Need advice planning the year. Cycling goals first half, running marathon second half

Thanks in advance TR community. Been listening to podcast and lurking on the forum. Finally took the plunge and subscribed to Trainer Road for the first time.

I’m a long time cyclist, Cat 3 in road and cross, with an emphasis on shorter events like crits and cyclocross.

I’m getting older and work and family are more a priority so I’m doing more long rides and fondos now and less racing.

My question is how to schedule my year since I have a priority cycling event in May 2020, Belgian Waffle Ride, but also have a running marathon I want to do in October, the Chicago marathon.

I was originally thinking doing base and build through May, then starting a beginner marathon plan after that to ramp up for the Chicago Marathon. In essence first half of the year cycling only and second half running only.

But I love cycling and some folks in the forum suggested the triathlon plans and dropping out the swim workouts. If I did that, when should I start that process? Should I start a base phase for triathlon even if I already did base for cycling?

My running background is mediocre. Ran XC in college and I did a marathon in 2001 and another in 2018. Running is ok but cycling is my passion.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Some existing “marathon” related training info to review:

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Since running is an impact sport and it takes time for muscles, tendons, etc to adjust to it, it is a good call to add some running to the first part of the year even though the focus will be on cycling. I would suggest adding easy runs and only as much as you can handle/have time and so that it does not impact cycling workouts that will be focus. Depending on the amount of hours you are doing, it might be worth toying with idea of doing doubles on workout days, doing run in the morning and cycling workout in the evening or vice versa. This would in some ways based on polarization principle or having your hard days hard and easy days easy.

Regarding marathon, the key is to have some longer runs and/or workouts. Time on the feet is absolute necessity, otherwise you will be dying slow death at the second half of marathon. You might come into event with great cardiovascular fitness from cycling and running combined but if legs are not used to pounding stress of running 26.2 miles, then it will not mean much.

So in summary, marathon requires mileage and long runs, if runner/cyclist is jumping into marathon training cycle with little previous running, that is a recipe for injury (for majority of people), which means that some easy running is required during cycling focused training as well. If possible focus should be time on the feet vs any quality. Ie. if you can run 4 hours/week easy, it will be better then 3 hours steady, because cardiovascular fitness will be taken care of by cycling and getting legs used to pounding is the main running goal for the first part of the year.

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Thanks. Makes sense. It’s making my decision a little easier in deciding between a low volume and mid volume plan.

Now I’m thinking I’ll go low volume and sprinkle in 10-20 minute runs early in the year just to get the legs back into it.