Should I DROP my mileage to start this training schedule?

I'm entered for Liverpool marathon in October so have downloaded a training schedule from the Training section for a 3:45. The time is optimistic on my part (especially for a first marathon), but I would love to do a sub 4 marathon and so I thought I may as well start training properly for it! image

My concern is that the mileage (weekly) is lower than I'm currently doing and I'm a bit worried about dropping this down too far ready for such a long run! Also the schedule is for 5 runs a week and currently I find that 6 is about right for me.

I completed my first half at Reading in 1:44 and have tend to run about 35 miles a week which feels about right for me. Can anyone recommend a plan as I'm at a loss whether to completely change my running and follow the downloaded plan or whether I should just do as I'm told image and follow it as the people writing these things know what they're doing! image  


  • I think training is very individual if I'm honest. Some people have to follow a schedule to the letter others come and go a bit. I would look around at a few different training plans to see if there are any that better suit your needs.

    I'd ask around the forums as I'm sure there will be some pros knocking around that will be able to give you a better idea. I ran my first marathon a couple of weeks ago and I near enough ignored the training plan and did what felt right, only did one long run. Completed in 4h20. Do what feels best.

  • Is this the starting mileage ?  You'll find that as the long runs get longer you'll be doing more than 35 miles anyway - a long run of 20 and thats over half your current weekly miles done. 

    Sounds to me like a sub 4 is well within your grasp if you train properly - but up to you whether you want to choose a plan (plenty to choose from - some may suit you more than others) or adapt what youve been doing. Would you be confident in your own plan ? 

  • Thanks Cougie and First Loser for your replies. fL - how did you find the marathon after only one long? Would you do the same again?

    Cougie - I wouldn't be confident enough to develop my own plan. I love running (usually!) but I'm not confident enough to feel that I'd be able to get through a marathon using my own plan. I'm sure it's purely mental but I feel easier following aomething tried and tested. (although I'm still doubting the RW one!image )
  • Well theres more than just RW - I've adapted the Hal Higdon ones in the past - so maybe have a look at those ?  A good plan has to be believable and to fit in with your lifestyle.  And you have to adapt it to your body. Theres no point in slavishly doing every session if your body and health arent coping with it. 

  • A good place to start is Road Racing for Serious Runners by Pfitzinger and Douglas, loads of training plans and explains why to run each session.

    In the meantime don't drop down the mileage, but think about this stage as base building so you are strong, lots of long runs in the country...what better way to enjoy the summer

  • The RW plans are fine. I mixed one RW with another plan and the two together were fine.

    Remember any plan should be flexible anyway, not a prescription ... If you follow it to the letter, it does not mean you will be able to do the marathon in particular time.

    So Reading was your first half recently, and Liverpool your first marathon?

    I did Liverpool last year in 3:48 off a 1:39 half - also at Liverpool.

    To be honest, I think you are being a little optimistic time wise.. aim to finish first, then maybe go for sub 4.

    I get you doing about 3:55.. And Liverpool is a little bit harder due to the 3 hills / incline areas... Maybe cost you 5-10 minutes?

    But be flexible, 35-45 is fine mileage wise for me, did 3:30 off that. Everyone varies.
  • No, ignore the schedule, train as you are.. when it tells you to do more, that is when you start to use it.  After that stick to it.  STEPPING BACKWARDS WILL NOT HELP YOU NOW. Sterp back 4 weeks ahead of the event, everything you do before that builds "speed stamina", after that nothing you do really improves your potential, it just stops you losing too quickly.

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭

    I would start the plan now at where it suggests you should be doing the mileage you are doing now. eg Start week 10 or whatever now. Then when you get up to the 20milers repeat a few weeks. ie keep up at marathon level by running one 20miler a month for 2 or 3 months.

    So you are probably doing 13 or 15 milers as your longest run now. It will take you another month to 6 weeks to get up to a 20 miler. Then usually they suggest you do a 20 miler every 3 weeks. So you'll be able to get about 4 or 5 20milers in.

  • Hey RRR - glad you're coming out to play - I had the same dilemma a couple of weeks ago - I opted to step down my mileage to what the plan started at - though am still convincing myself that I'm "consolidating" the training that I've done so far this year!

    ps I reckon you can go sub 4 - I ran my first mara in 3:49 off a 1.:45 half!  Would love to know how you're getting on.  We've got a post-Paris thread going on if you fancy popping your head in ...

  • RunnyRunRun - I managed fine, was a little shocked by the heat on long stretches and felt a bit stiff after mile 18. Recovered well with no injuries, just a blue toenail on my left foot. I wouldn't recommend ignoring a schedule for people with little running experience. I've been running for 3 years, with more than a few half marathons and long runs along the way. Seemed to work okay for me.

  • RRR, if you are doing 35 miles a week without a big run in the mix then you are doing quite well already. Don't step back. The programmes are trying to be all things to all folks, and as we know that's not possible.
    A good programme has distinct phases, usually 3.
    1) Base mileage to build up endurance. (How long have you got? Months? A year?)
    2) Addition of some speed work. (say 4 -6 weeks)
    3) Taper (say 2-3 weeks)

    You've clearly come into the programme with a good base. A first HM of 1:44 is a great result. If you are comfortable on 6 days/week, then fantastic. The routine really helps get the backside out of the door. I'd suggest that the base phase to work on is the long run. The second half of a marathon is much further than the first. Add 2 miles onto the length of your long run each week. Once it was above 20 I needed to alternate between a 22 and an easier 15 miler. This will be your base phase. Keep the 20+ runs going in, all the way up to taper time. There will be good and bad days. It's not about speed.
    In the speed phase, I'd be adding one midweek session of interval training. All sorts of random sessions. It's about leg speed and different muscle sets. Short races count.
    The taper has a lot of stuff written about it. Taper phases work. Treat them seriously. It's better to arrive at the starting line 3% under trained than 3% over trained.

    Don't forget to have fun....

  • What I do is to keep my mileage constant and wait until it matches the one on the schedule while following the plan's suggested speedwork/tempo runs and just adding on the exta miles as warm-up/warm-down.  Definitely don't drop the mileage, though I found as my long runs increased I did drop one run a week to give myself an extra rest day (effectively combining the mileage on 2 days to make a longer run).  

    As Blisters says, "have fun"image

  • Thanks for all your help!! Really, really helped me. Just an update ... Finished Liverpool in 3:45:11.

    Thanks for your advice. I waited until the training plans caught up with mileage and followed it loosely adding in the long training runs when the plan said too. Really appreciated the help from you guys as just didn't have a clue what to do in first marathon. image
  • Great time.  Well done runny.

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