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Having applied for the VLM for the last few years, I finally got in for 2013. I've never run a marathon (or any competitive race to be honest) and having started to build up the miles over the past month I'm after a bit of advice on what time to aim for and a proper training plan to follow.
I'm 27, male, and up until October I would only run once or twice a month, often about 5-7 miles or so each at about an 8 min/mile pace (sometimes slower), though did try the odd longer run up to 13 miles (never tried further). Over the last month I've built up to doing 3-4 runs a week, say 2 x 5 miles at around 7:30-7:45 pace, 1 x 4 miles of intervals (1/2 mile fast, 1/4 mile slow, repeat etc), and 1 x 10-12 miles long run. I tried a half marathon in my training after a few weeks or so and did it in 1:44.
I had been thinking of aiming at sub-3:30 in April (average 8 minute mile). However, the RW Garmin plans for that start off easier than what I'm doing at the moment. Also these are 16 weeks, so technically wouldn't start until late Dec/Jan. Does sub-3:15 sound like a push? I feel like I've improved over just the first few weeks of training, but just not sure what sort of improvement I should expect over the next 6 months (particularly when any distance over 13 miles is such an unknown for me)? Would appreciate any advice/training tips!