I've begun my training for the Paris Marathon though I haven't really been running much yet. I've been doing some swimming, a lot of downhill skiing, ice skating/hockey, and some snowshoeing. I guess you'd call that cross-training, wouldn't you?
When I trained last year for the New York City Marathon, I followed this Marathon Training for Beginners program from Runner's World. It worked great and I felt 100% prepared when I got to the start. But when I looked at their Intermediate Program, it seemed awful long for someone who was already in marathon shape, especially since I was hoping to give my body a little time to recover from NYC.
After talking with some more experienced marathoners (including a sub three hour runner), I gravitated towards a shorter program that encourages less running per week but stresses higher mileage. I'm using Hal Higdon's Senior Marathon Training Program. It has three major benefits for me right now:
1. It's only eight weeks long, meaning I don't have to really start running regularly until the week of February 13th. That gives me a little more recovery time for my achy hip and lets me do more fun outdoor activities. Otherwise I'd be using up nearly all my energy running, and that wouldn't be much fun!
2. It (hopefully) gives New Hampshire some time to warm up! It's been brutally cold here, around -10° F (-23° C) at my usual morning running time. I don't mind running in the cold, but -10° is a little too cold.
3. With only three days of running, I have time for cross-training. For the two Stretch & Strengthen (S & S) days, I'm going to a Masters swim team program (no racing, just good organized swim workouts) and doing weights when I get home.
Will the less is more approach work? A big test will be the NYRR Brooklyn Half-Marathon on March 19th. My goal for Paris is 4:30, which means I need to do 2:15 or better in Brooklyn. That's less than two months from now, so I guess I'll find out soon enough!