By the seat of my pants.

So recently I’ve been talking to people about my upcoming marathon. Because if you have a marathon coming up, that’s just what you do whether people want to hear about it or not.

Hahaha. Except no I won't.

Hahaha, but really no I won’t.

And a question I have been getting a lot is “What training plan are you using?”


Yeeeeeah about that.

I’m kinda, sorta, not exactly using a training plan for my marathon. Well I AM, but it’s not one that was put together by any legitimate sources. The sources in this case are me, myself, and I.

I know quite a few people that are training for a full right now and they regularly check in with my online groups with comments like “Week 3 of marathon training complete!” and I’m over here like “Yeah I’m running a marathon!” with no idea what day my training is going to start…or maybe it’s started already, but I have no clue what day or even week I’m on. Then I panic thinking that this is something I should care about and buy a book on it that I will never read.

Let me make an attempt at explaining myself so that everyone doesn’t think I’m a total dumbass. Because sometimes I feel like a total dumbass when I read other peoples’ marathon training check ins.

I trained for my half last year without consulting a training plan. I know, I know. That’s not a full marathon. But it’s also not like I was just going out there and running with nary an idea in my head. Okay maybe at first I was, but after doing research about different kinds of training runs, I established my own routine that right now could be described this way, though some days I’m just “going for a run” because I don’t always need to name everything. Unless it’s a car…those always need names.

Salt’s “Training” Plan

  • Monday: Tempo or Fartlek (7 miles)
  • Tuesday: Speed (5 miles)
  • Wednesday: Cross train (Bike & yoga)
  • Thursday: Tempo or Farlek (Depends on location – 5-6 miles)
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Long (with longer/shorter alternating weeks and gradually increased mileage)
  • Sunday: Yoga

I also work in core, arms, and abs on various days in the evening after my daughter goes to bed depending on what I have time for.

Anyway, I wondered how my plan would be altered after my half was over and the answer is…it wasn’t. This had become such a comfortable, dependable, easily flexible routine for me and I was seeing results from it in gradually increased mileage and speed. I’ve gone through books, magazines, and websites on marathon training and every plan that I’ve looked at does not fit my unpredictable life schedule the same way that this does, so why change anything?

I’m just under 4 months out which means that if I were starting from scratch on a training plan, I should probably start now. Instead, tomorrow morning I’m going to add in an extra mile and go out for my longest run to date, not because a training plan is telling me to, but because I want to.


The biggest goal I have for my by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach is that prior to my taper for May 25, I want to have two 20 milers under my belt and as of right now there’s plenty of time for that. I’ll worry about the last 6.2 on race day. I hear that’s the worst part anyway.

Have you ever run without a training plan? Do you think I’m insane? Do you name your vehicles? (My current car is named Blanche.)

~ Salt


31 thoughts on “By the seat of my pants.

  1. afastpacedlife says:

    I knew there was a reason why I ill you! I don’t use training plans either. Actually your training “plan” is waaaaay more structured than mine. Like you, I found a set of runs and a vague plan that worked for me and my schedule. I see good improvements, but most importantly it’s something that works for me and I can stick with. Yay, for us dedicated runners who run to our drumbeat.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Yes! That’s awesome and thank you for making me feel not crazy. 🙂 Or as not crazy as one can be when we do what we do sometimes. Finding something that fits in with your life is key. I love running, but I can’t rearrange everything else to make it happen according to someone else’s set plan.

  2. txa1265 says:

    haha! Love it – I went into my first half not doing anything approaching a plan, not even tapering! But since then I have been pretty good about balancing speed, distance … and trying to squeeze in ‘rest’ when I could 🙂 And definitely tapering into and out of the race. Right now in frigid weather I am generally just ‘going out for a run’ every day, and trying to get in one ‘run with purpose’ each week. When it gets a bit warmer I will get more serious about thinking about my runs – right now my goal is to keep all of my appendages intact!

    I don’t name things, in fact I am bad about using the proper name (Samsung R530x phone or whatever) … but Lisa names EVERYTHING – from her iPod to phones to cars to Kitchen-Aid and so on …

    • runsaltrun says:

      All the running you are doing in the cold is just going to make you even more awesome for running when it warms back up! But I hear you. On the odd day that I go out and it’s REALLY freezing (because you know I hide inside on the treadmill a lot when it gets that way) my main goal is just making it through!

  3. Piper's Run says:

    I’m in the same boat….not training for a Marathon boat but the “no training plan” boat 🙂 Right now I am just running as much as I can and increasing the distance when I can. I don’t have a run planned until April/May (5k/10k) and a 1/2 in the Fall. I am trying to find a 1/2 marathon training plan that I like and that FITS with my crazy life schedule.

    • runsaltrun says:

      That’s kind of where I was with my half…going through a bunch of different plans and nothing was really right so I just said whatever and did my own thing. I hope that you can find something that works perfectly for you! It’s definitely harder when you have a busy schedule and kiddos too!

  4. bpangie says:

    I like training plans for shorter things. At least in terms of ideas for workouts and what systems to work. Once you get up there in the marathon world, let’s face it, we’re not elite so some of those workouts aren’t going to help us out that much… I’d say it’s more important to get those long training runs in than follow a set plan. Good luck.

  5. ambertherunner says:

    You are definitely not insane 🙂
    It sounds like know what you’re doing and have all the important parts in your made up training plan. When I was training last summer, I had 1 tempo, 1 speed or hills, and 1 long run per week. Other days were cross-training or run however far I felt like it at whatever pace I wanted days- and it turned out just fine.
    Keep on keeping on Salt!

  6. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    I had no plans of running a marathon when my roommate said, “You’re running so much, you should run the marathon!” I decided that I’d run the (2004 L.A.) marathon if I could run three hours the next day. I did run three hours, and so two weeks later, I did run a marathon. I was only marginally more prepared for my second. I suspect I’ll take the same approach on my next. I would really like to come in under 4:00!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I LOVE THIS!! That’s so cool that you just went out and did it. I feel like that is something I’d try to do. 🙂 Good luck with your next one too! I would love to come in under 4 in May, but I guess we’ll see!

  7. onedreamymess says:

    I believe in your method of following your own plan. You’re the only one that truly knows your body and what you are capable of that exact day of running. I like to reference training plans every now and then just to make sure I am doing good distance wise but other than that I just do what I want for training 🙂

    Also, my car’s name is big red – she’s a red Pontiac Grand Prix and she’s a tank! But I’m in the market for a new car hopefully very very soon!

  8. Kristy says:

    I don’t really follow a true blue training plan. I just try to have at least 1 tempo, one speed and one longish run a week. I try to alternate easy and hard days. I really listen to my body. Hmmm… Cars I don’t have names for but my children have 10,000 nicknames between the two of them. Most commonly used are nugget, nuggs, boo, Joe Joe and B-Bell. Do you have a nickname for Blanch???? 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      That’s pretty much what I’m doing too and it’s been working out great. 🙂
      Hahaha B has SO many nicknames too. My husband and I used to joke when she was little that we needed to start calling her by her real name sometimes or she would be totally confused. Luckily she knows her name now. 🙂

      Blanche is just Blanche. She’s my big white mom-wagon. My last car was Maxine. She was a Smart Car. 🙂

  9. hellyfast says:

    No actual plan here. I tried it but like you said, I couldn’t find something that fit my life schedule. I’m doing a veerrry modified Higdon but basically I run when my run club has running days lol!!–One tempo, one speed day, and one long run day. All the other days I just make up on my own.

  10. kristenk says:

    I think you can do it! I’m running my first half and I’ve been flip flopping from one training plan to another the whole time based on how I feel. One plan has me ending at 10, another at 12, but it looks like I’ll actually be ending at 11 🙂 Do what works for you!

  11. Mar @ Mar on the Run says:

    haha – that’s awesome you have the confidence to do so – it’s really about listening to your body! I followed a plan to the letter my first half and don’t think I’ve used one since (13 half Mary’s later…). I am in a distance training program though for my first full this spring – didn’t want to take any chances. The good thing is there are guidelines for our runs so it’s all a very personal thing. Have fun!!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Holy moly that’s a lot of halfs. 🙂 I like the idea of a distance training program more just because you can make it more of a personal thing. I hope the rest of your training goes so great! Good luck!

  12. Button says:

    I believe you mentioned you listen to music from your phone while running. I’m just curious where you keep your phone while running. I’m having a heck of a time with mine.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I do! I used to wear an Amphipod belt, but I just got an SPIbelt and it’s the best thing EVER. It doesn’t even feel like I’m wearing anything on my waist. I can’t deal with those arm bands when I run.

  13. missadventuresinrunning says:

    Sometimes it is good to just go with what feels right with your body, which no training plan can tell you!

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