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Training is like baking a cake is a metaphor we use on the Middle Ground.
You need to mix a good base of sponge, this is easy running. A proportion of this must be long runs sort of like the amount of flour depending on what type of cake you want. For a marathon cake you need a lot of flour versus other cakes like 10k,
Now there are issues here in that long runs take a lot of recovery for the less experienced or lower mileage runner so you will do less, and find them more difficult, but in essence the more you do and the longer they are the better prepared you will be on race day.
To make a brilliant marathon cake you need 3-4 cumulative marathon seasons (not necessarily back to back) to get used to handling the workloads necessary. Then the flour becomes not such a problem and its about ways icing your cake with marathon pace sections, interval sessions and other faster running as well as all the easy stuff. You can bake a decent marathon without this stuff, but not without flour.
However, like all cakes there will be some trial and error with your ingredient mix, mostly related to current fitness levels, goal pace (aspirational or realistic) and running history.
For example my first marathon I did 4 16 milers, one 18 and one 20. I made it round in 4:31, but I didnt particularly enjoy the experience as I was underprepared. This time I'm aiming for 10, 20+ runs, but because I am fitter I enjoy these runs.
There's nothing particularly magic about 20 miles as Toby says but its a good compromise distance for many, ideally you'd go to 22-24, to be testing the limits of your glycogen levels, but I prefer not to be out much longer than I am intending to be out on race day so I tend to settle for 21 as its long enough to be getting long run benefits (provided I go out without breakfast) without impacting the next weeks training.
Brilliant analogy Curly
Wow, people are building up some serious mileage! This is my first marathon ever, my plan takes me up to 1 run of 19 miles before tapering - thinking for a first timer this should be enough, don't want to nacker myself before the day! (And it'll probably take me around 3.5hrs anyway, which i consider to be plenty for a training run!)
I managed my first half marathon last weekend, bad weather conditions and a couple of niggles slowed me down (2h28) .. Managed 12.1 miles the weekend before in 2h07.
With regards to compression socks for shin/calf issues, are there any alternatives that look a little less odd with 3/4 length running trousers? I'm not hardcore enough for shorts!!
Curly marathon cake sounds delicious must say I'm hoping to bake a brilliant one this year
If running a marathon is like baking a cake, then it's no wonder my times are so poor
Great day for running today - felt like the first day of spring! I ran eight miles, including nine strides (supposed to be 8 strides, but I lost count ). It was the first time I've run strides outdoors, and they were much more enjoyable than on a treadmill. They felt easier, even though I ran them faster
Only 14m left to run on Sunday to end this recovery week. Next week's schedule scares me, but I'm looking forward to seeing if I can do it!
Silverstone race pack has arrived - looking forward to that in a couple of weeks. Good luck to anyone racing this weekend. It feels like the season is really getting underway now!
swap my runs around a bit i swap next weeks 20 with this weeks 14 as snowmaiden is coming down next weekend and were all going out for a 18 miler and from talking to her we may be out a long time
Mark - I'm looking forward to stopping in the pit lane to sit down and have a team change my shoes to an appropriate pair for the conditions while simultaneously refuelling me.
I'm also going to make engine noises as I run.
(no I haven't run it before)
Looking forward to a short 3 miles later and 10 tomorrow ... hope the sun stays, is a rare treat It may well be the first run in months where I haven't needed my running tights !
Did a nice 10 miles this morning in 1.28, better than the last 10 mile last month since starting marathon training so quite pleased as I put in 2 hills as well, must have been those fashionable compressions socks I wore
I would love to do Silverstone as we are fans of F1, but finances object travelling to England too much, hope it goes well Tenjiso. Spinning session for me tomorrow and then a week of normal training ending with a 17 miler this time next week!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone and the lovely weather - I'm off gardening now, putting the Jersey Royals in!
Curly, If only I could bake a cake that would be problem solved (I like your analogy). Oh well best I settle for a 30km in the morning instead. Way I see it, better to burn the calories than eat them!
Enjoy Silverstone those doing it later on. I did it a few years ago, its good fun.
Va Va Voooooooom!
Went out with Poohbear today to keep her company as she had 14 miles to do
14 miles done today with an average of 14.45 pace per mile, so better than I thought it was, as I had thought I was slower than normal, where in fact I was a good minute and a half per mile faster than last week's 16 miles. Still took over 3 and a half hours though so am exhausted now!
It was nice to run out today as although foggy at first, the sun actually came out about half way round for a while, which made a nice change.
Good running going on by all. Cant believe its less than 2 months away now before race day.
We even saw a bit of sun today too, 20 miles the fastest we have done in avg pace so far but zzzz now which normally I'm not after long runs so will need to eat brekkie on marathon day I think. I had been considering not as I dont normally dont eat on race day, but am not adapted enough yet to get away with that at race pace. Good to test these things out though.
Well done on your long run Poohbear and that pace improvement shows some endrance improvement coming through I think!
Hope the socks were comfy Jelley
Good luck Tenjiso.
Silverstone is in another fortnight - apologies for my unclear post, hope I haven't panicked anybody into rushing over there today I'll be shortly heading out for an easy 14m. Good luck to today's racers, hope you get some PB's!
Picklelilly - well done on your mountain-y run - and hope the magic socks were comfy. Thanks for the info re. ShotBloks - sounds really picky wanting to know all the details, but I reckon if I'd been banking on being given a pack of 6 and only managed to get 1 blok I'd be a bit gutted and panicy!
Good run Picklelilly - you finished that quicker than I finished my 14m run this morning.
Recovery week is officially over (43m), so if all goes well next week should be a record-breaking training week for me Though, I'm still trying to decide to run the scheduled 20m, or go a mile or two further.
Well I did it!
Thanks a million for the advise earlier in the week. I came so so close to selling my place but managed to bag an appointment with a sports masseur on Thursday. I dunno what kind of magic she worked on my knee but it worked! She suggested I try the half anyway as I needed to see if she had made any difference to the pain.
Well, I did it! Enjoyed every minute of it!! Didn't stop/walk once and made my way around in 02:08:11
I know it's not super quick but c'mon......it's my first half and I couldn't run for a bus last April.
The knee is a bit achey now though!
Bring on the biggie in April now!!
Swervin Mervin - what a fantastic few days for you !! I am sure your achey knee will clear up soon. Don't worry about the time, there are plenty of people who would be delighted with 2:08 at the best of times, let alone after having had problems I have 9 miles to do later to round off a lower mileage week, before doing 33 miles next week, which will be the most I have ever done in 1 week - that finishes with 20 miles a week today !!
fantastic news Swervin Mervin - you must be delighted!!
Picklelilley - where did you get your water pouch from - are they the same ones as Brighton are using? great running as well!
B&T - personally I don't think it's picky at all - I also like to know how many/what sort etc etc as it helps relieve the anxiety - I hate not knowing info etc I'm the sort of person who like to be organised to stop me panicking!! Goodness, just read this back to myself - I sound dreadfully controlling YIKES!
Anyhow had a lovely time spinning this morning and am about to start planning next Saturday 17 mile run - from somewhere other than starting outside my house! Oh no, that's me being ultra organised again........
Swervin - great time for a first half. I believe mine was similar and my pb is now 1:33, you've got loads of imrpovements to come. Hope the knee settles and you can resume training this week
Just short of 14 miles today in lovely Welsh sunshine - I can see that lots of you are using compressions socks - can you recommend which ones please (thanks).
I'm feeling strong whilst running apart from my toes are really sore in the last few miles so I need to try somethign different in the next few weeks as i am really worried about how they will cope as my runs get longer - any advice greatfully received
Toby - just wanted to say a big thank you for your posts about the amount of long runs and how many long runs are needed before the race - they keep me from panicking !
Picklelilly - great 16 miler in the hills
Swervin - well done on your first half, 02:08:11 is a fantastic time for a first half marathon
Brighton Half Marathon for us as well - perfect weather, great crowds and organisation and PBs to boot - me 01:42:42 and hubby 01:29:13. Massively pleased with a PB of over 4 mins but even more pleased with my pacing as in previous races my pacing has always been a shocker (this is the girl whose marathon splits last year were 01:50 and 02:09 ) This is probably the first race that I've paced properly and my mile splits are pretty much equal throughtout (around 07:50) and it made such a difference. Now I just need to try and pace properly over the full 26 miles
Great running everyone, Brighton was buzzing today, can't wait for the main event now
Half marathon for me this week at race your pace in Eton, and got a PB 0f 1:57 which I was happy with. Nice flat course and perfect weather, though a very boring one too! 16 miles for my long run next week.
I have however started having real problems with my toes, this may be too much information but I've had problems with my nails for a few months now, but I am now getting really painfull blisters on the ends of my toes. Is this something that can only be solved with a new pair of shoes? Was hoping mine would last untill after the marathon but am starting to think I will just have to get it over with and fork out for another pair as it's starting to be the most uncomfotable part of my runs, especially after them . .