Beginner-based marathon advice with Mike Gratton

Former FLM winner has the answers for all your training and racing questions

661 to 680 of 769 messages
30/03/2008 at 18:22

Thanks Mike!

I did 10 miles today very slowly (about 2hrs 15) and was OK, just a bit of stiffness in the hip and felt tired.  I intend to do some shorter runs through the week, and do another 10 miler next weekend, does that sound OK?  I am also doing yoga to keep me stretched and flexible.

It's good to hear that other people are experiencing problems.  I am determined to do the marathon even if I have to run/walk, which seems pretty likely at this stage!


30/03/2008 at 18:45

Thanks for your advice Mike. It has eased my hysteria! I felt well prepared for the half , but it seems quite daunting now the marathon is only a couple of weeks away. Although i am quite excited in a weird way. All i talk about is running at the mo- my poor husband! Thanks again

Happy Hermit   i am also a newbie. I had the same problem, i have to eat my porridge at least 90 mins before my long run. Also i have found that i got stomach cramp with having lucozade sports and gels, and having to find the nearest loo!!!. So now i only have the gels with water on my LR. I thought it may be down the the high glucose in them both. I make my own sports drink which i drink about an hour before i venture out. And this seems to have solved the problem. Hope this helps.

30/03/2008 at 22:15
Thanks for the sound advice and the encouragement Mike. Decided to do a gentle run in the end this morning and injury cropped up again so looks like even a walk/run strategy may be out of the question. Was 5 miles into gentle 7-miler designed to ease me back in and test things out and the the calf/ITB problem meant another disconsolate walk home! Is there anything I can do or should I just bite the bullet and pull out?
30/03/2008 at 23:09

I'm aiming for my first marathon in September and intend following the sub 3.45, 16 week schedule, starting mid-May.

The schedule calls for a race at the end of week 8 so I'm planning on entering a half marathon.

What race target time (if any)  should I be aiming for  and should I make any adjustments to the schedule pre/post Week 8 Half Marathon.

 Many thanks.

31/03/2008 at 09:28

Thanks so much for the advice Mike, that definately makes sense. I have a 13 mile run next week and I will make sure I give more time after eating to make sure it is fully digested before I set out. I will try skipping the porridge and go with the toast and banana as you suggested.

Thankyou Emma and Jules for your advice as well, It is reassuring to know  that other people have experienced the same thing and found a solution.

Thanks again.

31/03/2008 at 09:47


Looks like a sensible plan to me - good luck.

31/03/2008 at 09:49


It's not sounding good - but don't pull out until the last minute just incase.

31/03/2008 at 09:51


1.40 would be a good indicator that 3.45 is possible. If you run better or worse than this then you need to make adjustments in your speed work - particularly MP training speed.

31/03/2008 at 10:19

Hi Mike

 I completed my final run last Tuesday and haven't run since. I was suffering from shingles (a mild bout) but thought I was okay to run. My immune system seems to think differently and a sore thoat and general ill feeling has prevented me from training.

I'm hoping to get back out this week but am not sure on the best approach to make sure I still get to the start line fighting fit - how much should I do?


Little m

31/03/2008 at 10:28


Hi!  I posted here last week, and was very reassured by your reply!  But now I need more help! 

4 weeks ago (2nd March) I ran 18 miles, the 9th March, I ran a half marathon, then I was injured and have not been able to run since.  I was planning to run 20 miles yesterday, but then decided to follow your previous advice to me and just run for 2 hours.  I came down with a cold last week, and had 2 days off work, so didn't run again, but still went out yesterday.  I managed under 10 mins before I got really wheezy (I'm asthmatic, and colds always settle on my chest) and I had to turn around and walk home.  I've now not run for 3 weeks, and am really panicking.  I am going to try running again tomorrow, and then am thinking of doing 70 mins next weekend, which will be about 6 miles.  Am i being stupid thinking I can still do this after so much time off at such a crucial stage?



31/03/2008 at 11:10


Sorry to bother you. I have been training since Jan and all has been going very well. I did the long run over easter weekend and that was fine. I started to fell a tightness behind the back of my knee and it has become reallt stiff. It does not hurt to run but I know that by the time I get to 20 miles it might start to play up. As well as this I have a pain in my groin that goes all the wat down the side of my leg. Im sure that both of these will go with a little rest and some physio. Im just worried that I will not have run for a couple of week before the day. Is a bike any good for just keeping yourself in trim.

31/03/2008 at 12:06

Little m,

As little as possible to keep some form.

I suggest that you go to a track or flat piece of parkland and just do 80m shuttle runs - slowly at first walking back for recovery and start with maybe 4 or 5, increase the pace and the number of runs a little every other day - you will soon get feedback from your body that the problem has cleared - if you don't feel OK doing this level of exercise by Wed before the race I think you should contact your GP and get advice on the possible dangers of taking part.

31/03/2008 at 12:15


It all depends on the status of the cold you got - if your temperature and resting pulse are normal and you are not suffering from a tight chest then maybe 60mins would be enough and then taper down with short runs every other day.

If you are still showing symtoms then don't do it and only run small amounts if at all until it has gone. As mentioned in previous threads - it is possible to get around FLM having missed training if you take it steady and respect the position you are in - the main effect is that recovery will take longer.

However, if you are presenting a high temperature and/or raised resting pulse that is a different mater than just not being as fit as you would like to have been and you can do yourself physical harm and should consider not starting.

If in doubt always consult your GP for proper advice.

31/03/2008 at 12:20


A bike will keep your fitness with the only downside that it is not quite the same leg action as running so you may feel a bit 'lumpy' at first when you run. Cycling 'out-of-the-saddle' is more akin to the running action so may be worth trying that.

If the pain is running down your leg from your groin it sounds it may be sciatica linked - get your physio to check if your glutes are too tight and that your sacroilliac joint is mobile.

31/03/2008 at 13:02

Hi Mike

I'd appreciate some advice regarding pacing. I have been following 4 1/2 hours schedule and have more or less followed it apart from a week of missed runs (with a knee problem, although I kept up other cv work) and then a couple of missed runs last week due to a sickness bug. I have had to run speed sessions and tempo sessions on the treadmill but have managed to do midweek longer runs outside as well as the long weekend runs.

As I have done my speed sessions on the treadmill I have run most of these sessions a bit quicker than suggested and more like the 4 hour schedule hoping to equate the effort to running outside. I've been reviewing all my long run times and can see that I am running anywhere between a 10 minute mile pace to nearly an 11 minute mile pace (on my longest 19 mile run in truly dreadful weather). I am a bit disappointed with my performance over the longer runs especially as I have been quite diligent with the speed sessions. I am thinking 10 minute mile pace is too ambitious, on the other hand I'd like to beat my time last year of 5 hours. What pace would you recommend I start out with?

 Many thanks for any advice.

31/03/2008 at 13:14

Hi Jack,

It's very difficult to guess outside of race conditions and a half marathon or similar race would help to guage a predicted time.

It is usual for you not to approach your planned race speed during your training runs - its almost impossible outside of the race environment as you don't have the adrenalin or emotion of the event to spur you on.

10 min miles gives you around 4.20 so that is possibly just a bit too fast and maybe if you go out at 10.30's and speed up gradually once you are warmed up and have some free space around you should find your 4.30 target managable.  

31/03/2008 at 14:18

Hi Mike,

I am planning to do Paris this weekend but in the last 2 weeks have suffered with an ITB problem that I can't shake off. I am seeing a physio but there seems to be little I can do at this late stage to eliminate the cause.

The pain kicks in after 5k but appears to be "manageable" with pain killers. I really would like to run as I have a charity place but is there a risk of serious damage if  I try to run through the pain? Also, do you think I would be crazy to consider cortezone injections?

Thanks for your advice 

31/03/2008 at 15:40
Mike, thanks for your advice.   How do you manage a crowd of 35,000?  I've done all my runs alone and I'm not very experienced at racing.  Tips please if you have time..
31/03/2008 at 16:01
Thanks so much for your quick response Mike. I'd certainly like to think I could get closer to the 4 1/2 hours this year and will try and pace it as you have suggested.
31/03/2008 at 16:24

Mike.  I did my first half marathon yesterday for which I have been training since January/February so thought I would be okay.  However, even though I had tried to pace myself - trying to do a 10 minute mile - I found that when I looked at my watch at the mile poster I was running too fast (I was doing it in 7 minutes rather than 10).  I thought I had slowed down but the next markers showed that I was still doing the same speed.  I felt I was in a group of runners of the same ability to me because I wasn;t struggling.  However I got to mile 8 and felt as if I was running out of energy.  Are there any tips at trying to pace yourself when doing a race that you can let me have?  I would like to feel I have more energy towards the end to keep going and put a spurt on to the finish.

 I may not help matters because when it is an early morning race I cannot fuel myself up the way I should as I always find I need to run to the loo and this continues throughout the race.  I usually just have a slice of toast and may be a banana.  Do you have any suggestions that can help me in that respect as well?

 Thanks very much


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