A year to train for a marathon ...

There are lots of threads from people with a couple of weeks left to train for a marathon, but what advice would you give a running newbie who wants to target a Spring Marathon next year?

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Comments

  • That's good advice. Any numbers to put to that? How long and how slow should it be in comparison to your normal runs?

  • good point david.... .your long run should always be done slowly and outdoors......

    even at the start where your long run might be 6 miles and your other weekly runs 3 or 4 miles.......

    make sure that longer run is low and then it will be easier to build it up slowly....

     

    i would avoid all speedwork for the first few months until your body has got used to the new pattern of runs that you have.........whether that is 4 or 5 runs a week.......... get into the habit of fitting them in.......

  • Ja5onWJa5onW ✭✭✭

    Is the newbie a total newbie xine?

    if thats the case then the obvious one would be to build up super slow as the others have said.

    probably target running 3/4 days a week with nice breaks in between (dont mean scoffing days etc)

    might look like this:

    Monday-2-3 miles slow

    wednesday-2-3 miles slow

    friday- yep you guessed slow 2-3

    sunday-LSR of a gradual build up of 5 miles plus. (each week adding 2 miles etc)

    this is probably the easiest way to a non injury start. Gives the legs a nice break in between

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Start training!  image

    I went from zero to marathon in 9 months fairly successfully but an extra 3 months would've been nice.  So based on my experience I would say it would be useful to pin the general training pattern on to a series of race goals.  That way you can break things up, build to increasing peaks in mileage with a target race, recover, and build back up again.  Maybe something like:

    April - June/July: lots of easy running, build up to 20-25 mpw (3/4 x wk), try the odd parkrun.  Schedule 2 or 3 10ks over the summer, perhaps 3/4 weeks apart.  Maybe follow a structured 10k plan.

    July - Sept/Oct: Schedule an Autumn HM.  If training has been a little unstructured up to now, definitely think about following a HM plan. This'll start looking a lot like a marathon plan, with a long run building up well into double figures, a mid-week longish run, then maybe some tempo running backed up with lots of easy miles. Build to 30-35mpw (4/5 x wk)

    Then after a little break after the HM (week off and a week or two building back up mainly easy miles) switch into marathon mode.  The training schedules will kick in around end Dec/New Year (depending on which one you follow and marathon date, but something like 16/18 weeks is sensible).  Schedule some warm-up races in the build-up to keep things interesting, e.g. 10k in Jan/Feb and another HM 5-6 weeks out from the marathon.  Your Autumn HM will give you a nice benchmark to check on progress.  Mileage could be 30-35 building up to 40-50mpw, or even higher, depending on how you've progressed over the past few months.

    Also, join a club.  image

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    Starting from scratch something like:

    Months 1 & 2: C25k or similar program, just building the amount of time spent running at a slow pace.  At the end of month 2 a park run or similar 5k would give a nice starting benchmark.

    Months 3 & 4: Start building distance towards 10k (or more) and adding additional runs per week, and complete another couple of park-runs or a couple of tempo-style runs just to vary the pace.

    Months 5 & 6; Look for an 8 week plan for a 10k race, using a 5k result as a pace guide

    Months 7, 8 & 9: Aim to complete a half-marathon, following ten to twelve week plan.  By this point structured speed sessions should be part of the plan.  

    Months 10, 11 & 12: marathon training. 

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    After building up the mileage slowly as suggested above, maybe they should enter an autumn half and pick a 10-12 week schedule starting at about the level of mileage they've already reached.

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Oh, bugger, in the amount of time it took me to type that last post painfully slowly, people have already said the same thing, but with speed-typing, and better. image

  • I would suggest that for a week before you start running spend half an hour twice a day doing stretching and strengthening exercises for the achilles, calves, quads, hip adductors/abductors and glutes plus core work.

    Then maintaining that regime for the rest of the year plus the running advice above.

    The main barrier to running the marathon with a year to spare will be an injury so the sooner you start protecting your body the better. I only really started properly after my first injury.

  • I think stutyr's plan is pretty much spot on. David's right about the LSR being key to the marathon training, but this is all relative, so if you've got 12 months to prepare then for the first 8-9 months of that you won't be / shouldn't be doing specific marathon training, but progressively bulding your endurance, and your strength and then a little speed.
    Too many people start from zero with the idea that speed is the key, and they should race every training run, so they can see regular progress, but this is likely to lead to injury and is not optimal in the long term.

  • Skinny FF also makes an excellent point about strength. You don't want to be following some beefcake bulking regimen, but having a strong core and being strong overall should help with injury avoidance.

  • Make sure your healthcare insurance covers physio, At some point you will need it! 

  • Brilliant advice there! I hope some people thinking about entering VLM 2014 check out this thread now instead of waiting until October to get started. It doesn't look too scary at all when you break it down like Phil & stutyr have.

    Skinny FF, that's a great point about stretching and strengthening - wish I had done that! (actually I don't do that much stretching now so I can get started on that today, one of my friends was telling me that she watches TV in pigeon pose to open up her hips)

    Vicky Yello wrote (see)

    Make sure your healthcare insurance covers physio, At some point you will need it! 

    That made me giggle, I think I've made back the cost of my healthcare insurance with all the claims for physio treatment!

  • What about nutrition/diet advice?

    I guess mine would be "don't eat all the pies" ... I'm the worst for over-compensating with (a loaf of) bread after a long run or eating (a kilo of) pasta for carb loading image but I'm never really sure what I should be eating as a runner.

  • Actually, thinking about physio - maybe "start looking for a physio that understands running". It makes all the difference if you see someone who is a runner too, instead of someone who tuts and rolls their eyes when you limp in with another running-related injury and just tells you to stop running

  • DF3 - based on my own experience I would make two points.

    1) Once I had been to the physio I felt more confident about the diagnosis so was more committed to the exercises because I knew they were the right ones and that I was not actually doing damage.

    2) My first visit was about my Achilles but she actually did a full 'runners health check' and diagnosed that I had very tight ITBs that would cause me problems if I didn't start doing some exercises and she suggested a foam roller too - a couple of weeks later knee pain caused by my ITB caused me to stop running for two months - I now religiously do the exercises and foam roll twice a day - my point is that a visit to a good physio can help with prevention as well as cures.

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭
    David Falconer 3 wrote (see)

    I reckon 90% of what a physio tells you, you could have just googled yourself anyway.

     

    The same might be said of some of the things you do, e.g. when you tell people using time-consuming club or race admin systems that you could set up a better, more efficient system for them in a couple of hours, you're basically suggesting that they would save time and get the job done more efficiently by paying for a couple of hours of a trained expert's time. Which sounds pretty reasonable to me. How is that any different from the trade-off between (a) spending time googling information, sifting through the crap to work out what's reliable, trying to work out what's going on with your body to find the right things to google, trying out different solutions, waiting to see if things improve, or (b) paying a qualified professional £40 to diagnose the problem in about an hour?

  • I know you're a bit of a WUM so I don't know whether I should bother responding or not - I'll give you the benfit of the doubt for one response.

    Point 1 is self explanatory - I had done the self diagnosis the physio merely confirmed it but that made me feel more committed to the exercise regime as I have said.

    Point 2 - the ITB was tight but it was giving me no problems when I went to the physio so was not aware I was about to have a problem or that it was tight - she diagnosed it in advance and had I taken her advice immediately I might never have actually had to stop training.

    Plus £40 for a pretty girl to massage your upper thighs seems like money well spent to me!image

  • DF3, can we please not drag this into a debate on the merits of physio? I'm sure there are already plenty of newbies who are happy to follow your Ask Google (or Ask RW Forums approach) image

  • I think I'd add "do some research on the race location" to my list of newbie advice. It's quite easy to find out how to get to the start of VLM and the names of hotels in London

  • Xine, I asked this about nutrition recently and the rsponse I got was to eat healthily, and make sure (when your building up the miles ) that you replenish them after you run.

    I have my first marathon in August and was panicking abut eating the right food/energy etc. with a year to train you will find what suits you best. I find porridge in the morning is good to fuel me for a good 10 miles, alongside a good carbolious meal the evening before. image
  • xine267 wrote (see)

    DF3, can we please not drag this into a debate on the merits of physio? I'm sure there are already plenty of newbies who are happy to follow your Ask Google (or Ask RW Forums approach) image

    image 

    image

     

    Slc79 wrote (see)
    Xine, I asked this about nutrition recently and the rsponse I got was to eat healthily, and make sure (when your building up the miles ) that you replenish them after you run.
    I have my first marathon in August and was panicking abut eating the right food/energy etc. with a year to train you will find what suits you best. I find porridge in the morning is good to fuel me for a good 10 miles, alongside a good carbolious meal the evening before. image

    Porridge is my favourite pre-run breakfast too image but I'm never sure how to properly refuel afterwards. I'm usually too hungry to make a good judgment callimage

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    ...back on track then?  image

    Re: nutrition, your point about overcompensation is a good one.  I would emphasise to any marathon newbie that whilst the training itself is quite a challenge, your calorie burning and nutritional requirements don't suddenly go interstellar, and nor is it an excuse for eating more rubbish.  Unfortunately it's not even a case of "listen to your body" because often you will get new cravings which it's tempting to satisfy by eating more sugary things.  Even 50mpw = ~5,000 calories = ~700 cals per day, although strictly speaking the net additional amount will be less (since you still burn calories sitting on your arse for 2 hours rather than running for 2 hours...)  So you're down to 500-600 cals per day, which is easily accounted for by a larger portion of cereal, afternoon snack, post-run banana and larger portion of rice/pasta for dinner.

     

  • I think Porridge counts as very good advice for people whether they're running a marathon or not! Cheap, nutritious and delicious. If you've not got bacon handy, it's the king of breakfasts.

  • Xine - I would recommend considering how you will fit 8-10 hrs of training into your week; understand the purpose of all the various workouts; find good location for intervals, tempos long runs etc; get into the habit of strength and stretching.

    Basically make sure that once you start your 16 week prgramme next Christmas you minimise the reasons (excuses) for missing sessions.

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