Marathon training

3 training runs a week versus 4?

17 messages
22/01/2014 at 21:42

I was wondering if anyone has trained for a marathon following a training schedule that recommends 3 runs a week rather 4? I am starting to train for Edinburgh marathon in the next few weeks so I'm seeking advice. I did Kielder marathon in Oct following 4 run programme but found it time consuming.

22/01/2014 at 22:09
I think there are a few about but they involve some sort of cross training 2 days a week so effectively you have to train 5 times a week.

Are you looking at only training 3 times a week? ( in total?)
22/01/2014 at 23:45


no I was planning to do cross training too. I got I.T. band injury through training for Kielder so wondered if running only 3 times a week would be better.

23/01/2014 at 00:08 got me trough my first 3 marathons and 1st ultra running 3 days a week (mind you I was fucked in the ultra

they are shorter but more intensive faster paced runs. Your short runs quite often are quicker than marathon pace, and most of the long weekend runs are around marathon pace if you can do it at that speed.

work great get me from nothing to 5:30 then in the next two gt me down to 4:36 they did the job fine. Send out an email each day you need to run to remind you etc... Great

Edited: 23/01/2014 at 00:09
23/01/2014 at 07:09
Do you know what caused the ITB injury? If so it may be worth giving some of that cross training time across to working on the issue.
Good luck with the training.
23/01/2014 at 07:38

I think it depends, to a large extent, on the individual.  I didn't choose a 3 runs a week programme... but the reality is... that's what I did for my first marathon - which was near enough to 4hrs.  My second one - I averaged 3.4 runs a week...  and took 14 minutes off my time.  Both marathons were a relative breeze. This time round, after 7 weeks I've done 21 runs - but they've been a good mix, and hopefully I can step it up to average 4+ runs a week between now and April...  Oh, and I haven't really cross trained since my first marathon.

So performance-wise, I guess I'm not doing myself justice... but I'm doing what I can realistically do, and the marathons I've run have been very satisfying.  I think I'm saying... yes, it can definitely be done...  but be careful insofar as we are all individuals, and what works for one may not work for another.

23/01/2014 at 08:21

I used the Furman FIRST plan which is 3 x run & 2 x cross-train a week for a half last year and I felt it worked quite well. I'm using it again this year to prepare for a full marathon, although have swapped one of the weekly cross-trains for a short, slow run. Each of the weekly runs is quite intensive and they are quite specific about what counts as cross-training. What you should be doing for cross-training is detailed in the plan on a weekly basis as well as the running, of course.

23/01/2014 at 08:24

I think you're right Nose Nowt that a lot is down to the individual. I think mentally I may feel that I wont have run enough If I opt for the 3 runs a week! 

Millys19777 I'm not sure 100% what caused ITB but presume it was running as I had upped my mileage. I did get sports treatment for many weeks sonI could complete Kielder. 


23/01/2014 at 08:27

Book trunk well done on the ultra I don't know how anyone can do it!! 

i will look at the  Asics website thanks 

23/01/2014 at 09:06

Have a look at Graeme Hilditch's book  'The Marathon and Half Marathon - A Training Guide'. Besides being a great read, he has plans starting at 3 runs a week. I used this book for my half, and am now using the full marathon programme.  Highly recommended. Good luck!

Edited: 23/01/2014 at 09:06
23/01/2014 at 09:08
It dies help if you can find out exactly the cause of your ITB problems. In 2010 I was struggling to do 4 runs and 30 miles a week because of it.
A mix of muscle imbalances, upping my milage to quickly and tightness in related muscles.

Now I have been working on those for a few years I am now running 6 times a week and 50-60 miles per week. It is possible to get over it.
23/01/2014 at 09:48

Booktrunk- How much time did you lose getting f**ked in that ultra?

23/01/2014 at 09:49

I'll vouch for what Millsy says. Find out the weakness / imbalance and address it through strengthening / stretching. It is pretty  miserable having  ITB flare up mid marathon training. I was running 4 to 5 times per week then. Now 6 - 7 times pw following some strengthening to the glutes and TFL muscles.

23/01/2014 at 09:52

Back to the OP. Yes you can run a marathon on 3 runs a week. Yes 4 runs are better than 3. And yes it is time consuming to marathon train. Perhaps you need to find a less time consuming hobby so you can spend more time watching TV

23/01/2014 at 12:38

Thanks for all the advice - I will read more about it but its good to hear different opinions of runners who have actually tried it.

Also understanding why I got IBT injury in the first place should help prevent it flaring up again.

Watching more TV instead does sound very tempting though!!

23/01/2014 at 13:51

Philomena: far to long, but hey I still got to the line just over an hour before the cutoff

01/02/2014 at 17:14
Just to say Gillyoaks I have bought Graeme Hilditch book and it is full of good advice and information.

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