Which marathon training plan

13 messages
30/09/2011 at 16:27

I'm running my first even marathon in Brighton next April and would really appreciate some help to which training plan to follow.

I've been a runner for many years but purely more for pleasure than entering races. I did my first race in June this year a local Half Marathon and followed the Furman training plan, run less, run faster. I achieved 1.31 which I was really pleased with but did suffer at the end of the plan with shin pain due to the speed sessions. I'm now unsure if to use the Furman plan for my first ever marathon or try something different such as Daniels running formula or Pfitzinger. I would really like some help and ideas and would welcome your feedback.

30/09/2011 at 16:43
If you live in Brighton or nearby I would advise you to join one of the groups that train for the marathon. There is support and advice but most importantly people to run with. Two hour plus runs are hard to do by yourself.
30/09/2011 at 17:10
1:31? Coo. You should ask on the sub 3:15 or sub 3 marathon threads.
30/09/2011 at 17:29

Thanks Sussex Runner and Fido2Dogs for your feedback. Unfortunately I do not live in Brighton but in Devon so long runs will be on my own. I will look at the sub 3.15 threads as well.
30/09/2011 at 17:30

I don't know much about Furman but I would strongly advise working from a plan based on high volume mileage as a priority, with quality sessions as icing on the cake, especially if you might be prone to calf/shin troubles from faster training.  You've definitely got the potential for a reasonably quick marathon inside you but there's no subsitute for getting the miles in, and you're better off running 5x/wk than relying on 3x + cross-training.  There's still room for some x-training, e.g. active recovery the day after a long run.

P+D get a good rep and their plans are well used by a few on the sub-3 thread that I know of.  I used Hal Higdon's Intermediate II plan for my debut, and tweaked it with a bit of tempo running. Other than preparatory races didn't do any training faster than tempo pace. 

There's possibly more than one way to skin a cat but IMO a good training plan for you ought to include the following:

- weekly long run, build up to at least 3, pref 4/5 over 20 miles
- mid-week longish run, build up to 12-14 miles
- faster runs concentrating on the range from marathon pace to tempo/lactate threshold continuous run, maybe some longer intervals, e.g. 1k / mile intervals.  Possibly include race pace in either your mid-week long run or in your LRs towards the end of the schedule
- everything else easy/recovery miles

I think it's OK to substitute for some quality sessions with stuff like hills or fartlek, so you might see this in some plans, but I don't think they're entirely necessary, especially as the race you're training for is flat.  Good for variety though.

And yeah - pop in to the sub-3 and 3:15 threads. It can be difficult to slavishly follow a schedule, but a lot easier to have your efforts validated by the activities of like-minded training obsessives. 

30/09/2011 at 17:40
Hi Phil,

Thanks for the feedback it's really helpful and I will look at the sub 3 and 3.15 threads. Mileage is something that I was unsure about as the Furman plan doesn't exceed anymore than 40 miles but this is over 3 days. There are so many different opinions on what mileage should be achieved when training for a marathon that it is certainly making me confused. I want to run a good first marathon and not be lagging at the end if I haven't trained properly.
30/09/2011 at 18:01
The Furman plans if done as sold are quite tough because
a) there is buckets of crosstraining
b) the paces for the runs are quite demanding (I'm a lot slower than you but no doubt it scales up).
I tried one of the workouts Furman said I should be able to do if I was thinking of target time X - 3 mile reps with 1 min rest at a particular pace. I did one and then went straight home and started the Hal Higdon Advanced I plan (and got the target time anyway).
It's a very personal thing - I liked all the running with the HH plans because I have a slightly dicky hip and daily running seems to help it.
30/09/2011 at 18:03

David I've used the P&D plans with good effect. Depends on what time you want to achieve to how much mileage/runs per week you need but as stated with a 1:31 HM then 3-3:15 is achievable.
Whereabouts in Devon are you? I'm in Paignton, lots of good clubs around not just round me but see lots of the others all turn out for local races. I would imagine that most clubs will have people marathon training soon for spring marathons.
I have one in 16 days then aother Dec 18th.

30/09/2011 at 18:27
Hi Jeremy,

I live near Bovey Tracey. I would love to crack 3hrs but I think i'm a bit optimistic and really 3:15 should be my target. Do you know if the P & D plans can be found on the internet?
30/09/2011 at 18:57
I'm sure they probably are somewhere, sorry can't help you on that. It is worth getting the book (advanced marathoning) or similar as you get a lot more info than just the plan. I could always scan and email....but prob get told off for offering that!
30/09/2011 at 19:05
I'd highly recommend the book.  Apart from the schedules, it probably contains the clearest, most useful break down of the ins and outs of marathon training I've read in one place.
30/09/2011 at 19:10
Hi Phil,

Why wouldn't you recommend the schedules?
30/09/2011 at 19:16
Sorry, I just meant ''as well as''.  I've not used the schedules myself, but that's only because I started out with the Hal Higdon plan and I've simply adapted it for my other marathon campaigns.  As I said, the P+D plans are tried and tested.

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