This week wraps up the first phase of my marathon training program leading up to the 2022 BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1.

Training has gone really well so far with the first third of the program behind me already. John Stanton always talks about the three phases of marathon training as building a house. Over the 18 weeks of the program, first you build a foundation, then you put up the walls, and finally you nail on the roof.

Over the initial six weeks, that means getting into the rhythm of training and slowly building up to be ready for the longer runs and higher mileage weeks. I’ve built back up to about 65km for my weekly mileage and long runs around 20km are a non-issue. I’m generally always playing around in this zone between races anyways, and it’s a great place to be – ready to drop into phase two at a moment’s notice.

Hills and More

With my long run tomorrow, I’ll mark the end of foundation building and the start of putting up the walls. The biggest change in my training will be the addition of hill training on Wednesdays along with a rapid escalation of the long Sunday run distance. Within a few weeks I’ll be running around 30km on Sundays again and that will continue through March and April as well.

The strong foundation is what allows for a big ramp up in intensity to happen without injury. I know I’m ready for it and honestly, I could be up to 30km runs already and it would be fine. But sticking to the plan is as important as having a plan as the risk of injury comes with doing too much, too fast.

I’m not really a fan of running hills (or later, speed work), but I know it is a key part of the program. Those hills are what builds that additional strength in my legs and adds to my ability to push when the going will get tough over the latter stages in Vancouver.

Six weeks from now race day will be right around the corner, and the final phase that nails on that roof will begin. Now is the time for me to make sure that I’ve built those walls on top of the strong foundation that will support the hard work of the last month and a half of training.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…