training advice

Hi all, I hope I have posted in the right forum. My dad has been diagnosed with Cancer and I want to do the marathon next year for charity.  I need to give myself the best possible chance but know I have to build up slowly.

I am and have been active for the past few years playing football, cycling, weight training so I dont class myself as a total newbie.

I am after a structured training plan and hope to do some 5k,10k and halfs throughout the year but would you guys suggest I just go and see how long I can run for then build from there?


  • Paul 

    Sorry to hear about your Dad. Words fail eh.

    Check out the training plans on this site for all the distances. This will give you an idea of what you need to do to acheive each target distance. Then look at either the 5 or 10k and work towards that, once you know where your fitness is at and how realistically you'll be in shape for it book a race at that distance. Build in increments and with the timeframe you've set you should be fine for a marathon you have plenty of time to get those miles into your legs so don't go crazy. image

    Best of luck to you both

  • just thought i would post an update

    I went out last week and managed 20 minutes although this wasn't continuos running so thought i would build a program that slowly builds me up to continous running.

    On the thurday managed 8min run/1 min walk x 3.  then on the saturday I went out and did a full 20 minutes, it wasn't fast but I ran the whole way

    This week I increased to 10min run / 2 min walk x3 and managed to get to over 5K although the time was slow (32 minutes).  Repeating this again thursday and then saturday hoping to complete a 25 minute run.

    Small gradual improvements, not bothered about distance or completion time at the moment that will come but am pleased with my progress

  • Hi Paul,

    Sad news about your dad, but i'm sure he appreciates you running in honour of him.

    As you mention, you're not a complete fitness newbie, but the repetetive nature of running means that if you go too hard or too long too soon then you'll risk an injury, regardless of any cardio vascular fitness you may have.

    There are numerous "marathon training plans" on the web, for free. These are usually 16 week (although some can be 12 week or 18 week) plans to prepare you specifically for the race. You can get some on the RW website, under the training tab. But before you even start on one of these, you shoudl get yourself into a decent shape for training for an endurance event. Think of it as training to train.

    So, with that in mind, build up your mileage slowly and steadily. If you can run 3x a week now, for say, 30 mins, then great. Try to resist the temptation to improve your pace every time you run. That's a common newbie mistake. In fact, the majority of your runs should be at an easy "conversational" pace. Don't do "speedwork" more than once per week, certainly at the moment. The marathon is an endurance event, so whilst sprinting might feel beneficial, the best thing you can do is to build up some miles in your legs, it'll toughen up your muscles and the connective tissue so it's able to take the pounding for mile after mile without giving you too much pain, or tearing or fracturing something.

    Running slower than you are able, well within yourself, will also condition your muscles to use fat more efficiently for energy, rather than always relying on blood glucose, converted from stored glycogen (carbs stored within the liver and muscles). This is likely to be boring, so be patient with it. The pace will naturally, gradually increase for a given perceived effort, if you keep at this.

    Build the miles steadily, a decent rule of thumb is no more than 10% mileage a week, but in the earlier stages, you can use your judgement a little. e.g. if you're running 10 miles a week, you can probably throw another 3 mile jog into the mix without crumbling. You've got time on your side, so when you increase the mileage, try to keep it at that mileage for a week or two, before increasing again. The amount of mileage you can add will depend on your body's ability to absorb the training load, without injury or too much fatigue. Just don't rush it and you should be ok. And the more miles you can do on softer ground (grass, trails, etc) rather than on tarmac or pavement, the less strain on your legs, so the greater likelihood of avoiding injury.

    Keep us informed on how you're getting on.

Sign In or Register to comment.