Stepping up to full marathon

Advice needed please!

15 messages
30/10/2012 at 18:39

I am really struggling to make the step up to full marathon distance. I've just done my second marathon, 7 years after my first. Both times were almost identical, around 4hrs 45. This is really disappointing as my half marathon time is around 1hr 45. In both marathons I got bad cramp (at 15 and 18 miles) and had to walk / run as best I could from then on. Anyone experienced the same and can give any advice? I am sure there's a sub 4 marathon in me somewhere! I know there's no magic answer, and training, nutrition and hydration are all key but any nuggets of info would be appreciated. 

30/10/2012 at 19:13

I'm no expert and don't run your times, but take a closer look at your hydration. You may need more salt? I'm sure someone else will come along who knows more about this stuff.... 

http://www.eletewater.co.uk/research

30/10/2012 at 19:49
Interesting read, thanks for the link
cougie    pirate
30/10/2012 at 19:58
Were the marathons hot ?
How did your long runs go ?
You must have run past that distance in training - did you cramp then ?

With your half times I'm sure there's a sub 4 in you.
30/10/2012 at 21:43
Didn't cramp in training but only went into late teens although probably slower pace than the marathons. Each marathon was different, one warm and sunny one cold and wet. I was resigned to not being a natural marathon runner but I know it will always niggle at me if I don't bring that time down to or below 4. I suppose train better is the obvious answer but just hoping for other tips if anyone has experienced the same probs and have overcome them...
30/10/2012 at 22:27

Ian, chin up.  I 've a 1h43 Half and it took me SEVEN attempts to break 4h. I kid you not...

The answer is embarrassingly simple.  You cramped because of lactate build up. The lactate built up because your Heart Rate drifted up too high. Your heart rate drifted up too high because you must have spent too much time training at too high a pace = too high a heart rate.

To fix it, strap on a heart rate monitor and go join the happy crew on the Hadd thread here http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/training/hadd-training-plan/181933-74.html

After 3 years of rubbish training I sorted out my base aerobic fitness with a HRM and just ran 3h49 in Frankfurt, negative split, next stop 3h30...epiphany or what? 

31/10/2012 at 08:49

"You cramped because of lactate build up" - that shows a remarkable insight into the cramping problem off little information. The scientific proof between lactate build up and cramping is poor. Similar with electrolyte/salt although this is a more popular line.

"Didn't cramp in training but only went into late teens although probably slower pace than the marathons" It would be good to get an understanding of training pace (or Heart Rate)  and typical mileage. When you say "probably slower" does this mean you are not monitoring your pacing?

If I had cramped up in a couple of marathons I would probably focus on muscle endurance. Certainly building up the long slow runs to include a few 20's. Possibly with some general strengthing  

Edited: 31/10/2012 at 08:53
31/10/2012 at 09:23

AR you're a far better athlete than me so I won't argue.  There's a link between poor endurance and poor training, and the HR/lactate/acidosis chain has been discussed at length since Lydiard.

This is worth reading, Ian http://www.angio.net/personal/run/hadd.pdf . If you get your HR under control you'll be able to put the miles in to get the muscle endurance - note AR's reference to "slow" runs...

31/10/2012 at 09:44

Teknik, although I haven't followed HADD I had built up a fairly decent running base off easy miles and I think the principle is similar in that respect before hitting the training. I'm back into this base building now after completing autumns races. Will also have a look into HADD as I am currently 'shopping around' for a new training program to fit in with lifestyle and previous 'overuse' injuries. As for being a better athlete - no - you have shown the committment is takes to achieve the target you set, and you radically changed what you had done in previous attempts. Thats what its all about. Too often we just carry on doing what we are used to.

02/11/2012 at 07:45

Thanks AR...loads of good stuff on here...pity the OP hasn't come back...

02/11/2012 at 08:31
I'm still here, all info appreciated, busy week but will digest all the info at weekend, plenty time to prepare for my next marathon. Thanks guys.
02/11/2012 at 08:51

Ian

Teknik and lots of others are busy busy on a new thread http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/training/p--d-training-for-vlm-2013/230251.html

Doesn't matter what marathon you do, but P&D plans are good and there is a certain bias towards endurance. The Up to 55 miles pw plan is worth a read up in their "Advanced Marathoning" book. I based last marathon on the upto 70ishmiles with some changes. Probably slightly too high mileage for me at present. A decent midweek medium long run combined with the weekend long run may help you. Would need to be doing approx 40miles pw before starting the plan. More food for thought.

03/11/2012 at 11:42
Also-ran wrote (see)

"You cramped because of lactate build up" - that shows a remarkable insight into the cramping problem off little information. The scientific proof between lactate build up and cramping is poor. Similar with electrolyte/salt although this is a more popular line.

"Didn't cramp in training but only went into late teens although probably slower pace than the marathons" It would be good to get an understanding of training pace (or Heart Rate)  and typical mileage. When you say "probably slower" does this mean you are not monitoring your pacing?

If I had cramped up in a couple of marathons I would probably focus on muscle endurance. Certainly building up the long slow runs to include a few 20's. Possibly with some general strengthing  

I find this cramping thing very interesting.

I`m afraid I don`t buy into the argument that shortage of salt (and other minerals) causes cramp - although the two may be correlative.

What`s striking is that most people do not cramp during training (whether its long slow distance or speed work). They cramp in races - often long races.

That suggests to me that it`s a fitness issue. More specifically a speed/endurance issue. The body is simply not used to running at that pace over an extended distance.

The problem can undoubtedly be compounded by dehydration etc but the principal activating cause is the body not being used to it.

I used to cramp in my earlier marathons. What`s helped me are marathon paced runs - or running chunks of my long run at or near (marathon) race pace.i.e. running at speed over a prolonged distance.

Endurance runs are absolutely necessary. But - I`m personally not convinced they are sufficient.

None of the above is very scientific I`m afraid !

Would be very interested to hear what others think.

21/11/2012 at 11:30

I am no where near as experienced as some of the guys on here and i'm also nowhere near as fast but this is what works for me

getting some decent long slow runs in between 13 and 18miles before a marathon

going swimming and cycling as part of my training

walking before a long run to gently stretch my legs and my tight calfs out

taking small sips of water every mile for my long slow runs

sometimes taking time out on a long slow run to do a couple of stretches and then carrying on

These all work for me and help me to run a marathon ( and i'm  not an experienced runner again i emphasise ) comfortably and pain free 

wishing you all the best to break ur sub 4 

24/11/2012 at 21:54
Hi Ian,

Best of luck with cracking 4 hours. I would be interested to know at what pace you cramped in both marathons? also what kjnd of pace were you running in training when you were doing 18-20 miles without cramping?

As an aside, have you considered the FIRST training plans- which are only based on 3 runs per week. Might be worth considering as a different approach to get under that elusive 4 hrs.

All the best!

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member
15 messages
Previously bookmarked threads are now visible in "Followed Threads". You can also manage notifications on these threads from the "Forum Settings" section of your profile settings page to prevent being sent an email when a reply is made.
Forum Jump  

RW competitions

RW Forums