Santa Barbara Marathon, S01E01: the training plan

It's so much fun to sign up for a marathon for the first time and make a big video announcement. But, none of that will help me actually RUN it. Yeah, serious stuff, right here. First step: building up a training plan. Research, gathering information from various plans, analysis, you can be lost even before lacing up your shoes.


- Training plans online
On this website, you can find the majority of the training plans I consulted (obviously, I found this link AFTER browsing all around the web... otherwise it would have been too easy).

-, Running & Jogging
You can find this website listed on the previous link, but I wanted to highlight it as I largely used the plans found there.

I chose training plans found on American or anglo-saxon websites. I tried to have a look at French training plans but, once more, words like VMA and percentage of VO2 max among other things just freaked me out. I never trained like that. I thought it would be wiser not to change now.

Training plan

After cross checking information and mixing up things the way I like it, I asked someone who knows just a little bit about running (as it is in French, you may not understand: Cédric completed the Marathon des Sables, in April) for advice (Thanks again, Cédric). It helped me put things into perspective and reassured me about the fact I wasn't planning everything wrong. Now, the base is set.

I decided to build my training on 20 weeks, including 4 pre-training weeks. I kept the running structure I have since the beginning of the year.

Pre-training - 4 weeks

- 4 running days a week
- 10 miles long runs

Training - 16 weeks

- 5 running days a week
- 4 short runs during the week: speedwork, tempo runs, goal pace runs or easy runs
- 1 long run, on the Saturday: from 10 miles to 20 or 22 miles (not sure yet) / 2 20 milers / 1 22 miler (not sure yet) / never 2 big long runs one after the other
- 1 cross training session (cardio workout other than running: bike, swimming)
- strength training

I don't see my training plan as fixed in stone. I will refine it, if necessary, during training. I officially started at the end of June. 8 weeks in (including 3-4 harder than what I was used to weeks), my body starts to show me we are entering unknown territories. It's part of the game. It's my job to listen to it and find a way to overcome it.

Let the fun begin.

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Next races

  • NONE

Miles / km

  • 1 mile = 1.6 km / 1 km = 0.6 mile
  • 5K = 3.1 miles
  • 10K = 6.2 miles
  • half marathon = 13.1 miles = 21.1 km
  • marathon = 26.2 miles = 42.2 km