The Melrose Running Club Sunday Run program has been training runners for marathons and half marathons since the winter of 2006. Our 15 week training plan is geared towards getting runners ready for the Boston Marathon in the spring and the Baystate Marathon in the fall, but dates and distances can be adjusted to accommodate any marathon. The half marathon training plan does not aim at a specific spring half but the distances can be arranged to get you to your goal too. Just ask for a distance and I’ll try to get you a variation of the route for you.

Here are some of the key points on how the program works:

The plans are designed to step your mileage up 4 miles each week, then pull back 2 miles the next week. This is a safe way to stretch out the miles and then give your body a chance to recover. For the half marathon training we try to step up 2 miles and then pull back 1, but again this usually gets tailored for specific runners and the event they are training for.

You’ll find routes for each week’s run posted on the schedule on the right sidebar of the blog. Check the night before the run for any updates due to weather issues or road conditions. Please try to be sure of where you are going, or if you are unsure ask another run for help. If you are uncertain about the route you would be wise to bring a copy of the map. You may want to store it in a plastic bag for the run since things tend to get damp on a long run. The routes tend to follow 3 or 4 general base routes, Spot Pond, Lake Quannapowitt, and Breakheart Reservation. We also take some scenic tours of Winchester. In the winter we plan a long run along the Boston Marathon course. In the summer we’re planning on a long run along the coast.

To keep you hydrated and energized water stops are provided approximately every 4 miles along the route. Runners volunteer the use of their car for the water stop and park along the route at designated stops. someone will drop off supplies in the morning and pick up the volunteer so they can run the route too… you don’t need to skip the run to host the water stop. Water stops will have Gatorade, water, and snacks to not only keep you going on that day’s run but also gives you a chance to experiment with refueling during a run which is essential for long races. Don’t worry, you don’t have to run back to your car (unless you want to) you’ll get a ride back to your car too.

Who pays for this?
You do, but it’s cheap. Each week I’ll collect $2 from each long route runner and $1 from each half route runner. This will cover the cost of the water stop supplies. That’s it, one or two dollars. If you want to give more you can, if you miss a week no big deal, but that is usually enough to grow the supplies for when the really long runs happen.

If you aren’t an early riser, feel free to volunteer to provide a water stop and wait for us to get there. You can run from there and someone will drive you back to your car after the run. This could give you an extra 20-30 minutes of beauty sleep.

We do not run in one big pack, of course 3 hour marathoners and 6 hour marathoners can’t train right next to each other. We tend to divide into several small packs that spread out over the miles. The water stops tend to cause the packs to regroup though, so you may be running alone at times but you’ll still be running as part of a group.

If you don’t know where it is, here’s a map. Just so you know Brueggers never really signed up to be the meeting spot for the Sunday Long Run but have been gracious about letting us meet there. Please respect their space, show courtesy to their employees and customers. After the run it is customary to stick around and have a cup of coffee and some breakfast there. This is a good chance to pick up some long run wisdom from the more experienced long runners and chat about the morning’s run. This is a key part of the Sunday Long Run.

Every week the plan, and any changes to it, will be posted on the forum. Here’s where you can volunteer for water stop duties as well. I also request that people post if they are planning on running each week. This allows me to plan for the water stops, plus it gives people an opportunity to see who they are running with. Last fall we had weeks where 20 runners showed up, other weeks only 4 or 5, knowing that ahead of time is useful.

Anything else? Let me know if you have questions, either through e-mail or post here if you think others could need the information too.

Hope to see a lot of you this Sunday, 8AM, Brueggers!

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