My second marathon: What's different this time around

December 16 marked the beginning of marathon training for the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon. I feel like I've learned so much from running my first marathon, but since nothing traumatic or disastrous happened, I plan to stick with most of the things that worked well for me, like my modified Pfitzinger plan. Still, I am doing a few things differently:

1. I'm using an 18-week plan, not a 14 week plan. I know 14 weeks isn't ideal, but that's all the time since I was gone for the month of July. This time, I'm giving myself an extra 4 weeks for a proper base-building phase.

2. I'm running more miles. I want to peak at 50-55, and I want more 40+ mile weeks than last time. I really think I run better on high-for-me mileage, so as long as I'm feeling good I want to live up to my training motto ("always be running").

3. I'm training with other people. For NYCM, I ran almost entirely alone. I'm a hardcore introvert so I am usually more than happy to spend long, interrupted stretches of time alone. Still, I did get a little bored, and I began to look forward to those afternoons I could convince someone else to join me. My friend Jamie, who cheered me on during NYCM, is running Kentucky as her first marathon and we plan to do most of our training together. We even have a shared training plan. Also, James recently started running more, so we've been covering a lot of miles together over break.

Winter puddles.

Winter puddles.

4. Gymfree winter & spring running: This isn't really a difference from NYCM, but it is a departure from my normal winter habits. I admit that right now, running around in dark, cold winter slop is not very appealing, but I'm trying to stay motivated and trudge along. These days I'd much rather be on the couch than out running, but part of the appeal of running a spring race is to force myself to get out of my stuffy, heated house & office and crash around the woods for a while.

5. I'm riding a horse: I guess this counts as cross-training. My riding days are Thursdays & Sundays, which means I'll probably have to move my long run around somehow to allow for riding in the afternoon. Beyond logistics, there are probably some training implications, which I'll likely mostly experience in the form of being even hungrier than I was during NYCM. Yikes.

6. I have a time goal! I am making a time goal for my second marathon. I'm not exactly sure what it is yet, but at this early stage "sub 3:50" seems about right.

If anyone's interested, my training plan is shared as a google doc here.

I'm curious: Did you make any dramatic training changes from Marathon #1 to Marathon #2?