How to structure base training

MsEMsE ✭✭✭
I have entered my first marathon which falls 9 weeks prior to my first Half Ironman triathlon. Both events will be my first endurance races as, despite being a lifelong runner, I have only done a sprinkling of events ranging from sprint triathlons to a half marathon. I have about 7 weeks before I start a 20 week marathon training plan but am unsure how to allocate my time now. I want to build a decent running/cycling base and work on swim technique, but what is the best way to allocate my time usefully both in the period up to my marathon training and during my marathon training? Should it be the 20:50:30 approach or will this not get me marathon-schedule-ready-enough with such little time on my feet in the approach?

Any advice much appreciated.


  • I guess it depends on which one is your A race?

    The only other thing I would add is that by all accounts cycling helps running much more than running helps cycling!

    Best suggestion is to bin those two races, sign up for an IM and kill 2 birds with one stone! image

  • I'm assuming here that your marathon is around April time??

    if so, I'd work on the bike over the next few months to build the cycling base but keep running on a tickover perhaps with one LSR a week. when marathon training starts, switch the emphasis to running and back off the bike miles but don't stop cycling. get the marathon out of the way and then focus on the bike again and reduce the run miles. over the 9 weeks between the marathon and HIM, you run legs will not disappear and you'll be re-building your bike legs. simple eh?

    oh yeh - try and fit some swimming in as well!
  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    Ali and FB - some good tips there. Nice to know cycling will help the running, presumably in building a decent aerobic base for marathon running? Also, the switch from cycling to running training sounds sensible and I will see if I can manage that (with a bit of swimming too...) before switching back to cycle post-marathon. Thanks very much! Feeling much better with how to approach it all now.
  • You can adapt your marathon training plan to an extent.  The long run is key but you can swap out some of the shorter runs for swim or bike sessions.  If you've a reasonable base on the bike over the winter, 9 weeks is plenty of time to build that up to a decent 56 mile HIM ride.

    You can also swap any of the pre-marathon races (the half marathons on Feb or March that many plans include) for one of the spring duathlons without doing your marathon any harm at all.

  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the tips, Cheerful. I have been wondering about doing the Ballbuster but am not sure if timing or distance works so will have to check the schedules.
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    concentrate on the running towards the marathon.  Use your swim sessions to pad the running sessions (use a pull buoy if you're legs are tired).  Do one long bike at the weekend with a double run on wed or thurs (as far apart as poss), and 2 x med distance bike rides in the week (on swim days).
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • I did VLM this year (not in next year ;-(  ) and did run training with a once a week swim in a masters session. Did virtually no biking all winter. As soon as the VLM was done I had a half a week off and did bike training and Open Water swim training. HIM was a doddle 4 or 5-weeks later.

    I haven't done much biking for years but it is my strongest discipline (based on triathlon time results) so this may not work for everyone. 50 mile flat bike was a 2:38

    The marathon training I did was the FIRST plan and therefore only 3-days a week and that got me a 4:07 (given I am a 15.5 stone 5ft 9 ex-rugby prop forward) which I was quite happy with. Clearly sub-4 would have been better but I got held up a lot and obviously could be lighter.So marathon splits were around 9:10 mins/mile

     In the gap between VLM and the HIM I think I did one or maybe two runs of 6 miles at most and the legs held together for 14 10-minute miles with a run walk strategy in the HIM.


  • "that got me a 4:07 (given I am a 15.5 stone 5ft 9 ex-rugby prop forward)"

    given I'm a 16+ stone, 5'10" ex-rugby prop forward with a 3:59:52 marathon PB from London.....and curiously my 1st FLM was 4:07 when I was probably closer to 15.5 stone......

    small old world eh??

  • fat buddha wrote (see)
    "that got me a 4:07 (given I am a 15.5 stone 5ft 9 ex-rugby prop forward)" given I'm a 16+ stone, 5'10" ex-rugby prop forward with a 3:59:52 marathon PB from London.....and curiously my 1st FLM was 4:07 when I was probably closer to 15.5 stone...... small old world eh?? image
    5'5" and 10st 12 mara pb of 4:42image  somethings not right
  • doozer ............HurryTFU

    we can all run faster if we train more and train smarter - but we do other stuff

     But I think if you are a bit heavier then getting faster results in much greater impact forces risking injury more. It has a bit more relevance here because when mass is rolled along on a bike it is not such an issue but I do get to benefit from the powerful legs rugby gave me.

    FB are you a stronger runner or biker?


  • Sorry dinner was ready.

    The point was that big fat blokes bike well compared to their running capability and therefore my training from marathon to HIM may not suit everyone.

  • I'm probably a stronger biker - IM best of 5:30 (Florida - flat!) and did 5:48 at Roth this year (which is quite hilly despite it's fast reputation) - although my running's not bad for a fat old fecker....
  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    <confused at 110lbs and 5'2.5" as to where that puts me>

    Daz - thanks for your suggestions although I will struggle to bike as much as that unless it is on the trainer as I also have to juggle my 4 kids (aged from 1 to 7) with two school runs etc each day. This is why running suits me as I run everywhere pushing a buggy, which is not ideal for speed training nor form, but does get my legs accustomed to the mileage. This is turning out to be a logistical nightmare but I think I have decided to focus on the VLM with a bit of cycling and swimming here and there so it is not too much of a shock to the system after the marathon. I am hoping my cycling and swimming is strong enough for 9 weeks training to be enough. Historically, my cycling splits put me higher than my running does in the rankings funnily enough despite running being my strong point and where I put my training in. I do, er, no training on the bike. I can manage a top five/ten finish on that basis so am hopeful there is something there to work from...
Sign In or Register to comment.