Fitting in the VLM and Fink for Outlaw

My plan is to do the Outlaw in 2013 and have been devouring Fink ahead of starting training at the end of this year. However, I am also in the ballot for the London marathon. Fink alone would not be enough to get me to marathon level for April and the thought of doing even more running than Fink requires scares the bejesus out of me. Has anyone had this issue before and how did you approach it. I really don't want it to be one or the other but I can't see an alternative?


  • Would training for a autumn marathon be an idea, then transfer than running capability into April. Thats my plan anyway...I'm also in the ballot for London and plan to follow Fink.


  • M..o.useM..o.use ✭✭✭

    There are lots of alternative viewpoints on spring marathon and summer IM.

    As I see it, if you need to train for London, Fink won't cut the mustard and you have to build two peak phases, with two tapers, into your training if you want to do London justice. There's a lot of tinkering to be done and it's no longer a straight build.

    Personally, I don't think that works. I think a spring marathon takes too much out of you for the IM and that they are conflicting A races.  I think you can use London as a training run but I wouldn't do that either.

    However, that is just me, there are lots of other variables, not taking it all too seriously etc etc etc.

    My last caveat (just so that I can get back on the fence) is that it might be easier to mix the two if you are a more accomplished and/or experienced athlete. So I can see that some of our pirates would be able to cope with it, but it's not for me.

    Am sure other people will have completely different opinons to me.

  • I did VLM and Outlaw this year, but I don't follow any training plans (too difficult to fit in around real life I find).  What I did find was that the training for the April marathon did mess up building up the big miles on the bike.  You have to focus on the running, then you find yourself trying to play catchup on the bike. 

    The other thing that was a pain was you have to take into account the taper period and then the recovery period for VLM which really did eat into the training time for Outlaw.  If you run a marathon hard and you're not used to them you can take a good few weeks to recover.

    Tbh though, I suppose it depends if you're really chasing a time at Outlaw.  I loved doing both so it didn't really make much difference to me, but then I'm not super speedy image

    ... and, if you're in the ballot for VLM theres a very high chance you won't get a place!

  • Another 'I don't think you can do both well' here.  I did a 'proper' P+D schedule for MK (week after London) this year and then smacked the bike mileage up afterwards (3 century+ rides) for Outlaw.  I would say I just about 'got away with it', but I've got several years experience and came off a very solid back end of 2011 (IMW and then marathon mid-October).   

  • Ah yes, that's a good point FF, the training for IMW (September) was probably still there in the legs!

  • interesting question!

    I achieved the objectives that I set for MK and Outlaw and generally saw both as a success, but at the same time can't help feeling that i perhaps didn't fulfil quite as much potential as i could in both.Just planning next year & giving serious thought about not doing a spring marathon next year... 

  • Hi Stanners (and Mr Z).  I couldn't disagree with anything anyone's said.  I'm in the same camp as Ferret and Mouse in that I don't think you can do either race justice if you do both.  I know some people would say that was a load of tosh, but people do under-estimate the time needed to recover from big races.  So one of the things you have to factor in is, as Ferret says, how deep is your base, how well do you recover (which will be affected by your age etc) and how disappointed would you be if you didn't really feel you did yourself justice at either race?

    I've prioritised summer IM for the last three years - and couldn't face (and wasn't recovered enough for) training for an autumn mara.  It's one of the reasons I've retired from IM.  I want to go  back to marathons.  But then I am old so can't do everything.

    If you do get a place in the VLM ballot you can always defer it and focus on Outlaw. Is Outlaw your first IM?  FWIW I think with IM it's better to train hard and race easy. It's too long a day to have a crap time because you're not well-enough prepared.  Focus on Outlaw, train really well - partic on the bike - and have a fab time at Outlaw.  Then you've got lots of lovely endurance in your legs for an assault on a spring mara the following year. Unless you're hooked on IM by then, in which case... you're doomed anyway image

  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭

    I've done VLM twice before IM races - 2005 and 2010 - and didn't see any problems with it.  my 2005 marathon is still my PB as well.

    you just need to get canny with the training to ensure you can fit training for both events in.

    get the base training in over summer and autumn, use spring for marathon training  but keep the bike miles high but on less rides; after the marathon, switch the emphasis to bike training and reduce the run miles.   

    more experienced people wouldn't see the problem at all

  • I've run a Spring Marathon for aaaages and then the summer Ironman on top. 

    I dont think its a problem as FB says - certainly for the more experienced. My Sunday  rides are always 50 miles as a minimum all year round so that keeps me ticking over - I only ramp the distance up once the marathon is out of the way. Still leaves you with 8 weeks of increased milage on the bike ? 

    FBs ideas seem sound. I've never done Fink though - probably why I'm a crap ironman !


  • What about a wider gap? Brighton is in mid April and Challenge Henley is mid September? Some 20 weeks enough?

    Also, when mara training to do something vaguely reasonable (for me c.8.30mm would be a decent target I think) how many times a week will you be running? Does it exclude any bike training? I'd always understood that bike training helped run training, but not the other way round? 

    I could start my base training tomorrow....

  • I knew you two would be along soon! I would break if I did both. But as you say, it's about how deep your base is and how good you are at recovering and although FB is very old, he does have a deep endurance base because he's been at it for years. And doing at least 50 miles a week year round is going to give you a great cycling base.
  • In the same boat, really interesting to read the replies. But it's the ballot so the chances of getting in are pretty slim.


  • I did two spring maras this year before outlaw and I suffered due to not enough time on the bike and too much marathon specific training. Not convinced that eight weeks rest between the two and the outlaw gave me enough recovery time either. If I had not run the first Nara as a a race might have been easier.
  • I'm following this thread with intent.  I feel great at the minute, better than I felt coming into Outlaw.  Peaked too late perhaps?

    Upshot is that I'm running a marathon this Saturday and considered a long distance tri next month.  What I've decided on is the marathon on Saturday and the half distance held on the same day and venue as the full.  The last thing I want is a flare up of the injury that buggered my run at Outlaw.

  • I did some spring maras this year (of which one was raced hard) and also think that had an impact on my ability to perform well at Outlaw,   interestingly enough the year before I pulled out of doing a spring marathon due to a niggling injury but didn't need to recover from a raced marathon,  I managed to put in a reasonable performance at Outlaw that year (which also had the benefit of being 3 weeks later so more potential recovery / specific training time).   For me it's possible to do a spring mara and summer IM but one will be slightly compromised in terms of potential achievement. 
    Good luck anywayimage

  • TRTR ✭✭✭

    CRAB, PAdams  and CD have all run some pretty fast marathons in IM build up, maybe not as fast as they would have run with a run only build up, but so what ? With due respect they are not going to win the marathon or the IM so I'm not sure they really care.

    If you hold back a little bit on marathon day then you shouldnt lose much training at all, and long runs are needed for IM training anyway.

  • I have done a number of Spring marathons and then an IM the closest I have been was Paris then IM Nice.

    I treat them as a long training run...

    In winter I substitute the Wednesday run for a Spinning class at the gym... and the Saturday run becomes a bike and then a short run. or a second long spinning session.. depending on the weather.

    Actually where I live I can do very little on the bike till Easter anyway... so putting my efforts into getting the running sorted works well for me... then I ramp up the biking and keep the running ticking over...

  • I did it this year. Mara was A race with Outlaw being a fun day out with friends. Not certain you can ace both and it is unlikely the Mara will help the IM but it can be done. Outlaw ended up 20 mins slower than last year which disn't have a spring Mara.

    An autumn Mara? Well I have a place in New York!

    As most have said it depends how much base training you have done, how quickly you recover and how mentally solid you are. I could wing an IM almost any time of the year - wouldn't be quick or pretty but it could be done.
  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭
    Artful Hen wrote (see)
    although FB is very old, he does have a deep endurance base because he's been at it for years. And doing at least 50 miles a week year round is going to give you a great cycling base.

    errm - I may be old but my endurance base in 2005 wasn't that deep - that was my 2nd marathon and my 1st IM year.  however I was very focused and had done a huge amount of bike training over the previous autumn.  

    and in 2010 I blagged it on a lot less training overall (for a number of reasons) but on the back of 5 years of pretty solid training LD training which helped

    perhaps the key is not to stick to a rigid plan like Fink??  I've never used a published training plan (bar for my 1st marathon back in 2003 and trying the FIRST plan for my last marathon - which got me injured!!) and have gone on my own plans which have worked for me.  my plans have science and madness but can also cope with variables as they are meant to be flexible - as long as I can get the key sessions done, the rest falls around them.

    and if you look at the training plans of some of the faster IM around these parts like Mellifera (who won the Outlaw ladies race), and 10' (9:28 at Roth), then you'e be crapping yourselves with fear.   they put in huge training loads and their taper weeks are well above what some on here are doing at peak training.  Ok, they now have bags of experience behind them but it's still impressive to see that hard graft brings rewards.

    I personally don't think there is anything to fear with a spring marathon and a summer IM - just think about what your are doing and apply yourself to the task.  and if you don't try, you won't know will you???


  • Interesting comments. General concensus seems to be a hard mara WILL affect an IM performance but that treating them as a long training run shouldnt be too bad. 

    So, question... how much slower that your target stand alone mara would you need to go?  Drop 30/45 secs a mile off? So, for example, dropping from a target max race p[ace of 8mm to 8.45 mm sort of drop? Or drop right back to LSD conversational pace and chat your way round at 10mm?

  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭

    I think the more important question Gladys is - how long between the marathon and IM??  that is more of a dictator of effort in my mind than anything else.

    I gave VLM full bore and PB'd and was perfectly happy by quite a margin with my first IM 3 months later.   if there was a month between I'd need to revise and decide which was the key race - if it's the marathon, then give it full throttle and take it easier on the IM; other way around, and I'd probably do the marathon at projected IM pace

  • Cheers FB. For me it will be mid April to mid Sept (Henley) so longer than most.


  • KhanivoreKhanivore ✭✭✭

    Really interesting thread. I have a definite spot (charity) in 2013 VLM. It will be my first marathon and I started training 2 or 3 months ago with zero physical activity behind me and at LEAST 4 stone overweight. I then discovered the wonders of Ironman and I am goign to shoot for either IMW or Challenge Henley in 2013. 

    There is around 5 months between them isn't there? My totally inexperienced view is that this should be plenty of time image

  • Gladys M. wrote (see)

    Cheers FB. For me it will be mid April to mid Sept (Henley) so longer than most.


    5 months,  that's loads of time for most normal mortals.........the additional pressure that you'll have Gladys,  is building in the required time to refine your technique into something that could be recognised as a runimage

  • imageimageimageimage you're just a sore loser!

  • As I think most others have said a big part of it down to the general fitness and training you have and if you sacrifice specific IM training in your marathon buildup.  This year has been a busy one for me....

    In late January I did the Challenge Wanaka IM race.  Coming back from that big holiday over the other side of the world from mid-February to late April I didn't swim or bike (other than commuting) and concentrated fully on running with the aim of getting a Good For Age time at VLM.  Result was I got my GFA time.

    Straight after the London Marathon I had to jump back on my bike and get ready for Outlaw.  Bike mileage increased rapidly and I had to get back to long 15+ mile runs within two or three weeks of the marathon.  Having a good base of fitness allowed my body to take the training load (although the load is no where near the amount of training that Melli etc. do).

    For me the 10 weeks between VLM and Outlaw was fine.  It would have been even better had I cycled more in the lead up to VLM rather than cramming it all in starting from late April.

    2013 I have similar and even more ambitious plans to test this further.  I'm planning on running London Marathon (as I now have a Good For Age place) and am then doing IM Lanzarote four weeks later.  Yes, four weeks later.  I'm hoping to get a fair bit quicker with my running so that I can have an 'easy' marathon at London and still put down a good time.  I will not be sacrificing swim/running during my marathon buildup as I'll be heading into IM taper a couple of weeks later.

    If you're doing VLM and Outlaw/Henley then I think you'll be fine.  Just make sure you keep focussed and training on all sports (I like that Cougie said he does 50m rides every week anyway and just built up after VLM).

  • Just to come in a bit late here, having done a hard VLM before Outlaw for the past two years, I found that the Outlaw being 3 weeks earlier this year than in 2011 made quite a difference, with almost a month less between the two. I had to fit in some longer rides in before VLM which I'd have otherwise left until May.

    That said, VLM was close to optimal, and did it make a difference to Outlaw? Maybe, but not by much and as TR pointed out, does it matter? Skipping races I want to do to possibly gain a few minutes at another isn't worth doing, IMO.
  • Big workload there Funkin. So are you having a good rest period now before the onslaught starts again?

    I think our bodies are amazing and will cope will anything and will survive any race you make it do. Whether you manage an optimal performance is another matter. If it doesn't matter that's fine, but personally I ain't putting all that IM training in (with all the other strains it generates) to be happy with less than my best. But, again, that's horses for courses and we all have different reasons for doing big races.

    I do think though that we all owe our bodies a regular rest from training. We ask a lot from our bodies - and they deliver - but they will break if we take the piss and push them for too hard for too long without a break.
  • The tricky thing is we don't know where our breaking points are. So we push ourselves just a little bit more, and a little bit more... then we get pissed off when we get illl or injured. We are only human, so of course we'll push it.
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