Torn Over Training Plans

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Ok, friends, let’s get right to it! Eats first and then some marathon talk.


My breakfast didn’t do a great job of holding me over until lunchtime, so I snacked on a very ripe peach around 10:30 AM. Boy, was it juicy!

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Lunch came a little while later: ham and Swiss cheese on a whole wheat Sandwich Thin with honey mustard and Buffalo Wing Pretzel Crisps on the side.

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I made sure to save a little room for something sweet (aka Biscoff Spread) after lunch.

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After lunch, I headed to the gym for a quickie elliptical workout and then ran some errands around town.

I cashed in a coupon at Kohls. (I got a free necklace! Woot!)

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Picked up a copy of the current issue of Where Women Cook. (Check out my name on the front cover!! So cool!)

Remember when that photographer came to my house, and I was totally unprepared for the photoshoot? Well, the article came out really well! Thank goodness!

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And then I picked up some supplies for tomorrow’s long run: two bags of ice for my ice bath and a 6-pack of pumpkin beer to help me survive my ice bath.

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So, here comes some marathon talk. I’m not working with a running coach anymore and the SmartCoach program didn’t workout for me, so I’m without a plan for the rest of my marathon training. I ran 15 miles last weekend and did a couple of shorter runs during the week, but I’m mostly just winging it.

I received an email from Team for Kids, the charity I am running with for the New York City Marathon, and it included their beginner and intermediate training plans. Both plans are pretty similar, but, of course, the intermediate one has higher mileage.





Right now, I’m torn over which plan I should follow. I’d like to do the Intermediate plan because I want to get the most out of these 6.5 weeks, but, at the same time, I don’t want to overdo it and really mess up my hip either, especially this close to race day.

What would you do? Help! Runner friends, I’d especially love to hear your opinions!



  1. Also, having raced NYC twice- it is a really difficult marathon to PR in. There is alot of walking and congestion at various points due to the number of runners and narrow streets. It is like a 26.2 mile street fair. You will have a blast but unless you are seeded with the elites you will be walking quite a bit anyways. I even walked the year I was seeded in the next corral after elites.

  2. Wow they are *really* similar. I think its a toss up. I would probably pick the beginner one just because you were injured recently but really, they look almost exactly the same to me! Then again, I’m a big fan of mixing and matching. Maybe take the weekends from the intermediate and the weekday runs from the beginners or vice versa? Do what works for you!

  3. I’m running NY too, my fourth marathon. I think that both plans are too aggressive, given the mileage you’ve been logging recently. As a general rule, one should not increase mileage more than 10 percent per week. Right off the bat, both plans would require a huge jump in weekly mileage that your body is not prepared for. So with that in mind, I’d pick up training from where you stand now with your training- adding miles for the next three weeks until it’s time to taper, but not exceeding the ten percent guideline. At this point it’s too late to “make up” for what you didn’t do. You have to work off of your present capability and mileage volume over time, which, in your case, hasn’t been much, due to to your injury. I’m crossing my fingers that you reach the start line of the marathon healthy!

  4. To be honest…I started with smart coach too and now I am more winging it. I know I have to get a couple long runs in, but other than that I am taking it slow and seeing how I feel. I think I may have overtrained a bit…

  5. I think its important to ask yourself what your goal is for this marathon? PR or finish with a huge smile and relatively pain free? You know you can run, and who wouldn’t like to run and finish pain free. I would stick with the beginner plan.

    On a completely separate note, glad to see the Lakefront Pumpkin ale. Being from Milwaukee, I am excited to see what you think of our local pumpkin beer.

  6. I have a bad knee (zero cartiledge) and did a beginner plan for my 1st half and an intermediate plan for my 2nd. I am about to run my 3rd and am back to the beginner. I got WAY burnt out and my body just didn’t hold up very well when I was on the intermediate plan. Now, I am really enjoying training again and me knee feels great! There have been a few weeks when I’ve felt great and just added some mileage onto my mid-week and long runs. It’s fun to push myself!

  7. It’s definitely good that you’re thinking about your hip and making sure you don’t injure yourself further.

    That being said, I’d stick with the beginner mileage. I didn’t run any more than that for 2 marathons this summer and although slow, I fared fine. Plus, you took some time off of running, right? So you don’t want to increase your mileage too fast because then you’re just asking for injury.

    If my math is right, there’s only about a 35 mile difference between the two. I’d take the lesser mileage, definitely. You have a great base and speed already, so the lesser mileage won’t hurt you, IMO. (I’m far from a professional)

  8. Tina-

    As a running coach, personal trainer & 9-time marathoner (NY twice), I would say that you can always start with the beginner and switch to intermediate if you’re feeling good. Or, you can mix the two and see what works for you.

    At any rate, I have found the THE most important thing about marathon training is strength training. Not that you have to do more than two days of it, but it has to be as much a priority as your mileage and the right kind of exercises that build your muscles up, not break them down. The running will take care of that.

    Hit me up if you have any questions!!

  9. Best way to avoid injury is to allow adequate rest around speed work, hill work and long runs. I would bag any speed and hill work this close to the marathon and do cross training on the days before and after your long runs.

  10. Hello. I’m from Europe. I have just finished Berlin marathon. Since the NYC is not that far away, I do think that you should take it easy. There is only 5miles difference in every week between these 2 programs. The question will be will these 5 miles make difference in your fitness and endurance. And what do you aim for, just for the charity or also for your PB. If you do think that those 5 miles is significant, I think why not mixing it around. One week with the extra 5 miles, one doesn’t. Also, since you have some experience in marathon running, it is valuable for you the D-Day as well. Listen to your body too. It is a very important lesson for me while I was training for my Berlin. And mental power! Can’t stress enough about that too! All the best!

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