VLM 2012 first timers???



  • For anything under an hour (which is currently everything lol!) I just go straight out. As long as you have eaten properly the night before, you'll be properly fuelled. And I like running with an empty stomach. Somehow I am going to have to figure out refuelling for long runs though, I guess!

    For longer wekend runs I used to have half a banana. I can't really eat any more than that and run!

  • That's interesting Len, I'm hopeless if I haven't had something to eat before I go out, I actually feel quite faint and have no energy at all. If it's a short run I don't need much more than half an apple or banana, but for long runs I try to eat something substantial 2 hours before I go out. I find all that difficult in the morning though, so I tend to do all my running either at lunchtime or in the evening. I would much prefer to get it out of the way first thing in the morning but it just doesn't seem to work for me, I've also read that the body works better in the morning but ho hum. The other thing that puts me off early morning runs is waking up my 6 yr old daughter and p*ssing the wife off image
  • I have a 7 year old daugter who is under strict instructions to Stay In BED, and a very understanding husband lol! I specifically got his approval when my marathon place came through, so that he couldn't complain at a later date image.

    It's odd though isn't it? I can't run in the evenings at all, I feel sluggish and my legs are like lead!

  • I've got a charity place running for Oxfam. Furthest i've run is the Silverstone Half Marathon, but training is going good so far. Really excited for the big run already image
  • Orchard boy , I would say I was excited yet , still have the feeling of dread an terror as to how on earth I am going to run that far !!

    What time is everyone hoping to finish in ???

  • Morning all! Just stumbled on this thread and it you sound exactly the bunch of people I need to be chatting with! I very fortunately got a ballot place on my first time of applying (I know I know, saying that is just like asking for a shedload of hate mail from people who've been applying unsuccessfully for years!)

    It will be my first VLM, and my first marathon. I still feel faintly sick when I think about it, but then I felt like that before my first 10K and before each of my HMs and I managed them okay so hopefully I wil be okay.

    Must go back and read properly, but hello to you all!

  • Never ran a marathon before, so slightly scared at the prospect of London.  But what worries me even more is that I think I am slightly obsessed about down-loading running plans.... got 20wks, 16 wks, 14 wks...... now I am really confused !!!   which one to choose decisions, decisions.  HELP !!

  • Hello back to everyone.. 

    Badoo - I am wondering whether to do an intermediate plan and aim  to get around in about 4 - 5 hours, or to just do a get me round plan and aim to do it in whatever time it takes me image 

     not sure which level of insanity I've decided on yet , and this is my first marathon so I might be completely over-estimating my leg power... 

    how about you? (or anyone else?)

     Philippa - I've been doing the same, except I also have the 24 week plan as well image

    I got a really good suggestion off another board (the running bug one), which was to do a 16 week plan, but over 18 or so weeks to allow for any problems... think I might do that... 

  • I think doing a plan whereby you have a few weeks spare is a good idea and obviously putting in miles now to build a base ... I am doing a 10 mile LSR tomorrow making it a 30 mile week, which will be the most I have done in a week since April when training for a half marathon.

    One problem I have at the moment is I was hoping to be losing some of my excess weight, but am always starving so if anything have put more weight on. The runs following days I have tried to eat less I seem to run out of gas quickly, is it a good idea to practice running with less fuel than normal or is that likely to cause problems as well as sloweer times?!
  • Afternoon everyone,

    I've got a target time of under 5 hours in my mind, but to be honest, I'll be happy to finish the marathon regardless of time!  I'm doing a 10k in Stratford next Saturday so I'll see how my times are looking after that! 

    Suarez-7, I've been absolutely starving since I started training.  I've no idea what the correct thing to do is, but I've been making sure I've got a stock of nutri-grain bars and lots of fruit handy, so I can eat that whenever I'm hungry.  If I try to eat less, I just end up with mad cravings for Chinese or pizza which I eventually give in to. 

    Glad to read that I'm not the only one who feels sick whenever thinking about the marathon!!  image

  • hello- can I join- long time runner- fisrt time vlm

    confused aswell re training plans- doing a2 path and downs half tomorrow- see what sort of time I could predict. I have downloaded so many plans but cant quite fit myself into them- want  run 4x week- most of the beginer ones do less milage than I already do but intermediate- more milage than I think I can fit in- might be asking for trouble

    quite like asics web site- design a plan for you but again looks quite low on milage and speedwork seems a little slow- any thoughts

  • hello all!

    Congrats on getting  place!  I just got mine confirmed a few weeks ago.  This is a life long ambition - I used to watch the london marathon on tv as a little girl and dream of doing it.  Now I am crazy enough to give it a go! This will be my first (and last??????) marathon!

    In terms of training: I have spent several hours reading a book about it (the runners handbook by bob glover) and spent several hours buying lots of fun running things on line.  So enough of the fun stuff - i need to get running!

     I have just completed my first half marathon and doing my second next weekend.  After that, I'm going to pull back on the long runs and only do 8 miles on the long ones for the rest of november and december.  Then start training properly for this at end of december.

     In the book I bought, there is a 16 week training plan that looks quite good.  The longest run on that one is 20 miles, and it makes you do that twice. 

    I'm bricking it. 

     And I've got to raise £1700 for my charity.  HELLLLLPPPPPPPP!

  • Hello again

    this is great knowing that I am not the only one who is feeling absolutely petrified, and also not the only one downloading running plan after running plan. I think I have decided which one to use well actually it's a mixture of two.   Longest run being 21 miles ................. oh my goodness !!!!.   Is anyone else also obsessed by their milometer in their car ? I am trying to figure out where I am going to run 21 miles.  Also if I am this stressed out now, what am I going to be like next year ??  But having said all that I am really looking forward to it even the training, and I am sure when the big day arrives we will all be brilliant image

  • I have chosen my plan simply because it fits in with a HM I have planned! I'm actually going to follow the plan in the VLM magazine, which I'm assuming is the first 13 weeks of a 16 wk plan. Like others have said, I'm caught between which 'level' of plan to do. I know I'm going to be slow (HM time is 2:30) but don't want a schedule that starts off run-walk for 30 mins. So will start on the next level up and hope I can stick with it!

    I've got a 10k race next weekend so have been trying to work on a bit of speed before everything slows down next year!

    Sorry can't read back now , but someone said they were struggling with always feeling hungry, especially after long runs? I would suggest making sure you eat things that keep you filled up for longer, like good ol' porridge, wholemeal bread etc. I guess it's only natural for your body to be crying out for food after expending so many calories!

    Anyone doing a long run tomorrow for practice?!
  • Hi,

     I have managed to get a place in the VLM with the obvious drama of raising £2000 for my chosen charity.

    Just wondering if anyone has done a sub 4 hour before and what sort of pacing they were looking at hitting during training.

     i am following an advanced training plan, but am currently in a nice little place in the desert so relying on a lot of treadmill training, which isnt ideal!!

     be good to get some ideas off people that may have done other marathons before, and if not just a heads up off some other first timers to see what they are doing and how they are getting on!!

    Its not my rest day today but am wishing it was!! its all character building i suppose.


  • Hi all

    I hope you don't mind me jumping here.I was just trawling thorugh some of the marathon threads and saw this one which interested me. I am running the VLM next year also, although this will be my 4th. Was reading your thread above Kirsty and was actually wondering if this is your first marathon. I  know the thread says VLM first timers or whether it is at you first EVER marathon. If I can be of any help I would love to contribute. I do like running London and I always run this for charity.  

  • any help and advice is certainly welcomed this way!

     How long should the longest long run be? (If that makes sense?)  The training plan I'm following says just 20 miles.  But I've seen other training plans do the full 26 miles - a friend told me to do 23 miles.

    What to do???

  • hi kiwiscanfly,

     This is my first ever marathon, i have done halves before but never train for them really just tip up and do them!

     I ran 10 miles last night at 8 minute miles, and am slowly upping the distance but trying to keep the pace the same, is this the right way to train for a sub 4 hour?

    I would appreciate any help totally, cant wait to get back from here and back to the UK where it will be loads colder image

     And kaffeeg, i am no expert but every long distance weighted march etc i have always been told to make sure you break the back of it but never run the full distance.  Also been told to do more than 20 as this is the place where your body is running on empty, so 21 or 22 max in training.  But like i said i am no expert at all.

  • Hi all

    Hi KAFEEG, your longest run only has to be 20 miles , and you only need to do the one. the later part of your training will also probably include a couple of runs of around 18 miles also. If you build up to 20 over the next 5 months or so you will be absolutely fine. Don't forget , it is not a sin to walk in your training runs and in your marathon especially. It is part of marathoning. Better to walk because you want to , not because you have to. Although when training it is when you stress your body,and then recover, where you become fitter.

    Hi  154wint. If you are up to 10 miles at the moment you are well on the way. As this is your first don't be in too much of a hurry to cram in all sorts of long mileage in too early. This will create problems. When do you do your Long Run, Probably the weekend. Try and get out for around 4 times a week at the moment. You only need to do about 3-5 mils in your shorter runs and increase your long runs by about a mile a week .Don't forget to have step back weeks where you you let your body recover. IE later on if you do a couple of consecutive 15 milers on a Sunday, the following  weekend cut back to around 9 or 10. Your body takes a bit of a hammering so needs the rest and recovery. For anyone doing their very first marathon you are lucky. You do not need to do any speed work, sprints, tempo runs, hill sprints or anything of that ilk. It is just purely building up mileage as all you are doing is aiming at getting to the finish. I must stress that it is important not to shirk your weekend long runs. You both have plenty of time, and do not worry. The VLM is an amazing race. When  you do your 20 mile run around 3-4 weeks before the marathon you will be ready for the big day. You will get around the last 6 miles. The crowd support will get you there anyway. It is phenominal.

     I have to go into work now so will getback to you later. I will tell you about a colleague and friend of mine who was a non runner and how we got him through this year, but can certainly pass  on to  you some tricks of the trade etc. London has a couple of quirky bits on route which are certainly worth knowing about. Having run it the last 3 years there are certainly some things I have sussed which can help you get around . I am really sorry this is long winded, but marathoning is my interest and I think I really can help you. I enjoy doing this and I hope this is ok with you. I certainly don't want to try and take over.

    Catch you later. 

  • Morning Kiwiscanfly - certainly for myself, I'll gladly listen to any experienced marathoner for advice, and particularly any insider info on VLM very gratefully received! image
  • Hi Kiwiscanfly, you've just made me feel much better!  That's very useful advice to concentrate just on the mileage rather than speed work or hill runs, I've been getting very muddled over all the different training and when and how to fit it all in, so thank you!! image 
  • HI kiwiscanfly , thanks for all your advice it is definatley much needed. I am following a 16 week plan ( from the non- marathon runners guide ) but have started it early and am just doing the first few weeks repeatedly to build up a base . Its longest run is 18 miles which I think you do twice , do you think think this is sufficient ? I am currently running between 3 and 6 miles with the long run on a weekend .

     Kaafeeg wow I thought i had a lot to raise with 1500 only up to 220 so far , dont want to keep asking people but i sent an email round work ( 250 staff) and only one person sponsored me ;-( dont want to keep bugging people but really need to , its hard isnt it ??

  • Hi badoo,

    I had a bit more luck with work colleagues when I set up a sweepstake.  Everyone pays £1 to guess my finishing time and the closest person wins £20 with the rest going to my charity.  It's worked pretty well - obviously smaller amounts but I think people like the opportunity to win something!  Someone else on here suggested it to me, and I think it's a good one.

  • Hey LWJ,

     I was thinking of doing something like that but because I am in afghanistan at the minute I am literally collaring people out here to donate a few dollars, then I have the pain of exchanging it all back into pounds sterling, as we only use USD out here.  I seem to have got more by accepting less off people if you know what I mean, rather than sponsorship.

     I might do the guess my time when I get back to the UK a bit nearer to the event.

     Kiwiscanfly thanks for that useful info, I know its only my first marathon, but I can get competitive lol so thats why I want sub 4 hour.  Its quite hard to do the weekend runs out here, but I am managing it so far, mainly because we work 7 days a week so am quite shattered by that point.  I am doing my long run on a sunday, but then monday (ie today) I am going for a 30 minute easy run, then speedwork tomorrow, to be honest my speedwork isnt that speedy its probably marginally faster thats all. I think that when I get back from here will be the hardest as I am off on holiday to the caribbean for 3 weeks, so training may suffer slightly then!!

     All your help is great, and I can only think of this forum as a good motivator when I am contemplating going to bed early lol.

  • Hi again all.

    Back from work as I had some time owing for going in yesterday. Great to see that what I have said has helped. I really didn't want to sound like some know-it-all upstart that is full of it. I have made all the mistakes so you can certainly learn from what I have done wrong ( and right) in the past. But your response is encouraging. I am just trawling through some of your questions and queries. Firstly , 154wint,

    8 minute miling would put you way under a 4 hour marathon, around 3.30  . However I would not be overly ambitious. You said you are competitive, which is great but this is your first. 9 minute miling would give you a 4 hour marathon, or there abouts. You said you are in Afghanistan so I should imagine you are in the forces and therefore your fitness levels would be pretty high. The best thing to do perhaps is to aim for something around ( and this is the same for all first timers ) 15-30 minutes slower than your target time. Quite simply this will mean you will finish it and if you ever do another you will do a PB. There are of course very good runners who go out and run a blinding first marathon in under 2.45 or whatever, but they are probably regularly competing at anything from 5k to half marathons so of course it does happen. If you do run it quicker than 4 hours then that is a bonus. I should think, though, that if you are  8 minute miling in your training a 4 hour marathon is a realistic target for you. Going back to what you were saying about running more than 20 miles is interesting. Many different theories come from different coaches. Some say you  should do more and some say you don't. I really don't think it is necessary to do more than 20. You will also have a couple of 18 milers on board as well so your stamina should be pretty good. I am always weary of glycogen levels from about 16-17 miles onwards. Also a 2 hour run equates to something of this distance so will also see your levels dropping. Don't forget you are only aiming to finish, not to race competitively, this is why only one 20 miler will be sufficient. It is a different story if you are running a competitive marathon. Also 154wint. If you are  already doing speed work etc. Carry on. It certainly won't do any harm. But it is not necessary to as you are not aiming to break records and run at a blistering pace. Just to finish. This would be the same for you too LWJ. Also if you jump into agressive speedwork etc. and are not used to it, coupled with long runs could   cause injuries. 

    Hi Badoo, great idea to get a base or foundation. Are you a regular runner or is this new to you? You have plent of time and you are going about this the right way. your 3-6 miles is absolutely spot on at this stage and you only need to do 2-3 of these during your week. However I am not too sure about you not doing a 20 miler eventually as your long run. The two 18 milers a absolutely right, but you really need a 20 miler with this also. I am not going to say you won't get away with it because you may. However the 20mile mark in marathon training is like the holy grail in your training schedule. Not just because it prepares the body for the big day, but it is also psychological. Once you have done this you feel you have cracked it. Then you taper off feeling very encouraged and satisfied indeed. If anything I would drop one of the 18 milers for a 20 !! , but if possible do all 3. Sorry this is very long again, but there are some important points there.

    Hope this helps.   

  • These are all massively helpful comments and experiences you are sharing... l've learnt more reading this than the last book l read!

    Thanks everyone for keeping this board going.


  • Hey kiwiscanfly,

     I hear what you are saying, probably the best plan is to just do it and see what happens on the day, I am enjoying the training programme I am working to, I think my main problem is that I struggle to take it easy on my easy days. I did half an hour today at just under 9 minute miles and i felt that i had to consciously go slow, possibly because I am so used to running in a squad with males and pushing myself lol.

    I think time will tell when I get back to the UK and hit the hills, it is pretty flat here and also relying on a treadmill for interval sessions.  mainly to get away from the dust.  I figured if I aimed for 4 hours, then that extra 30 mins will allow me to slow my pace towards the end when I am absolutely hooped lol!

    I will have to keep you updated, I am slowly increasing my sunday runs by 10 mins or so each week at the minute and the same for shorter runs throughout the week. definitely finding it bizarre to train following a programme as normally I just turn up to run for a half marathon without doing anything outside of my normal few runs a week that had no structure whatsoever.


  • Hi again Kirsty

    You are right. Your slow runs can feel abnormally slow. If you are used to running fast all of the time it is actually quite difficult to discipline yourself to run at a slow pace. The Kenyans are a good example here.When they work hard they work extremely hard, but when they run slowly it really is very slow. There is nothing wrong with slow ! At the moment it is ok ,but once you start doing anything over 10 miles up to the 20, you aim to run your Long slow runs at around 45 secs-2.00 minutes slower than your race pace . If you are normally 8 minute miling, then 9 minute miling in your Long stuff would be spot on. You are obviously pretty toned and used to  hard graft being in the forces so carry on with the hills and speed work if it suits you. But normally for a first timer ,especially a non runner aiming for their first marathon, they should not need to worry about it. You are right about aiming for 4 hours.That would give you a leeway of half an hour as you said. That is just right. Even if you do it in 4 hours 15 or 4.30, what the hell does it matter.Your victory is  finishing and conqering it. Marathons are a completely different animal to halves. You can get away with a 10 mile run and some other bits and pieces and still get away with running a half marathont. With the marathon you need some structure. You can't blag the marathon, it will come back to bite you in the backside !!

  • I guess finishing is good in itself! a can of beer at the finish line would motivate me maybe lol! much to the horror of some of the more professional runners no doubt! I have also signed up for the edinburgh marathon the month after.  My other half is looking forward to me picking some more obscure ones mainly for long weekends away.  I am definitely going to wait though and see how I get on after VLM and Edinburgh marathons before I sign up for any extravagant ones.

  • Hi again 154wint, I have also run the Edinburgh marathon. It is great to see you are already thinking of running another. If that is the case you can certainly look at improving your time and doing more in the way of training to help you run a bit quicker. If you are interested there is a lot of banter and fun on the 'Edinburgh marathoners past and present ' thread where we meet up online !! also including marathon talk at timesimage.

    catch you later

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