Freedom’s Run Marathon Training: Halfway there!

juda murphy farm.jpg
Here’s a photo from Freedom’s Run, which was provided by the race. 

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Freedom’s Run as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find and write race reviews!

I’m halfway to Freedom’s Run! On Sunday, I completed Week 8 of my sixteen-week marathon training plan.

I wrote the plan I’m using after taking the Road Runners Club of America Level 1 certification course. A lot of the content that we learned had to do with writing training plans, and I thought it would be fun to write my own. I also thought maybe if I wrote the plan around the things I already do, I’d be more likely to follow it.

I usually just follow a plan for the long runs, but I’ve now run eight marathons, and my first one was my fastest. I want to get back to the types of paces that I used to run. I know that will take time, but I thought a good way to work on my marathon running would be to run higher mileage leading up to my races.

I did write out a plan that details what I should do each day, but I have really mostly been following the long runs (loosely — I’ll get into this) and the weekly mileage, while also aiming to push my pace sometimes and run hills. I don’t usually follow exactly what I wrote for each day, but it’s been a good guideline.

I lead group runs with the Eastern Shore Running Club on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, so I’ve been adding onto those regularly and getting more medium-length runs in on the weekdays.

This is the first time I have tracked my weekly mileage in a marathon training cycle. From the class I took, it seemed like this is an important part of training plans. It’s also important that I didn’t go straight from a 20-25 mile week to a 40-mile week — I need to gradually work up to that, and include cutback weeks as well.

I also changed some of my goal weeks after I posted a photo of my training plan and got some feedback from a more experienced RRCA coach and friend, Ginnie. Some of these weeks were revised from my original goals.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

Week 1: Goal – 25, Actual – 22.2

Week 2: Goal – 27, Actual – 26.6

Week 3: Goal – 30, Actual – 30

Week 4: Goal – 25, Actual – 25.4

Week 5: Goal – 30, Actual – 26.15

Week 6: Goal – 33, Actual – 30

Week 7: Goal – 36, Actual – 35

Week 8: Goal – 33, Actual – 30

I haven’t been perfect in hitting my mileage, but at least I’ve usually been somewhat close. This week, I’m aiming for 39 miles, which will be my highest so far. I have the plan getting me up to a maximum weekly mileage of 45 — I know some people run more, but that’s a lot for me.

My highest-ever month of mileage was 140.5 in October 2017. I’m hoping to surpass that during my Freedom’s Run training.

I live in an extremely flat area, and I didn’t run hills to prepare for the Vermont City Marathon. It felt hilly to me, although locals didn’t seem to think so.

This time, I want to be prepared for the hills. I don’t think I can completely prepare for what I’ll experience on the course here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but I have been making an effort to run hills weekly. I have done some sort of hilly run every week except for last week.

This has included running up and down hills in Salisbury, along with running on hillier terrain in Baltimore, Sparks, Bel Air and Westminster.

I have also been trying to work on my pace. It’s been very hot, but so far, I’ve done a 4×800 workout, along with four three-mile tempo runs (one per week) before doing two races, which I counted as the tempo for that week. This week, I’m hoping to do a 6×800 workout.

My longest run has been 14 miles. I’ve been meaning to do some longer runs, but I’ve had to cut a few runs short because I’ve made plans for the mid-to-late morning and I haven’t gotten up early enough to get my full long run in as planned. For my latest long run, I ran 11.5 instead of 14 miles because I was cut off by thunder and lightning (I’ll run in pretty much any weather except for that).

I did run 15 miles for my Week 7 long run, but it was split — I ran 11.05 before a yoga class and 4 afterward. (The .05 was to even out the week’s total.) I was planning to get in 16 that day, but it was unbearably hot.

The heat and humidity have been a struggle during this training cycle. This is the earliest fall marathon I’ve trained for, and I’m hoping that running in the heat and humidity will pay off once I get to the race. I’ve been running pretty slow and incorporating walk breaks and intervals in order to get myself through these runs.

I’m pleased with my increasing mileage and just need to make a point to get some solid long runs in. This Sunday, I plan to run 16 miles without a break in between for another activity.

Are you interested in joining me for Freedom’s Run?

Freedom’s Run

Events: Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, Kids Run

Date: Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018

Time: Marathon – 7:30 a.m., with shuttles starting at 5:30 a.m.; Half Marathon – 8:30 a.m.; 10K – 8:50 a.m.; 5K – 9 a.m.; Kids Run – 11 a.m.

Location: Marathon starts in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and finishes in Shepherdstown, West Virginia; other events start and finish in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Registration is open and is currently $100 for the marathon, $70 for the half marathon ($60 for youth), $35 for the 10K ($30 for youth) and $30 for the 5K ($25 for youth). Save $5 on any distance with code “BIBRAVE5.”

I’ve also added myself to the start list on Athlinks. I gave myself a goal of 4:45, but I’m really not sure how I will do on the hills. I am interested to see how my training will play out in October.

Learn more and register at

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