Marathon training with Mike Gratton

Former FLM winner with weekly advice on RW schedules. An ideal place to post your marathon training questions

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07/05/2007 at 17:49
LL, The quality v quantity debate is an old one. Most believe that you need a good endurance base first then develop pace on top of that.

Initially keep the speed of all runs steady while you increase mileage over a period of 4 or 5 weeks, then gradually re-introduce speed gradually. Start with hill work for strength, then temp runs then 10km pace reps.

Once you have increased and adapted to the higher mileage you should be able to maintain the quantity while gradually feeding back in the quality.
07/05/2007 at 17:56
PC3, It sounds like a carboloading problem since it is happening at around 18 - 20 miles, which is when your glycogen levels start to drop off dramatically. If it is happening even at 9 min mile pace then it doesn't sound like you are running out of glycogen because of running pace, so you may need to experiement on your long runs with high carbo foods and maybe including honey with breakfast before a long run/race to boost liver glycogen.

Don't take in too much sugar in the last hour before a long run/race as this may cause a hypoglyciemic reaction (sugar rush followed by a rapid drop as the body tries to level the sugar levels out).

Also don't be tempted to run fast early on to get miles in the bank - this will certainly ensure you use your glycogen stores too quickly and you will crash earlier.
08/05/2007 at 16:20
Hi Mike

I have a long term itb problem in my left knee, which I can manage, but on my final 20 miler before the race, my right one kicked in for the first time ever. My itbs didn't heal before the race, so I resorted to a cortisone jab on the Wednesday before - I had a lot of charity money riding on it. Whilst it got me round and in a reasonable time, when I went out last Thursday to try a run again, both knees hurt within 2 miles. They've never hurt so quickly in a run before. So, looks like I'll have to rest properly. Any advice on how long before I get back into it (I can't bear not running) and what I can do to speed things up?
08/05/2007 at 16:34

It may be you need to see a phsio with good sports/running background to look at the cause of the itb syndrome otherwise it is going to keep coming back. There can be lots of reasons for it, from pelvic position to flat feet so you do need to actually see an expert. These things can nearly always be sorted out once the weekness is found and a rehab plan put in place - unfortunately trying to run through it isn't going to work.
08/05/2007 at 18:14
HI Mike

I did FLM this year with th eintention of going sub 4. Like many others, I didn't succeed (too hot for me). I managed 4.18 and a pb (27secs!)

I have now entered Dublin because I think it will be good to try that sub 4 elsewhere and sooner that next April. Dublin is 29/10 so what kind of schedule should I be following? What sort of mileage and how often should I do long runs? I belong to a club so I do a session every week, I also get quite a few races.

Thanks Mike
09/05/2007 at 15:19
Hi Mike,

Thanks for the information about carbo loading. I am hoping that will help and also the taper too. I think I will try another 20 miler this weekend (2weeks to race) rather than the 18 miler at a steady pace and see how it goes. Does that sound like too much though? I don't want to adversely affect the taper.

The other thing is the first 4 miles of the Edinburgh marathon are down hill. Is it okay to go slightly faster as long as I am taking it nice and easy. I am thinking the pace will be quick in the field due to it and wondering if I should just go slightly quicker on the downhill bits as long as I am not working too hard. Then once on the flat settle into race pace?

Thanks for your advice

10/05/2007 at 12:28
Hi Mike
Pretty new to running and I am planning to do my first Marathon this year (Anglesey or Snowdon) are their any training tips that can be given that would help me complete the marathon and is walking half the way ok lol
12/05/2007 at 12:38
Thanks very much for the sub 4 programmmes and advice, Mike, which got me through last Sunday's Neolithic Marathon in 4:17...had hoped for under 4, but it seems to me that 4:17 on a hilly course, should translate in under 4 on a flatter surface.
My question is really about post-marathon effort: I have my local (Seaford) half-marathon in three weeks time, which I am keen to do, even if it comes soon after a marathon. What strategy would you advice to maintain fitness over that three week period?
Hard or light training?
Very grateful for anything you can offer
14/05/2007 at 23:03
Hi Mike,

I hope you can advise me. I've just run my first half-marathon (a little under 96 minutes).

I'm hoping for a 3:30 marathon in mid-September.

I've read about heart-rate-monitor training, and the importance of slowing down the long, slow run.

I have 18 weeks before the marathon and I'm aware that I could concentrate on the longer, slower work for a few weeks and then switch to faster work, but I'd like some guidance:

(1) Is 18 weeks long enough to follow this strategy?

(2) If so, how long I should focus on the slow runs before I speed things up?

(3) Should I keep some of my faster runs or should the first few weeks be all slow work? A typical faster session has been 6 x 0.75 miles at 10K pace, with 3 minute jog recovery.

Thanks in advance!
19/06/2007 at 13:34

Sorry if you have answered this before but I have looked back and can't seem to find it. I am new to running (3 and a half months) with aim of completing New York in November a couple of weeks after 40 BD.

Training is going well and two weeks ago completed Southend Half in 1:41:43 which I was pleased with as first race since school. I am in my first 10Km in a few weeks but have done 45:35 in training.

I currently train 3-4 times a week and do a long run at weekend of up to 14 miles, two 10km type runes (one normally intervals or tempo and about to introduce hills to other one) and a short recovery run.

Two questions:

(1) I am consistently running faster than the suggested times on here particualrly for the easy run. Suggested time is 5:38 min/km and I run naturally at 5:10 or so. Is this a problem and will I benefit if I force myself to slow down?

(2) Have seen all the various training schedules and can't decide which one to follow. Do you have any recommendations. I want NY to be a challenge.

Thanks for your advice.

29/06/2007 at 08:25
Hi Mike

I'm currently following a Pfitzinger and Douglas advanced marathon plan and it's got me doing a tempo run, speedwork, middle distance aerobic run, long run and recovery run every week. At the mo, I'm pretty tired, though I've got a recovery week next week (roll on!)

I'm wondering though, given that I do my long runs pretty much all year round along with 2 marathons, what on earth benefit can I get from the middle distance aerobic run? It's not exactly taxing me, so I can't see the benefit, surely a shorter recovery run would be better so I'll be fresher on the tempo/speed? I'm just doing it cos they tell me it'll do me good, increase my aerobic capacity, etc.

What are your thoughts on this?

Many thanks.
13/07/2007 at 15:01
Mike Grat Hi Mike, it's Pug again... well, I managed 2:51 in Edinburgh Marathon in May, in terrible weather from 10-16 mile, so I'm happy (finished 28th by the way).

Anyway, currently busting a gutt for Berlin Marathon 30th September... currently embarking on 4 x 100 mile weeks, then a weeks break... then 4 x 100m weeks... now... I'm currently thinking for these first batch of 100's just get races in, 5k's, 5 milers and the odd 10k... as my speed sessions...? As training hard in speed tempo runs, I find very difficult with this kind of mileage... however... do you think this is okay? While I get used to the 100's?

Any advice would be welcomed...

17/07/2007 at 13:57
Hi Mike
I ran FLM 2007- I loved it and am still running - it did not put me off!! - did it ins 4hr 22.21 my aim was 4hr but no can do this time . I have just ran a half marathon on the 10th (followed last part of RW 1/2 mara training) just done a 10k, got a PB but i hoped i would have improved more as i have been running so much ( yes long runs, fartlek etc et ) i am scared of hitting plateau and i dont want to lose all endurance and fitness i gained training for marathon . I like doing a long sunday runs but since marathon the longest i have done is the half just mentioned - i jsut dont know what to do now for training - i dont want to just do a ad- hoc schedule i need something to follow - any help apprecited- I am hoping to do FLM next year too so i will be fine as of december for training ( may try your hard training if i am fit enough) but July to december - i am lost... thanks Mike

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