26.2 miles. April 21st. Bring it!

Posted: February 2, 2013 in Random Thoughts
Marathon Finish Line

Yup…that’s the goal

So I was asked to blog about my prep for the Lansing Marathon.  An amazing honor, and perhaps a useful reinforcement of the fact that, like it or not, I’m scheduled to run 26.1 miles on April 21st.

I have a serious love/hate relationship with running, but have recently come to embrace it as part of my life and a fun way to get healthy.  (read this post to get the full story)  I’m like a lot of people approaching or stationed firmly in “Middle Age”.  I wouldn’t call myself horribly out-of-shape, and yet I know that I am hardly the gleaming example of peak physical condition.  There are things I see in the mirror that I need to improve, and that is one of the reasons why I chose to sign up for my first marathon.  The fact that it was in my hometown and was affordable sealed the deal.  April 21st in the shadow of the Capitol….I’ll be there on the starting line.

This isn’t my first athletic endeavor, but it is by far the most demanding that I’ve ever attempted so there is a bit of nervousness associated with it.  Not wanting to fail horribly in my first attempt, I went online and checked out about 15 different “Marathon training” schedules and used some accumulated knowledge of what works for me and synthesized the following plan.  These are more guidelines than laws, but it’s a good starting point of where I should be going from here to the finish line on Marathon Day.

aubrey's race Tim

Not exactly an elite athlete…..

Tim’s guide to training for the Lansing Marathon:

20 Weeks Starting December 1st.  Lansing Marathon=April 21stth 2013. (one year after quitting smoking)

Target Time is under 5 hours.

Get to the gym 4 out of 7.

  • absolute goal for workouts should be 4 days per week in the gym.  Nothing else can count as a workout…I know when I’ve had a good, solid workout and when I don’t.  They take place in the gym.
  • Running outdoors is fine as long as you do it and are pushing yourself a little bit. I’ve done enough running now that I should be able to concentrate on the road.

When in doubt, Veg out.

  • Vegetables are for eating…every chance I get.  Less processed foods, less meats.  I always feel better when eating veg, so do it.
  • I’ve got a juicer sitting there.  Use it!
  • Food is not for enjoying so much for the next 5 months.  It’s the minimum amount of food to keep me going.
  • I can eat as much as I want…..of celery and lettuce.
  • Fruits for flavor. Grab apples and bananas and such.

Runs, Runs and more runs

  • Establish a race schedule.  Try to work in a half-marathon in March if I can.  Go 10k instead of 5k if offered the chance.
  • Training Runs are going to be exceptionally important.  Need at least two 20-milers in before the race.  2 additional half-marathon distances would be preferable as well.  Maybe re-run the Capital City River Run half course.

Drop the weight, Drop your time.

  • I’m at 265 lbs as of December 1st.  If I dropped 8 pounds per month (2 pounds a week) I would be down to 210-215 by race day.  That should be the goal.  Anything over 225 is really going to hurt me.
  • Weight MUST be a focus.  Would love to hit 210 by race day.

 Aerobic fitness and strength.  The upper body and core are going to save me in miles 15-26.

  • Full body workouts. The upper body has to get strong and tight along with the legs and lungs.
  • Weights for legs too.  Calf injuries are a problem because I’m not getting them stronger.  Balance the muscle gains for the later miles, when the legs are going to start crapping out on you.
  • Eliptical is my friend.  Running is going to be very important, but if I can crank out an hour or two on the elipitcal to build aerobic endurance, than the road work will be that much easier.
  • Cross train on the bike.  I’m going to need bike muscles for the triathlons anyway, have one day per week be bike heavy….and go after it on those days for the first 2 months.  It’ll get me motivated, bring my aerobic endurance level up, and I know can crush a ride on the bike.

 Be the course.

▪        Run as much of the course as I can previous to the race.  Practice runs can be done on the segments on the map.  Need an 8 miler on the Saturday run?  Mark off 4 miles on the map and run it backwards and forwards.  Get comfortable with where I’ll be on race day.

Go to bed, I’m not in college anymore!

  • Any chance I get, go to bed early.  Don’t stay-up past 10pm.
  • Sleep..lay there..use it as a time to NOT do bad-for-you stuff.

Training plan:

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 4 miles <2.5>(Dec3rd) Gym<weights full body.  Bike=30 min. intervals> Gym(light)<light curls and overhead..3 sets.  Eliptical= 30 minutes> Rest Bike, 30 minute intervals.  Weights Rest Bike 30 minutes weights
2 OFF(Dec 10th) Run 3.5 miles..heavy weights Gym(light) 3 miles Rest 5 miles Rest
3 4 miles(Dec 17th) Gym Gym(light) 4 miles Rest 5 miles Rest
4 4 miles(Dec 24th) Gym Gym(light) 4 miles Rest 6 miles Rest
5 4  miles(Dec 31st) 5 miles Gym(light) 4 miles Rest 5 miles Rest
6 4 miles(Jan. 7th) Gym Gym(light) 5 miles Rest 7 Miles Rest
7 4 miles(Jan 14th) Gym Gym(light) 6 miles rest 7 Miles Rest
8 4 miles(Jan 21) 5 miles Gym(light) 5 miles Rest 8 Miles Rest
9 4 miles(Jan 28th) 5 miles Gym(light) 6 miles Rest 8 Miles Rest
10 5 miles(Feb 4th) Gym Gym(light) 6 miles Rest 10 Miles Rest
11 5 miles(Feb 11th) Gym Gym(light) 4 miles Rest 12 Miles Rest
12 5 miles(Feb 18th) Gym Gym(light) 4 miles Rest 8 Miles Rest
13 5 miles 6 miles Gym(light) 5 miles Rest 8 Miles Rest
14 4 miles(March 4th) Gym Gym(light) 6 miles Rest 15 Miles Rest
15 4 miles(March 11th) Gym Gym(light) 7 miles Rest 10 Miles Rest
16 4 miles(March 18th) Gym Gym(light) 8 miles Rest 17 Miles Rest
17 4 miles(March 25th) Gym Gym(light) 8 miles Rest 20 Miles Rest
18 5 miles(April 1st) Gym Gym(light) 8 miles Rest 8 Miles Rest
19th 5 miles(April 8th) Gym Gym(light) 8 miles Rest 3 miles Rest
20 5 miles(April 15th) Gym(light) Gym(light) 20 minutes Rest Rest MarathonApril 21st


11 minute miles(average)

4 hours 46 minutes

Best Possible:

9:30 minute miles (average)

4 hours 7 minutes

Minimum Acceptable:


But probably want under 5 hours 15 minutes.

So there you go….that’s what I’m looking at in the coming weeks ahead.  Wish me luck!  If you’re on the line with me that morning, good luck in your prep!

Alright, it’s you and me, Marathon….let’s see what you’ve got!


Post by Tim Nester.  Father, Husband, Broadcaster, Cook, taster of many beers, lover of life. Senior Founding Member of Monday Night Hangovers.  Follow On Twitter at timnester.
  1. tootallfritz says:

    I’ll be there with you on April 21st for the full 26.2 fabulous miles! Good luck to you in your prep and try to just relax and revel in the fact that your body is doing something amazing. Cherish it cuz it will take you far.

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