I am belatedly starting training for Dublin marathon. I have about 10 weeks.

I have cobbled together a rough training plan, which is basically as follows:-

Sunday LSR @ approx 10:30 min/mile

Monday Rest

Tues 5- 6 miles slow & steady @ 10:30 min/mile

Wed Rest

Thurs 5 - 7 miles temp (including 2 miles at half mara pace (9 min/mile), building up to 5miles over time)

Fri Rest

Sat 4 miles slow & steady (10:30 min/mile)

As background, I have been running for about 2 and a half years and completed Edinburgh marathon in May this year. I was disappointed with my time (4:41), and as hoping to get below 4:30 in Dublin in October.

My half mara PB is 1:59, and 10k pb is 52mins.  I know I'm slow !!!!! image

I have maintained a reasonable base through the summer keeping long runs at 10 - 13 miles, with overall mileage around 25 miles per week, but no tempo or intervals at all (although I have started doing a little trail and fell running, which feels tough!!), and no races.

So basically my question is this : should I be doing more? Am I doing too much at one pace? I can't fit any more sessions into my week due to family commitments, so that's all I've got to play wth.

Sorry this is a bit long winded. Any advice would be much appreciated?


  • You have a poor correlation between your 10k time and your marathon time. I dont think quality sessions or lack of them are your issue. What you are doing is ok but you could benefit from just running more. If you cant run on one of your rest days get at least one of your easy runs increased in distance. A midweek semi-long run can be a real help.
  • So maybe increase the Tuesday easy run up to 10 miles? I could do that. Is that a reasonable distance for "semi-long" ?
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    Agree with the above.  I'm think you'd benefit more from making Thursday's run a semi-long run, up to maybe 12 miles, to support your long run.  You could add a small amount of quality by making it a progressive run, e.g. last 3/4 miles work towards marathon pace then a mile cool-down.  In a few weeks' time, use this run to practise marathon pace over a few miles, e.g. 12 miles incl. 6 @ MP.  Or at least alternate this weekly with the tempo run.
  • So basically increase distance as much as possible in my mid week runs, and start to incorporate marathon pace into one of those runs, building up as I get nearer to the event.

    Thanks for the advice.

    It can be difficult to know what is best plan of attack, especially when you only have a limited amount of training time, pesky kids get in the way image

  • without over analysing, its simply time on your feet, and i would suggest peaking at 6 running sessions between 6-4 weeks before the race, if not before.

    Preparing for my forst mara, i remember needing the confidence that i could actually finosh the race, so long slow runs were the key......increasing pace is secondary.

    The key word is 'pace', you need to get your body used to long spells of 'regular' matter what speed....concentrate on 'time on your feet'..

  • You need to vary you work out as often as you can to increase your speed and endurance, long run once a week At easy pace, short interval speed work, fartlek and tempo run To teach your body to run faster all this type of run should be short 45 to
    1 hour run, recovery run in between no more then 3 miles at very slow pace. And introduce some goal marathon pace work out too, more and more towards the end of the training this is very important to practice goal pace so that your body get use to run at goal pace
  • Thanks for all the advice guys.

    Everybody seems to be saying that I need to increase the quantity of running. Clearly the more time on my feet, the better.

    I have adjusted my programme to include the "semi-long" run, which seems to make good sense, which I plan to build up to 12 miles.  I will try to do some "speedier" miles as part of that run.

    My plan now has my weekly mileage peaking at just under 50mpw, previously I only built up to about 35, so hopefully taking on board all the comments above, that should make a big difference.

    I'm still not sure about fitting in 6 sessions per week, it may be difficult for me practically, although there is always early mornings, but I must confess, I'm pretty crap at getting up for early morning runs!!

    I'm still not sure I can fit in all the variations on pace suggested by Mathias, I think with limited time, the concensus would be practise at marathon pace as much as possible? Although tbh, I'm not quite sure what pace that would be!!!

    If I look at the McMillan pace calculator, going off my 1/2mara time, would give a predicted mara pace of 9:38 min miles, but my 10k time would equate to 9:24. When I did my first marathon in May (when I was disappointed with the time), the pace was 10:45 - Which is slower that I am doing my LSRs???

    I know the calculator is only a guide etc etc. but if I want to try to build in some miles at mara pace - what pace would that be???

    Sorry to ramble on!! My gut feeling is to try to work off my 1/2 time, as I have done several races at around virtually the same time, but I am wary that you should train to your actual fitness level, not a "wish list".

  • Dont worry too much about it all. What you are doing is ok. More sessions would be ideal but not vital and if my experience is anything to go by adding sessions can actually be harder on your body than adding mileage as a) you are getting less time to rest and b) you arent able to run the easy miles quite easily enough.

     Equally you will get benefit from just upping mileage so the pace thing isnt vital either. Marathon pace running will no doubt be good but what you do with it depends on your objective. If it is about getting used to that pace then work to target pace. If it is about improving your LT then better to work to HR or perceived effort and do it at a comfortbly hard pace regardless of actual numbers.

    Remeber though that with both your training runs will feel harder than on race day as adrenaline and the effects of your taper will make things easier. Given your experiences i reckon you would be best off setting yourself quite a conservative pace target for the race as well. The calculator assumes an equal level of conditioning regardless of distance and that is harder to achieve for the longer races so this time out maybe look to set out at just below 10:00 miles and see how you feel at half way?

  • Sounds like good advice. I'll try not to get too hung up on pace .

    When I did the mara in May, I just wanted to get around without too much pain, and I did that, but to be honest, I would like to be a little quicker, but my amibitions are realistic (I think!!!), so I think  just below 10 min miles would be sensible.

    Thanks image

  • In the end of the day it's all about enjoying the moment, running the half Marathon at a Pace that your body is not use to will make the race agonising not enjoyable
  • A quick update.

    I did follow the advice, I built up my mid week runs to 8-10 miles on Tues and 12 miles on Thursdays (plus a 4 miler).  I managed four 18-20 mile long runs.

    I didn't worry about any speedwork, just time on feet, as recommended.  In the last two weeks  I concentrated on doing shorter runs (3 - 6miles) at what I thought would be my mara pace, to get a feel for it.

    I knocked 19 minutes off my previous time, going from 4hrs 41min to 4hrs 22min. Not bad in 5 monthsimage.

    I just thought it was important to say thanks for the great advice. It was, and is, much appreciated image

  • Nice one, great progress!  Even for the next one (if there is one?) you can still progress a long way by continuing to augment your mileage, number of long runs (e.g. aim for 5 x 20M+), etc.  There still won't be any need to bang out intervals but you can start to add in some quality once you're heading towards peak mileage, either by adding MP effort miles into your semi-long runs or by adding in the odd tempo run.
  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭
    Well done! image
  • Thanks!

    I think there will definitely be a next one, but maybe later next year. 

    More mileage is clearly needed, and more long runs. I felt great until about 19miles, and it was a real slog from 20 onwards. My pace dropped off dramatically - just couldn't go any faster no matter how hard I tried. Proper plodding!! But I didn't walk, which was important to me.image

    Philpub, I will follow you advice and continue to build up miles, and see where that takes me. image

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