Marathon Bloggers Discuss Training Plans

WRITTEN BY: Sports Medicine
Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Running in groups is one of the best ways to train for any type of distance race. They can provide a social aspect to a sport that can be isolating and members can provide support and encouragement to fellow runners.

This year, as we prepare to help you train for the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon or UPMC Health Plan Half Marathon, we’ve brought together a virtual group of runners. Covering various ages, race lengths, and running experience, these runners have agreed to share their training with us over the next few months.

This month we asked the bloggers to introduce themselves and share how they plan to train for their respective races.

Joelle D.Marathon Blogger Joelle

Greensburg, Pa.
UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon

Hi! I’m Joelle D.  I’m a 43 year old single mother of three.  My oldest daughter, Dakota, is running the full marathon this year and also participating in this UPMC feature.  I started running after I graduated with my MBA last May.  I watched my daughter and sister finish the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh half marathon, and I wanted to experience what it would be like to cross the finish line as well.

I started my training last May with the Active App, Couch to 5k with a childhood friend who was also running for the first time.  We used to panic when we had to run 8 minutes straight, but we both did it.  Nine weeks later, we ran our first 5k in Greensburg on July 4th. I ran several other 5ks before beginning training for a 10k in September.

I started training a few weeks ago for the half.  My dear friend Ryann has also registered to run and agreed to be my training partner.  She has run several halves before.  We found a 16-week plan online.  It looked simple.  It started with two, 2-mile runs and then a longer 3-mile run on Saturday.  Somehow, I figured I could just run two miles easily, since I did a 10k four months prior.  Wrong!  I’m struggling.

Read more about Joelle’s marathon training expectations.

Dakota B.dakota

Pittsburgh, Pa.
Research Coordinator, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Dick’s Sports Goods Pittsburgh Marathon

Hi, my name is Dakota B. and I am 22 years old and will be running the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon this upcoming May!  This will be my second time running in the Pittsburgh race weekend and my first full marathon.  I am running with a group of friends and family and am blessed to have such a phenomenal support group. I am a few weeks into the eighteen week training program I started at the end of December.  I am still in the early weeks of training and luckily have only had few long runs to conquer thus far.

My training consists of running approximately 5-6 days a week with recovery workouts on the days following my distance runs.   I mostly do my shorter runs during the week and keep my longer runs for the weekend.  I also have incorporated some strength and sprint training in to my mid-week workouts.  During training, I have learned to especially value my rest days. I am nervous, but extremely excited for what the next weeks have in store for me!

Joe M.joe m

UPMC Sports Medicine Athletic Trainer
Pittsburgh, Pa.
UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon

I’ll be running the UPMC Health Plan Half Marathon this year.  I started training just after Christmas after not doing any serious running since the Pittsburgh Full Marathon last year.  I’m definitely in the beginning stages of my training, allowing my body to adjust to running about 20 miles per week before I start into speed work in mid-February.  I’ve never really had a plan for running before last year when I ran the full marathon and, even then, I had a lot of trouble actually finding motivation to adhere to the program I was using (one of the Hal Higdon programs).

Looking forward to my training this year, I plan on making sure I eat better and actually do speed work to get a new personal best.  I’ve only ran one other half marathon and one full marathon, both in Pittsburgh in 2012 and 2013 respectively. I’d like to really drop a good amount off my time and start focusing on possibly qualifying for Boston, but that’s more of a dream at this point.

Justine G.justine g

Pittsburgh, Pa.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon

My name is Justine and on May 1 of 2013 I started running. Somewhere during that time and I’m not sure when, I became a ‘runner.’ I did my first half marathon in May of 2014 and started training for my first full marathon which will be the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 3 of this year.

My training is on my own and I pulled some random plan off the internet (like a rookie) and modified it to meet my busy schedule as the working mother of a 4 and 6 year old.  I do most of my runs at lunch and my husband is gracious enough to let me do a long one on the weekend.

I have always struggled with weight and with exercise and decided to try running.  I loved my first run.  I was slow, super slow.  My first run as my Runkeeper reminds me was at 14:24 pace. I finished the half with a 9:32 pace.  I’m still not that fast, but I’m improving.  I’ve also lost 70 pounds. I’m a cold weather runner, so this is my time to shine.

I am super excited that the Marathon is two days after my very first run.  In two years, I will have gone from running 1.92 Miles to running 26.2.  I also just turned 40, so this will be a great accomplishment to mark the milestone.  Wish me luck!

Joe A.Joe A, Marathon Blogger

Pittsburgh, Pa.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon

I’m 49 years old and came back to running a little bit later in life. I ran 5K and 10K races when I was in my late teens. While I’ve always done some sort of activity to stay in shape, I really got back into running after moving to our home in Crafton back in 2007.

The first marathon I ran was Pittsburgh in 2013. I had a good race, meeting my goal time of 3:50. I also ran the New Orleans Rock and Roll Marathon in January. After finishing that race I took a break for a week or two. I’ve got some soreness in my right knee. I think it’s the typical “runner’s knee” injury. I’ve been stretching and icing it in order to keep on training for Pittsburgh.

I’ve run five marathons in the last two years and I’ve learned some things along the way. One thing that’s clear is that what I actually know is a lot less than what I don’t know. So what I’ve done is to join a club. I joined the Steel City Road Runners, but really any of the clubs in our area offer great resources like coaches, training plans, and other runners to train with.

Read more about Joe’s marathon training plans and what he plans to do for prep.

Are you participating in this year’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon or the UPMC HealthPlan Pittsburgh Half Marathon? Why do you run, and how do you prepare for a marathon? Let us know in the comments below!

Sports Medicine

UPMC Sports Medicine is the region’s largest and most experienced program dedicated to treating, training, and inspiring athletes at levels, in all sports. Our physicians, surgeons, physical therapists, athletic trainers, sports nutrition, and sports performance experts are dedicated to helping athletes and active people recover from injuries, and even prevent them. Read More