Becoming a elite marathon runner

I joined a running club tonight and whent for a trial the coach told us to do a lap of the track at a 6 mins mile pace do this for 5 times how can i become a elite marathon runner in a running club.

Do all top elite runners join running clubs. How can i become a top elite athlete at road running 


  • Hi Alex.

    The easy answer is to run lots, it gets more complicated once you have a couple of year's of running plenty under your belt but that's the most important step.

    You'll get a lot from being with a club including the chance to train with people of a similar and better standard to where you are.

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    In reality no one chooses to become an elite of any occupation or activity. The normal process is trying something out and if you happen to have a talent for it and actually enjoy what the activity is then that is a good starting point. The question should really be, 'How good a runner could I possibly be?'. A chap called Keith Anderson asked this question of himself and went from being an decent runner to an elite. But it was a process for him of great calculation and application. Not a wasted moment. Its very difficult to do that. That's what hard training really is. Getting it right.

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    Agree with RicF. Alex Vero also did the challenge 'overweight to olympic challenger'. definitely worth a watch if you want to see what an 'ordinary' lad can do.

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Alex, if you want to become an elite marathon runner, pick your parents carefully.



  • RatzerRatzer ✭✭✭

    Alex, if I've got this right you're 15 years old, and run about 30 miles per week?  I don't know when you started on your life plan for running, but I would say that because of your age you will develop differently to adults in a running club.  Running lots is an answer, but only part of the answer.  You need to train differently to adults as your natural VO2max and HR will be higher.  You need to do some harder training to improve the VO2max, and it may be better to concentrate on long sprint or middle distance efforts, backed up by lots of easier running.

    I note from other posts that you've made that you believe that you have to make each 5 mile run you do hit a certain, faster pace.  This isn't the optimum way to train for you, or anyone.  Not at least whilst your pace is where it is now.  I think you should try an athletics club, doing middle distance training, as part of a longer term plan to get a great marathon time.  Many, certainly not all, elite marathoners are middle distancers who've moved to longer races, or great track racers in their own right.  You have age on your side giving you the opportunity to try this out, improving your strength, speed, and pace tolerance, before concentrating solely on longer distances on the road.

    Good luck!  I hope you maintain this level of motivation!

  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    A good club will have a coach who is experience in training younger athletes, and you should follow their advice.  Improving is not just about running every run at a faster pace than the last. 

    How do you become an elite runner?  Hard work and listening to people who know what they are doing.

    However, if you don't have the genes for it, it won't happen no matter how much you train.


  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    also depends on how you define "elite".

    Is elite, running in the Olympics, being top 100 in the country,  or is it sub 20mins for 5k (i once saw that classed as "elite" in a race image)

    If it's the former, eventually you'll probably be looking at doing 120-140miles a week image

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    If its any consolation, I know of someone who was pretty much the most untalented runner ever. However, they were very interested in being a better runner. By the time they were 30 years old they had run 57 mins for 10 miles and 2:52 for a marathon. Even I was beaten by a minute a mile by other kids at school, and I ended up running 73 mins for 13 miles. So what could they have done?

  • Alex you don't just decide to become an elite runner. The first step is determine if it's at all possible. ie have you chosen the right parents. If you are lucky enough to have the right genes, then I guess it's just hard work and dedication. Find a running coach to guide you in the right direction.

  • RatzerRatzer ✭✭✭

    Oh, yes, if you haven't got the right parents I'd just give up straight away!

    Could someone point out the right genes for me.  I've had my genome mapped already, obviously, so I can check on it to see if they're there...  image  If they are then I'll get on and give it a go!

    *Sorry to be sarky* image  Hard work and dedication is good advice.

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Yeah come on SSING, i'd done the classic "pick your parents wisely" gag about 10 posts back!

  • tricialitttricialitt ✭✭✭

    I'm not sure that we're being very constructive here.

    Alex- you've started a lot of threads over the last 3 months asking much the same thing.

    It's good that you've followed advice and joined a club, now you need to let the coaches at the club see what you can do, and guide you as to whether your ambitions are achievable, and how to go about them. It's going to need a lot of patience , I expect.

    Good luck.

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    Agree with Tricialitt - you've created a lot of threads asking the same questions. In three months you'll not see the big difference. Why not talk to your coaches at the club and see what they recommend. If you're at a good club - they'll be able to help steer you and manage your expectations accordingly.

  • Train slow easy miles for 12 weeks build Upto 70 miles per week with your weekly long run build this up to two hrs then do lactate threshold training twice a week after your 12 week build up only for six weeks max then back to your 12 week base building again this will get you in good shape you can do some races duing build up phase but I would do no more than 2 races a week as to avoid injury
  • Sorry I meant 2 races a month
  • I run a 2 44 marathon and a 1 15 half this way
  • Eddie cullen wrote (see)
    I run a 2 44 marathon and a 1 15 half this way

    Possibly a sensible looking plan for an experienced runner looking to run those sorts of times.  Not so sensible advice to give a 15 year old with long term ambitions to become an elite marathon runner.

    Wonder how he's getting on?

  • He probably wants to be a ninja by now.

  • 3 months you say? Someone been watching the Olympics?
  • I've always wondered how late is too late to go from being fairly sedentary to an accomplished runner? When I say accomplished, I mean being be able to run sub 6min miles for a marathon. 'Picking the right parents' is so much more than the right genes, it is having support and pressure to get you into something early enough in your life course to be good at it. I didn't start racing until I was 23, I'm now 26. I wonder if that's too late...

  • Marcus, probably nowhere near being too late if that's your aim and you work like an utter dog, and don't get injured. What's that, say sub 2hr 40?

    Better to have shorter term aims though. Having one major aim must be a bit of a downer when you know you're miles off it.

  • There is a runner is south wales  who didn't start until he was 38 and he was a couple of stone overweight......

    this year he has ran a 55:14 for a 10 miler and a 43:21 for a 8 miler already.........

    he is turning 60 this to become good then you don't always have to start young

     he has a 66:42 PB for a half marathon and a 2:23 for a full..........there are many non vets who would like to have those timesimage

  • Sound advice Stevie G. I take your point that setting manageable short-term goals is a better way to progress. Sub 6min miles equates to roughly a 2hr 36 marathon. I'm going for 2:45 in London but I just wonder if I hit that target, how many more peak years I have before it becomes so much harder (age-related) to knock chunks off of my times.   

  • OK wow, thanks for that seren nos. That fills me with hope!

  • Sub 2hr 45 is a pretty fast target in itself. Do you have other times in line with that on shorter stuff, or have you just had a big training block?

    You're probably needing to be 1hr 15 for a half and have marathon experience to hit a 2:45 unless you move up seamlessly.

    Always different though. I know a woman with a 1:17 half and 2:42 pb

  • > @Stevie G said:
    > Sub 2hr 45 is a pretty fast target in itself. Do you have other times in line with that on shorter stuff, or have you just had a big training block?
    > You're probably needing to be 1hr 15 for a half and have marathon experience to hit a 2:45 unless you move up seamlessly.
    > Always different though. I know a woman with a 1:17 half and 2:42 pb

    Hi @Stevie G ,

    I hope you're good and still use the forum. Following on this conversation and proof in the pudding, it took me another 2.5 years to get under 2'45 which I did in Florence.

    Another 2.5 years on and I ran a 2'35 at Berlin last year so progress has still been good but harder to come by. I was aiming for a sub 2 30 attempt in Berlin this year and things were looking good but I've been struck down with a stress fracture in the heel!

    How's things your end?
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