having, showing, or able to exert great bodily or muscular power; physically vigorous or robust.
Yep, sounds about perfect for our first ever AMR Marathon Challenge, suitably titled #FindYourStrong. Through training for 18 weeks for marathon, you'll definitely find your physical strong. Your legs are going to carry you a ridiculously far way; your lungs are going to become more capable and efficient; your blood will pump more efficiently as ever cell in your body gets marathon-ready. (And if I were a biologist, I'd somehow link this to the badass ATP tattoos above, but alas, I'm not.)
But you're going to find so much more, including an amazing community that gets you up, pushes you out the door, and eventually over a 26.2-mile finish line; a bunch of bonding and laughs; BRFs you can run with all over the country (and world!); and the knowledge that you've set yourself up for your best marathon ever, whether it's your first or your fourteenth.
Here's what's included in the AMR #FindYourStrong Marathon Challenge:
☆ A mother-runner-friendly marathon training plan. Designed by Coach Christine Hinton, the genius behind the popular and successful plans in Train Like a Mother, the 18-week plan is (much) more flexible than our hamstrings: Each week, there’s a workout you can bail on and one that’s integral for your success. Plus, on a handful of workouts, there is an optional component (think miles at race pace or a strong finish). Finally, we're going to send you off in five "waves," so you'll train with focus for exactly 18 weeks, which mitigates the risk of getting burned out, overtrained, or injured.
Since we know you're curious, here's little plan background: The plan is designed for both first-time and experienced marathoners who can currently run eight miles, and have been training consistently for at least six months. Runs are scheduled for four to five days a week, but the fifth weekly run is always optional. There is one 18-20 mile long run, and one straight-up 20 miler. The highest weekly mileage is 34-40 miles.
(If you're looking to qualify for Boston, this plan likely isn't rigorous enough for you. And if this doesn’t sound right for you, think about joining #FindYourStrong 10K or Half-Marathon Challenge, which will open for registration on June 1 and start on June 22.)
☆ An exclusive #FoundMyStrong participant tee and medal, mailed in early October. Tee specs: Flattering scoop neck. Yummy soft 50% polyester, 50% cotton. Women’s cut and sizing. Available in sizes XS-4XL.
☆ A badass, supportive community with a #FindYourStrong private club on Strava, a running app for smart phones, and a private #FindYourStrong Facebook group. The members of each club are fellow Challengers following the same plan: As you log your miles, chart your runs, and find your strong, you’ll also cheer each other on, ask and answer questions, throw up a pic or three, set up some training runs and pre-race meet-ups, and maybe bitch a little bit about the workouts. (Note: Totally up to you whether you take part in Strava club and Facebook group: offered for bonding purposes, not break-your-back obligations!)
☆ Accountability galore. Every morning, you’ll get an email from TrainingPeaks, which has today’s—and tomorrow’s—workout. Or you can view the plan, upcoming workouts, or your past accomplishments on the TrainingPeaks website or free mobile device app. Also, on TrainingPeaks, you can download your runs, slice and dice your miles, and see your strong surge.
You’ll also receive a weekly Challenge newsletter in which we preview and explain the upcoming week of workouts that's tailored to your starting wave, as well as have a Q+A with Coach Christine, gear giveaways galore, and discounts on training essentials.
☆ Entertainment and advice with three exclusive bonus AMR podcasts. During the #FindYourStrong Challenge, we will release three bonus podcasts available exclusively for Challenge participants. We’ll field your questions—nothing is too basic or TMI—prior to recording, then answer them along with guest experts during the podcasts. Entertainment *and* enlightenment for your long runs!
☆ Best.Swag.Bag.Ever. In July, you will receive a package stocked with $25 worth of training essentials, including a tube of Nuun, packets of GU, a pair of Balega socks, and Hyland's Homeopathic products. There are also chances to win giveaways from AMR partners along the way. Lots of goodies to keep you going strong!
Ready to find your marathon strong?
Sign up here.
How do I know if this is the right training plan for me?
To thrive on the #FindYourStrong Marathon Challenge plan, you should be able to complete an eight-mile run and have been running regularly for at least six months; ideally 9-12 months. You should also be injury free.
Just to repeat: The plan is designed for both first-time and experienced marathoners who can currently run eight miles, and have been training consistently for at least six months. Runs are scheduled for four to five days a week, but the fifth weekly run is always optional.There is one 18-20 mile long run, and one straight-up 20 miler. The highest weekly mileage is 34-40 miles. (If you're looking to qualify for Boston, this plan likely isn't rigorous enough for you.)
(If this doesn’t sound right for you, think about joining #FindYourStrong 10K or Half-Marathon Challenge, which will open forregistration on June 1 and start on June 22. )
How much does the Challenge cost?
$126.20. (Yep, we tried to be clever.)
Does the registration fee include a race?
No. The registration fee is for the comprehensive training plan, support, and gear we listed above, which will help you achieve a strong 26.2. Come fall, you will participate in the organized marathon of your choice.
Wait, so I have to pay for this Challenge and marathon entry fee?
Yup. We did the math, and this entire plan costs you $1/day, which is way cheaper than a private coach and way more fun—and motivating—than training solo.
What we've said with all our Challenges is especially true with this marathon one: The actual race is the victory lap; the challenging part is staying committed and motivated during the days, weeks, and, yes, months —4.5 of them, if you’re counting—of training. A marathon is a mother of a race, and this Challenge will nuture, support, and give you tough love when necessary so that you can whoop it up come race day.
Will that nifty welcome swag package contain the training plan, too?
No. Challenge participants will access the plan online by signing up for a free TrainingPeaks account. You can also print out the plan from a PDF we'll provide.
What if my target race isn’t October 3 or 4?
No worries! Because 18 weeks is plenty long enough to be on a focused training plan, we are going to stagger the starts so you all run the exact same plan. That way, you won't get overtrained, burnt out, or injured, if we have anything to say about it. We’ll send out emails to you that correspond with your week of training, so you’ll be on track in every way.
Wave 1: June 1-October 3-4
(Races that weekend include St. George, Twin Cities, Portland, Wineglass Marathons, among others)
Wave 2: June 8-October 10-11
(Races that weekend include Hartford, Chicago, Long Beach, Newport Marathons, among others)
Wave 3: June 15-October 17-18
(Races that weekend include Indianapolis, Duke City, Empire State Marathons, among others)
Wave 4: June 22-October 24-25
(Races that weekend include Napa Wine Country, Marine Corps Marathons, among others)
Wave 5: June 29-October 31-November 1
(Races that weekend include Raleigh, New York City Marathons, among others)
You’ll sign up for a wave after completing this basic registration.
What if my race doesn’t align with those dates? Can I still enter?
Of course. Most of the support will end by mid-November, but we’ll be with you in spirit as you cross 26.2—and of course, we still want to hear all about it. We can also accomodate those with an earlier marathon date in September, but the aforementioned support won't start until June 1.
What if I want the support of the Challenge, but want to use a different plan?
Totally fine too. We’re here for you whether you run/walk or run much faster than we ever could.
I'm in: Now can you help me find a marathon to register for?
Sure. Head here, where they sort marathons by race weekend.
Ready to find your marathon strong?
Sign up here.
Any other questions? Hit us up at runmother [at] gmail [dot] com or ask in the comments below, and we’ll help you out!