National Marathon – 16 weeks of training remain

The 5th annual National Marathon will be held March 20, 2010. Most runners think of the wildly popular Marine Corp Marathon as Washington’s race, but this relatively new race is the true D.C. marathon since, unlike the Marine Corp Marathon, the course is entirely within the District. Is is especially noteworthy for our residents since both the full- and half-marathon courses include Eckington along North Capitol Street. Previous years the Eckington Civic Association has volunteered/sponsored a water station.

I hope to persuade as many runners from our area to race in either the full- or half-marathon.

My wife and I have followed two different marathon training programs, and while both are geared towards increasing one’s distance-capability gradually over the program, there are a few significant differences that may make one more attractive than the other to a specific runner.

  • The 18-week “Team-In-Training” program follows the traditional marathon training schedule of 4 days of running per week: 3 weekday runs of distances ranging from 3-10 miles and a Saturday “long run” that incrementally  increases in length up to 20 miles three weeks before the race.
  • The 18-week “Finish with FIRST” program developed by the Furman Institute of Running & Scientific Training (FIRST) only entails 3 days of running per week, albeit with more strenuous, but shorter, weekday runs.  (Think “intervals” and “tempo runs”)

Each of these programs has more advanced schedules, for those wishing to improve their marathon times.

I will be again following the FIRST schedule–in this case, the “FIRST to the Finish” program–due to my previous success with the program as well as my limited time available for training.  However, I will caution that you MUST complete the high-intensity interval and tempo runs each week and not just complete easy mid-week runs found in the other programs–the anaerobic work is key.  Cross-training 1-2 days a week also is encouraged.

Download (pdf) or follow the links to the training programs here:

“Finish with FIRST”

“FIRST to the Finish”

4 runs per week:

Novice I

Novice II

Intermediate I

Intermediate II

Advanced I

Advanced II


One thought on “National Marathon – 16 weeks of training remain

  1. That’s great that you guys are running the National Marathon! I ran the half this year and really loved running through my neighborhood. For serious runners in our neighborhood, this would be a good race to PR in because it’s not very crowded. By mile 1, the pack has mostly cleared and you are able to run at whatever pace you aspire to.

    Hubby might run the half and while I would have loved to run the half again, we are expecting our first baby in mid-January. And while I hope to be back running by March, it’s probably to early to be racing that distance in March! I will definitely be watching though!

    Good luck with your training!

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