training plan suggestions for a 1st time marathoner.

afternoon all,

a quick bit of background:

i'm 36, 6'4" tall, 85kg and started building a base fitness for the VLM in june having not run since school. i'm currently running around 25-30 miles a week with pb's of 45min for 10km and 1:45 for a 1/2. i'm aiming for around the 4 hour mark for the marathon, with a hope to go sub 4, even if just by a teeny bit.

i've been looking at training plans but there is such a lot of them, with wildly differing schedules. i'm tempted by the P+D plans but they do look a bit hardcore, with no rest days at all. i've also been told that at my level (beginner) not to worry about heart rates, LTs and the like and just to concentrate on getting a lot of miles in. cue much puzzlement.

can anyone point me in an appropriate direction.


  • Hi Sofaboy, I'm also running VLM next year as my first marathon and have similar times to you for 10k. I've looked at lots of plans and am now following the Shades plan from a thread on this site (in the forum, think its under training, then shades marathon training or something like that). There are 2 plans; I'm following the 2nd one which has 4 runs per week (with an optional 5th), including a tempo run and increasing long run. Also heard good things about the Hal Higdon plans or there are plans on this site based around targeting certain times so bound to be a 4 hour or 3 45 plan. Hope this helps.
  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    I think SlowKoala has covered it - I used a plan off this website for my first marathon, but am using P&D for VLM.  The P&D schedule goes up to 5 days per week, but does include a long run during the week that could be difficult to accomodate based on your other commitments.  The RW plan did a good job of preparing me for my first marathon.

    I'd avoid any plans with a focus on speed training as (a) not the most improtant aspect for marathons and (b) if you haven't been running for long then its better to focus on distance ratherthan speed.

    PS VLM is in April not June, so a couple of months less for you to prepare image


  • thanks, i like the idea of not concentrating too much on speed training. too much like hard work.

    i meant that i started running in june. i think there maybe should have been a comma in there somewhere. or possibly a rearranging of my words.

    "started building a base fitness for the VLM in june"

    should really read

    "started building a base fitness in june for next years VLM"


  • why not try just getting out there and training when ever you can -

    one day short run- another day longer run - then next day long run-

    when u dont feel like it or  have little time - just tiny runs to keep physcially and mentally sharp - ( it will pay off ) in the end

    prep is essential - ( rest ) - fluids, nutrician - do all your experimenting now over jan, feb, march - ( NEVER ) experiment on race day -  find correct footwear - and runinng clothing, - have ready any needed anti chaffer

    rest will slowly fall into place  

  • i'm too OCD to just do it. i NEEEEED a plan.

  • ok -       ( OCD ?? )

    just that i grew up with running, - to me its simply a way of life

    solo marathon pb was 25 years ago -

    last solo marathon was 15 years ago


  • obsessive-compulsive.

    if you want a militarily well-organised social event or all your CDs ranked in a rather more interesting (but not neccasarily useful) way than the usual 'alphabetic by artist' then i'm your man.

    and if it's something new, like running, then it needs to be researched to the Nth degree as i can't stand the thought that a decision i make might not be based on all the available facts. of course this can lead to crippling levels of indecision. but hey ho, we all have our crosses to bear.

  • I'm the same sofaboy! Not OCD in terms of tidiness or being orderly but do love to research everything. Makes Christmas shopping hard as I need to read every review on Amazon before buying anything. But there is something very satisfying about a nice spreadsheet containing all the plan details where you can log your runs and tick off the weeks.
  • +1 for Hal Higdon.  Sensible build-up which will fit in well with the level you're at right now, and easy to follow, concentrating on easy paces with a bit of race-pace thrown in.  I'd have a look at one of the intermediate plans based on 5 days' running per week, which will take you up from your current mileage to around 50mpw.

  • StiltsStilts ✭✭✭
    Hi Sofaboy

    I'm doing Hal Higdon novice 2. It picks up nicely from the RW plan I did for my HM and has a similar structure - 4 runs a week - 2 short, one longer midweek pace, LSR. I can't realistically fit any more into my week without a full time nanny and cleaner. I prefer to run mileage rather than time - just find it easier to organise.

    My principle aim is to get to the start line healthy and uninjured. I can't really get my head round target times. I'm paying a LOT more attention to core strength and running form (chi running and a great book called Running Well), this is the main difference I've made to my training and it's already paying off. That and nutrition. Using My Fitness Pal ap has really helped focus on what I'm actually eating rather than what I think I'm eating. Don't need to loose weight but don't need to hoover up the kids' leftovers either!

    I've eased gently into the plan with a few weeks in hand for illness or resting injuries and niggles (or add a few more LSRs if all goes well). It feels good to get started image

  • got a training plan from Shades. decided on the level 2 as level 1 looked a bit like going backwards from where i am now.

    all written out on the fridge door.

    time to start converting to miles, i guess.

  • What ever, and how ever you do it - good luck always

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