Marathon training - is this realistic?

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Marathon training - is this realistic?

Postby maya91 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:48 pm

Hey there! :)

This past Sunday (9/11), I ran my first 10k after about 3-4 months of practice jogging.

This week and next I'm doing 8km (5mi) per day, 5 days a week. My plan for the next 2-3 months is to gradually increase my weekly mileage until I'm doing 12-13km per day x 5 days a week (60-50km/week or 37.5-40ish miles/week).

If everything goes according to plan (which, I think it will), do you guys think that I'll realistically be ready to start marathon training? I'd like to run the Goodlife Fitness Toronto marathon on May 6/2011. That means that I'll have 3-4 months of novice jogging (pre-10k), 2-3 months of endurance training, plus about 5 months of actual marathon training, or about 11 months (in total) of jogging experience before I run the marathon.

Does this seem like a realistic/attainable goal?

I'm asking this because a lot of websites are saying that you should have 2+ years of jogging experience before you start marathon training - but I'm in great health and don't see any reason why my plan wouldn't work. Am I underestimating the difficulty in preparing for a marathon?
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Re: Marathon training - is this realistic?

Postby baldy » Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:50 am

I am no expert but have run one marathon, plenty of people on here will be able to give you better advice.
Your time frame is defiantly feasible, I wouldn't run 12-13km per day x 5 days a week though. Rather have one long run each week and 4 other sessions working on speed, intervals or hills. This makes it more interesting and gives you time to recover.

Best advice is not to increase mileage by more than 10% each week. Then I would pick a 10km and half marathon race and do these before the marathon. For each one you can have a little training cycle and it will help you figure out what type of training suits you best.

The plan I followed is here -> viewtopic.php?t=13834 hope it gives you some ideas. Most importantly start a training log, its always great seeing someone build up to a marathon.
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Re: Marathon training - is this realistic?

Postby skoptic » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:23 pm

Hey .. Mr Baldy speaks the truth :)

You definitely have enough time.... no need for 2 years I don't think, and you seem to have a good progression in distance. They say don't increase more than 10% week by week - good rule of thumb for not getting injured.

Def agree with the change of plan for session in the week. Just going for same distance all the time is not a good plan - mix up your week with speed, recovery, tempo & long. This will help the body too.

I think you have PLENTY of time to prepare ... and don't worry, it might be tough to run 26 miles, but loads of people do it ... so you can totally finish it ... don't underestimate yourself :)
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Re: Marathon training - is this realistic?

Postby KjKranz » Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:42 am

I disagree with what the previous two members have said. Personally I would suggest not doing as many interval/speed/tempo running. ESPECIALLY as a beginner running, doing too much fast running is just as likely to injure you as running too much. The best thing for a beginner to do is spend as much time as they can to build up a good base of running.

Here is how I would recommend structuring a week.

1 long easy run

1 hill workout. Perhaps a warm up and a cool down with hill repeats in between. For example: 2 miles to the hill(s), 1 or 2 miles of hills, and 2 miles back home.

And then two or three easy medium or short distance runs.

You can use this calculator to help determine paces: http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/cgi-bin/calc.pl



As a beginner the best thing you can do is practice patience and work on a base. Even myself, who has done an Ironman triathlon and a 100 mile ultra, will still spend the next 6 or 7 months working on building up my base with very little speed work. Only 4 or 6 weeks before my races begin will I start to add in more race specific workouts and some faster sessions.
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Re: Marathon training - is this realistic?

Postby maya91 » Fri Sep 16, 2011 4:02 am

Than you to everyone who's replied so far :)

I had a feeling that the time frame I've set for myself was reasonable, but people (my family, basically) were telling me that I'd die and fall apart if I tried to run a marathon. TBH, I suspect that they just don't believe that vegans are capable of running a marathon.

BTW, the 13km x 5 days/week thing is just something to work towards for now while I'm building endurance - once I actually start the marathon training itself, I'll be doing the 1 longer run plus shorter runs throughout the week deal. Running the same distance everyday is a little boring, but it's an endurance technique that I've had success with so far.
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Re: Marathon training - is this realistic?

Postby skoptic » Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:26 am

KjKranz wrote:I disagree with what the previous two members have said. Personally I would suggest not doing as many interval/speed/tempo running.


Yes - well said, its good not to start going crazy. But all speed / tempo etc is relative, so like KJ says ... probably not during your next months .. but you can start to add as you get nearer to your marathon but gradually and not extreme in nature. Vomit inducing speed sessions are not required, but running at a different pace to normal (doesn't have to be mental!) will help improve you as a runner. Training in heart rate zones can help here as it is all relative to your fitness.

I find 4-6 weeks is a little close to the event to start that stuff but everyone is different and there is no 'right' way. Typically I would taper for an IM, marathon or ultra from 3 weeks before .. so I need those other sessions from 8-10 weeks before. But I think the important things to take from people being more 'cautious' with new runner development is that it's better to run the marathon than get injured and be sat at home watching it!

I see what you say about running the same distance before you start the marathon stuff.... all good, but variety is the spice of life :) and sometimes mixing up your time out, route or who you run with can give you a nice boost and a fresh feel. Happy running!
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Re: Marathon training - is this realistic?

Postby MikayP » Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:09 pm

hey there. would like to say it is definitely reasonable, especially with the way you broke it down. 5 months of marathon specific training is perfect. just make sure you do it smart, there are plenty of free decent marathon plans online.

i dont see a lot of harm with doing maybe 1 speed day a week. it may be beneficial in the sense that its a good workout with such little miles. but yes the emphasis should be on slow base miles to get used to 2-3+ hours of running.

its definitely doable. recovery well, sleep a lot, and train smart.
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Re: Marathon training - is this realistic?

Postby runner » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:27 pm

reasonable or not depends on your goal.

personally I would take a year to prapare for an event like that (having more or less 15 years of running experiance). training 60km a week is what I do for 800mtr - 10km preparation. For a marathon I would aim for 110 km a week. some go further 160km a week. But to reach this in a couple of months would be not something to recomend.

is it the same feeling to finish a marathon in x hours after 6months training than to train one year and make it in x-15%? I know that many people find me anoying. Like the teacher that tells not to aim for the 6.

most important is to do things safe (some risks are ok others,... ) and with pleasure
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