Bananarunning to a Full Marathon

I’ve been microblogging about this for a few weeks now. I suppose it’s time to make it official.

In 95 days, I will run my first full marathon in Singapore.

This entry took a little time to write because I had to let the idea sink in again. I have actually been delaying this post because I wanted to see first if I can do training runs before I fully commit.

Today is day 17 of the training and I have completed all the 6 of the 7 training runs. Yey!

My first full marathon journey officially started one fine Wednesday evening at Starbucks. In between convincing a friend to attend a BodyPump class and having pingpong text about long run mileage with another running buddy, I was trying to decide on what program to use. I was reviewing three marathon programs: Runner’s World SmartCoach, Hal Higdon’s Novice program  and the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST) program.

To build up on mileage, I have been following RW’s SmartCoach. This program works for me because it only requires 3 runs a week and suggests a target pace for each run based on recent race performance. However, to prepare for a marathon, I felt that I needed to level up a little. 

Hal Higdon’s Novice program requires 4 runs a week and the weekly program is not as detailed. This is my first time to train for a marathon and I felt I needed something more descriptive.

FIRST is a program I’ve encountered in RW. I’m not sure but I think it’s the basis for the SmartCoach. The training program is based on results from Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training studies. The results of their studies indicate that runners are able to improve race  performances running only 3 days a week, following a specific training plan and cross-training. Pacing is a crucial component to this program. I felt that this is the program that will challenge me enough for the next 16 weeks. I can be a really lazy  runner and I needed an extra push. I needed very clear training goals. However, when I looked at the paces of each run and the long run mileage and pace, I seriously got scared and doubted if I could complete it and still run the marathon. So I stared at the programs, had a cookie,  stared some more, recomputed the pace, shuffled the programs and debated with my imaginary community on the merits of each program.

I like troubleshooting and I knew that I just need to calm down a bit and I will find a happy compromise. After reviewing the programs again, I calmed down long enough to make a SmartCoach and FIRST hybrid.

For the next 16 weeks, I will be following the Key Run Workout 1 (Speed Workout) and 2 (Tempo Run) of FIRST. However, to safely build-up my mileage from my current level and prevent overtraining I will be following the RW SmartCoach long run pace and mileage. The hybrid is challenging enough but I won’t burn out, fade away and die training for the marathon.

I also like the fact that this program will let me do three 32km runs. This is good because I can test which shoe I will wear for the marathon. After the Marikina Half, I think my Newtons can go the Full distance with me but my new Wave Rider is pretty comfy too. I guess I will find out in a few more weeks.

This is the plan for now: 3 key runs a week, Final Cuts for strength and BodyBalance for flexibility. I know that BodyJam is not included in the list of recommended crosstraining activities but it is included in my program for my sanity and will be dropped when necessary. I also plan to attend a cycling class … soon.

Thanks for the all the support so far and send good wishes my way on December 7.


19 thoughts on “Bananarunning to a Full Marathon

  1. bards, you have a nice training program for your first marathon. just relax and don’t be pressured with your finish time goal. your ultimate goal is to finish your 1st marathon. i suggest you do your hill runs/repeats starting next month (oct) at least once a week. have your regular weekly massage, too. good luck on your training & you are doing great! see you soon!

    thanks BR. my goal for my first main goal is to finish this race smiling and then have enough energy to hit the best breakfast buffet. i havent done research yet on hill training … how steep should it be? Mckinley steep? Weekly massage … hehehe i knew training will be fun. See you soon too. Enjoy your Newtons!

  2. Go Bards! I have also compared the RW SmartCoach and FIRST (even Hal higdon but I thought it was not challenging enough). Once you have built up the mileage the SmartCoach will actually have 4 days of running. The key workouts though are limited to twice a week, a tempo run or speedwork on Thursday and a long run on Sunday. For finishing, I think this is okay but if I wanted to improve my times I checked FIRST which has 3 key workouts plus I have the flexibility of adding easy runs around it to increase my mileage. FIRST actually warns us that their recommended pace will be hard but we should get used to it (hopefully!). I checked out other programs like the Boston Athletic Association’s (BAA) program – whoa! – that one I will reserve after a year maybe. Anyway, good luck and as BR says get a massage specially after your long runs.

    thanks PC! I am planning to add easy runs also. siguro after my body is used to demands na of this program. Opps … mesh yes, we will be adding a 4th run after week 6 siguro hehehe.

  3. wow… good luck on your training. 🙂

    thanks Charles! Im enjoying the training so far … panic about the distance I need to do at the Finale has not yet sinked in. Yikes!

  4. Go Bards! A number of my club mates are also entered in the Singapore race. Maybe you will even meet them there.

    The advice I was given when I trained for mine was that if you had to skip a run in your training schedule at all, don’t skip the long run because building up your endurance is crucial. This is the one that will keep you going between kilometres 30-35, when the urge to give up will be at its strongest.

    Ey! Welcome Back! good to hear there will be a lot of pinoy runners in Singapore. The long runs are really getting longer na and scheduling around it is getting tougher. I really try not to miss a long run. I actually enjoy the long runs, after running beyond 1 hour you are just coasting na.

  5. Go go go! Good luck in your training, stay injury free. I think you’ve built up a sufficient base from all the previous runs, this is it!

    tanx! this is it talaga! if someone told me 2 years ago that i will be running a marathon, i would have laughed hysterically. I don’t even consider myself athletic hehehe

  6. If you have a forerunner garmin, then you can auto download selective individual programs for yourself unto the garmin…

    thanks for the tip! it should make the speed repeats easier. last tuesday I had to write down on a little piece of paper (which i stuck to my roadid) the pace for each distance hahaha the garmin is coming … 7 more days!

  7. oh nice! guess i’ll see you at singapore then. i will be based there for a little over a month also.

    great! you can scout the route for us. so ano distance takbuhin mo?

  8. Good luck on your serious training… I’ll see you there on our first marathon. Would like to join you in one of your long runs probably Oct?

    ey chito! thanks for the visit. see you in singapore or at the races. the long runs are really getting longer hehehe company most welcome.

  9. psst… see you there. Good luck, promise to run with you in spirit every sunday… as long as you promise to run with me in spirit every tuesday 🙂 KAYA NATIN YAN..

    Yey! tama, kaya natin yan! i have a new mantra na nga … after this morning. there are no bad runs, just runs you will learn from. sige … my spirit is most willing to run with you every tuesday. kasi if i try to keep up with your pace … kaluluwa na lang makakarating sa singapore.

  10. REading post like this wanted me to sign up for the Singapore marathon too. Kaso nagdownpayment na kami for the wedding next year kaya pass na talaga ako dito. But I have RWs training plan too and my 20+K runs are getting challenging na.

    Goodluck sa practice and sa full marathon.

    hay … more marathons to come and who knows … maybe you will end up doing your first marathon with Que. Enjoy the long runs. You are building a good running base. Just think you are alloting more time for your marathon training.


    sana naman prepared na ko sa marathon pero hindeeeeeeeee im a tortoise preparing for a 5k, finally tell the world that I AM DONE FOR A 5k then step up to the next level hence forth after 🙂

    I DID MY HOMEWORK!! I just need to blog about it hehehehe pero plakda ako ah, as in plakda – hindi na insomniac pero nagising din ako ng 4am. pfft after sleeping at around 11. badtrip. hahaha

    SO PROUD OF YA KASSY!!! and looks like the cure for your insomnia was to just you dead tired.

    buti ka nga you’re first official race will be a respectable 5K. hehehe mine was 2K. but for the record the mommy milkshake marathon is still the best race here in manila, a definite must join every year.

  12. Hi Bards. It will be fun. Coach Rio said he’s trying to organize a Team Philippines for this marathon, with a race shirt to boot! Libre kaya? 🙂 Goodluck sa training natin.

    alam mo, I got inspired to sign-up when i saw that you registered na. And yeah, running with friends and looks like a lot of pinoy runners will be fun. When Cecil talked about km 30-35 earlier, i decided to adopt Mesh strategy when I end up zonking and bonking. I will just chase the cutest butt on the course … oh! please let there be cute butts aplenty. Now that should be fun. hehehe

  13. Looking forward to my next homework although i feel a little burn on the back of my leg.. actually, i miss the SORE feeling.. Im quite looking forward to a sore on my thigh sometime soon. Hahah!

    ay bakit back of the leg? text you later.

    4am, strictly for running. Girl, help me up with that! 🙂 You don’t get sleepy couple of hours after? Im actually interested in that since work is going to get into my way soon. Hahahah!! 😉

    THANKS BARDS!! here’sto my next homework!

  14. Hey, we’d like to invite you to join! It’s the new on-line social network for sports and fitness enthusiasts here in Manila. You can tag yourself in our photo galleries (which we promise to keep fresh and updated ASAP!) as well as inform other members about upcoming races and sports events. Best of all, you can help promote a healthy lifestyle to more and more individuals by spreading the word about our community. Thanks!

  15. Hi Bards! Congratulations. Dont stress over your race pace. You have progressed very quickly in your running career and that is already a great achievement. Remeber what you were doing just 2 years ago?

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