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Marathon Training: Choose Your Own Adventure

Updated: Oct 14, 2022


In June of this year I began training for my fourth marathon (third Chicago Marathon). I was excited to begin training but I wanted to make some conscious choices that would provide me the best chance of getting to the start line healthy and happy!


My last marathon was five years ago. And let's be honest, I am not getting any younger!! It was time to employ an intentional approach that made me feel strong, connected and accomplished.


Hal Higdon Novice 2: From past experience I knew that I would follow Hal Higdon's Novice 2 marathon training schedule. It has proven to be a solid, reliable and manageable program that matches my lifestyle and running level.


However, I simply did not want to be tied to that many days of running each week. Remember the goals: enjoy the process, get to the start line healthy. I wanted to prevent burnout.


Enter Orange Theory Fitness (OTF).


I have been a member of OTF for four years and I absolutely love it. I wanted to keep my OTF workouts consistent while I trained. I wanted to be thoughtful about my approach to incorporating OTF as part of my marathon training.


The Big Decision: Each week, replace two of my four SHORT DISTANCE Hal Higdon runs with OTF workouts.


This decision accomplished the following:

1. Decreased the mental and physical burnout of having to stick to solely running four times a week. It changed things up!!

2. Provided me strength training. I felt I needed this more than ever before.

3. Provided muscle confusion, ideally decreasing the potential for injury.

4. Surrounded me with a caring community. I knew my OTF community would support me through the training process. The support, tips, expertise and encouragement from my OTF family meant the world to me.


Of special note: I intentionally decided NOT to wear my heart rate monitor for the OTF workouts during the period of marathon training. I wanted to make sure my focus was on accomplishing the long runs. I wanted to shift my competitive edge while at OTF and focus more on the rowing and floor than dominating the runs (my usual approach).


Here's the bottom line:

  1. Be intentional. Create the marathon training approach that supports your process and your goals. I encourage you to put enjoying the process front and center. This does not mean that you cannot or should not have a competitive edge. It just means that marathon training is a long process and huge commitment, so you may as well enjoy it as much as possible.

  2. Lean on a community you love. You may do every long run on your own (I did all but the 20 mile solo) but lean on people who support you and your approach to training.

  3. The marathon is a physical challenge. It is a mental challenge. And our ultimate success comes when our mind/body connect and we are in present moment. I promise you, when connected, you are unstoppable. Breathe, look inside yourself, look around you. And enjoy the run.

Post marathon update: The plan above worked perfectly for me and I am truly grateful for all of the support. Congrats to all finishers and I hope some of you are inspired to take on this challenge in the future!!


A HUGE thanks to OTFLakeview, OTFCincinnati, OTFHamburg and OTFMidtownHouston for your support throughout this training process!

Instagram: @official_bodymindcombine







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