minimum miles per week for marathon??

Wonder if anyone can advise me? I am a fitness instructor and teach 22 classes per week (all sorts- kettlebells, body pump, spin, everything!!) so have a pretty good base level fitness. I recently ran my first half in 9 years in 1.44 with only one training run a week (of 8-12 miles) for 8 weeks - my previous pb was 1.50 before I was a fitness instructor, so my job has definitely helped make me faster!

However, given the amount of exercise I already do, I can't fit in the 40 or so miles a week I need to do a full marathon, which is my next goal for this year (prob the New Forest in September - have run it twice before and loved it!) - what do you think I can get away with as a bare minimum to get me round in sub-4 without too much pain? Do you think 25-30 per week is enough (split over one long and two short runs)?? Or am I kidding myself that all the cross- training will work, and it really boils down to time on feet at this distance? Any advice gratefully received!


  • 25-30 miles a week is fine. We are all different but if you can combine your base fitness with good long runs building up to some 20 miler plus runs you should do well. Sub 4 is really not that hard. just a gentle jog. But for 4 hours.
  • As NLR says - You still need the long runs in. I went sub 3.15 this year on a pitiful average of 23 miles a week for the last 13 weeks of runs. I teach 3 spin classes and cycle on top of the running though. And I have run a couple of marathons a year for the last few years.
  • Just worked this out for myself, and like Cougie, I averaged 23 miles a week. Also like Cougie I cycle and swim (triathlon focused rather than just pure running). Unlike Cougie however I didn't go sub 3.15 - but my 3.28 was a PB by 23 minutes in my 2nd stand-alone marathon so I was totally pleased with that, still with plenty of scope for improvement. 

    I went +30km 5 times in training, longest run 36km (22.5 miles)

  • Nice work - a 23 minute pb is not to be sneezed at !
  • McFloozeMcFlooze ✭✭✭

    I just checked my training log for my one and only marathon.  Bear in mind I FELT like I was working really hard.  But I was a bit inconsistent and for last 13 weeks averaged only 27 mpw.  Peaked at about 45 though.  For one weekimage.  Did no cross training.  Ran 3.46 in the end.  BUT I made sure I got a good number of long runs in though - followed the 5 longest add up to 100 rule.  And did some long tempo runs of up to 10 miles MP.  

    Your half time is similar to my half PB so I reckon you can do it off 25-30pm easily, as you are doing so many classes.  You must be knackered!

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    The marathon is about running for 26 miles.

    Mileage is just about recovery, conditioning and avoiding the sofa.

    To the OP. 

    One long run per week & a couple of short speed sessions.

  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    Echo most of the above.. if you can do 25 miles a week through most of the programme, you'll be fine... as long as you can step it up to get some good long runs in. Peaking at 20-21 miles.  If you can get 3 runs in of that length, I think that will be enough for you.

    I wonder if there isn't some sort of formula you could apply, to convert other excercise into running miles.  For example, if you play a 90 minute game of football, I'd be tempted to add, say, 3 miles to my weekly running total.  Has anyone ever done that?

  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭

    agree with all of the above.
    RW - there is one of those websites that says how much each activity is worth (usually in terms of calories used) but it also lists things like gardening, ironing and walking the dog, so not sure that helps..
    I average 40-50 a week in mara training, but if you can get the long run done then your other activities will make up for the short stuff.
    I did once 'get round' on an average of about 15mpw, with 7miles being my longest. I was younger (and fitter) then. Not something I'd recommend.

  • Tommy2DTommy2D ✭✭✭

    Run Wales - I play a 90 minute game of 6 a side football every week and was interested how far I ran so wore my Garmin one week and it came out at 3.5 miles. As some of this is spent walking rather than running I add an additional 2 miles on to my weekly total. Every little helps I guess. I have been averageing 35 miles per week for Marathon coming up in June, this will no doubt creep up with the couple of 20 and 22 milers I've got left to do.

  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    If you follow any marathon plan it will probably not have you running 40+ miles a week from the start. Being fit already is a good start, you've got the endurance as well.

    My concern is that you won't be able to taper unless you take time off work of course. You really do need to be quite well rested before a marathon unless you just intend to run it at a comfortable pace.

  • 70 to 80 for me - tried 100 but that left me totally flat -

  • Brill! thanks for all your advice everyone! Maybe it's not such a crazy idea after all. Am doing the Milton Keynes half in the first week of July (nice and flat, not like the last one I did!) so if that goes well I have about 10 weeks to step it up and get some long ones in. Thanks!

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