.

You might be a recreational runner just looking to do the occasional 5k, someone looking to PR your next half marathon, or, indeed, a runner tackling the marathon distance; you could be a lifelong runner or just starting out. Regardless of your experience or ambitions, investing your time (and potentially a bit of money) into marathon training research can do wonders for your running. 

Why All Runners Should Learn About Marathon Training Plans

Why ALL Runners Should Learn About Marathon Training Plans | Regardless of your level, running from a 5k to a half marathon to a full marathon, all runners can benefit from studying a little bit about marathon training plans. |

Do I think that every person out there should train for a marathon? That isn’t what I said. Do I think that there is a lot of misinformation out there as well? Absolutely. But we don’t have to go to medical school to know that it is probably a good idea to invest sometime in learning out to shore up our long term health. But it is a better idea to look to Mayo Clinic rather than Web MD, if you are wondering. 

You Learn that You Can Live Beyond Expectations

Before my first marathon

Before my first marathon

So many runners when they are starting out think, “There is no possible way I could ever run a marathon.” Whether or not they might actually want to run a marathon aside, many frankly don’t think that they could do it. But something that we coaches impress upon every runner is the importance of perspective in training. I spoke about this last year with respect to speedwork. Though they may vary in complexity and scope, all marathon training plans are based on the concept of adaptation–in a nutshell, all human beings have the ability to adapt to an applied stimulus if the stimulus is applied appropriately. 

In another nutshell: just about everyone has the capacity to run a marathon, if they train properly according to a carefully crafted marathon training plan. It may take some longer than others, or they may run at different speeds, use different race day strategies, but, by and large, we are all capable (don’t believe me? Read this).

Live Beyond Expectation, everyday. After the 2015 Chicago Marathon, when I finished my secon sub 3:30 Marathon in a year. Running coach and personal trainer services at!

The end of my fourth marathon

Learning about marathon training plans and thus the principles of adaptation and learning perspective can teach you that you can do great things, if you go about them in the right fashion.

The Importance of Recovery and Work Cycles

If there is one thing that marathon runners should take seriously, it is recovery (need help with optimal muscle recovery?). As trainees get further and further into marathon training plans, the loads placed on the body increase, and thus also does the necessity of dedicating oneself to recovery.  To put it very simply, marathon trainees don’t have the luxury of half-assing it. We use our whole ass, as the saying goes. 

Procompression sleeves, CW-X Compression shorts, Siggi's yogurt with sprinkles, water, my 2015 Chicago Marathon Medal.... part 2 of my marathon recovery! More at!

Recovery after a marathon

Now, you may not be running the same distances or doing the same grueling workouts as a marathoner or elite sprinter, but we all can benefit from knowing how to apply and release pressure aka work. Not only can we become greater runners and athletes (regardless of our fortes), but we also can improve our quality of life outside of running by learning about nutrition, avoiding aches and pains, and also improving the quality of the runs themselves.

Injury Prevention

Speaking of aches and pains, incorporating recovery/work cycles with supplemental strength and cross training can help us avoid injury. The vast majority of marathoners are non-elite, and many of us work desk jobs that keep us sitting on our butts all day long (here is a great stretching and toning routine for your desk!). Thus, the majority of us are dealing with weak/tight hips, inactive glutes (you know how I feel about those), and a general tightness. 

Working on our strength training!

Working on our strength training!

Just about any marathon training plan that you come across will have suggestions for supplemental exercises that don’t take a great deal of time and that will help combat these weaknesses. You might even notice less knee pain, better posture, and a better silhouette as a result! And you don’t even have to run 16 miles weekend after weekend. And furthermore, you will learn how to build distance into your runs and thus prevent overuse injuries.

Improved Overall Performance and Enjoyment

Improved confidence, greater rest, stronger body, fewer aches and pains… in my mind, that adds up the potential for improved performance and more enjoyable runs! One of the reasons that marathon training appeals to me, and I think that the marathon training plan strategies might appeal to the masses, is that many are based on concepts of easy running: the vast majority of your runs are done at a conversational pace, with percentages of your weekly miles or training done at a harder intensity. 

Hot Weather Running Outfit

Easier runs with periods of focus, in my case, means greater opportunity to enjoy the run. You don’t have to look at each run as a time to put your nose to the grind stone; instead, runs can be with others and conversational. Combine that with knowing what you are doing when you go out for your run, knowing that you should go and get your shoes fitted and wear proper clothing–> more friends and less griping about soreness!

Why ALL runners (recreational to elite) should learn about marathon training plans #runchat #marathon Click To Tweet

Knowledge is power, and I think that your running should be empowered. Want to take your training to a new level? Start with my round up of my top Marathon Training Articles and Running Posts, sign up for the Coach Suz Letter for training tips and free printables, check out my suggested books for runners, or look into my coaching services (I take on all distances and goals!) and let me educate you and point you in the right direction. 

For non-marathon runners, have you taken time to look into marathon training plans for your own education?

What is one topic that you would like to know more about with regards to running and marathon training plans?

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