There is no shortage of formal plans for the runner preparing for his or her first marathon. Whether you have three months or six months until the race, there's a plan for you. Whether you are ready to run six times per week or only have time for three runs per week; whether you want to top out your long runs at 18 miles or 22 miles, or not do the long run at all; whether you love or loathe speedwork; there's a plan for you.
But if you have just completed one race, and want to get ready for your second? Not so much.
I guess I could sit on my butt until New Years', and then start again from square one. Not that I ever really followed a formal plan getting ready for the 50K; I didn't have the discipline. Mostly, I just ran what I felt like running, while trying to incorporate the basic principles of a typical marathon training plan, including tempo runs, gradually longer long runs, recovery weeks, and the like. I also made a few adjustments, like running on trails and extending my longest run out to 25 miles.
I am eager to get out running again as soon as I can (meaning, as soon as I can walk normally). So, what will my basic principles be as I start to get ready for the Burlington marathon? I think that, on top of my shorter runs, two or three times per month I am going to run as far as I can at my target marathon pace of 9:10. (Last time I checked, I could hold that pace for about 10 miles). Plus, once a month or so, I am going to do a long run of three hours. Hopefully by spring, the 9:10 runs and the three-hour runs will merge into the same thing, and then I can make refinements from there.
But, I am still thinking this through, and would love to hear any suggestions!