From 0 to a Marathon in 22 weeks.

Preparing for a marathon from scratch, in 22 weeks.

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09/02/2013 at 14:18

You'll manage it as you're putting in the effort (end eventually much faster).  I've just started doing a little bit of speed work (or rather quality work) as up until now I"ve only been increasing endurance.  Bizarrely I found that I run "better" at a faster pace than my marathon/half marathon pace - I can't really explain it, but I seen to get more out for less energy in over a critical pace (about 7:45 min miles) - well I run faster but my HR does not really increase.  I'd not really tried faster than 8min/miles before.  10K race tomorrow weather permitting.

Maybe its time for you to incorporate a little faster interval work?


09/02/2013 at 14:42
I think that you are right. I guess that I am now more then a pure beginner, so I need to look at some more structured work to gain more benefits, otherwise I guess I could get very good at only running at one speed.
09/02/2013 at 20:11

Daeve - good luck tomorrow, hope the weather holds out and your race goes ahead!

I've only just started to do a little bit of speed work (since Jan) having always been content to plod round three of four runs a week varying between seven to twelve miles. (And I mean plod, 9.45 - 10 min miles, often slower on the longer runs).

Whats worked for me is tempo work - its helped that I've  amended my Garmin to km's rather than miles. And Parkrun, only done three, but the experience is really helping as managed between 25.48 and 26.47 - not that I expect to maintain that over a longer run, but still very different to what I was managing by simply putting on trainers and trotting of for whatever distance felt comfortable.

Know what you mean about the belly Steph! I did get a sit up bench a few months ago, and have used it a few times. (But not that often!) Think I need to book a holiday to get me thinking about a so called "bikini bod" (yeah, right.)

Hope your training for your June race is going well - I know you had to postpone the Lakeland but sure you'll be back on for an ultra soon. Ladybower is beckoning me, know the 20 will be doable, but if training goes well, may consider the 35. Think I need to get a bit more confidence before going for the 50!


10/02/2013 at 13:16
Phewwee great speed week!!

5k 30:20 on Fri

Today did 14.08k so 1/3rd of a marathon in 91:06. My Fastest ever 10k was 68:59 well... My plan was run a fast 10km and then just plod for the next 4km if went to plan went through 10km in 63:45 5m 14s quicker

Now back to sensible plodding but really pleased with the two speed improvements this week.
10/02/2013 at 17:53

Good when it starts to come together isn't it?!

I managed 19.8 km today as need build on the distance ready for Ashby next month. Not very fast (2hrs 05) Don't mind the wet, but it was bloody cold! Think a rest day beckons tomorrow!  May do the core strength bit of the Nell McAndrew DVD (yes, I know, but lots of other people bought it too!) as it does give a good old stretch. But that's tomorrow and I've a nice bottle of NZ sauvignon in the fridge for now...

10/02/2013 at 22:18

Brass Monkey 10K went ahead this morning, but very cold and wet - managed somewhere in the region of 47 min 50 s I think (result snot up until tomorrow) -  so some of the speedwork paid off as I had a previous 10K race best of 55 min (except a weird blip during last years GNR when i managed the first 10k in 51).

Nice improvements booktrunk!

You're both putting me to shame over distance - must get that up before the next half (Newtons Fraction at the beginning of March).

Edited: 10/02/2013 at 22:19
11/02/2013 at 14:57

HEHE i've had some fun looking at age grading.  I'm just about hovering around the 50% mark now.  My run last friday 5k was 50.5 for my age, and the first 10k of my 14 Sunday was around 48% slowly getting to respectable levels.

15/02/2013 at 19:18
Still plodding 7km in 45:40 and 7km in 46:22 tonight going to plod around 14-16km on Sunday and might fit in a 10k walk in Derbyshire with the dog tomorrow.
18/02/2013 at 20:23

Great Time Daeve! I've got a long way to go to get close to that! (I don't think I ever will, best I've done was 55.39 at the only 10 K I've done which was Rothley last year.)

Well Steph, I know what you mean about age grading! When the parkrun results are emailed back you get all the stats, never thought I'd be quite so competitive checking out where I am in my group! How did Sundays run go? I've been suffering from hip pain (and knees, just age I reckon) and busy week with work so had a few days off. Best thing really as really enjoyed last couple of runs feelling a bit rested/ recovered.


18/02/2013 at 21:53
Struggled on Sunday my knee has been slightly twisted since the new year and it really didn't like slogging through muddy fields ran 11.2 stopped and walked another 2k slowly.

Not going to try running until Friday or Saturday now to give it a bit of a rest, all the speed work done now anyway for my May marathon if I'm fit enough to do one. Now it's down to endurance at a 10-20% slower speed;)

Just spent tonight watching Skyfall bloody brilliant.
20/02/2013 at 15:09

Guys, I started reading this thread at the beginning but have not read every page (maybe I should) lots of good stuff here.

Pretty new to running again but 3 years years ago I did run 2 5k's (28:42 & 29 dead). I just signed up to the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon on 29th September so got 31 weeks to train.

My current plan is to spend the next 12 weeks doing base training and get as many easy miles in my legs as possible before embarking on a 16-20 week training schedule. I'm 53, 11 stone and if you don't include smoking and drinking have a healthy diet. My goal is sub 5 hours and the Macmillan calculator has me at 4:39 going off my 3 year old 5k time. I live on a hebridean isle and races are few and far between but do have the Isle of Mull Half in August so that fits quite well.

Can anybody offer any help/advice/reading material?

20/02/2013 at 15:25

Good luck!!

Personally I found this forum the best place.  I got loads of tips from here, and runners world magazine. I built my whole plan around

What I found really good was if you can build structure into your training, so you are going to go out x evening or morning no matter what the weather, try to do things so that you can avoid having excuses... Always have a spare set of running gear if you can afford it this way no oh my clothes are wet... i cannot go out.  I'm sure you get what I mean, you need to be slightly selfish in this, and it doesn't take long, it's just getting into habits. 

Try to get into the habit of having your longer weekend run, or even walk at the beginning but make sure your family are aware that you are going to be out for 2 to 4 hours on a Sat or Sun and that this is the way things are, I personally found the long slow runs really important, as they helped to build up my belief as much as anything.

Always remember the first month is the hardest, once you've got that out the way it gets easier

I found a garmin watch was heaven, it really helpded with my training, i got one with the heart rate monitor and as much as anything it was seeing over time how much quicker i was recovering that encouraged me.  It is also really great for helping you to know how far you've been. 

Some days you've only gone half the distance you plan and you feel shot, i think if I didn't have the watch i'd have given up on some of these runs and just said that's it. that will do, but having it say you've only done x distance at times kept me going :0

Also trainers!! try to get assessed for a decent pair, or as you've run in the past I guess you already know what sort you like, but do make sure your feet are comfy when your running.

20/02/2013 at 15:48

Txs Booktrunk I alternate 2 pairs of shoes and plenty of running gear so no excuses there and love my Garmin (have spreadsheets to view progress over time).

Good call on having a plan and sticking to it as I do find myself at the start of the week saying I'll go out 3 or 4 times this week then end up at Thursday and would would need to go out everyday to reach my target. Yup, wan't to make this a good/enjoyable habit

I'll have a look at the asics page - there are so many schedules to choose from but amazed that I've seen some for a marathon with 13-15 miles as the longest run! For my 12 weeks base training am going to try and build up to 4-5 miles a day for 6 days/week and maybe start building up a long run again (I agree getting it done Saturday am gives me the rest of the weekend). Am trying to slow down to 12 min miles so should be no need to do recovery days from what I've read? (first sign of injury/fatigue and will reasses).

21/02/2013 at 22:23
Jen Hart wrote (see)

Great Time Daeve! I've got a long way to go to get close to that! (I don't think I ever will, best I've done was 55.39 at the only 10 K I've done which was Rothley last year.)

Rothley 10K is quite hilly though isn't it?  This was on a flat speedway course.  I train quite regularly round Rothley as its only 3 miles and two villages away - nice to take in both Cropston and Swithland reservoir on a weekend.

Andi - I'd not be looking at a marathon schedule with only 13-15 miles - I reckon at least 2-3 runs near 20 miles is the minimum to make it go well (I managed 3 at 18 miles and was underprepared at the 20/21 mile mark! on my first an only - estimated 3:45 from HM time, finish 4:18).  Sounds like you live in an awesome place!

21/02/2013 at 23:00

Txs Daeve, have looked at loads of training plans and yes, am looking at the LSR mileage first before reading on. I like what Hal Higdon does and currently favouring his Marathon Training Guide - advanced 2 though deciding on a plan is still 3 months away so continuing with base training. I know this will be my first marathon so a PB but really don't want to suffer (too much) in the last half dozen miles.

Probs early days but should I be factoring in 'fade'? I found a site that calculates your pre/post fade paces to get you to your goal pace. The Loch Ness run is actually more downhill than uphill (900 feet incline) and my 5 miler today had an incline of 720 feet so am thinking running here is about 3-4 times as hilly as the race - should I factor this in or just feel lucky that if I can train to schedule here it (might) be easier on race day?

Yes, the Isle of Mull is AWESOME, I used to live in Norfolk and holiday here twice a year but at 12 hours driving each way I grasped the opportunity to move here Nov 2011. 

Sorry about all the Q's 

23/02/2013 at 23:15

I'd not factor in the hills at all and then bank the advantage.  I wouldn't worry about fade for the race if you prepare well ("they" do say an even race or negative split is the best way to run, rather than factor in fade).  Hills or not it's a different beast than shorter runs, more the sheer time on your feet (rather than the absolute miles) which makes you fade toward the end if your endurance is not up to it.  Sounds like you have a sensible plan of base building then a programme.  It might be a good idea to start your plan a couple (maybe even 3?) weeks early to account for illness or injury along the way - I wish I had.  I found back to back runs on a weekend helped - so I was glycogen depleted from a 10/12 miler on the sat before a 15 or so on the Sunday (and at least I knew what it was like to feel drained but knowing there was 5 miles left to go!).  I'm also base building for Berlin in Sept, with a HM race in 2 weeks to set my training paces for the next month or two, then another in May to tweak it some more.

It might be good if you haven't already to enter some races (or go all out at a 5k and 10K in training if there are none near you) along the way - then you can more accurately calculate your correct training paces and modify them as you go - I use McMillan running calculator.

Edited: 23/02/2013 at 23:17
24/02/2013 at 01:54

Thanks Daeve, sage advice, will reduce my base building by a few weeks then start an 18 week training schedule 21 weeks prior to the race, if (probably a big if) I'm injury/illness free would I repeat weeks 13-15 at the end then do the 3 weeks taper?

Races here are few and far between unless I go off the Island. Last year I did run 1 mile/5k/10k in training at the start of the month to see how I was doing and will do that again to see if I'm improving.

Oh, and yes, I love the Macmillan site

Good luck with your training for Berlin, whats your (current) goal time?

Edited: 24/02/2013 at 01:55
24/02/2013 at 09:16
Good luck everyone,

My sore knee is feeling better, odd twinge when walking down stairs, so I'm skipping today and will get out again on Wednesday so that will be 9 days I've skipped, and actually my body is feeling good for it.

Then I can bump back in refreshed
24/02/2013 at 10:26

Don't get out too soon Bt, I'm terrible for doing that and making the injury last longer. Sometimes the rest is better overall, even though you're dying to go out.

Andi - I'd imagine that would be the best way to do the training plan if you stayed injury free - you'd get more longer runs in as a bonus.

My targets this year are still a bit unknown - based on my recent 10K my HM time should be 1:46 ish (which is my PB from Sept last year, so I've at least regained that fitness level already) - but realistically I'd just like a sub 4h in a marathon (anything else a bonus as I now know how hard it is) and If I possibly could a sub 1h40 in a half.  We also have a charity 5K at work at the end of April, my current PB is 24.08 so I'd ideally like to knock a minute and 8 seconds off it.  Aiming for P&D up to 55 miles/wk training plan for Berlin I think.

Actually my real goal is just to stay in touch time-wise with my cousin who is 12 years younger as we're doing the same races. 

24/02/2013 at 12:15

Very impressed with the adherence to training plans you've all shown! Thanks for the Macmillan info, it's got me at least attempting some sort of pacing when I'm out!

Daeve, Rothley not too hilly, just a couple of gentle climbs when the route goes through a housing estate. I don't train too far away from you as am Thornton side, have the lovely reservoir there to train round and more than enough hills! Good luck for Berlin, apparently best mara for a PB!

Andi - I found The Art of Running Faster to have lots of useful info. One of the more controversial plans involves splitting your training into two sessions a day, 2 or 3 times a week. Won't work for everyone - time being a big factor I guess. Lots of other information and advice, with the authors putting things into context.

Steph, you're right not to worry about taking a few days off. I did at the beginning of Feb cos of injury and felt so much better for the rest when getting back in to it again. Off for a long run in a bit, a slow plod and give me the chance to catch up with a couple of recent downloads to ipod i've not had the chance to listen to properly yet.


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