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A Running Schedule to Run 16 Miles in 14 Weeks

by Cin

I am a 46 yr old female and I am looking for a schedule to use to be prepared to run a 16 mile race in 14 weeks. I have been running for 3 years and I mainly stick to 3 miles about 3 times per week.

I run 5k local races in about 28-32 min. I ran a 5 miler this Dec 2011 in 52 min. There is a mulligan metric marathon a little over three months from now which is 26.2k (16 miles).

I have kept up my running of 3 miles 3 times per week and occasionally throw a 4 mile run in. I am not sure how to build up to the 16 miles over the next 14 weeks. I am also not familiar with the nutrition end of long runs so any information as far as hydrating and energy bars or gels that should be used or not used in training and also on race day would be very helpful.

I am not looking to do this race for time I would love to cross the finish line. Thank you in advance for your help.

Answer by Dominique:
Hi there,
Thanks for your questions.

I'll try to address all of them. The best way to prepare for this 26.2k is to start increasing your mileage.

You do this by adding a mile, maybe two, per week to your schedule. Just slowly build it up and make sure to listen to your body. The above link has got a few more guidelines.

Considering you just want to cross the finish line and you don't have that much time to prepare, I would just stick to slow and easy running. There is no big need to do faster running. Although faster workouts can help make you a faster runner, there is also a higher risk of injury. So, stick to the base running.

I would advise you to do one extra run per week or add in some cross training. Finishing this kind of distance is possible on three runs per week, but you might find it is more enjoyable when you do a little bit of extra training.

Regarding nutrition and hydration: it is advisable to take some water with you on the longer runs you'll do, e.g. runs over 60 minutes in length.

For runs over 90 minutes you may find it beneficial to eat something during the run, preferably in small bits and early on as it takes time for your body to digest the food.

E.g. on runs lasting longer than 75-90 minutes you could start eating 30 minutes in and then every 15-20 minutes. Just eat in little bits at the time. I personally don't like taking in gels, but feel free to try them.

Experiment with gels, bars or simply some trail mix (raisins and nuts). You can also get some extra energy via sports drinks. There are no real rules with this, you need to work out what works best for you.

Well, there is one rule. Don't do any experimenting on race day! Work out during training what works best for you, then stick with that.

Don't go overboard with the whole nutrition thing. You don't want to take in a thousand calories via foods that are high in fast-burning sugars. Just enough to keep you going and not get hunger pangs during your workout.

When you get some of those real hunger attacks, you'll find that they are real "character-builders", i.e. they suck and make the last part of your workout a real drag.

Hope this helps.

If you are in need of a more detailed day-by-day / week-by-week running training schedule, I do provide the Best Running Coach service.

Kind regards,

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Comments for A Running Schedule to Run 16 Miles in 14 Weeks

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Jan 27, 2012
Cross training
by: Cin

Thank you so much Dominique for all the information. It is very helpful. I did fail to mention that I do strength training (mostly free wts but sometimes machines) 2-3x/week which includes 1 min of cardio after every 3-4 sets. I imagine this could count towards cross training. Any recommendations on how to refuel the body after a long run? Is it true that a glass of chocolate milk is enough?

Jan 31, 2012
Re your questions
by: Dominique (webmaster)

Yes, the weights can count as cross training; some people don't agree by the way. They'd only see cardio as cross-training.

I guess you are doing cardio between exercises so go right ahead!

Chocolate milk is apparently a really good drink after a long run because of the carb/fat/protein ratios.

I usually drink water or milk and have some almonds, sometimes with some sultanas.

You can get really scientific about it, the bottom line is that it is good to refuel straight after a long run to 'feed' the muscles. As long as you don't dive into straight fast food or pure sugar I think you are on to a winner!

Hope this helps.
Kind regards,
Dominique (webmaster)

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