Getting Ready to Go

The start line for the marathon isn’t just something you toe on race day. The real start of your race comes months before when you begin your training program.

The 18-week Ottawa Marathon training schedule from the Running Room kicks off the week of January 24, 2016. I’ll be putting in a couple of pre-season weeks prior to that to get into the swing of training meaning that my first “real” training run is on Tuesday, January 6th – a 6km tempo run.

From that week until the end of May, it’s five days a week of running – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and a long run on Sunday. Things start slow in the marathon training plan with 10km Sunday runs for the first few weeks. After that it gets really serious, really fast.

With that rapid escalation in mind, I’ll provide this key piece of advice: The most important thing you can do in January is to establish good habits and a solid training routine.

Start strong, stay strong

Now is the time to get your plan together and also to commit to sticking to it from day one. Run all the runs, no excuses. Make it happen.

I’ve put my runs into an online calendar so I know each week what I should be running. My phone reminds me every morning what the plan is (including rest days). No surprises!


When I entered the schedule into the calendar, it gave me a chance to see how life will wrap around training too. Notice that I said that life wraps around training, not the other way around.

My biggest challenge is likely going to be the fact that we’re renovating our house this winter and we’ll be living elsewhere for a few months. That will wreak havoc with our usual family routines. Having the schedule in place now will help mitigate some of that (I hope).

We’re also heading to Hilton Head Island, SC in March for our annual March Break pilgrimage and I already know I’ll be squeezing in a 23km and a 26km long run while we’re there.

Know what you’re in for

Now is the time to wrap your head around what you’ve committed yourself to as you train for a full marathon at the end of May. Spend a few hours this week laying out the full plan and see what you have in store.

Plan out your next few months and see where the challenges in your schedule are found. Know where travel, or work (or anything else) might interfere with your running. Figure out how to adapt your life to fit it all in.

The more you know now, the better.

By the end of May, if you stick to the plan and do the work, you’ll be ready to run the 42.2km of the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon.