Marathon trying for a novice

Hi everyone, After having run a number of 10K's, 10M and a couple of HM's I have taken the leap and entered the Berlin Marathon. This is obviously some time away (40+ weeks) and therefore too early to start a set training plan. Is there anything I should do before the plan starts? I presume getting a sound mileage base would be the best thing..... Any advice gratefully received..... Thanks Martin


  • Hi Martin, yes, start increasing your mileage, sooner rather than later. Just because it's -possible- to run a marathon off a 16-week training plan starting from quite low mileage doesn't mean that's ideal. Also, if you're increasing mileage towards marathon for the first time in that kind of time span and trying to keep doing speedwork at the same time, you're more likely to get injured. If you start increasing your mileage slowly, starting now, and with a drop-back week every third or fourth week to reduce the risk of overuse injuries, then it should be lots easier.

  • Thanks Debra. That's what I had thought. In terms of the starting mileage, as I have recently completed a HM should I just increase from 13 miles or start at a lower mileage or even from zero?

    Sorry for all the questions!


  • Hi Martin, Start your LSR from whatever you had reached in training for the HM, or a bit less, and increase by no more than 10%, so probably by a mile at a time at the moment. You'll want to be increasing your total weekly mileage as well, but again the usual recommendation is no more than 10% increase per week. Every third or fourth week, reduce your mileage a bit and shorten your long run, then build again - this minimises the risk of increasing too much too soon.

    So if your long run had reached 12 miles, and you've run that recently, then start there. If you'd dropped back to e.g. 8 miles, start there. If you start at 10 miles and add a mile a week two weeks out of three, then in about four months you'll reach a long run of 20 miles! Note this should be a long SLOW run, NOT at your target marathon pace (although you can do some of it at that pace later - there are all sorts of things to do, such as running the middle miles at marathon pace, or the last miles, but at the moment, just go long and slow.

    You should also notice that if you do this then e.g. a HM starts seeming easier, because 13 miles is no longer "a long way". Also, by starting increasing now, if you DO overdo things, you can rest and recover without worrying too much.

    It also depends what time you're wanting to/have timeto/can make time to spend running. I like my long runs and have gone to ultra distance. Obviously if you find long runs deathly boring you're not going to want to go out on an 18 or 20 mile run most weekends. Try e.g. running on trails for more variety. And don't ONLY do LSRs. It's good to do speed intervals or fartleks, and tempo runs. Also e.g. run a parkrun (look it up if you don't know what parkrun is) regularly to remind your legs they can still run fast. And don't forget rest/recovery days (I sill have two non-running days a week) and easy runs. Enjoy

  • Deborah speaks a lot of sense.  I started training earlier than the 16 weeks training plans for my marathon just increasing 1 mile a week.  To be honest I think 16 weeks would have left me feeling rushed and panicking about completing the distance.  Try out any new kit on your LSRs, don't use anything new on race day!

    Deborah is also right about rest days particularly the day after your LSR!  It's amazing what a difference 1 or 2 additional miles can make to your legs the following day...

    I found my running club long runs were particularly good for motivation, just having the company when doing 18 or 20 miles is a huge boost.  I would definitely recommend finding someone to run with or joining a club to help with training.

  • hijacking thread ... sorry.

    if you already run distances of HM and above, when you get to the marathon training plan (14 weeks etc) can you just amend the plan by doing longer LSRs from the start and otherwise keep the same?

  • Vicky: You mean if the plan starts with LSR shorter than what you're already doing? Yes, I don't see why not. Best to get used to running longer distances sooner rather than later. I always worry about these plans where someone only does say a couple of 18-milers and one 20-mile run before the day, then counts on excitement/the crowds and the taper to get them through those last six miles, when they're also trying to run faster that they've ever run a long run.

    {My own (unusual!) approach to my first marathon was to train for a 50K first, with lots of long runs and back-to-back long runs (those are a killer to start with), so I got the miles on my legs without doing any speedwork, practically (the odd parkrun, and some of the club runs were tempo run pace for me). Then I did the last 10 weeks of a marathon training plan, confident that I could run the distance, since I'd run longer than that in training as well as on the 50K race day.}

  • Debra I really agree ... to me it seems crazy to peak at only one 20mile before the big day.




Sign In or Register to comment.