Coach’s Blog 4.25.16

April 25, 2016

JACK’S MARATHON TEAM: Chicago and New York

Coach's Blog 3

Hello Jack’s Team Members,

Finishing a marathon is a tremendous accomplishment and a life-changing event. Your experience on race day will depend on the extent to which you successfully prepare and train for this challenging endurance event.  With the help of a sound training plan and weekly training tips, I hope to guide and support you to realize your goal.  My goal is to get you to the start line, healthy, ready, and, equipped with a strategy to successfully cross the finish line — happy.

“We all have dreams, in order to make dreams come into reality it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”
Jesse Owens Olympic Gold-Medal Runner


If you are willing to put in the time and effort I know you can achieve your race goal.

There are countless marathon plans available in books, magazines, and on the Internet that you could follow to prepare for a marathon; some are good and some are not so good.  The training plans that I have shared with you have been used over the past six years by hundreds of runners like yourself to train for a successful marathon experience.  These plans were created in collaboration with my fellow running coaches, all certified by the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), a national organization that promotes the sport of running (please visit their website at

The training plans follow the philosophy endorsed by RRCA, with the basic principles of Overload/Recovery, and Specificity.  I will expand on this in my next update. I will post plan details, training objectives and provide tips on one or more topics, each week during your training.

Link to Training Plans:



To avoid information overload and confusion I will introduce specific topics as they become relevant in the four phases of the training program: Strengthening, Sharpening, Tapering and Recovery.

I hope to motivate you and to encourage you to “Run Happy”.

As your training continues over the next 22 – 26 weeks, I hope you will look forward to getting out of bed to run your “Long Runs” of 12 to 18+ miles on a Saturday (or Sunday) morning.


Let’s begin by addressing three questions:

1. How Fast Should I Run?

As I mentioned above the plans follow the RRCA philosophy.   All Long Runs (LR) regardless of which plan you follow, should be run at a 70-80% effort or more simply put at a “Conversational Pace” (CP).  Furthermore, if you are a first time marathoner or returning after an injury or after a long time off of running, all of your weekly training runs should also be done at a CP pace for at least the first 10-12 weeks of the training.  There are good reasons behind this which I will touch on in a future update.  For the time being, here are a few ways to help you better understand what your 70-80% effort or CP pace is:

a) “Conversational Pace” (CP) means run at a pace (or speed) where you can comfortably carry on a conversation with someone or if alone you can sing a song to yourself while running. If your breathing doesn’t allow this and/or you begin panting, then you are running too fast and should slow your pace down.   This is especially important during Long Runs to minimize the risk of injury.

b)     Use a heart-rate monitor and run at a pace where your heart beat is at or below 80% of maximum. Of course, this means you need to know your maximum heart rate. A rough estimate is to calculate:  (220 minus your age) x (0.70 to 0.8).

For example, if you are 35 years old, (220-35) x 0.8 = 130 to 148 bpm.

c) For Intermediate and Advanced Runners: you can use a previous race time for a 5 or 10K or ½ marathon and plug it into a pace calculator such as the one at the following link:


This calculator will give you a predicted marathon finish time based on the race time you entered.  More importantly it can provide suggested paces for the various Endurance Workouts: Long Runs, Easy Runs, Tempo Runs etc.

I suggest you start slowly and not push your pace especially if your current running base is less than 15 miles per week.  We will slowly increase miles at a rate of ~ 10% each week.  Always remember a conservative approach will help to minimize risks of injury while you build your endurance level.

2. How Often and Far Should I Run?

 If you would like an Excel version to be able to Log your miles please send me an email request. There are two basic plans for you to review: First Time Marathoner and Experienced Marathoner. These plans can be modified to suit your work/family schedule by contacting me directly by email. Each plan involves 4 runs per week with 1 (or 2) days of cross-training. I will expand on suggestions for x-training in a future update, but for the time being riding your bike, yoga, swimming or weight training for 30-40 min are excellent cross-training activities on off days. The key difference between the two plans is the total training miles per week, Tempo workouts during the Sharpening phase and the number of 20+ mile Long Runs in a given plan. Please note an experienced marathoner may use the First Time Marathon plan if they feel more comfortable running fewer miles or have limited time available to train base on other commitments/activities. For those of you who are experienced marathoners and you have a specific marathon goal timer – I can work with you to assemble an Advance Training Plan.

3. What should I be doing now until the actual start date for training?

 The start dates for the 22-week programs for the 2016 Chicago is May 9th, and for the New York City Marathon is June 6th. If you are currently not running or running occasionally you should work on developing a consistent running schedule of 3 to 4 days per week and slowly increasing and maintaining a running base of ~15 miles for First Timer Marathoners and 16-20 miles for Experienced Marathoners. The goal is for you to be capable of performing the week 1 plan by the start date. Please email me for suggested ways to build your pre-training plan. If you are currently already capable of running your week 1 plan, then you could begin and build up to weeks 4 or 5 and then return back to week 1 and repeat (this is especially true for NYC team members). Again please email me with your current training level and I can provide you with options to consider including some cross-training and core work ideas.



Next week I will expand on the basic training philosophy, and go into greater details on the training phases and weekly plans.

Once again please feel free to email and introduce yourself.

I would especially like to know your story of why you are running with Jack’s Team and to learn more about your running goals.

Kind Regards

Everett C. Phillips (cell) 630-881-0121