What training to do between a half and the Marathon?

I'm due to do the Birmingham half in early October and the Virgin London Marathon 2010, all marathon training schedules i've seen start at 16 weeks,  what level of training should I do between October and Jan - I don't want to lose my fitness as I'm doing two weekly runs of 6 miles at tempo, a short speed and a long run (to date) of 12 miles.  I'd like to increase my long runs but I also don't want to overtrain.  I'm looking for a sub 2 hour time for the half.  I started running properly 7 months ago and run my 10K races at 48 mins.  All help appreciated as a beginner as I want to complete the marathon and dont want to get injured!  Many Thanks.


  • I usually keep up my fitness levels with 2 x 10km runs in the week and a 20km run at the weekend. That way you are ready to jump straight into marathon training when you get a little closer to the full marathon. It's also a reasonable training amount without overdoing it.

    It works for me - well, it has for the last 5 marathons and 7 half marathons.

    Good luck in Birmingham and London.

  • Thanks everso, that sounds perfect for me, gosh so much to learn! 

    Cheers for wishing me good luck, i'm so looking forward to both, this runnings addictive. image

  • I agree - it's completely addictive. I promised my husband I would only run one marathon.....when I entered the second he threatened to divorce me...now he has given up and even enjoys coming along to cheer. image

    Let me know how they go.

  • As long as you don't build up too quickly, and incorporate rest and recovery, there's no harm in getting slightly ahead of the mara training schedule before you start it.  Give yourself a few days off completely after the half, maybe a week, then build back up to the level you were peaking at before the race.  Then make a few changes to your routine to fit in with the mara schedule (days/wk, mpw, etc).

    Even though it's your first marathon, your 10k time is prety quick and you'll have a good base from HM training, so you could look at intermediate mara plans, which would have you starting out around 25 mpw (?) and LR 10-12 miles.  I'd look to increase the LR very gradually over Nov/Dec to 14 miles or so, then when the mara training schedule kicks in you'll have the luxury of either stepping back a bit with a 12 mile run, or stay at the higher level and let the plan catch you up.  That's basically what I did for my first mara, and I think it helped make the step up to 18-20+ that much easier.

    With VLM being fairly late next year, I'd build up to running just beyond the LR/weekly mileage at the start of the mara schedule by Xmas, then treat yourself to some time off and debauchery over Xmas/New Year (call it a cut-back week!) before getting back to it in January.  image

  • I'm glad someone else asked this question as I'll find myself in exactly the same position (Cardiff half in October, Brighton full in April).

    My plan was to spend the 10 weeks before training for the full by doing some base training three or four times a week (a couple of 10ks and a long run on the weekend). I was hoping it would help my body improve its efficiency at breaking down fat, which would be useful for a marathon.

    Is 10 weeks a decent amount of time for base training?

  • Same predicament for me but my concern is run pace. I'm a 1.50-1.55 HM runner, just done GNR, and want a sub 4 in London but also to break 1.50 for a half leading up to it.

    If I base train for 6-12 weeks 3 x week, what should my paces be so I don't overtrain or lose the pace I have?

    I imagine 2 x 5 miles and 1 x 10 per week. Is it correct to do the LSR at MP+30s? What pace should the other 2 runs be?


  • Thanks Philpub, very detailed info, once again sounds achieveable and I like the idea of being slightly ahead of schedule to allow for any unforeseens (and that christmas cheer!) image  Thanks all for your help.
  • I did this last year: Royal Parks half in October and FLM in April this year.  As I had never run a full marathon, and my half training didn't include many long runs beyond 8 miles, I was keen to lengthen my runs more than anything else.  I spent November and December just building slow miles.

    My half times were around 1:38 and I wanted to aim at a 3:30 marathon, or 8 min miles, based on that.  Guidance I read suggested long run pace to be about 8:50 to 9:15 min miles, to promote fat burning, which I stuck to but found very hard at first as it felt unnaturally slow.

    Unfortunately, by the time I was ready to add back in the faster runs, i found it very difficult to pick up the pace again!  Ended up doing 4:04 for FLM, partly because I was carrying an injury, but regardless 3:30 was never going to happen despite sticking to my plan.

    What would I do this year?  I would maintain a good long slow run at weekends so that I know I can knock off 14 miles or or so.  I might alternate say 14 miles one week then 8 miles the next for this run.  Mid week I'd stick with the 6 milers as others have suggested, one as a tempo, one as a bit of recovery.  I would also stretch routinely to build flexibility, work on my core as I have a dodgy back, and do various static exercises to build strength in my calves and glutes which have caused injuries in the past, like shin splints.

    I'm jealous! - I really enjoyed the build up in training and the Marathon itself - such a great sense of achievement after every long run, and completing the Marathon; well, I can't really believe it now.

  • Thanks Roger much appreciated, I'll keep up the tempo, have 1 steady/easy and a LSR  for a couple of months.


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