Realistic expectations for 1st marathon

Well I've bitten the bullet and signed up for the Dartmoor Vale marathon on 21st October. Left it too late for Abbingdon so running a tougher one instead. What would be a realistic target? A bit of back ground - half pb 1.23. 10k 36.45. 46 year old vet. Can easily run 1.30 Half at fairly easy pace in training. I am not silly enough to believe the calculators which predict sub 3 hours! Although I am prepared to give it 100% and follow a tough 16 week programme. What would be a sensible target? Really want to give it a lash and not leave too much time on the table.


  • Have a butchers at this thread  using actual times form runners on here, the average conversion half to full is 2.25 x half time. 

    Concensus was the calculators are a "best case" predictor, not an acurate one.

    good luck. image 

  • Thanks Helen. Some great info on that thread. According to that outcome should be around 3.07. Factor in a couple of hills and a few wobbles 3.10 would be a good target.
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    If you were running something flat and fast I would say there'd be nothing drastically wrong with having sub-3 in mind as a potential target, but if Dartmoor Vale is tougher (I know nothing about the course) then 3:10 sounds like a sensible one.  If London holds any interest at all, the Good For Age target for you would be 3:15, so that could be a back-up target if you start struggling.

    With those times, you've definitely got a sub-3 inside you, but there's a good deal of training needs to be done to convert as well as the predictors predict.  Pop over to the sub-3 thread and let us know how the training's going.


  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭

    Dylan I think you should zip up your man suit and go for sub 3 with those times! I'm 45 with 42 (Aug 2011), 1:29 (Mar 2012), 3:15 (Oct 2011) - I'm doing Dart Vale too and going to give sub 3 a shot! I've done 3 ultras this year (1 more to do) so I know stamina is not an issue so will be working on speed between now and then. There are a couple of hills but it is not a hideously tough course. A big focus for your first is to get fuelling/hydration strategy right.
    You live in Devon?

  • Thanks Phil. 3.15 was always in my mind as based on last years results that would get me 2nd in v45 and a trophy which would be nice. I will definitely follow a sub 3 programme and will join in the sub 3 forum. Any ideas on a good 16 week schedule? I am able to run 6 times a week. Was going to download a RW garmin ready at last resort but they always seem a wee bit aggressive? Thanks again.
  • Jeremy. Live in Bristol but folks in Plymouth about 30 mins from course hence why I chose it. Was going to do Abingdon but too late! Any tips on fueling and hydration would be most welcome! All new to me as generally do a half without a drink.
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I'm not verly familiar with the RW plans but from what I recall they're a bit heavy on the intervals.  Since my first marathon where I used one of Hal Higdon's intermediate plans I've made up my own schedules.  HH goes the other way from RW if anything, with very straightforward schedules which you can tweak by adding tempo runs etc. so may be worth checking out.  Otherwise a lot of sub-3 threaddies swear by Pfitzinger & Douglas, whose schedules are based on overall weekly mileage targets.


  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭

    Plus one for Pfitzinger & Douglas, used it on my last 3 marathons to improve each time (3:42, 3:29, 3:15). Also has a lot on fuelling etc. Like you for a half I don't really have a drink. For a full I will take about 3-4 gels but start 1 hr before having 1/2 every 30 min. You need to find which brand/flavour work for you and how many you can stomach - also have to make sure you drink the volume of water required by each. Too little and you won't absorb anything which is why I only have half at a time so I can drink less more often. Use your long runs (20+) to practise fuelling etc as I am sure you know.

  • Just ordered the Pfitzinger and Douglas advanced marathon book and will arrive tomorrow!!
  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭

    Look forward to the trophy smackdown! image

  • No doubt there will be some fresh talent arriving who didn't enter last year. Always the way!! Did a local 10k recently where I thought I was nailed on for a top 3 but a big club included it as one of there runs and ended up with 6th. Grrrrrr.
  • Hty984 I think you have a serious amount of fucking off to do. Start now.
  • Dylan were spammed..but one of the spam moderators have removed the post as they try too...........which now makes Dangerous Gavins post a bit stupid.....well more stupid that it wasimage

  • Thanks Seren!!
  • Got the Pfitzinger book yesterday and started a 50 to 70 mile a week 18 week schedule last night. Kicked off with an 'aerobic' 8 miler. Very nice it was to. Feels great to be on the road to a new goal. Read a few chapters of the book already and very impressed. Nice and easy to follow. Looking forward to the 16 miler on Sunday. Oh, also got a copy of nutrition for marathon running by Jane Griffin.
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I'm more familiar with the first part of the book than the actual schedules.  Yes, that's a very good read and I tend to recommend the book to people who want to understand the fundamentals of marathon training even if they're not following the schedules.  Probably the clearest explanation I've seen of the different types of training required for exercising all the elements of fitness required - LT, VO2, endurance, etc. 

    Unfortunately they've updated things since the edition I've got so you don't get photos of 80's dudes running in day-glo socks, tight shorts and ray-bans!  image

  • I'm also busy digesting Pfitzinger & Douglas, it's quite an enjoyable read with a plethora of salient information. Some of the training plans are probably best described as intimidating.
  • Big fan of Pfitzinger & Douglas, although Steve's RW plan took me to a new PB by over 10mins in Paris, so I wouldn't discount them either, if your looking to go fast the reps really are key.  On targets, I subscribe to the 3 target plan, acceptable, good and perfect.

    as it your first marathon the acceptable target has to be get round

    Good would be sub-3:15 for the GFA place

    Then Perfect would be 3:07 based on the converter stats put together on the thread mentioned by HL above.  (I was an outlier on this as my conversion is 2.05)

  • Dylan

    I would say sub 3 hours is well on. I started running in January, posted a 1:28 in April  (Reading HM) as my first race. Went on to run 3:02 in Wales Marathon, 10th June. That was hilly , approx 850m elevation. My aim for that race was to achieve GFA time below 3:15.

    Sounds like you are well ahead of me with your HM time. I hacked a few plans together for my first marathon, and ran a lot of hills as part of the long runs to make them race specific.

    I am now commencing a P&D 16 week plan for an autumn marathon on something flatter. Using their 50 - 70 miles per week with a few modifications as I do quite a bit of walking mileage.

    Did the 16 mile run from the plan last week. Got home, family crisis, no phone  etc etc, and I ended up doing another 15 miles (had to walk 3 of them! - wimp). Not the best start, but now I have a 50k under my belt.

  • Also ran. That is very impressive! My debut half was 1.35 after 6 weeks training and then lopped 12 mins off in 6 months. Reckon you must be a natural to do those times straight off the bat. Did my 12 mile medium long run tonight. Slow pace but very hot and thirsty. Was desperate to drink! Nice 5 mile recovery tomorrow and boy do I need it (43 miles since Sunday). Anyway back to the book for some bed time reading.
  • Hi Dylan, I did a HM after 4 weeks in a training event running with a pacer, so my debut time was 1.41. Spent ages running behind a bloke wearing a Lucozade bottle before deciding I could run faster!

    Regarding Targets, my A target of sub 3:15 was changed from sub 3:30 after doing a few long runs of 22 miles where about 12 miles was run at marathon pace. I then reset my targets to A. Sub 3:15 (perfect day), and B: Sub 3:25 (Ok for first marathon). 

    I don't think I have any natural ability - it is down to some focused, distance specific training. A lot of people on here seem to rate the P&D plans so I am using them this time.

    I respect the distance but did not set a target of "just get round". Personally find that too soft and vauge if you train properly for the distance. My main target was get under 3:15 (1 second, or 30 mins would have done), and I wanted to run the whole distance (one of the hills almost got me).

    There are some good threads. I joined in:

    Maybe you should look at the sub 3:00 thread. These are good for advice etc, and a lot of people on them are familiar with P&D schedules 

  • Also ran. Sounds like your first time out plan is similar to my plan. Just getting around is not an option. 3.15 GFA is minimum requirement for me unless wheels start to fall off. Something I am struggling with at the moment is disciplining myself to run the long runs or part of them at MP + 25%. My natural comfortable pace that I run without thinking (what i like to call 'pipe and slippers pace') is around 7.15 which is only 15 secs slower than target MP. So hard to run at 7.45 to 8!! I know I have to learn. So boring..........
  • I know whay you mean. I have based  my training paces this time on a 2:58 target time. This gives a Mcmillan range of 7:18 - 8:18 for long runs, 7:18 - 7:48  for easy runs (general aeorbic runs in P&D terms) and Recovery 8:18 - 8:48 , Tempo 6:11 - 6:27

    This is working ok so far

  • Also ran. A bit off topic I know but did you change your type of shoes for full marathon and high mileage training. Ive been using nothing but Adidas adizero adios for all my training and racing.Towards the tail end of a half I feel maybe these are not giving me the cushioning I need for longer distances. Wondered whether I should go back to the Adidas adizero tempos which are 85g more but offer a bit more support and cushion for high mileage. Interested in your opinion as you have probably already faced this dilemma and have experience?
  • I have run in the same model of trainer post half marathon in April. I am a mild pronator and need a little bit of support and am using Asics 1160s. Before that I had a pair of new balance that were for pronators that had a lot of support. I was advised to reduce the level of support when I went for a new pair in April. The Asics and the New Balance were well cushioned.

  • I'm pretty neutral and less than 70kgs so don't need a great deal of support but the adizero are flats and after 13 miles I can feel stones through the soles!!! Worried they will become uncomfortable in high 20 plus mileage. I think I will get some adizero tempos and see how they feel overa 3 to 4 week period. I've got so used to running in 200g shoes the tempos will feel like lead boots!
Sign In or Register to comment.