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Crafting Your Marathon Race Training Plan: Why the Right Way to Train for a Race Depends on You

Welcome runners! If you've ever wondered about the secret sauce behind the perfect marathon race training plan, you're in the right place. In this blog post, I’m breaking down the myth of “the right way to train” and delving into the personalized journey that is race training. So, buckle up (or should I say, lace up?) as we explore how your experience, goals, fitness level, motivation, and more play a crucial role in the right way to train.

Marathon Race Training: What is the right way to train for a race?

In short, it depends. There is no one right way to train for a race. It will depend on a variety of factors that I’ll get into next. Use each of those factors to figure out the right way to train for you.

Each person will have their own individual right way to train that will get them the biggest return on their training and get them to their race goal feeling energized, excited, and ready to race!

In the dynamic world of marathon race training, there's no universal blueprint. It's about understanding yourself, your objectives, and finding the balance that keeps you moving forward.

Experience Matters

Whether you're a seasoned marathoner or just beginning your running adventure, your experience level shapes your training journey. For the veterans, it might mean refining techniques and incorporating advanced strategies, while beginners could focus on building a solid foundation with a run-walk approach.

Goals, Goals, Goals

Your goals are a huge part of guiding your training plan. Are you aiming for a personal best, or is the race more about the joy of the run? High-intensity intervals and structured plans might suit those chasing records, while a more flexible routine could be perfect for those relishing the sheer pleasure of running.

Fitness Level

No two runners start from the same fitness baseline. Your current fitness level determines the intensity and volume of your training. Beginners might find success in gradual progression, while seasoned runners might push their limits with more demanding workouts. Without considering your fitness level, those goals you set and that we already talked about, they don’t matter at all.

An Important Note on Goals and Fitness

So often we pick a goal based on a past race and then train for that goal. Want to run a sub 2 hour half marathon? Runners will often try to run every run at that 9:09 pace that a sub 2-hour half marathon requires. But the thing is, you don’t want to train at your goal pace all the time. You have the goal pace to get there over the course of a training cycle. So you shouldn't be able to do it at the beginning. You need to start with the fitness level you are and work toward the goal. This also means it may take a few training cycles to achieve your big goal.

Motivation Matters More Than You Think

What fuels your running journey? Motivation is the engine that powers your training. Whether it's the thrill of competition or the pure love of running, understanding your motivation helps tailor your plan. Scheduled races and structured plans may appeal to the competitive, while variety and spontaneity could keep the joy alive for others.

There are also different levels of motivation depending on the season of life you’re in and the “right training” for one season will absolutely not be the right training for a different season. You need to keep that level of motivation and mental capacity at the forefront when picking the right training plan and training the right way.

Listening to Your Body

In the midst of planning, it's crucial to listen to your body. Fatigue and persistent pain are red flags. A rest day or a visit to a physiotherapist might be just what you need. Remember, the body knows best, and pushing too hard can lead to setbacks.

In the dynamic world of race training, there's no universal blueprint. It's about understanding yourself, your objectives, and finding the balance that keeps you moving forward. So, embrace the uniqueness of your journey, lace up those shoes, and hit the pavement with the confidence that, in the realm of running, the right way is your way. Happy running, friends!


If you want help figuring out the right way for you to train, checkout these resources:

  • Fill out this form for free custom running and training recommendations

  • Simple Ways to Fuel Your Run - a free private podcast to help you figure out run fueling in just 45 minutes

  • Custom training plans - Need a plan that fits your goals, fitness, and life? Check out my custom training plan.

  • One on one run coaching - everything you need to achieve any run goals with more fun and less sacrifice and stress

  • Run strong - an off season bootcamp for runners who want to build on the fitness from their last race to achieve big goals next training cycle.

  • Inside Tracker - InsideTracker provides a detailed analysis of up to 48 blood biomarkers, connects with fitness trackers, and provides DNA insights for a comprehensive inner assessment. Based on your results, it generates a personal wellness guide with nutrition, exercise, supplement, and lifestyle recommendations to follow. Use Code JENNIFERPROSPECIAL to get up to 55% off

In the dynamic world of marathon race training, there's no universal blueprint. It's about understanding yourself, your objectives, and finding the balance that keeps you moving forward.

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