Mid-training holiday. Advice needed!

Can anyone advise me how to deal with a four week break in training (for the VLM) from late Jan to mid Feb?  It's my first marathon, although I've done four Half-Ms.  I'll be running about 16 miles on a long run by the time my holiday comes round and if I can maintain that distance through the break, I should still be on schedule.  But I'm worried about losing form.  Four weeks is a long time.  I can run occasionally - maybe once a week - when away, but it's a camping/kayaking/boating trip and opportunities for distance will not be there.  How can I maximise the benefit of these occasional, shorter runs in order to keep as much fitness as possible?


  • You either want to give the marathon a proper go, or you want your four-week adventure holiday.  I'd defer the marathon rather than miss four weeks training.

  • I once missed nearly two weeks of decent training during build up for VLM while I went to Sydney.  I managed 22 miles in the first week with a 10M long run and 39 the second week with a 14M long run (admittedly, both done on home soil before and after said holiday)  The 14M was tough but I was pretty jetlagged having only got home the night before.  I then had six weeks until marathon day, so it really wasn't good timing.

    The runs I did involved alot of very early mornings after rather late nights!  I did really enjoy the runs as the place was beautiful so early on a morning.

    The marathon didn't quite go to plan, although I was probably aiming for a quicker time than I was capable of at the time with or without the holiday.  It was my seventh marathon, I still managed a four minute PB!

    Depends on how much you really want it.  One run a week for four weeks is nowhere near enough to be honest.  Pack your trainers.  Get up earlier.  Don't underestimate the marathon or it'll eat you for breakfast, believe me.  Either that, or defer your place until next year.  They're so much more enjoyable and rewarding when you've put the miles in and have a fantastic run.

  • I think it depends what you want from the race...for me it is so difficult to get into that I always want to do well by my own standards, and missing 4 weeks would be out of the question.

    I don't think the shorter runs you mention will be much help tbh.

    But you don't have to defer yet; if you can train while you're away, and pick it up when you return, you will have a pretty good idea of where you are long before you need to make a decision.

  • I have already deferred so it's this year or never..  And I got my place on the 'four refusals and you're in' rule.  I'm not giving up my place and starting all over again!  image  I'll figure it out somehow.

    Thanks for the advice, guys, and I'll see you on the start line.

  • I had 6 weeks "out" for a Big Trip in 2012, before VLM (which was my first marathon). Sadly it meant that I didn't achieve my target time, I wanted sub-5 and I did 5:16...so gutted. However, I guess on the bright side I still did it. The longest I managed on a run was 10 miles in NZ. I'm not sure if that helps or not! Best of luck.

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