2 year training plan for first Marathon?

I've run off and on (rather more off than on) for a few years.  Did my first half in '88 (GNR) when I was 18, 2nd when I was 21 (GNR) and my third when I was 40 (Worksop Halloween half) in 2010 - then I picked up a couple of calf tears, got into the habit of not exercising, put on wieght etc.

I'm getting back to fitness, have shifted some weight and started running regularly (max of 3 miles at the moment) on grass (4 or 5 times per week), and hit the gym 3 times per week.

I've decided with a mate (who regularly does 14 miles per day or more) to attempt our first marathon when we're 45 in 2015 and picked Loch Ness as it sounds like a great event.

So, I've got a bit over 2 years to get into shape - obviously I'll be looking at specific Marathon training plans in the run up to the event, but I could really do with some general tips / plans to get me into a decent shape to be able to start the Marathon training plans.

I've entered the Trailblazer 10k Trail run mid May this year, but could probably benefit from some broad milestones / goals to aim for every 6 months or so for the next couple of years to keep me on track and hopefully injury free.

Any and all help / advice greatly appreciated image




  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    This makes a change from the people who want to run a marathon in  two months time!  With two and half years to get ready, the logical progression would be as follows.  You'd probably want to add a few more events into your calendar but I reckon this would be the bare minimum: 

    Summer 2013: 5k race(s)/parkruns

    Autumn 2013: 10k

    Spring 2014: faster 10k

    Autumn 2014: Half Marathon

    Spring 2015: faster Half Marathon (with one or two 10ks in the build-up)

    Oct 2015: Loch Ness Marathon

  • I think most people could progress faster than that - a Half in the summer shouldnt be too much of a stretch ? Get well used to halves ?
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Yeah, if you've done HMs already you're not starting from scratch.  I'd work on 5k/10k over the Spring/Summer, with an Autumn HM goal to build up to.  Use the next few months to build a base, and get used to more structured training.  That doesn't have to mean "speed work" straight away, but building up the mileage and supplementing with tempo running, fartlek, etc. Also JOIN A CLUB... which will always be a good long term investment and be a great source of ongoing motivation.  Also, you'll get more options for races, e.g. cross country is a great way to stay in shape and keep a competitive focus over the Winter months.

    Maybe then target another HM in the Spring next year, and use this as a springboard for getting the training looking more marathon-shaped, e.g. if you're used to getting the long runs up to 12 - 14 miles for HM training this year, start going over-distance for a few runs for the next one.  Then when it comes to putting in LRs over Summer 2015, if you've got a few 16 - 18 milers under your belt already you will have an excellent marathon base.

  • A quick question - do you know how/why you ended up with the calf tears? Was it just bad luck, or is there an under lying problem? While the above answers from the guys seem sensible, it might be worth checking out your biomechanics - and if there is a problem, work on sorting that before you start adding the miles and possibly end up with more calf problems.

  • Thanks guys, lots of good sounding advice there.

    Calf tears always happened when I upped my road miles in prep for a race.  I suspect I was pushing too hard too quickly, and not stretching enough (or at all).  Physio didn't seem to think there was an underlying physical problem, I was just being an idiot image

    I'm much more sensible this time around and have mainly been running on uneven grass to help strengthen my calf muscles / less impact, I've also been stretching regularly (most days) and I'm taking my time adding distance - now much more focussed on long term gains as opposed to short term ones. Hence the two and half year training plan rather than 6 months image

  • I did the Runners World Trailblazer 10k in Clumber Park today in 62:50, which I'm pretty happy about - I was on target for a sub 60 minute time, but sudden sharp pain in my left calf with 0.5K to go saw me hobble over the line rather than running elegantly image

    I've been keeping up with my regular runs at lunchtime at work as well as hitting the gym 3 times per week - almost at my target weight.

    One of the personal trainers at the gym (who also runs) has sorted me out with a new programme to improve my calf strength and my running in general.

    Did my first Parkrun a couple of weeks ago (don't have the time to do every week) but I'm aiming for one per fortnight.

    Toying with the idea of a half marathon later in the year, possibly Worksop in October, but will have to see how my calfs bear up between now and then.


  • Recently took part in a 4 race series over 2 weeks (10k, 5k, 4 miles, 5 miles), and my pace improved with each race...my 10k was 54:36, my 5 mile pace was 8:01 min/mile

    I've also just done the Rother Valley 10k in 51:55, almost perfect conditions, a break in the heat & almost no wind.

    Currently debating a half marathon before end of the year...possibly either Rother Valley in Nov or Worksop in October.




  • I thought it was time to post more progress on this...particularly as I've such entered Loch Ness Marathon 2015!

    My 2 and a bit year plan is progressing nicely, I think.

    so far this year I've done 3 half marathons - Rother Valley in March, North Lincs (Scunthorpe) in May and Robin Hood in September, set a new PB of 2:02:20.  Completed the Round Sheffield Run (20km of trails) in the summer (the middle weekend of a 4 race series which ran on Tues & Thurs).

    Aiming for sub 2 hours at Clowne at the end of November.

    Joinng a running club and training regularly has helped no end (particularly the hill training).

    My plan now is to get a couple of halfs done in spring / early summer then keep the momentum up over the summer ready for Loch Ness in September...my first full marathon!

    Doesn't sound so bad when you break it down into manageable chunksimage

  • Nice work. And thanks for coming back and updating us.

    Good luck in Clowne.
  • cougie wrote (see)
    Nice work. And thanks for coming back and updating us.

    Certainly makes a refreshing change to get updates image What time are you going for at Loch Ness? The LN thread will probably be up again early next year, full of tips and scaremongering about 'the Hill' after Dores image

  • Its the hill after that hill that the scaremongering needs to start going on about. Totally got me as no one mentioned it...

  • Oh and good luck... Is a great marathon the views will help you forget about the pain in your legs.

  • Ecce Signum wrote (see)
    cougie wrote (see)
    Nice work. And thanks for coming back and updating us.

    Certainly makes a refreshing change to get updates image What time are you going for at Loch Ness? The LN thread will probably be up again early next year, full of tips and scaremongering about 'the Hill' after Dores image

    I've put down 4.5 hours as a finish time, but whether that is realistic or not is another matter entirely.

    I'm hoping to knock a few minutes off my current half marathon time at the end of this month, keep training up over the winter and then aim to get my half time down to about 1:45 ish (or as close to it as I can) during the spring / early summer.

    Lots of hills in Nottingham so I'm aiming to start building in various sized hills into my long runs, also we do regular hill effort training sessions at the running club (though I do appreciate there is a world of difference between a bunch of sprints up and down hills compared to long inclines after a couple of hours+ running).

    Forewarned is forearmed thoughimage

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