Getting comfortable running long distances

July 7, 2013

Sometimes I like to go back through some of my old blog posts and read about what life was like a few years ago.  I was reading about my old crazy runs of 22+ miles that I frequently did and it made me wonder how in the world I used to do that.   My life has  changed just a little bit in the last little while but it was interesting to see that running for 3 hours straight used to be no big deal to me.  

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My mileage is gradually getting higher now which always gives me a little anxiety and thinking about a fall marathon is kind of scary so I thought we would talk about ways to get comfortable running longer and longer distances.  

How we can enjoy these longer distances:

-Take a rest day the day after your long run.  I love doing this because then during my long run I think about how the next day I get to spend my whole day on the couch and it helps me push through the run and feel comfortable running a longer distance.  

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-Follow a training plan.  It will make your life so much easier.  It will have you GRADUALLY increase your mileage which will help you to get to those long runs injury free.  My first marathon training plan is HERE along with a few more ideas of where to get training plans.  You didn’t go from kindergarten to college quickly so don’t do that with your running…go through each grade before moving to the next (did that analogy make any sense?).

-ONE DAY AT A TIME.  When you are using a training plan don’t look at what you’ll be doing later on in the training because it well stress you out.  I remember for my first marathon I almost passed out when I saw that I would be running 20 miles at one time in the future.  Focus on the day or week that you are in and before you know it you will have slowly built up to the crazy long distances.  

-Split it up.  Let’s say you have a 15 miler to do this week.  I ALWAYS tell myself things like it is just 3 5 mile runs:)  When I think of it split up in to smaller increments it is so much easier to do.  

-If you can’t get a partner to run your whole long run with you then get someone to do the last few miles with you because that is bound to help you enjoy the last few miles of your long run more than if you were just by yourself.   Brooke makes an awesome long run buddy.

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– FUEL PROPERLY.  I don’t care who you are, if you aren’t fueling properly your longer distance runs are not going to be comfortable.  Start fueling early on in your run so that you can stay on top of your energy stores so that you don’t ‘hit the wall.’   Eat something simple before your run and refuel with some protein and carbs within an hour after your long run to help speed up recovery. 

-Don’t be afraid to take breaks.  Long runs are all about time on your feet and taking a few walking breaks is not going to take away from the fact that you ran X amount of miles.  If allowing yourself a few walking breaks or drinking breaks throughout your run helps you to feel more comfortable about the distance then DO IT:)

-Take a cut back week.  I think we mentally and physically burnout if we are doing more and more running each week.  Every 2 or 3 weeks take a week to cut back and do a ‘shorter long run.’  Most plans have the cut back week built in to them so that you have a week that you aren’t adding more mileage but instead recovering a little bit.  

-Remember that your mental strength is so important just like your physical strength is when it comes to running.   Fake it to make it.  Change your perspective from ‘I have to’ to ‘I GET TO.’  If you are just thinking about your excuses or the hard things about the situation (i.e. weather, not getting enough sleep etc) then you are guaranteed to not enjoy your longer run.  Find SOMETHING positive about your situation (whether it be the fact you get to eat pancakes the second you walk in the door, you really like your running shorts or the trees around you look extra beautiful that day) and think about that.  

-You are so much stronger than you think you are.  Realize that it is going to be uncomfortable at times during your long runs and that is okay.  Your mind tells you to quit long before your body needs to.  Get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable.  

-SLOW DOWN.  Running longer distances is asking a lot from your body so don’t add the extra stress of running these longer distances fast.  When I think about increasing my weekly long run it seems a whole lot less scary when I remember that I get to do it at a comfortable pace and it isn’t supposed to be fast.  Key word…comfortable.  

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What are you training for?  What are some of your long term running goals?  

Where do you get your training plans from?  

Where were you at with your running a few years ago?  Are you running more than you used to or less?  Are you more in to running or less than you used to be?  

TWO things you have done so far today?

Jen @ milesandblessings July 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I am training for the Kansas City Marathon in Oct and my goal is 3:15…which is a HUGE Pr so we’ll see…if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen and I am okay with that. I kinda make up my training plans as I go based off of several books…although I am hoping having my blog will make me more accountable :).
I am running a TOn more than I used; probably about 20 miles a week more.
This is a great post especially since I am starting to put some long runs back into my plans. i am okay till after 10 or so, then I start to get nervous about it.
I have
1. Gone to church
2. read some blogs :)


lisa s!! July 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I am getting ready to move to the Kansas City area. Pretty nervous about the move. Do you live in the area?? We are actually leaving next Sunday for our house hunting trip. Any recommendations??? Would love to live by running trails!!


Jen @ milesandblessings July 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm

We actually live in Iowa but are only about 2 hours from Kansas City. I don’t know much about trails but I will ask around. It is a pretty area though for sure. We have run the Kansas City marathon before and loved it! Good luck with your move…you will have to let me know if you are going to do any races there.


Runningwithscissors July 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm

My sister lives in Overland Park KS and is also a runner. She often trains on trails around there. Huge running community,wish I lived in that area.


Jen @ milesandblessings July 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I am jealous! I would love to live closer to a trail…and other runners for that matter! There are not many runners in my area, which is why I am really enjoying getting to know other runners through blogging!!!


Jaime July 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Lisa, we used to live in the Kansas City area and LOVED it. We were on the Kansas side in Fairway – a fantastic little community right in the middle of everything. Shawnee Mission Park is great for running and biking. It has asphalt and dirt trails. Also, the Trolley Track Trail on the Missouri side. It gets a little crowded on weekends, but can be fun if you are looking for a flat, easy run.


Sarah @ July 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Running longer distances is something lots of people force themselves to do, even though they do not actually enjoy it past, say, mile 8.

I think it’s time to listen to our bodies and run as fast and as far as we would like to, instead of push push pushing all the time.

Pushing ourselves too hard certainly isn’t a recipe for happiness.


The Hungry Runner Girl July 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I agree that we shouldn’t run longer distances if we don’t want to! This post is for people that love running and have set a goal to run a distance that requires longer runs than they are used to!


Laura @ Mommy Run Fast July 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I’m training for Philly now… well, starting this week. A few years ago I was training for my first marathon and I did not think I’d do more after that. It actually took me a few years before I did my second (just last fall!) It’s definitely fun to look back and see how things change. And I love your tip about breaking long runs into shorter pieces mentally, it definitely helps!


Ellie @ DoubleTroubleRunning July 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Thank you for the hints! I find sticking to a plan really hard. But it helps to hear that it’s ok to take a break if you need to – sometimes it feels like the hardest thing to do!

Ellie :)


Ashley July 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Thanks for the great tips! I really want to run a full marathon, but am a little scared that I won’t be able to finish. I can run a half, no problem. But, I’m following Hanson’s Marathon Method (thanks for mentioning this book, btw)! But, I’m also training for a half Ironman!


Sara @ LovingOnTheRun July 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm

I think the two biggest thing I have had to learn and am still learning that you listed above are:
1. SLOW DOWN – this is the hardest thing for me, I want to push myself. After 3 injuries I think I am finally figuring that out.

2. RELAX – This is still hard for me and I work at it every day. It is definitely something I am trying to get used to and it brings so much more joy to the run when you can do it!

I am getting ready to possibly start a new phase in my training to one day hopefully qualify for Boston – but that means a couple months focused on getting faster. Should be interesting lowering my mileage some but I am looking forward to testing my body in different ways!


Sarah @pickyrunner July 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I think About how I used to think it was fun to go out for a casual 16 miler on the weekends and now after being injured for two months 8 or 9 miles is my new long run. And it feels harder because of that mental barrier. These are all such great tips to help get back to those long distances I used to be so proud of!


Therese July 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

THANK YOU for posting this right now as your timing is impeccable. I’ve been nursing this multi-hip injury since marathon training started a month ago-I’m just starting to be able to run with limited to no pain-thanks mostly to a physical therapist. Today I ran 10 miles. It was hard, I had to walk a lot, I was really sad afterward thinking if 10 was that bad how am I going to do a marathon and WHY am I even thinking I should.

The perspective of a few hours recovery, and a huge calorie burn help me to put it in perspective-but this is hard, especially when injured and feeling like your running has taken a leap frog backwards from where you were pre injury. So my brain is having a field day with all of this during my runs.

So thanks for posting this right now. How did you know I needed it?


Emily @ Running for Boston July 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! It is a God-send. I’m training for the Chicago Marathon to qualify for Boston! My next marathon after Chicago is the Disney Marathon in January.

I really liked and needed to hear ‘split a 15 mile run into 3 5-mile runs!’ And I love that quote by Hal H. I join a running group periodically for their long runs – but it’s somewhere between training and competition. I’ve been secretly thinking that we all start off to fast (given our split times). I’m glad Hal is on my side!


Karen July 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I just recently started following you, and I swear the timing of your posts is impeccable! For my 35th birthday last week, I treated (???) myself to signing up for my first marathon. Wondering how I’ll get through those really long runs, but I look forward to the challenge. Thanks for posting your training plan…I’ll definitely peruse that later tonight, as I’m trying to figure out what type of plan will work best for me.

I’m a relative newbie to running…ran my first race ever after my daughter was born six years ago, and now I’m knocking on the door of the top 10 in my age group (another reason I’m excited about being 35…new age group to conquer!). Swore I’d never run a half and now have three under my belt, and even shaved 11+ minutes off my PR in my last 13.1. Something has really clicked for me, and I think my body has accepted that I’m a runner now!

Two thing I’ve done today: 1) watched my 6 and 3 year old daughters surf with their dad, and 2) ate my friend’s leftover peanut butter pretzel chocolate truffles (I get to rest on Sundays!). Sunday fun day!


Leigh @ beach and back runner July 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I’m currently training for a half… I really want to get a PR this race so I’ve been training hard! I use Garmins plans. A few years ago I was running just as often but I go much farther now.


Adriana @Laced Up With Lipstick July 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Great post! The last long run I had was 13.1 on May 11, since then I’ve been battling injuries. I can’t wait to get out there again.


Erica July 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm

The main difference between my running now and a few years ago is I used to be smoked from double digit runs…..the day after was lots of couch time and definitely a nap………now those runs just are and life continues the next day.
One thing I still am learning is hydrating on the run……….and refueling with something. Lots of times I’ll just wait for lunch even though it is a few hours out…….it doesn’t seem to be having adverse effects though.


Elizabeth @ My Neon Running Shoes July 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Training for the Houston Marathon and hoping to PR which for me is under 3:15! I’m not nearly as into running as I was in high school and college but I still love it :-) I usually just use what I know and do what I think is best. I am still in contact with my high school cross country coach if I need some advice though!

I hope Billy is having a great day!!!


Corrine @ EatRunWine July 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I’m currently training for a half marathon, but would like to run a marathon in early 2014. I’m starting a running group next week to help with that :) I currently make up my own training programs (aka- I run whatever distance I feel like that day… not the best approach, but I’ve worked myself up from 3 miles to 8 and increased my overall pace! Not too bad!) Hopefully the running group will create a more solid training program, since it’s revolved around training for a marathon.

A few years ago, I was all about the gym. I’d run here and there, but mostly on a treadmill before a spin class or body pump class. I did my first half marathon in 2011, and it’s been taking more interest since then. I did cross country in high school, and that was probably the last time I was really into running every day. I’ve never seriously contemplated a full marathon before now, though! I’m excited!

TWO things I have done today? HUGE family brunch, and a 3 hour nap. It’s my rest day and husband threatened to hide my running shoes because I didn’t want to rest. So eating a lot of food with my family and then a ridiculously long nap sounded like a great second choice :)


Lora @ Crazy Running Girl July 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I am starting to train for my 14th marathon tomorrow. Great advice! I agree that you need to take it one day at a time. If you need extra motivation, look back at what you’ve accomplished over the past few weeks… it will look quite amazing to see your progress!


The Hungry Runner Girl July 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm

14th marathon?!?!? You are absolutely amazing!


Meaghan @ Tale of Two Teachers July 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Hi Janae! I was wondering if you could talk about what you do for refueling? (Or direct me to a post if you’ve already written about it)

I’m training for a half marathon right now. I haven’t run one in three years and its definitely hard to get back into feeling comfortable. I really love that I have been taking my time with this comfortable part of it and not making myself miserable that I’m not where I was 3 years ago. The most important thing for me right now is just to get out and run!

I’m running with a training group at a local running store and I love it! My best friend and I are doing it together but even if one of us has to work there are always other people there to meet up with :)

My long term goal is to run a marathon in honor of a good friend that I lost recently. I’m a little nervous about the training program for it but I think I’ll start at some point after I’ve finished this half.


Laura @ Live, Run Sparkle July 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm

these tips are super helpful, thanks for posting them! I ran in a 15km race yesterday and it was a very hilly course…so my leggers are pretty tight today. I’m definitely taking your advice and putting my feet up today. have a great sunday!


Traci July 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I’m training for my first half! A few years ago I’d never ran at all! I’m using Hal Higdon’s novice plan. I’m really enjoying it!


Lauren July 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm

This post came at the perfect time. I’ve cut back my mileage a lot since January and have been gradually building it back up. I ran 14 miles today, which like you mentioned, would have been no big deal this time last year, but it was HARD today. I took a few breaks the last few miles which is also something I would have never done last year. In the end, it really doesn’t matter and I’m just glad I did it. I also blame the humidity :)


Beth @ Mangoes and Miles July 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I’ve started training for the Long Beach half in October. I’m extending Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 plan to train for 16 weeks instead of 12, because I’m hoping it’ll build up my endurance slightly better! All of these are fantastic tips, especially slowing down on your long run. On my long run this past weekend, I was trying to push the pace way too much and my heel/achilles tendon isn’t very happy with me right now. :( Just a reminder that sometimes, slower is better! Especially if you’re at the point where you are running long distances, it’s so hard for your body to perform at that level over so many miles.


megan d July 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Aaaaand now I want to run a marathon. Lol. Thanks a lot. Could you find a way to fix my hamstring so I can? If not, then you gotta stop doing great posts like this.

I especially agree with running long with a partner. It seriously makes it so much more enjoyable.

I don’t know how you ran so much! You still run a heckufalot now! That is why I liked your 1st training plan a lot-peaking at 30mpw really worked for me and my body. I see people running 10-20 miles EVERY DAY and it blows me away.


Nicole July 7, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I am training for the Ventura marathon in September….then a mini-tri in October.

I don’t use training plans….though, I should! I hear great things about Hal Higdon’s.

Two years ago, I was running very regularly….about 6-7 miles each morning and then long runs on the weekend…..I’d like to get back into the pre-work running routine again.

Two things done today: Taught BodyPump, ran 4.5 miles……now wrapped up in a blanket. :)


LosingLindy July 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

today has been busy, did my two speed work miles, then to church, off to the flea market, then the sprinkler park. I am exhausted.


Carrie July 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I actually used to love my 15+ racewalking training days because I would do them and then come home and just crash on the couch and veg. Then I had kids…. I just did a 1/2 marathon in May and even when I felt exhausted after training I had to still come home and give them 100%. It is different now!! I did 4 miles run/walk on Sat. Racewalking to me, even at a 10 min mile is just so much more fluid then running. Running beats up my body and I am so trying to work up gradually, this post is another reminder that I need to go up gradually or my knee will never make it. I have mild knee pain today but nothing compared to where I was a few months ago. I am adding on mileage by 1/2 a mile a week for my long training.


Sara July 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I’m currently training for the Columbus OH marathon this October. A long term running goal is to run Boston next year. I qualified last fall so I would like to do it this spring :) Today I went to church with my brother and spent time reading at the pool. Gotta love Sunday rest days!


Ali @ Hit the Ground Running July 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm

This is a perfectly timed post for me…I’m beginning my marathon training for my FIRST ever marathon and I am looking for all the advice I can get. Thanks!!!


Brittnee July 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I am so glad you posted this!! I’m training for my first marathon in September and have been hitting my long runs. I found a training plan online and customized it slightly. I actually look forward to the Saturday morning 5am long runs :) I wake up with the “I GET to do this” attitude and then know that I have a shower, nap, and rest day after waiting for me when I finish :) I love that I can run at a slower pace than I used to with all of my half marathons and can really just enjoy the experience. I did 17 yesterday, the 20 somethings are still looming, but I’m feeling very prepared.


Robyn July 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Great tips. After running two marathons earlier in the year, then having quite a big break , I am just trying to increase my distance now- 14km this morning seems a lot- as you said, funny as doing 3 hours were more of the norm in January!


Karen @ Runner Girl Eats July 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I haven’t gotten to those super long runs yet but I think a killer playlist is key! If I have good music I think I can run forever :)


Heather July 7, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Great post! I am just trying to get my legs back after about a year off b/c of ITB injury. Haven’t commited to a race but am doing some looking around. I love my long runs, have always looked forward to them as a time to disconnect, reflect and push myself to the next level. That being said, I am not fast – I just run to enjoy running with no real commitments to time. It’s too hot right now to worry about my time anyways!!


Heather @ Run Like a G! July 7, 2013 at 3:09 pm

When you wrote “I GET TO” it reminded me of Kristen Armstrong and her book, Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most important Reasons Why Women Run!!!!
I am training for my second half marathon in September!
And next year I will be training for my FIRST FULL!!!


Runningwithscissors July 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I’ve gone to church today and laid on the couch. In fact….I’m stuck on my couch. I have lots to do but just can’t find any energy. Darn it.
I love using different training plans,which is what I’ve done for all four of my fulls.
In the last 2/3 years I’ve basically doubled my average weekly miles. It’s amazing what our bodies will adapt to.


Matilda July 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Another post so many of us can relate too, well I know I did.
I’m currently training for a sub 1h50m half marathon on 21st July (2 weeks time). the more I think about it though the more I think I will aim for a 1h45min time. (or 1h46ish). I know it’s possible, so we’ll see.
Long term, well I don’t see myself (ever) doing a marathon, but I do have a 28km run planned for later in the year, so I will start training for that. No fussed over the end time just want to run it all without stopping to walk. I will most likely modify a marathon plan to get me to my distance.
As for training plans, I actually really like the runners world training app, I find that that works for me. I don’t remember how I came across it, I think it was last year, as that’s when I really got serious into running. Yeah I’ve only been running for 2 1/2 years, so not long a all. I use to run in high school and was good at it, but b/c I didn’t keep it up, I ended up hating it. Glad I decided to give it another go as an adult (i was also fat, and helped me to loose weight).

Two things I have done today (it’s only 8.20am) are: 1. had breakfast 2. respond to this blog :P


Hayley July 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm

First of all, you’re blog really inspires me! I just started running again and attempting to build up endurance. I have lofty goals of running a half marathon within the next year but I feel like it is a struggle to just get past running a 5k at this point. This post was helpful in many ways. I typically run on the treadmill and can do about 2-3 miles. However, I ran outside today and it almost KILLED ME. I did 1.5 miles before walking but I was so frustrated that I could not go further. Which is why I was especially happy to read this today. Focusing on the small improvements and on the journey is what is important. :)


Laura July 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I have never run a full marathon (partially because my brain has convinced me i can’t!) but it is something i now think i might want to conquer…. For half marathons, I usually go with hal higdons. if i ever do start doing long runs, to train for a full, i will definitely try to follow some of your advice, particularly just enjoying it, and being my own best friend, and allowing yourself some walking/refueling breaks! thanks again for always giving such great advice in your blog. if i ever do run a full, i think you will be a part of my inspiration! thanks! :)

2008-2009 were my best 2 running years. i kind of took a few years “off” (no races, just running for exercise) but now i am back and determined to get faster again!!! i am loving running again!

today, i: mowed the lawn and ran on the treadmill (it’s really really humid out)


Kay July 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

I’ve gotten so into running, I’m training for a marathon :))


Courtney July 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Great post — sometimes it’s tough for me to take walk breaks during longer runs, but when I hesitated to take one on this week’s run I remembered that it’s all about time on my feet. Especially when running in the heat, it’s important to SLOW down. Thanks for a timely post!


Gracie (Complicated Day) July 7, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I need to get my miles back up there but the heat…ugh. I don’t usually run too far in the summer unless I have an early fall marathon; I just keep it to around 10 or 13 miles. Of course, last night I ran a marathon in the middle of the night, but that’s not normal for me! :D


Laura July 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm

So this was great! I am training for my first marathon–the Marine Corps Marathon in Oct. Im nervous and I hate hate hate hate summer. If I had it my way, I would hibernate during summer so I could avoid it all together. So to say that Im a bit anxious about training during the hottest part of the year. I am trying to keep in mind that your body benefits from the heat and it will make me a better runner. I am using a program that Runners World does for free. You put in the distance, your start/end dates, and your last race pace and how many miles per week you want to run and will develop a plan. Its very cool. This is also my first attempt at speed work so we shall see how this goes.

As far as looking back on your previous posts, you could always revisit your hot weather running ones :) I am using a technique that you used when it got hot–run the sun and walk the shade if I need a break. It is totally worth it and really helps when I am feeling zapped.


Debbie @ DebRuns July 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I’m training for the Hokie Half-Marathon in September. I CAN’T WAIT! I’m running a lot less than I used to. I used to run several marathons a year, but now I focus on half-marathons and shorter distances. I miss those 20 and 22 mile training runs!


Brooke @ Running In Heels July 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Following a training plan is SO important! It has gotten me through so many races without injury!


Sarah July 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I’m running far less in 2013. I trained for a half in 2011 and kept running a lot more after. But I’ve finally got back “into the groove” again. I may do another half in the future. Who knows.


Katie July 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Awesome tips! I’ve always kind of winged it with training plans or asked people for advice. I agree that it would be much easier to use a legit training plan though. Next time I’ll definitely be doing that.


Leigha July 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm

I hope to run a marathon SOMEDAY. Not super soon though! I just ran my second half marathon so now I’m just running whatever I want. Pretty soon here I’m gonna start training for xc season in the fall! A fee years ago I had never ran a mike. I’ve come so far!! Today I went on a walk and went to church!


Brooke @ sweats & sweets July 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm

I am currently training for another fall half-marathon on a much flatter course so I can really see a my time. I’m still in the beginning of my training, but compared to last year my mileage is already up a lot. My long runs now consist of 5 or 6 miles and soon will be 8. I’m loving it! Love your tips too :)


Victoria @ My Bright Pink Runners July 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Right now I’m training for a 15K on August 17th (with a 10K thrown in on July 18th). I’m using Hal Hidgon’s 15K training plan and I’m really enjoying knowing what I need to do the next day as opposed to guessing. It’s really working.
In terms of where I was with running a few years ago, I’m miles ahead. I never ran for ‘fun’ prior to January of this year so I’m WAY, WAY, WAY ahead of where I was.


Renee July 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm

This was exactly what I needed to read.. Thank you! :)


Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama July 7, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Thanks for this post & great tips! Perfect timing too! I start an 18-week plan for Richmond a week from tomorrow. This is my third marathon & I’m hoping for a PR & BQ. I’m following the Furman plan which focuses on 3 quality runs each week – speedwork, tempo & long run. You can also do an optional ez run on 4th day. Eliminating junk miles is key for me b/c I’ve overtrained in past & gotten hurt. Love this plan! Challenging runs, 2 days of cross training & one full rest day!


Katie July 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I love the idea of saying to yourself it’s 3 5 mile runs. It totally helps to split it up! One day I WILL be able to run that far!! Now… well… not even close haha ;) But these tips are awesome! Thanks for sharing!



Jennifer July 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm

I have just started reading your blog and I love it! I see you run in the morning before Brooke wakes up. I have been working from home for the last year, but just got a full time office job and have started running in the morning before my little guy wakes up. Any suggestions for me? I have been running for years, but I am shocked at how tight and slow I have been in the morning!

I can’t seem to work it out, any tips?!


Lindsey @ Run Freckles Run July 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Loved this post! I signed up for my first marathon in March…Rock N Roll DC. I have never done a full marathon before. I hit the wall at mile 23.

“Let’s say you have a 15 miler to do this week. I ALWAYS tell myself things like it is just 3 5 mile runs.” I also LOVED this. I do this all the time on my long runs.

TWO things you have done so far today?
1) Ran 10 miles
2) Weeded our garden and planted carrots, onions, and peas. :)


Nicole @ Curly Mommy July 7, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I just finished the Buffalo Marathon (70 minute PR, whoop!) and now I’m trying to take it easy until I start training for the Houston Marathon. I’m a weirdo and really, really love long runs. I get to 1. get 3 hours all to myself (I’m a mom, so this is pretty much unheard of) 2. listen to all my favorite music REALLY loud 3. eat lots of delicious food afterwards! :)

Today I have 1. painted my kitchen 2. eaten a LOT of granola.

Thanks for the great tips!!


char eats greens July 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm

I have a half coming up at the end of September, so that’s what I’ll be training for. I want to get comfortable running 13.1 miles or sure. I always find that I don’t build up enough before a half so hopefully I can this time!

I think babies for sure make good running partners, even if it were only for the added resistance!!


Andrea R. @ Morning Runner Girl July 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm

this was absolutely a FANTASTIC post, full of such helpful, relevant info! I am almost starting training for my 2nd ever marathon and I am so nervous for it to beginning!! thank you for this it really relaxed me! :)


Rachel@curious runner girl July 7, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Love the tips, so helpful – thanks! My training starts this week for my 3rd marathon in November – it’s my first one since having my baby who is now 19 weeks old. I’m super nervous!
I use the FIRST marathon training plan, I love it.
Today I have done a weights circuit session with some small bursts of cardio in it.
Long term running goal: a sub 4 marathon (yes, I’m a slow runner) :)


Liz @ The Girl on Fire Now July 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I am training for a half marathon right now. Ideally, I would love to finish in under 2 hours, but I would be okay with 2:10-2:15.
I would love to run a marathon some day :) BQ-ing would be so awesome too! I already know that I am going to run 15 miles on my 15th b-day, so that is a closer long term goal.
I get my training plans from Google. Ah, the internet is a wonderful thing. :)
Last year, I wasn’t running at all, just playing soccer, so I am definitely running more than I used to.
Today I went to church (highlight of my week) and got a new notebook at Barnes & Nobles to right Bible verses/notes/quotes in :)
I loved this post!!


Kim July 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Great tips since I have a 5 hour run scheduled for the end of the week!!
Sometimes I do runs for a certain distance but often I have timed runs!


Patti Smith July 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm

My long range goal is the RockNRoll 1/2 marathon in New Orleans in Feb. 2014; it will be my first :) Right now I’m finally healing after a 3 week medical pause (non run-related) and I’m dying to get my running shoes on. Tomorrow I’m going out for the first time post surgery and I cannot wait!!!
I actually prefer long runs and give myself plenty of freedom to walk when necessary…I appreciate your tips more than you know bc my mind is my biggest challenge. It’s nice to hear some of the things that I really do know but just need to hear it from a pro every once in a while :)


Natalie @ Twenty-Something Talk July 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm

I am doing marathon training with a local running club and I have to say, having a community to run with has made ALL the difference in my motivation! It has been such a blessing and has really made me fall in love with running all over again, plus I’m actually looking forward to those 6am Saturday runs! Words I never thought I’d say!

The running club has supplied us with a training plan, and it consists of those “cut back weeks” like you mentioned. Those are SO important, glad you touched on that!


Gretchen July 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm

This is a great post! :) Thanks for the tips.
We’re going to start training for our first 1/2 soon! I’m pretty nervous!


Rebecca@Running.Food.Baby. July 7, 2013 at 6:47 pm

I think that if I look back 3 years ago – I should have taken the leap and done a few half marathons and that sort of thing. I didn’t sign up for a half until I had Max – and training for a half when you work full-time and have a young child (and a husband that works all the time/doesn’t ‘get’ running) – it is next to impossible to really train well for a half/full.

My running training plan comes from my head/a little from the running room guidebook


Kristen July 7, 2013 at 6:58 pm

I’m training for a half marathon in Indianapolis on October 19th. It’s a beautiful course through Fort Harrison State Park. Last year I did the full marathon, so this year it will be nice to only do the half. I am more into running right now than I ever have been! As a full-time working mama of two, it is so nice to have a little slice of my day all to myself! :) I’ve run several half marathons and have used different plans. Last year, when I ran my first full marathon, I used Hal Higdon’s plan.


Mia July 7, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Two years ago i couldn’t run because of severe knee injuries. I couldn’t walk or stand without pain in fact. I wasn’t even focused on being able to run again, because i was so focused on how to not be in pain throughout the day. Now i run 5 or 6 days a week. I’m still working on regaining endurance, speed and millage (maxing at about 10 mile runs right now.) Some days i get frustrated with myself when i can’t go longer faster etc, but i always try and remember how far I’ve come in the last few years, and how most of it I did on my own. Thanks for all the tips on getting through long runs!


lindsay July 7, 2013 at 7:49 pm

slow and steady.. and a cute run buddy.


MILF Runner July 7, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Is Miss Brooke down with you hanging on the sofa all day? ;-)

I’m hoping to be running again by the fall. We’ll see. Today I worked out…so that’s a step in the right direction! 30 chill minutes on the elliptical. Baby steps :)


Hali July 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm

THANK YOU!!! This post is a gem! I literally was just thinking about how I had to miss 3 runs this week (smallish injury) and stressing myself by looking at my training plan and wondering how the heck I am going to run 20 miles!! I am training for my first full marathon and love your tips. Today I took a long walk with a friend and just made chocolate chip cookies. My plan is to be a life-long runner, so want to do it the healthiest way possible!


Tyly July 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm

This was a really great post! Thank you!! :)


Traci July 7, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Great tips! Thanks! I am going to start training for my first half marathon in September (after my son goes back to school). I’m thinking of using the plan from Train Like a Mother.


Meagan July 7, 2013 at 8:21 pm

This post couldn’t have come at a better time! I just started training for the Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon in mid-November. It will be my first and I will have a lot of firsts during training, since I have never run more than 14 miles!


Marissa July 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm

I am training for 2 half marathons in October and a full in November. I use Hal Higdon plans. I’ve only started running in the last two years or so and have definitely increased my mileage over the last year. Two things I’ve done so far today: entertained about 20 family members who came into town at the last minute and got a pedi with my best girlfriends.


Miranda @ Miranda Runs July 7, 2013 at 8:55 pm

When I realized I had to run 13 miles, I calculated it and realized that 13 miles is just running up & down my street 7 times. Which doesn’t seem like that much! But it is…


Amy July 7, 2013 at 9:48 pm

I’m training for the San Jose RNR half in October! Thanks for these great tips!


Kelly July 7, 2013 at 10:05 pm

My next race I have locked in is the RNR in Savannah in November. I’ll add more races as time goes, especially because I feel like without one it’s easy for me to be lazy/not push myself. Thanks for all the great info!


Fiona Macneil July 8, 2013 at 12:41 am

Brilliant article, thank you! I had a terrible 14 miler yesterday – no fuel, no water, too fast – what was I thinking? I needed to hear this this morning!


Jenn B July 8, 2013 at 4:48 am

I am training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Cleveland half in October. My goals are to run a sub 25 minute 5k, run a sub 2 hour half, and complete a full marathon. I’m following a Runners World Smart Coach plan this time around. I have followed Hal Higdon’s in the past. I wasn’t running at all until the of 2010 so I’m definitely running more! My love for running and working out in general grows every day! :)

Two things I have done today: ran 3 miles and ate blueberry banana pancakes!


Beth @ Running with the Sunrise July 8, 2013 at 5:01 am

Right now, I’m training for a marathon in late September following one of the plans in Advanced Marathoning by Pfitzinger and Douglas. I hope that I can get fast enough to qualify for Boston someday, but for now I’m still a relative slowpoke. I totally agree with all of these tips, especially the one about running slowly. My fiance is trying to get back into running and when he doesn’t run with me he runs so much faster and can only go a mile or two, but can run 6 with me on one of my recovery runs. Running slowly is especially important when it’s hot out. Thanks for all of this awesome advice!


Megan July 8, 2013 at 5:01 am

These are some awesome tips, thanks! So far today I’ve been at work for an hour, woo.


KP July 8, 2013 at 5:02 am

My husband and I are training for the Mississippi Blues Half in January! (A local half marathon in November as well, but we’re treating it like a long training run haha) We are also doing a couple of shorter distances in between (to keep ourselves ready), but that is our big goal.

We’re following the Hal Higdon plan too (novice 1, we are training for our first and taking it slow!) and it’s great so far! It’s easy to swap days around if needed (hub’s schedule is all over the map, so sometimes we’re morning runners, sometimes evening).

Two things I’ve done today? Long run was yesterday evening, so this morning I have gotten up (it’s early) and waited (im)patiently for the coffee!


Kari @ Running Ricig July 8, 2013 at 5:03 am

Right now, I’m just trying to get my base miles back up after being injured for the last month or so.

So far today, I’ve done laundry and made lunch for Mike. So exciting!


Ashley @ Eat Run Live Happy July 8, 2013 at 5:34 am

I’m training for my first marathon! I just did the longest run I’ve ever done over the weekend. 16 miles!


Amanda July 8, 2013 at 6:26 am

I always break up my long runs mentally. It makes it so much easier if you break it into 5 mile increments especially on an out and back or if you’re doing multiple loops


Katherine July 8, 2013 at 7:06 am

I’m currently not training for any specific race, but I am trying to increase how far I run. These are some great tips! I’m never really sure how to start increasing how long/fast I run, and these tips are SO helpful! Thanks!


Chelsea @ LittleOneRuns July 8, 2013 at 7:55 am

These are all really good points! I will defiantly have to keep A LOT of these in mind my next long run :)


MartinaNYC July 8, 2013 at 8:05 am

Perfect timing!!! I’m training for NYC and finished my first week of training on Saturday, when I had to run 10 miles for my long run-it was tough! Not for the distance (I ran longer distances in the past) but for the heat! By mile 8, my legs had turned into jelly and I just couldn’t wait to be DONE! I have a looong summer ahead of me ;) My main suggestion is: try to do these long runs with other people! I’m lucky enough to have 2/3 people running at my same pace in my running group (we all want to finish in 3:59) and I do my long runs and some speed workouts with them. If it wasn’t for them, I’m afraid I wouldn’t find the strenght to wake up at 6am every Sunday morning for 4 months straight ;)


Nicole @Pink Elephant on Parade July 8, 2013 at 8:22 am

I’d run with a group for my long runs but I’m just too slow to join a group–I can’t do my long runs under 10 minutes a mile, especially with the rising temperatures. I’m a dedicated Hal Higdon fan, he got me through my first marathon and will be getting me through numbers 2 and 3 (Marine Corps in October and Disney’s Dopey in January).


Michelle @ 3cheaprunners July 8, 2013 at 8:29 am

Next race on the schedule for me is a 10 miler…so right now that’s what I am training for, but I have a ½ marathon in January…so kinda following a plan for that as well


michelle kim July 8, 2013 at 10:30 am

Running way more than I used to. I looked at even last year’s miles (I keep a workout log) and found that it took until mid-September of last year to reach the year-to-date mileage I am currently at right now. That may not have made any sense.
Bottom line is… I love that I’m running more, with less injuries :)


Liana@RunToMunch July 8, 2013 at 10:37 am

I’m not really training for anything per say, I have a few marathons coming up and generally like to stay in marathon shape for as long as I can. I guess come fall, I will get more serious with speedwork for the NYC marathon.

A few years ago, I could barely run a 5K!


Kristin @ A Mom on the Run July 8, 2013 at 11:07 am

I just started training for my first marathon! Official training doesn’t start for another two weeks, but I have to get my base back up to 8 miles for my first long run.

A few years ago, I wasn’t running!

Two things.. well, I went for a run! I also “helped” my son lose his first tooth!


Nicole July 8, 2013 at 11:20 am

I’m training for my first half marathon right now, its going ok. I’m scared to commit to a training plan for some reason, so my running hasn’t been great.


Doni July 8, 2013 at 11:21 am

I usually do 12-15 mile runs on the weekends so I’m half marathon ready at all times. I find living in the SF Bay Area (near the coast & wine country) to be very inspiring for running. My running buddy and I were running along the Pt Reyes Coast this weekend with no one in sight. We felt very special and our 15 miles zipped by.

I love having running being a part of my life and always have at least one or two events on the horizon. Next up: Tahoe Marathon (then CIM in December). And probably a half in the Wine Country here and there.

Also, I have a wonderful hubby who is not a runner, but is willing to get out on his bike and “sherpa” for me and keep me company for my 4 hour runs.


Kay July 8, 2013 at 11:35 am

Great tips, thank you!


Katherine July 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

Marathon rookie is a great place. :)


Bridget July 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Thanks for the tips! This is a great list. And thanks for your great blog.
I’m still recovering from an injury and not able to run, and reading about running is the next best thing to running, lol.


Courteney O July 8, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Thanks so much for this post. I am training for my first 1/2 marathon and I worry about the long runs constantly and whether I have it in me to complete them. Near the end of them I fear stopping to walk as I’m sure I won’t get started again. I only started running 4 years ago…and back then all I wanted to do was finish a 5k. It’s safe to say that I caught the bug and did a 10k last year, with the 1/2 this year.

Thanks again for the wisdom from your experiences!


Joanna @ knitlit twit July 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm

I’m training for the Austin Marathon next year, and just decided on Hal Higdon’s 30-week Beginner Supreme program. It feels weird to be excited, but I’m going to try and hold onto that excitement as long as possible, hopefully through at least one of my long runs ; )


niki July 11, 2013 at 10:14 am

Great post! I’m a newbie runner and am really glad I stumbled on your blog. BTW, if you are ever in the market for some great running gear- I just discovered this awesome performance apparel website- Expert Brand ( They have a huge selection for women and great sizes! Happy Running!


Jess July 12, 2013 at 7:53 am

This is SO helpful! Thank you for your honesty!

I’m currently training for my 4th half marathon in a year. I started running for the first time (had never run longer than the 1 mile I had to do in gym class in high school) last April (2012) and ran my first half marathon last September.
I’m planning on running my first full marathon next May 2014. I’m super excited about it!

I love Hal Higdon’s training plans!!!! I’ve been moving through the half marathon plans, starting at beginner and now I’m using the advanced plan.

I have friends in their late 40s who still love to run and I see people in their 70s running in marathons and half marathons! This is my long-term goal. I don’t care how fast I am in my 70s, I just want to still be running races.

Your posts are very encouraging because it is so easy to be hard on yourself when training. I’ve had many 3 mile runs that feel so difficult that I wonder how I’ll ever run a full marathon, but then I’ll do a 13mile run that feels great! Running is mentally tough because I’ve found that it’s rarely consistent. You have good days and bad days and it’s hard not to feel like a failure on the bad days.

Thank you again and again for your posts and encouragement!


Amy Lauren July 14, 2013 at 6:38 pm

I liked your training plan, and being “plan less” for this upcoming marathon, I am now considering your plan for the speed workouts and the lower mileage. I’m nowhere close to those paces in the heat, unfortunately, but I do agree that lower mileage is better. I hit 41 last week and am now on a cutback week because my knee started hurting. I’m thinking maybe around 35ish is the sweet spot for me so maybe I should stay close to there and your plan does :).

I feel like cross training and how you taught spin is just as important in training as the actual running is… and probably why you weren’t injured AND completed a marathon with such a great time on lower mileage :). People really underestimate the importance of quality cross training.


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