Marathon Training – Running Schedule and Recovery

Hello Friends!

Wonder why I’ve been quiet so far on the marathon training front? I’ve been too busy running! But going into my 4th week of training, I desperately wanted to fill you in on what I’ve been up to.  All in all, I’ve got the running bug back. You know what I’m talking about, right? 

I know I got the bug when my stride just feels “right”, when I can’t wait to get out the door (most days), when I ditch the headphones, and when I’m out the door before the sun rises to hear nothing but my feet strike the on the peaceful trail.

Yup, I got the bug. 

Now onto the logistics, and there are many. This year I’m doing my own training. I love organized running teams like Fleet Feet, but there weren’t running groups that had meeting times that work with my (crazy, but I love it) schedule right now. Plus, I’m a part of the wonderful Team Veg, a group of like-minded vegan friends who will take the CIM by storm this year!

Training Plan

My training plan is simple – one long run a week, a tempo run, speed work/interval run, and maintenance runs, which are just miles on my feet at a decent (slower than tempo) pace. Sprinkled in there are of course some brutal fun hill work – key for building leg and heart strength and make running on flats easier.

Here’s my training calendar from the last three weeks. I use a Garmin watch, which syncs to my computer and inputs my workouts into an organized calendar. I highly recommend the Garmin watch, if you are training for a race.


Week One: 25 miles

Week Two: 18 miles

Week Three: 30 miles

Week Four: planning on running 35 this week

Once I started marathon training, I already had a decent base of running about 3 times a week, so I started with 25 miles a week. I plan on increasing my mileage by about 10% every week for three weeks and backing down on week four to the week one mileage.  Then, the cycle continues again, starting week five with the week two mileage, and increasing from there by about 10% for three weeks again until the fourth week. Example: 25, 30, 35, 25. Then 30, 35, 40, 30.

The way I look at it, the simpler the better.

As you can see, my mileage dropped during the second week. I decided to take it easy to break into my new running shoes.  Once I started with the much more minimal New Balances 10’s, my feet were feeling worked and my arches were starting to feel it. I switched back and forth between old and new shoes, but was still feeling it. My feet started to adapt by week three though, and by giving my feet a break, I was able to run in my new (but already dirty!) shoes all last week without a problem.

*Tip: If you have a new pair of shoes, especially if you are transitioning to a minimal shoe, ease into it. Even if it means going back and forth between the old or the new, or even backing down on mileage.  I know how it is – being excited about a brand new pair of trainers, you want to wear them all the time – but backing off is so worth it in the long run! I learned the hard way. Last time I trained for my half marathon without easing into it, my calf locked up for an entire week, and I couldn’t even walk down the stairs.

I have also been working my feet once a day. Yes, a little strange, and you should all see Eric’s face when I do this, but strengthening your feet is so important. Our feet have to be strong enough to properly absorb the impact of the landing. Our feet are the points of connection between the ground all the way up to our pelvis, which means that healthy feet can help reduce injuries elsewhere in your body.

Here’s a good video from Runners World, with some basic footwork that will get you started.


This is my first time training for a long race, on a plant-based diet. This time around, I’m packing my meals full of alkaline vegetables, fruits, and easily digestible proteins. All these things together reduce inflammation and help cell regeneration, which allow my body to recover and rebuild faster than ever. With less digestive stress on my body, my body is able to focus more of it’s efforts in rebuilding after my workouts. I’m finding that so far, I’m able to run longer and faster with fewer injuries. It’s amazing how it works, but it totally does!

 So what am I eating? 

I run in the mornings, and normally don’t put too much emphasis on what I eat before I workout, unless I’m going on a long run. I find that if I ate properly the day before, and got enough rest, my body has recovered. This means that I don’t need much food, unless of course, I’m doing a long run. If I’m doing a long run, I typically have some easily digestible carbohydrates such as a banana or a date, and a little protein (about a 4:1 ration). For a short, intense runs, I might have a date or two before I head out the door. This will change as I start running for more than 3 hours at a time.

After experiencing post-run fatigue when I trained for previous races, I found the importance of post-run refueling. I have Brendan Breizer’s book, THRIVE,  to thank for my new outlook, which has changed my life! Seriously. In the past, I  would just drink some water after getting back from a run, or maybe some sort of synthetic recovery powder and wait hours before eating a full meal. After a few hours, once my body cooled down, I would ravage the fridge and eat a huge meal. ALL WRONG. An hour later, I would flop on my couch and would not be able to move, drained. This fatigue would often translate even into the next day.

Now, I make sure to have a recovery drink within 45 minutes of an intense run, made of mostly carbohydrates and a  bit of protein to replenish all the electrolytes lost while running. Then, not longer than an hour later, I have my full meal, consisting of all the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and easily digestible protein to give my body enough energy to regenerate. In many cases this is a big smoothie, in others it maybe a loaded salad or packed lettuce wraps. I can’t tell you how much this has helped. I now can go on with my day after a 12 mile run, and feel fine throughout the day.

Here is my favorite recipe for a recovery drink, which I picked up from THRIVE:
Lemon-Lime Recovery Drink
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/4 lime
4 dates
1 cup water
1 cup coconut water
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbs help protein
1 tsp hemp oil, or coconut oil
1/2 tsp lemon zest

Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Enjoy within 45 minutes of your run.

I will do a more extensive post on what I’m eating while I train a bit later.

Here’s a recap of what I’m doing:


  • Adding mileage gradually, 10% for 3 weeks, taking the 4th week easy
  • Woking my feet
  • Paying attention to post-workout refueling
  • Trying to go to bed by 10:30, not always successfully

Trying to stay away from caffeine as much as I can. This week, I had a de-caf latte and some green tea, but have tried to stay away from regular coffee or my weakness – THE CAPPUCCINO.

See you all soon.  If you have any questions, just ask :)


This entry was posted in Fitness Bits, Inspiration + Balance and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Comment

  1. Jedidiah Soliz
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Great Blog Maria! I love this one! I’ve been meaning to check out your blogs for awhile and finally made the time too :) I like how you mentioned Team Veg in it! Thanks for the compliment about our running group :) I think it’s great too! You are very informative on here and give some good advice! Keep it up!

    PS. That smoothie looks delicious! I’ll have to make it sometime :)

    Plant Powered Athlete


One Trackback

  • By Cuckoo for Cacao Crunch on September 12, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    […] ready for post-run refueling, which means either Vega recovery powder, or ingredients for lemon-lime recovery drink. Since I’m running short on time before I go, I simply bought a couple of packets of Vega […]

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    My name is Maria and I live in California. I love teaching high-energy Pilates classes, going on long runs, and making connections with all of you! Hope you find a few useful articles, fitness tips, and recipes while you're here.

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