Balancing marathon training with other running desires

I'm running Abingdon Marathon on October 20th and I think it's time I actually decided on my training plan.  The problem is, I'm not sure how to balance my marathon training with the other stuff I like doing running wise:

  • I'm entered in a few 10k races.  I reckon I can probably move the schedule round to fit them in without too much trouble
  • I like running an hour (~12k) most days, and I don't want to give that up and run shorter distances if I can help it
  • I like running my club's Saturday or Sunday morning session each week. Sunday is long run, so should work out fine.  Saturday is the fartlek/sprint/hills session, so doesn't work so well, but that's the group I much prefer to run with
  • I'm happy to run six days a week, but I like to choose which day to take off depending on how I'm feeling rather than a schedule...

Background: my target time is 3:05. I've run 10k in 39 minutes, and a half marathon (last year when I wasn't running as much) in 89m. Both were undulating courses.  I've run 1400km so far this year, and run half marathon distances two or three times a month, and 10-14k on average six days a week. I've run several 30k distances this year.

My feeling is that something has to give, and it's almost certainly my Saturday sessions, but I wondered if anyone had some sage advice that would let me have my cake and eat it image

Anyone got any experience of combining a hard marathon target with training sessions that don't really suit it?  Did it end badly?


  • Hi Zirion, newbie here so pinch of salt time, have you looked at Hal Higdons Advanced II plan? 6 days a week running and has Saturday at medium distance runs at MP most weeks with the Long run on Sunday - apparently this is to help you slow down for your LSR. No stamina here (yet) so don't need the Saturday run to wear me outimage

  • what does the saturday session actually involve? One option is take a longer warm-up. If you normally meet up at 10.00am, or whatever, just get there earlier and go for a run beforehand. That way you'll keep up the mileage - you may be a little tired for the session but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

  • No advice from me, but I like the look of that Hal Higdon schedule.  I would find MP on Sat followed by LDR on Sun much easier to accomodate than some other schedules.

  • Most of what you put sounds about fine but I would look to put in a standard midweek long run between 10 to 15 miles. Also it would be adviable to make your 10K's part of an LSR ie run up to 14 miles slow and then run the 10K or drop some of your 10K's and keep the others for cut back weeks. The main thing is not to run too much too fast.

  • Thanks all for the advice so far!

    Bazza: The Saturday session varies between hills, fartlek and intervals. Usually 24 minutes of effort, so that might be 20 hills, 2, 4, 6, 6, 4, 2 minute intervals or 2 x (4x1mins + 4x2 mins). I often run there, so already add a 5k warm up on before the 3k warm up.

    Andi: The HH schedule looks good. If I rotate it so that my long run is mid week then that might fit with my running lifestyle. I'm already happy to run up to around 25k on a weekday early morning, so the least painful option might be to get up an extra hour earlier for the few long runs. 4am wake up is good for the soul right?

    Postie: I'm reluctant to make the 10ks the end of a long slow run, because I want to do well in them. I guess I can't claim they're tempo runs though, because they don't build up to max pace and back down again. I'm tempted to just accept they're not great for my training and put them in the place of a tempo run, but go even easier and shorter on the next day, or just take the day off.



  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    The marathon commands commitment to specific training. If you can't do that, then don't enter marathons.

  • I'm a bit more pragmatic about the whole thing. I'm no elite and have no problems adding non complimentary activities into my schedule. If you want to do your absolute best at the marathon then sure, drop the sessions that don't match marathon specific training.

    I think it is a personal decision - what do you want to do?

    Personally I find the marathon cruel - just read through the casualties before a marathon is run. 5 months of training, then the week before you get sick / injured etc. For this reason I'll enjoy the running and training, and enjoy other activities along the way.  10k and HM can be incorporated into long runs, or slotted into cutback weeks. If I was focused entirely on pb's I would go about things differently.

  • Zirion, I agree with you, find a plan and change it to suit you, running a Marathon is not easy and as Also-ran says, the training should be be a big(ger) part of the actual Marathon.

    I've taken the decision to do more HADDing than Hal Higdon for my first Marathon but going to try to stick to the Sat/Sun runs that Hal prescribes.

  • Thanks guys - FWIW I went with the Hal Higdon Adv 2 program and switched to the Sunday morning training sessions (and a couple of mid week 4am long runs...).  Until I picked up an injury six weeks out.  Played it by ear since then, but I'm back to health (albeit undertrained) for tomorrow.


  • Sorry about the injury Zirion! Is the target time still 3:05 or did you have to adjust after the injury?

    Good luck tomorrow and looking forward to the race report image

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