London Marathon Training



I am training for my first marathon. I have raced several half marathons before and have achieved reasonable times sub 1.45 / 1.41.


I am aiming to complete the marathon in below 4 hours at worst case scenario, however I would like a time of 3.45.

My training however is taking a bashing due to the weather. Long runs on a Sunday are just horrible in torrential rain... I did attempt this week but only managed 8 Miles as I was soaked to the bone.


My question is , how many miles should I be able to comfortably run at this stage in my training without worrying I am not going to meet my time. Last week I did 15. I tried to pace 9mm, however easily ran it at 8.20mm (thats trying to go slow too). I average 8.02mm on a 10 mile run, and I am trying to incorporatesome speedwork and hills. But time restraints are killing me.


Thoughts please? How far are you running for your long runs if your doing the marathon? I aim 18 this weekend, 21 2 weeks after? I think I could so it, it just depends on the time.





  • What distance does your training programme say that you should be running at this point?

  • Well I am not really following a specific plan. I have taken bits from plans and made my own to fit around work / college / evening job!!!!  I should have completed an 18 mile run the weekend but the weather made it impossible!


  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    It sounds that you are not too far off your target.

    What sort of weather did you have. It was very cold and wet here at the weekend but sometimes you just have to get out and run.
  • LOL - It wasn't that I didn't attempt. It rained all day, but I put on my coat and left home about 12. After 7 Miles I was soaked and my running tights were that wet they were just stuck to my legs. I then phoned for assistance - WHOOPS.

    I am going to do the 18 this week without fail. If Saturday is ok I will just do it then, at least its out of the way.


  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    If you can get 18 done this weekend then you should be right back on track for your target. Good luck .
  • Marathon is a completely different beast to the half, I'd personally say you're running way too fast on your long runs doing them at 8:20mm ....for a 3:45 marathon the pace is around 8:30! ,so you're effectively at faster than racing pace which will just wear you out.

    You should be slower than 9mm, more like 9:30mm probably.

    Good luck


  • Definitely pacing yourself too fast !

    I'd have thought 10mm was better. Slow down !
  • I don't wish to sound too harsh but best advice I can give - apart from agreeing with the good advice that you want to slow your long runs down a bit - is to man up and crack on with training whatever the weather is doing.  Cold rain isn't particularly pleasurable but once you're wet, you're wet.  It's perfectly OK to run in.  Just make sure you layer up enough to get through the run, there's always a nice hot shower and a cuppa to come back to.  The odd missed session won't do any harm but the long runs really are key.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Running in poor weather is definitely character building.

    It also gets you used to running in poor conditions as there is no guarantee that the weather wil be dry and sunny on the day of the race.
  • Just noticed the above posts. I agree totally with the slowing down bit. I do leave the house with every intention to pace myself at 9mm but I just can't go that slow. I ran 18 comfortably yesterday, I averaged 8.11 mm. my last 3 miles I did try to pick the pace up because I felt comfortable doing so and ran them all in under 8mm. I do appreciate I am on a LSR but if im comfortable at that pace, which I am, should I really force myself to go slower. My slowest mile averaged at 8.32??? I am feeling a little more confident in the 4 hour mark now, so aslong as I keep my long runs up at the weekend I think I will be on track. Lovely day today, should have saved the run for todayimage May pop up the hills with the dog.

  • MinniMinni ✭✭✭

    Sophie - yes you need to slow down.  The lsr is not about doing it as fast as you can but about training your body to go on and on.  I'm aiming for sub 3:15 and have a HM pb of 1:32 (although hoping that will be broken in a few weeks time) and my 21m yesterday averaged 8:34.  I know there are a lot of people who would still consider that to be too fast.     My first marathon was 3:43 off a 1:45 half marathon then 3:41 off a 1:41 so I'd say 3:45 could be within your grasp but only if you make sure you build the endurance through long SLOW running!

    As for the rain - just get out and do it.  It might be pouring on marathon day and you'll need to run 26 miles in it. image

  • Clearly you need to slow down the long run. And that's a lot easier than being told to speed it up!

    Look at your half marathons...1hr 41 and 1hr 45 are  7.42-8.00 min miling.

    So to do your Long runs at 8-8.20 is  bonkers, unless something is missing in the info you've told the halves being 10years ago, or you being completely out on target marathon time.

    If those halves are recent you want to be STARTING at the 9:00 min mile pace for your easy zone....but able to go up to 10.00.


  • Agree with the above unless Sophie is doing a Furman-esque programme and only running 3 times a week.  In those circumstances a lot of training is done close to race pace.  I'm not advocating a Furman programme, btw (I know it wouldn't suit me and I'm not convinced it contains enough impact miles to ensure that you can finish strongly).

  • Sophie.

    The above is all useful stuff but firstly the good news.

    You are definitely at a very good stage in your fitness because if you can do a 15 mile run already at 8:20mm and aren't collapsing the second you get in then you have the speed to run sub 3:45 quite comfortably.

    The rest of it gets more interesting. I'd be interested in knowing what sort of mileage you're running across the week. If the only training you're doing is a long-run on the weekend then you'll be able to run at quite a high proportion of your marathon pace.

    The reason that most people can't do that is because they've usually run several times in the days before hand and are planning to run several times in the days after. A combination of cumulative fatigue and knowledge that they need to recover quickly for their next session means that they will naturally run slower for the long run.

    The other element is that the slower you run your marathon the smaller the differential between your racing pace and your long run pace (which I think is due to the increased volume leading to an overall faster time but relatively slower long run pace) - so for some of the 2:30-3 hour guys above they'll rarely even touch their marathon pace in a long-run.

    So I would say that whilst your long run is probably a little too fast and a little short you need to look at it carefully in the context of your overall training week. It might be worthwhile alternating weekends - one weekend you run for distance and the next weekend you do a 15 mile speedy effort.

    As for running in the rain. You're not alone. I've heard many tales of shocked Europeans going to Kenya to train and being told "we're not running today - it's raining!".

    Something I do if the rain is absolutely torrential but not particularly cold is I'll go out in very minimal clothing on the basis that a) my clothes are going to get totally soaked anyway and b) a wet vest weighs a fraction of a wet track-suit top.

    If you're doing that though make sure you stay close to the house doing loop circuits of 4-5 miles and that you get warm the second you're in.

    Sorry for the length - hope that helps Sophie!
  • Oh god :/ I'm scared of you all now !!! Thanks though, I do actually say "slow down" to myself while I'm out as I know it's too fast. To clarify the halves were last year. My 1st one in September and second in October. I only ran upto 12 miles in my training for those.

    Also my training week consists of:

    Mondays rest

    Tuesday- treadmill ( I've been doing a 6 mile interval thing where I do a mile at 6.57mm then a 4 minute recovery at 8mm. I think it's about 4 reps of that and I'm at 6 miles.

    Wednesday this week I had off but usually it's a 5/7 mile fast run

    Thursday I ride my bike to work and run steady home 9.5miles

    Friday is usually 6 easy

    Saturday is rest

    Sunday is a long run

    I wouldn't say I follow that to a t as this week I am going to try some hill reps as my route lacks any now as I've moved from under the malver hills to a flat part of the city. Also it's ammended to suite the condition of my legs but I do usually fit all of that in a week. I ran the long run yesterday, I was quite stiff all night but today I feel completely fine and as though I could train so I think recovery does depend on the person and shouldn't be generalised.

    I do really appreciate your opinions and I am going to ensure that next weeks long run of 20 is at least averaging 9mm! Your right, at least it's easier than someone telling me to go faster.

    Also hobbling harrier, your alternating long run idea seems a great way to change my paces and give my legs a break. Going to try that too so thanks.

    Just out of interest, are you all running marathons or halfs this year anytime soon???? I am running silver stone half and ill be very upset with myself if I don't run a pb image

    Thanks again for all your help and I will SLOW DOWN! image
  • Sophie Booth wrote (see)

     . I ran the long run yesterday, I was quite stiff all night

    If you pitch your easy run at the right level, you won't get this.

  • Noted. So Stevie G, with knowing I get 3 evenings and the weekends free, don't use a track or running club what kind of training would you suggest to go with the long run on a Sunday? Also to get my overall time below 3.45??
  • Long term, in an ideal world I'd go for the below set up.

    • 1 long run
    • 1 Tempo run
    • 1 speedwork session
    • As much easy running as you can fit in on top
    • 1 rest day a week


    We'd use your most recent race to calculate your training pace zones, and all of the above sessions would fit in with that.

    On top of that, some kind of progressive set up to the programme, and certain races to peak for along the way (clearly the 3:45 marathon being the biggie) 

    Clearly any increase in mileage or intensity would be gradually managed....

    Simples image


  • Okey doke. Cheers for that
  • proper warm ups before faster running (tempo/speedwork/racing)...2-3miles...prepare the body. And at least a 1/2mile cool down after....

  • I still can't do it!!!!!!!! Just completed my 20 miler, trying hard to run slower at 9mm. I did achieve an average slower pace of 8.45m/m but I still did not run 1 mile at 9mm. When running I am not pushing myself at all, I am just thinking to myself "go slow and easy" but I still can't go any slower.

    Can I ask why this is going to be a problem for me? I have probably another 4/5 long runs to complete before the VLM. I am fully aware that I need to be going slow for these long runs, but if my body is capable of running at this pace without that much effort, why do I need to force myself to run slower than I need too. I don't use a garmin, I use an app on my phone. I have calculated the pace to ensure it's accurate and it is. The 20 miles took me 2 hours 49 minutes. Mentally I find it very challenging to run 9mm, allthough there has been a few times my legs just wont carry me and I have been running 9,5mm on a couple of shorter runs. Before my long runs I allways prepare with rest, breakfast, stretches and I take sis gels to replenish my energy stores at about 10 and 16 miles. Is it just possible i'm fitter and can maintain this now, it is 1 minute a mile slower than my normal shorter runs?

    All I could picture at every pacing update was you guys telling me off!!!!!

  • Sophie- if this pace feels genuinly easy and you have no problems completing a 20m run as well as your other sessions and don't feel knackered, I can't see a problem. Yes, the general idea is to do long runs @ 60-90s slower than your mara pace but it will depend on the type of runner you are and also on your current speed.

    Slower end runners often run their easy runs at a closer pace to MP than the speedy ones.

    I did my first mara in 3:50 and at the time ran LSRs @ around 8:50. Two years on I'm aiming for around 3:20 mara but my easy pace is not that much different- still around 8:30-8:50.

    With time when you start increasing the mileage you will notice that you don't mind running slower (which you have already experienced on some of your short runs when you were probably slightly knackered). In a meantime listen to your body and if easy feels easy @ 8:50, don't despair. Good luck with it.image

Sign In or Register to comment.