Help only on 10 miles

I have had a serious lack of training for the VLM (21 April 2013) and am currently only on 10 miles (if that) I have really suffered with lack of motivation after severe disruptions to my "normal" life. I have tried to go to the gym regularly and trained twice a week on average. can I still get to the start line. My best time on a marathon is 4.46.49 I dont mind not breaking that but would want to enjoy it.

Any thoughts?



  • If you have done one before then I suspect you know what you are letting yourself in for!

    If you are up to 10 miles now then you are prob in for a slightly longer day than you anticipated
    I would reccommend a Run/Walk approach which may see that time reduced, I use a 9/1 strategy which is easy enough to follow - start that now on your long runs and see how you go

  • PG3PG3 ✭✭✭

    There are 8 weeks left I believe, so if you had a 2 week taper, you could get up to a long run of 18 ish I would have thought?

    Maybe do long runs of 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 13, 9 or something like that.

    Without meaning to sound rude, I am not planning to 'enjoy' my marathon as I am going to be trying frickin hard.  I wonder if you mean 'enjoy' as in not having a mare and a really tough day/struggling round?

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Pip's plan looks good.

    Why not sack all the gym sessions and just run instead. 2 runs a week is less than you should be doing even if it is just to get round.
  • I am up to 9 miles and feeling good but really need to up my distance too.  

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    How come you are only up to 9 miles? That is cutting it very fine if you are running VLM.
  • VLM does not appear to have a cut off.  So even if you said 8 hours, as per trail marathons. 26/8 = 3.25 mph. 

    As long as your head is in the right place and you want to do it, ignore the tiredness, ignore the pain, ignore the blisters.  Then it is just a case of keeping going.  Run as far as you can and then work out how far you have to go and how long you have to do it and just march, don't walk, march.  In my last marathon, I met a guy at 21 mile with a computer on his arm, he said I was waklking at 3.9 mph, which is way faster than I would have thiought or indeed needed to go.  I was trying to beat a 6 hr cut off, i did 5:05.

  • I can't really say because I could have got out more but 2 kids including a baby, a holiday got in the way.  The 9 miles is not hurting at all and I am running 9 in 1 hour 22 minutes, so I believe I can still do it image 


  • Coming on here has made me realise how much more I need to do.  

    Thanks Canute I can do it even if I march image

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    What does a weeks training look like at the moment?
  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭
    Mery-josé Wolke wrote (see)

    I have had a serious lack of training for the VLM (21 April 2013) and am currently only on 10 miles (if that) I have really suffered with lack of motivation after severe disruptions to my "normal" life. I have tried to go to the gym regularly and trained twice a week on average. can I still get to the start line. My best time on a marathon is 4.46.49 I dont mind not breaking that but would want to enjoy it.

    Any thoughts?


    I have no doubts you could make the start line. After all its only a few hundred yards from Blackheath station.

    Making the finish line is another matter.

  • 26.2 miles is a long way. A very long way. I spent nearly 6 hours last year cursing myself about how long a way it was. And one thing I learnt was to NEVER EVER to do a marathon undertrained again(I got injured and my longest run was 17 miles). I have pulled out of Brighton this year due to not being able to train properly due to work commitments.

    Running 9 or 10 miles is easy. Running 13 miles is doable. Running 17 hurts. Running 26.2 is something completely different.

    It's a decision that is totally up to you, and no doubt whatever decision you make will be right for you, but seriously consider if you are ready for it. I posted on here and nearly everyone told me to defer - I didn't, I was too stubborn and it was only that dogged stubbornness that got me round to that finish line and then my partner carried me home.
  • Canute wrote (see)

    VLM does not appear to have a cut off.  So even if you said 8 hours, as per trail marathons. 26/8 = 3.25 mph. 

    The VLM does have a cut off, I called to ask them about it last week as I'm injured and having to walk it and was worried about my time.  The cut off is 6pm, which is 8:15 hours after the start gun goes off.  Apparently there didn't used to be one and it's a new thing, she said they have to open the roads so if you're not there by 6pm you get a DNF and no medal.  You'd have to be doing slower than something like an 18 minute mile not to make it though.

    I'd echo Kaffeeg's thoughts and defer if you can as I think you have a lot of mileage to make up.  Mind you it also depends how many marathons you have run before, how much you would normally run without the distractions and how much effort you are willing to put in during the next 8 weeks.  I've got a 16 mile walk on Saturday and I'm still scared about whether I'll get round and make it before the cut off, but then it's my first one and I've been injured for a year so don't have much fitness behind me.

  • I'm glad to have come across this thread and seen some sensible comments within it. I'm too in the position of preparing, badly, for VLM and yesterday did my longest run to date - 10 miles.

    Normally, I wouldn't consider running. I have ran two marathons before, so know what to expect. I've recovered from a major injury, which meant I couldn't run for 2.5 years and meant I had to defer from last years VLM as it took much longer than I thought to get back into my running.

    This time around I've had the problem of some sort of chest infection which limited my running since December. I'm only just, last week, in a position to build up my training.

    I think this is a very short time, and random Googling suggests I'm mad to try. But I will, as long as I know my limitations.

    Firstly, I'm viewing the race now as a mini-Ultra, rather than marathon. I would always want to run a marathon and get as good a time as possible. I like the idea of, at some point, doing a 40 mile Ultra, where I would care less about the time and more about finishing. If I view the marathon as a mini-Ultra, it will help.

    Secondly, I'm happy to DNF. If I tried to push myself to finish at all costs there's a good chance I'd cause a serious problem. I won't fundraise for this marathon, as I intended to, because I don't want that nagging voice forcing me to get to the finish if I know it's not meant to be. If I'm happy to give up if need be, it's sensible to start. That's not to say I'm not motivated to finish, just that I'm more motivated to get to the finishing area (even by withdrawing) than get into an ambulance.

    Finally, I'm planning to run/walk and will have a good plan on the day. If all goes well in training, I'll plan to run to 16 miles, then walk 1 mile run 1 mile the rest of the way. If it doesn't go as well, a lot more walking will be added. This won't be pretty and very time-consuming, but will get me to the finishing area. If it means I have the ability to talk to people, enjoy the crowds and so on, excellent. I won't get many marathons where I'm happier to enjoy the carnival atomsphere than concentrate on my time, so will hopefully get a different experience.

    I know I would advise most people not to consider doing the marathon with as little training as I've had, but I think I can pull it off if I'm aware of the limitations and happy to make sensible decisions.

    Yesterday I ran 10 miles and today I feel fresh. It was a bit of a struggle to get around, but hardly too brutal. If I was too stiff I would be worried, but feel my body took it well.

    My plan now is to have Sunday runs of 13, 13, 13 (Alloa half, so a fast (for me) and hard half), 15, 18, 18, 10, VLM. Add two 5 mile runs and, where possible, a 8 mile mid-week and I think I can still salvage a decent enough build up.

    One injury, however minor, from now on will end my marathon plans. But I think treating it with the respect it deserves and having the belief that withdrawal is an option means it's not too late to give it a go.

    Good luck to everyone who is under-prepared and hope on the day feeling much more confident. It's still very possible to find yourself on the startline feeling you've got a lot of mile behind you.

  • That last comment was supposed to say that if you know your limitations and don't try to achieve something improbable given the lack of a decent build-up it is possible to do the VLM. If you're wanting to run at a speed comparable to having trained properly, or would ignore warning signs to force yourself round, it's probably best not to.


    I think I forgot where I was going with all that.

  • PG3PG3 ✭✭✭

    Dave you might want to think or read up about your run/walk strategy.  Walking for 1 mile then running for another mile feels like big chunks.  I trained for a run/walk for an ironman and trained for running 9 mins and walk for 1.  I am not saying do the same but I think if you ran shorter chunks and walked shorter chunks, ie run for 4 mins, walk for 2 or 3, it would keep you fresher.  Not sure if that helps... maybe.

    Also if you have deferred once already, you may as well give it a shot.  I would in your position.  

  • I ran/walked - started off running 4 min walking 1. Then for some reason at 13 miles decided to run 9 walk 1. Mistake! Should have carried on running 4 walking 1. Too much energy loss.

    Can't say enough that running 26 miles is a totally different ball game to 10 miles or 13 miles or 17 miles.

    Dave - I second pip's advice. I would also say about your long run training plans: you sure you want to do two 18 milers one after another and then only a two week taper? If it was me I would ditch the half marathon and build up the mileage a little more in those three weeks you have three 13 mile runs. I'd then give myself a three week taper - you'll appreciate it more (my next marathon I'm giving myself a 4 week taper, it feels so good to have fresh legs!).
  • Thanks for the advice guys. It's useful to know the best run/walk approaches (which I haven't researched yet).

    I've not considered skipping (not literally) the Alloa half, but will give it a good think as it is constraining me at the moment. I'd benefit from the mental boost of remembering how enjoyable an organised race is, but I might benefit more from reminding my legs how to run those sorts of distances.


  • I am pleased I stumbled across this thread in some ways, although it has also brought back the same butterflies of fear I always get when I think about VLM!

    I have never run a marathon before, and after attempting to train for one I know full well I will never do one again!  I am super-slow (best time for half marathons is 2hrs 35) and finding the increase in mileage difficult.  Had a bad run on Sunday of 13.2 miles and that is my longest run to date.  I had to defer my place from last year after a couple of serious injuries had put paid to the possibility of any training in 2011 (broken wrist and subsequent operation in September 2011, along with dislocating one of my knees 4 times that year).  Because of that I knew that I would never be able to get enough training in for the 2012 race.  All was going great for 2013 for me, with my first 10 miler completed back in November, but then I got a sickness bug and the mother of all colds and a chest infection which took 5 weeks to get over.

    I know I am going to be able to run half way, and after that I plan on some kind of run/walk approach to the rest of the race, but I have never used a run/walk strategy before so I have no idea how to go about it.  Any advice would be hugely appreciated!

    For info my plans for long runs are 14.5, 16, 13.1 (race), 18, 20, 22 (or 20), 10, race.

  • Kato - if you're planing on run/walking - do that from the beginning. If you run the first half, you'll end up walking the second half as you'll have used up all your energy in the first half.

    If you want to 'just get round' I wouldn't do the 22 mile run or even two 20 mile races. I'd do 14.5, 16, race, 18, 20, 13, 7, race to give yourself more of a taper.

    I'm no expert, but I know what I did wrong and all the advice I've been given (on here and in training sessions). tapering is really important. You want to start the race being completely injury free, with totally fresh legs, full of confidence and psychologically prepared.

    Good luck people! I'm well jealous!
  • Thank you Kaffeeg that is really useful advice.  I do plan on just getting around, nothing more than that.  I'd like to be under 6 hours but as long as I cross the line in time to get a finishers medal I'll be pretty happy, and being my first marathon, it is always going to be a PB anyway image

    So you think my best bet would be to run/walk right from the word go - I will have a look at run/walk strategies for marathons as I have only ever trained to run a whole race before so have never incorporated walking into my training.

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    Kato & Wirral Dave, I understand where you're coming from as I also had to defer last year due to injury, so I'm determined to make it this year!

    Have a look into ultra running to get an idea of run/walk strategies.  I was having a look into ultras (as the next step after VLM) and there's quite a bit of info about them.  One piece I came across espoused the "magic" 5:1 ratio - where you run 5 times as long as you walk (i.e 10 mins run, and 2 mins walk).  The advice thats also echoed here is to start early, potentially even from the start of the event.

    Good luck!

  • If you're thinking about a run/walk strategy there is usually a Runners World 'just get round' pacer at the VLM who follows a run/walk - I don't know how long they run or walk for, but worth thinking about.

  • I ran the London Marathon!  Back in Feb, I had only done up to 9 miles but this forum and others made me realise I had to catch up.  So after the 9 miles I did the following:

    Tuesday 26th Feb 12 miles

    Sat 2nd March 15 miles

    Sat 9th March 18 miles

    Sat 16th March 20 miles

    Sat 23rd March 15 miles

    Fri 29th March 20 miles

    Sat 6th April 13 miles

    Sun 14th April 10 miles

    I did do some runs in the week too until the very long runs.  I ran the marathon in 4 hours 29 mins 30 secs.  Very pleased with my run.  I know I did increase too quickly as per the rules but I had a good first marathon and ran it in a time I am proud of.

    How did everyone else do? 


  • Well done Kerry that's great, look how many long runs you got in in the end! Sometimes you have to take a risk and ignore the "rules" and in this case it was worth it.

  • Congratulations Kerry. Glad to see you were able to rescue what seemed like a poor training regime and got what you wanted. Well done.


    I unwillingly ended up having to avoid most of the good advice regarding training, due to a knee injury and further illnesses. In the end I only managed 13.1 miles once, with most of my runs being 9 milers. From 1st Jan until race day I'd managed a grand total of 123 miles.


    I did the race anyway, expecting to suffer a lot. I decided to reduce the run down to 5 5-mile runs with 2 minutes of walking inbetween, going well slower than I needed to in the hope of conserving energy and delaying the suffering. I hoped making it more like a training session would help. On seeing the course map, I decide to change slightly, running inbetween the sports drinks stations (roughly 4.5 miles apart) and walking for 2 minutes between each (whilst drinking). Doing 11 minute miles elsewhere was intended, to do around 5 hours.


    My tactics worked amazingly well until 22 miles. I was slowing in the second half, but still felt quite strong and able to go on. Only having 4.5 mile streches before a rest broke it down well. Just after 22 miles though my old back injury played up, leaving me in absolute agony and barely able to even walk (each step sent pain right up my spine). I managed to walk about 1/4 of a mile in just over 20 minutes, hoping I could do a long, slow walk to the finish rather than having to pull out.

    Amazingly, the problem corrected itself after those 20-odd minutes, enabling me to run the last 3.5 miles to the finish, without needing to stop, take onboard water and actually moving fast than I was between 13 and 20 miles when I felt fresh. I finished in 5:15 which I was amazed with given the lack of training. Even more surprisingly, I felt fine afterwards and have never recovered from a marathon so quickly (felt ready to run the next day, but didn't).


    I think the running conservatively and walking early on strategy was highly effective. It did save my eneregy and make up for the lack of training. I think the 20 minute break towards the end has convinced my body I did a 22.5-mile training session, followed by a 3.5 mile warm-down as well.


    I know I was very fortunate rather than it being well-judged, and won't be doing a marathon with such little training again.

  • kaffeegkaffeeg ✭✭✭

    Well done all round! Impressive stuff!

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