Thoughts on my options for next year.

Hi all,

I've got my eye on 3 long races next year. Liverpool marathon on Jan 1st, Manchester marathon on 28th April and Ladybower 50 (my first Ultra) on Sept 22nd. I'm unsure if I can fit the training in for all 3.

What I'd like to do is run Liverpool as a training run, Manchester as a hard run and try a get back to training ASAP for the Ladybower.

Is it possible to run a slow marathon as a training run without recovery eating into the time I should be training for Manchester and also to train for an Ultra on just under 4 months training after running a hard marathon (I know from experience that I will lose 3-4 weeks to recovery after running Manchester hard).

Another option is to run L:iverpool hard, Manchester as a training run for the Ladybower but I'm not keen on doing this as I havn't really got enough time to get into PB shape for Liverpool wheras I have for Manchester.

Sorry for the lengthy post, thanks for reading. Any thoughts/ advice would be appreciated.




  • Hi GazOC, brief answer, yes and yes. I did something very similar during this year.

    I ran London Ultra 50 K on 19th Feb, then M'cr, as you may recall, then North Downs Way 50-miles on 11th August (with a 30-miler as a training run a month before).  

    Yes, you can run Liverpool as a training run and you've then got say a week to rest then a 16-week training schedule for M'cr. After that, once you've had a few weeks to recover (tokk me longer than I'd expected), I recommend looking at e.g.

    Not sure where you're up to in terms of long run distance at the moment, but you've got eight weeks before Liverpool, so I suggest following a 50K training schedule between now and then, rather than a marathon training schedule. Try looking at e.g. - of course, if you're intending to run Liverpool as a training run, you don't need to reach the end of that schedule, just be approaching the 26-miles training run. Another one which I used was - I can send you a copy of that one converted to miles, if it would be useful. I used a combination of those - the Run for the Toad one to start with and later the Ultraladies. I found the back-to-backs very hard work but incredibly useful in building endurance.

    The important thing to remember is that the emphasis for ultratraining is distance/time on feet, not speed. You can cut out all the speedwork if necessary to enable you to put in the miles/hours without getting injured - although the odd parkrun or tempo run is kind of nice.


  • Thanks for the reassuring advice Debra. What sort of pace should I be looking at for the long runs? I currently do the 16-20 milers around 8 mins/ mile. Maybe something like 8:30-8:45?

    I'd appreciate that schedule in miles if you don't mind, my address is

    I bought a book on ultra running, "Relentless Forward Progress" and the scheules in that really emphasise the back to back long runs with very little during the week similar to the ones you've posted.



  • I think you'll be fine- I did 2 marathons and my fisrt usltra (50k) last year as- april- Lochaber mara (raced), october- loch ness mara(raced), nov Glen Ogle ultra ( finished), so thats 3 similar races, over 6 months. I did not do as big mileage as the trainig plans suggest, but did do a lot of short back-to-backs of 11 miles commuting each way before/ after work. It was fine.

    I suspect you'll find that your ability to recover from the marathon improves once your trainig mileage increases. Certainly I was back running 1 week later both times this year- used to be 3-4 weeks as you describe.

  • GazOC. Pace is personal, of course, and depends on terrain and on how much navigating you're doing as you go, but yes, I'd suggest slowing down at least that much. Remember, the aim is to put in lots of miles, then be able to go out and do it again! I've sent you that schedule. Hope it's useful.

  • In my limited experience, Gaz, I've tended to find those (i.e. the blokes in my club) that follow a more ultrarunner mindset and programme pay less attention to pace and try and maintain something that means a race on Sunday doesn't mean they won't show up to training on Tuesday. They're fast, of course, but not overly concerned with being fastest.

    It seems like you're gunning for speed and that's obviously going to take it out of you massively. I'd argue given plenty of miles then you could do a marathon at a gentler pace and then get straight back on the horse, but if you gun it, then you'll probably not feel like it.

    Kudos for wanting to do it properly regarding training, though if time is pressing then I'd advise prioritisation of one race above the others, using one marathon to feel your way into the sort of effort needed at the next marathon or even the 50k.

  • Tricia: Thats some schedule mate 3 big races in 6 months. I kinda feel embarrassed for asking about my 3 in 9 schedule.imageimage

    Debra: Got your Email, cheers. How important did you feel the hill work was? My 3 races next year are all pretty flat but is the hill work for leg strenght generally in ultras rather than just for hilly ultras (if you get my drift)?

    Seven: I agree, I think I need to get away from running say 8 mins a mile for 20 miles and start thinking about running for 3 hours today and 2 hours tomorrow. Cheers.

    Anyhoo, I'm a firm believer in booking races early and giving myself something to work towards so I've entered the LadyBower 50 and Manchester marathon. The Liverpool marathon is open to entries on the day so I'm going to follow Debras 50K schedule and Hadd training and see how I feel nearer the time for that one.

    Thanks all,


  • I'd be interested to see how you get on, I've got a marathon that I'm planning to just 'get around' followed by a half a week later where I'm looking for a good time.

  • I've got a feeling that "getting around" a marathon may be easier said than done!

  • GazOC: I didn't follow the suggested hill training - I was nursing a hamstring tendon by slowing down while still upping the miles, so I wasn't going to put it under stress by doing hills! I used that schedule more for the mileage pattern, particularly because at the beginning I couldn't follow the Ultraladies 50K suggested weekend long runs because I couldn't run that far yet - the Run for the Toad schedule gave a more gradual build up. I later switched more to the other schedule.

    I did recce runs along the route of the ultras I was training for, which gave me some training on that terrain, and my club's Wednesday and Sunday runs tend to be fairly undulating, and my parkrun course has a locally-infamous hill to run up - twice. During the next nine months I'm going to have to put in a lot of hill training because I've got Lakeland 50 to look forward to...

    sevendaughters: "getting around" a marathon should be okay IF you've trained up to the mileage okay and you keep the speed down - look at what speed you've been doing 20+ mile training runs, then set off slower, and keep the fuel going in.

    Fueling is the other thing that's trained differently on ultras. Start eating real food - malt loaf, fig rolls, currant buns, whatever - during your long runs, not just gels. I don't use gels at all, but I do use Kendal mint cake as well as the other things I mentioned.

  • Debra: oh, absolutely, I'm training now for the mara/half combo and it's still over 16 weeks away. As for eating real food, some of the blokes at club advocate that, apparently one chap is regularly seen eating sandwiches with bits of lettuce hanging out of the side during longer fell runs.

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