What's a good base

I'm planning to run London next year or another spring marathon. I'd like some thoughts on what training I should be doing in the next few months before starting a 16-week build up.

I currently do 20 miles a week (10-2-5-3) plus a swim. I reckon for the marathon my mileage will peak at around 40-45.

Should I stay where I am now mileage wise and increase when the 16 weeks start, or should I build a bit now? If so, when and how?



  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Neil, I'd personally start the build up now.

    Do the build up very gradually. Probably the easiest way to do this is to simply increase the distance of all your runs by 10% per week. Make every 3rd week a little bit easier by only doing a long run of maybe 10 miles. You'll soon be up to your 40 miles per week and starting your 16 week build up from a much higher level.
  • Neil - I think it depends on what you want to achieve i.e. whether your objective is to finish or whether you have a time in mind. In Bob Glovers book he has 16 week schedules for the first time marathoner that build from 15 and 20 miles.

    I tend to agree with Drew that in any event if you have the time you'd be better off starting your build up now. I'm training for my first marathon which is now about four weeks away and hit (roughly) 40 mpw in June and and stayed between 40-50 ever since (I would have gone a bit higher save for a knee injury).

    I would also try and arrange to race every 3-4 weeks a) To give you a benchmark on progress and b) to make long runs easier; you can fit this in with your training by making sure you pack in some mileage the week before and easing back slightly in race week.

    Best of luck.
  • I'm thinking the same as you Neil, I'm sure it pays dividends to plan ahead to the spring already; it means you'd have a really good fitness base to start from, and be less likely to pick up injuries.

    Would this be your first marathon? I'm hoping to get into London and do that sub 4 time I want. My plan for the autumn, such as it is, is maintaining approx 25-30 miles/week until Xmas, but work on my speed. Also ensure I maintain endurance by doing 2 hr runs at least 2 weekends out of 3.
    Martin is right; plan a few races to keep motivation going and get a feel for your progress. Whereabouts do you live? The Helsby 4 villages 1/2m (nr Chester)is in Jan and is a popular regional race, and a good benchmark for your marathon training.
  • Folks, thanks for the advice. The Spring marathon will be my second. I did New York this time last year and pulled out of this year's London with six weeks to go - ITB injury. pah!

    My NYC time was 4hr 52, but I went from near zero running to marathon in about 25 weeks. I enjoyed it but lost it mentally towards the end of the training, largely because the guy who I was going to run it with dropped out. This time I want to build a *really* solid base because I do NOT want any more injuries!

    Based on my current 10k and 1/2m times, I should be able to do 4hrs to 4.15, which I would be very happy with. Bob Glover's "basic competitor" plan starts off a 30 mile base, so I might aim for that. Adding 10 miles between now and November should be OK, depending on how it goes with the new baby (see other threads).

    But here's a question: Bob's base is 5-5-4-10-6. How would you juggle that if you only ran four times a week?


  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Neil, I'd simply add one mile onto each of the runs and miss out the 4 miler.
  • Not to contradict Drew but I would probably do Tues 5, Wed/Thur 8, Sat 12, Sun 5
  • Martin, could you suggest what sort of paces/HR levels would be sensible? Should it be:

    Sat - LSD below 80% max
    Tues - easy?
    Wed/Thur - something a bit quicker, maybe marathon pace 80-85% max
    Sun - easy (or fartlek/tempo)

    Also, did you move the LSD to Saturday for a reason, or is that just when you do yours?

    Thanks again for your help
  • Neil

    I think how you structure the sessions depends on what you want to achieve and the level of fitness you start with. Ideally on four runs a week you want to make the most of them so ideally as much quality as you can handle - but in the initial stages more than one quality session may make you very tired if you are increasing mileage at the same point.

    So I would start with one pace session, probably the tuesday. You can alternate intervals one week with perhaps tempo the next (Let me know if you want some ideas on sessions).

    The mid-week mid distance run (8 miles or so) will make you quite tired if you do it at marathon pace (80-85%) so I would maybe start with treating it as a fartlek session but don't be tempted to 'blast it'. Try 10-15 minutes warm up, 30 minutes fartlek then 10-15 minutes cool down.

    Doing my long run oin Saturday is just personal preference - I like to 'bank it', usually getting up early on Saturday to leave the rest of the weekend free for friends and family.

    The long run is a hard run and will get harder as you push the difference in marathon training - so keep the Sunday (or next day after a long run) as an easy day. Another reason for having the long run on a Saturday is a) don't go to work Monday feeling tired and b) if I feel OK on the Sunday I may run some easy fartlek over 6-8 miles i.e. it leaves some options.

    Hope this helps
  • Martin

    That really is helpfull. Thanks for being so generous with your time.

  • Good luck in trying to fit all this in around the new baby, how you will have the time with all that washing, cleaning, feeding not forgetting the ironing, you are probably up to the 30 mile a week base already and you don't even know it.
  • Sorry about that, just read that last one again. You have done a marathon before, what was your training like for that one? Having a baby in the house is a big deal for the first while but hopefully it will all settle down and you and the good wife can get back to regular sleeps, till the teething starts anyway.
    So long as you keep up any kind of running it will be better than starting from scratch so don't worry about it too much yet.
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