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Help, I really need some advice and I feel lost. Last year, I trained for a marathon...I completed my 24 mile training run, but was not able to run in the marathon due to injury. I have struggled with rehab over the last 9 months and it is time to start training again. I'm running three days a week now, usually 5-6 miles each time and I cross train 3 days a week. I push myself hard on the crosstraining (at least an hour of cycling/elliptical). I'm looking at training plans that only have me running 3 days a week because I really feel my legs need the extra recovery, but the plans only call for 20-30 minutes of cross training on off days. Should I cut back to meet the plan and avoid injury or should I continue to push my body with what I am used to doing? Also, does anyone know of a good plan to follow for marathon training that only runs 3 days per week. I'm struggling to find something that seems reasonable. Thanks for your help.
One plan I know of is FIRST (http://www.furman.edu/first/fmtp.htm). It features 3 days of running and 3 cross-training each week. Most of their recommended cross-training seems to be in the 45 - 60 minute range. The plan is also featured in the book Run Less, Run Faster.
Another one is Hal Higdon's Novice plans they run 4 days and cross train 1 with 2 days of rest. It only has you run 20 miles, which a lot of plans stop at 20 because a lot of people think going over 20 makes your chances of injury increase. I think you need to ease some of the leg cross training when you are at the top part of your cycle. This is a easy quote to write just not live by: "You can only over train if you under rest".
Thank you both for your help. I actually bought the book Run Less, Run Faster, but it hadn't arrived in the mail yet. I have it now and I used your link to look up the training plan. That is the plan I decided to use. This is so much different than how I trained last time, but I think it will be much better. I'm going to stick with my hour of cross training and weight lifting for a while and as my runs get longer and legs get more tired I will back off (hopefully). Thanks again. I read a lot of the other posts and I notice you both offer advise to lots of people on lots of topics. Thanks for sharing all the knowledge you have gained over your running career. Hopefully I will be able to do that someday.