I'm running the London Marathon this year - it's my first time, though I put in almost all the training last year too, but deferred due to a knee injury. This year the training has been well below the plan due to knee pain, chest colds and this week a stomach bug. I've done a number of 13-milers and planning 15 tomorrow and I've entered a 16 mile race next weekend.
My training volume is well under what I'd planned and below the general advice, however I'm quite fit and train with a triathlon club, so I've kept up my swimming and cycling while the knee has been a problem running. I did Cambridge Half last weekend and with a very cautious starting pace, my run was pain free and I got significantly faster in the 2nd half.
Should I be worried about my chances of finishing on the day? I've been told training 4+ times a week and up to 20+ mile distances isn't 100% necessary and worried my anxieties are the main thing holding me back!
I'd definitely try and find some of the leading brands that you like/stomach gets along with - that way when you're given them at a feed stop or race bag you can tuck in without wondering what effect it will have. I also vote for SIS Go gels in orange, but generally find the fruity ones taste weird, especially if they have caffeine added. I don't normally eat sweets or dessert so I find the promise of a chocolate Gu gel or Cliff Shot very motivating as its practically the only time I eat anything as naughty-tasting as that! The coffee and vanilla ones are also yum.
Thanks all for sharing your experiences, it's really reassuring! I think the trickiest part is the diary management rather than exercise overload! Now I just have to pick which duathlon to do.
A friend also invited me for an 80 mile cycle sportive mid-end of March, but as it's my first marathon I think I'm going to turn it down and focus on my second-longest pre-race run that weekend. Once I've been through the plan from start to finish and completed the race, I think I'll be more confident playing around with the schedule a bit more.
I was wondering if anyone has any experience of mixing in other events into a marathon training plan? I have a cycling background and doing my first marathon in April (London) and I'm really keen to do one of the Human Race winter duathlons in January or February.
However, according to my training plan I should be doing 2 1/2 hour runs on the weekends of the duathlons (3rd w/e of Jan and 2nd w/e of Feb respectively) - if I swap it for a duathlon with a total run of 12-15km will my running training miss out? Should I try and get a long run in after work that week instead? Is it less risky to do the January one than the February one?
In case you wondered I'm still cycling to work and sneaking in the odd weekend ride so the cycling part shouldn't be a problem - and is easy on the joints
I'm facing the same dilemma myself! I just completed my first race last Sunday, a 5-miler. I'd still class myself a beginner and I've only run this sort of distance a couple of times before.
I came in at 55 mins and according to my HRM I spent 54 mins in the 80-95% zone. I've come across advice saying that you shouldn't train at this intensity for very long, but it it didn't feel like that big a deal for me.
I haven't found an answer yet to the dilemma, but I have come across some interesting information about calculating your HRmax. I used the 220 - age formula suggested in the Polar user manual and prevalent elsewhere, but read the following for alternative methods:
I think the best thing is to do what feels best for you, and use your HRM to find out how your heart reacts to the challenges you set it. It's just a "constant" in the quagmire of training measurements - if you train in the same zone - whatever the BPM's happen to be - and you find you can gradually go further distance while remaining in that zone and for the same length of time, you can see your progress.