9 week marathon plan

I hope you may be able to help me, 

I'm planning to run the Draycote Water marathon, which is only 9 weeks away, and wondered if anyone had any sensible suggestions to help my preparation in so short a time. I'd quite like to get near the 3.30 mark if I could, but this may be unrealistic.

I'm 38 and have run eight marathons previously, best of 3.15, worst of 5.05 (hungover) and the most recent, the Paris in 3.50, in 2005. I currently run 7 or 8 miles at a time, two or three times a week, and they take me around an hour.

Anyway, my thinking takes me as far as either simply starting a 16 week programme, (such as that found on the RW website) a third of the way in; or, perhaps do the first four weeks and the last five, or first seven and last two ?

 Will it even make a difference ?

 I'd be grateful for your thoughts and advice.

 A W-B


  • I'd recommend you use a recent race time or time trial time in one of the race predictor calculators. If you don't have one then run a trial 10 km as fast as you can. Then pick a marathon schedule based on what is reasonably achievable based on the predicted time from current fitness. Then I would trim the first few weeks off that, and look at the actual starting week to see how that compares with your current mileage per week. If the jump is not too big I would go in there. If it is, then I'd revise my target time slower and look again.

     Certainly I wouldn't trim away chunks in the middle of a schedule, because I don't think you'd handle the big jumps in mileage, and there'd be an increased injury risk.

  • I`ve started a 16 week marathon schedule on week 5 as I only have 11 weeks to the big event (South Devon mara in Feb). Although I had just ran a marathon and still had the high milage training in my legs. If you are not accustomed to the milage required at week 5 of a 16 week schedule you may end up injurying yourself. I also agree with Steve, don`t go chopping lumps out of schedules, they have a steady build up for a reason. What ever you do, build up steady and watch for signs of overtraining, don't injure yourself.
  • Adrian,

    Your target marathon time (3h 30m) is 8 minute mile pace.

    Your current training runs are also at approximately 8 minute per mile pace.

    I have to say that your current weekly mileage at 20 to 25 miles per week looks a bit low to be tackling a marathon in 8/9 weeks. So what to do?

    One of your runs must be turned into a long run. Add approximately 1 to 1.5 miles per week to your long run. Run these efforts at 8:10 to 8:20 mins per mile - this will build up the endurance and should ideally be completed on the same day that you are going to run your marathon.

    On one of your runs of 8 miles complete (say 4 x 1 mile or 2 x 2 miles) at a tempo pace of 7:15 to 7:30 mins per mile pace (if you have a recent 10K time then it wants to be within 15 seconds of your 10K pace).

    Your other run (if you only run 3 times a week) should be completed at whatever rate you feel comfortable with. Try to avoid increasing your weekly mileage by more than 10% per week.

    You don't have a lot of time (and you do have to think about a bit of a "easing off before the race) but you are not starting from scratch so with careful planning you could just possibly get there.

  • One of your runs must be turned into a long run. Add approximately 1 to 1.5 miles per week to your long run. Run these efforts at 8:10 to 8:20 mins per mile - this will build up the endurance and should ideally be completed on the same day that you are going to run your marathon.

    Good sensible advice Sofahead. Not wanting to get too pedantic but what is the significance of running the long run on the same day as the race (Sunday in most cases).

    I am not sure that the tempo run will add a lot given the overall low milege but it cannot harm 

  • Coming back from a few months out I did 8 weeks averaging 25 mpw, longest week was 35 miles, then did a big jump up to an average of 50 miles for 4 weeks. Nothing specific just logging miles, mainly off road and in the hills plus a few short races both on and off road.

    Then on a whim I ran a 20.2 miles trail run and decided I would do a marathon. (I'm calling this week 1) So I picked my race (Wolverhampton) and now had 8 weeks to train for it.

    Week 1:  56.8 miles - long run 20.2 - race 5k.
    Week 2: 56.2 miles - long run 20.4 - race 5k & 5 mile.
    Week 3: 53.7 miles - long run 11.8 - race 10 mile.
    Week 4: 57.5 miles - long run 22.7 - race 5k & 10k
    Week 5: 65.1miles - long run 24.2 - race 5 & 10 miles.
    Week 6: 43.7 miles - long run 19* - race 4 mile.
    Week 7: 35.0 miles - long run 9.6.
    Week 8: 39.9 miles - long run 13.1.
    Week 9: 34.2 miles - long run and race 26.2 miles!

    The 19* miles was done at predicted marathon race paced based on my times in my previous races. The following day I did a 4 mile race and basically knackered myself and was forced to taper/rest 3 1/2 weeks out, which I think was a actaully a good thing.  All my other long runs where done slowly, upto 3 minutes a mile slower (24.2 miles in 4 hrs = 9.55 m/m, it was hilly and off road)

    I based my training very roughly on a Frank Horwill plan

    My long runs where the"time on your feet" runs.
    I did 2 "build up to 18 miles at race pace" one at 14 miles and the 19* miler. (No real build up there)
    The quality was taken care of by racing.
    And all my other runs were the  recovery runs.

    My races predicted a finish time of anything between 2:51 and 2:58.  Wolverhampton is not a hilly  course but it's far from flat, I thought I could do 2:55 on a flat course so was looking for 2:58 (anything under 3 hours would've done). On the day I did 2:55:55. 

    Good luck and good training Adrian. 

  • JohnnyBike,

    Doing the long runs on the same day that you intend to race just gets your body adapted for the effort expectancy on the day. When preparing for a marathon last year that was one of the first bits of advice that I received from an elite athlete coach - "run your long runs on the same day that you intend to race". If you are a high mileage trainer then its importance becomes less significant. Get your body used to it and it will come as less of a shock to the system.

    The tempo efforts will help raise the lactic threshold.

  • This is superb advice, thanks very much everyone.

    I'm off out for a run now, and will do a slow 9.5 mile circuit. This shouldn't be to taxing.

    I'll also run a 10k tomorrow afternoon to try and determine my tempo pace, but 7.15 sounds about right. My (unreliable) GPS history page tells me that I can cruise at 7.15 for some time.

     Thanks again, this is much appreciated.

     A W-B

  • Cheers SH.

    I am planning on a April FM with no tempo running as such, just 2 long runs a week (a couple of shorties and some rowing) . However I will use that to give myself a time and then see how I can train properly to do a faster one in Autumn.

  • I wonder how it went..

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭
    It was 5 years agoimage that's a lot of wonderingimage
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