Coach Vanessa

Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach Vanessa Junkin has created training plans to use for the Salisbury Marathon and Salisbury Half Marathon. Vanessa is an accomplished runner from the area and is a part of our local running group, the Eastern Shore Running Club.

Feel free to ask any questions and be sure to check out our Facebook Discussion Group. The Facebook Discussion Group can be found HERE.

Full Marathon Training Plans
Are you interested in running a marathon? Vanessa recommends that your total weekly mileage averages at least 15-plus miles per week before the start of the 13-week plan. If your mileage is lower, you may want to consider the half marathon for this year and the full marathon for next year.

Beginner Marathon Training Plan

Vanessa initially created a higher-mileage plan when she trained for the Salisbury Marathon in 2019, basing this on her own running. She does not recommend using this plan unless you have regularly been running 30-plus-mile weeks. You have a high likelihood of getting injured if you bump up the mileage too quickly.

More Advanced Marathon Training Plan

Half Marathon Training Plans
Vanessa has created two training plans for the half marathon. The beginner plan is for people planning to run their first half marathon or for people who want a three-day-per-week running plan to fit into their schedule. Vanessa recommends that your total weekly mileage averages at least 10-plus miles per week before the start of the 13-week plan. If your mileage is lower, you may want to consider the 5K for this year and aim for the half marathon next year.

Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan

The intermediate plan is for people who have already run a half marathon and who are consistently running at least 15 miles per week before the start of the 13-week plan. This plan also includes some tempo and interval work to help you get faster.

Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan

Tips and Notes from Vanessa
A training plan is a guide. You do not have to follow a plan to the tee. If a different day works better for you, do your run on that day. However, do not put two tough days next to each other (for example, a faster run and then a long run). If you miss a run, don't beat yourself up over it. It's your running as a whole over the training period that will make a difference, not a run or two.

I have written these plans around two of the Eastern Shore Running Club group runs, which are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 6 p.m. In 2020, we added two group runs, on Mondays and Fridays at 5 a.m. from the same location. We meet at the Salisbury Bible Fellowship parking lot, and runners of all paces are welcome and encouraged to run with us. The regular route is 3.5 miles, and I stay with the slowest-paced runner.

NOTE: To slow the spread of COVID-19, the ESRC group runs are currently limited to a max of 15 people, and people must sign up via our Facebook group. There are also guidelines in place.

If you are running to finish — without a specific time goal — you do not have to do speed work (known as long intervals), but I have added in optional interval work as we get a little bit higher in mileage. If you’ve regularly been running 20-22 miles a week or more, I’d recommend adding on 2-3 conversation pace miles for each week.

Running is the most important thing you need to do to become a stronger runner, so I haven't included specific cross-training on the plans, but if you have something you like, feel free to do it. But if you are going to do a hard cross-training workout, don’t do it the day before or of your long run, or the same day as a tough run, for example.

Remember to run about 80 percent of your miles at an easy conversation pace — a pace at which you could have a conversation.

Hydration is so important, even when it's cold outside.

You can use long runs to see what kind of on-the-run nutrition, hydration and clothing works for you. Don't do anything new on race day.

More About Vanessa
Vanessa Junkin is a Road Runners Club of America Level 1 certified coach. She is the secretary of the Eastern Shore Running Club and initiated and leads two weekly group runs with the club. Vanessa is passionate about making everyone feel welcome in our local running community and about helping instill a love of running in others.

Vanessa has been running for more than 16 years and has worked her way up to completing 12 marathons — in eight states — and a 50K. Originally from the western shore, Vanessa made Salisbury her home after graduating from Salisbury University in 2011. She writes about her running on her blog, She Runs by the Seashore.

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