Christina Gooding | 1

8 week marathon training


Lifestyle Design : CHRISTINA GOODING
Time: 8 WEEKS

The Plan:

A short training window (most start at 12 weeks) demands that this program respect the effects of inflammation and oxidative stress associated with intensive training. To mitigate these effects, this plan is reliant on a highly anti-inflammatory diet, recovery routines that include gentle yoga, infrared saunas and heating pads as well as supportive chiropractic, massage and physio.

*By no means is an 8 week marathon training ideal – most training programs are much longer and without a reasonable benchmark of fitness, this goal is unrealistic for most people.

Christina Gooding however, is not most people.


I’ve had the pleasure of knowing her for nearly 8 years. Christina’s spunk and beauty are only matched by her sticktoitiveness. She’s a fierce competitor be it a game of Settlers of Catan or an audition for a feature film. Actress, athlete and all around all star, Christina has a dream of running marathons since her father competed as an amateur, himself breaking the three hour mark in Hawaii. A lifetime goal that Christina had to put on the back burner when a stress fracture in her right foot sidelined her fitness for years.

After a long recovery that favoured yoga and weight training over more stressful weight bearing exercise, Christina is back and ready to compete. This past summer she completed the Lululemon half marathon in Vancouver. She ran a respectable 2:01 and finished with a renewed love for the most instinctive of human movements: running.

In the next days I gave Christina a book called, Born To Run. More than anything, this book, a story about ultra runners and a tribe of super athletes, is an incredible call to action for the human spirit. There is little technique or coaching addressed in its pages but I don’t believe it’s possible to finish it and not want to lace up your shoes.

I should have expected the call but was caught off guard when just three weeks ago Christina announced, “I did it, I registered for the Honolulu Marathon”

Quickly though, excitement gave way to apprehension: a bit of research on Christina’s part turned up little hope of a successful 8 week training routine and the ones that she did find suggested a runner have a base weekly mileage well beyond where she currently was at.

I offered to help Christina on a morning run and, after giving it some thought, she signed on.

Since that time I have scoured the internet (aka god’s gift to every aspiring anything) and integrated my best dietary and recovery advice with the most balanced training routine I could assemble.

  • We run 3 times per week: a hill or tempo run on wednesday to increase our aerobic and anaerobic threshold, (ability to go further faster) Friday we run half the distance of Sunday’s long run at marathon pace which we have ambitiously set at 5:40 or a four hour marathon and finally Sunday, where we run our longest distance of the week.
  • We rest every day but more so on Monday and Thursday while we do supportive cross training Tuesday’s and Saturday.
  • The magic necessary to pull this off lies in the details: without a truly supportive cross training and recovery program this program would fail as the body is not given adequate time to repair in-between workouts.

“It will rain and we will run. 
it will be cold and we will sweat. 
Our legs will be tired but we will replenish. 
We will close our eyes, Exhausted and wake up renewed.
We will push our boundaries and thus, our perception of what we are capable of.”

We’re smack in the middle of week three and Christina is nursing a sore hip flexor.  An injury from before our program that has flared up with the added mileage. Today Christina’s off to Finlandia Pharmacy to get some added silica supplements that will help her repair soft tissue damage and has increased her dosage of Purica’s Recovery – a mega anti-inflammatory. A day off today and Christina should be back in action for friday’s run.


I applaud Christina for taking on this goal. It might have been a bit reckless, certainly she could have thought it through a little more – but perhaps herein lies the essence of what makes this mission so awesome.  Signing up for something like a marathon is an act of tremendous bravery and half the battle is won here and there.  Having done so though, the real work begins – you essentially sign on to a bunch of hardship – wet cold and rainy runs most of which you end up doing alone because who wants to run hills in a november rainstorm?

8 week marathon training

The answer of course, is anyone who actually wants to run a 4 hour marathon in 8 weeks ;)

Either I or Christina will be posting about our progress in future updates. If you have any interest in joining us for a run – We’d love to have you – I’d be happy to share some tips and I’m sure Christina would love someone else to run with.

If you’re interested in learning to run, preparing for a 10km race or a marathon and are looking for some help – I’d love to offer some suggestions!

As per our services page, you’ll know 30 minute consultations are always free.