Interim Training Prior to London Marathon 2014

Hi Guys

I ran the London in 2012 and finished in 2h 52min.  If it wasn't for my hamstring I would have come home in 2h 46min.  This has made me want to qualify for the Elite men even more.

I have upped my training plan to Mike Grattons Hard training plan.

The training is quite intense and I can understand why they call it the Beast!

The problem is the first training session is a 2 hour run.  Can someone please recommend a good programme to build me up to that level!  The Gratton schedule starts on Nov 3rd.  So I have from now.

Thanks guys



  • Paul, it is July now, and by November you have the problem of needing to have built up to a two hour run.  Seems strange that you need advice on how to go about increasing time / mileage given that you are not exactly a novice.  That seems like plenty of weeks to build a decent base and put in a few long runs up to 2 hours.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    A novice could get up to 2 hr runs by November with a simple training plan. So I'm not really sure what sort of advice you are after.

    Being merely Good For Age I don't think I'm qualified to comment.

    How about asking on the Sub 3 thread?
  • How far can you run now ?

    I'd really not have thought a plan for building to 2 hours would be a stretch for a runner of your speed ?
  • Hi Guys

    Thanks for the responses.  The London 2012 was my first ever marathon and for charity.  I followed a dedicated training plan for a sub 3 hour marathon and I did slightly better.  This time however I want to go one step further but I'm not used to running in between the time before the marathon plan starts.

    I did not want to jump straight into the 24 week Gratton programme without any prior training.

    All I was asking for was advice leading up to the start of the programme in November.

    Do I train every other day with a long run at the weekend?

    I have been playing football for the last 10 years and this is the first time I have come back to running seriously since I have now retired from the football.

    I made the mistake of playing football up until the last six weeks prior to the 2012 LM and payed the price by straining my hamstring with 1.2 miles to go.

    I suppose you could say I'm a novice at marathon's but I'm a stickler to following a training plan.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated!


  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    How long is your long run at the moment?
  • Hi Millsy

    Just come back from a damn calf strain. 

    I haven't trained properly for 6 weeks.  So to build up I have been out and completed x2 3 mile runs and x1 6 mile run.

    I have been having a day off after each run as I don't want the calf to go again.

    I completed the 6 mile road run last night in about 45 mins which was at a very steady pace.

    I was going to try an 8 mile run tomorrow night.  I was hoping to see this week out then if the calf was good I was going to increase my milage.


  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Don't try and rush things coming back from the calf strain. You have plenty of time to build up to Nov.

    When the calf is 100% start building the long run up by a mile or so a week and you should be somewhere near 2 hrs by then.
  • Paul, out of interest, why are you going for a 'beasting' with the Gratton Hard plan. Given that you had an excellent result first time round, is there not something that you can build on there.

    I can see you are concerned about getting up to 2hours before you start, but with this particular plan there is little or no rest days, so you should spend time building up to running 7 days per week.

    I am assuming you will be running single sessions per day, and not the full on doubles. If you are doing the doubles, then you need to be up to that frequency before you start, otherwise you will breakdown fairly soon.

    Generally before a marathon campaign, building a good aerobic base is the norm through plenty of easy mileage, and the occassional tempo tun, so plenty of that is all that is needed. Just build it up slowly

  • Hi Millsy & Also-ran

    I used a 14 week programme last time which was 7 days a week, single sessions and 3 rest days.

    I wanted an actual elite programme this time I could follow that would help me break 2h 45min.

    I came across the beast programme whilst researching training programmes online.

    I was intending on doing the double sessions but I will probably have to tailor it to suit my family life.

    Like I said earlier I'am really a novice but I'm also a natural runner if that makes sense?

    So both you guys have advised on building up slowly.  I will continue to run day on, day off until I think the calf can manage 7 days a week.  Then I'll see where to go from there!



    Thanks for the advice

    P.S. Just out of interest would you guy's have any other training plans that would probably be better than the beast?

    P.P.S. By the way I have to follow a plan as it motivates me out of the house and I know what I need to achieve everyday


  • Hi Paul, I'm not one for plans, but that is mainly because of the way I'm wiredimage The closest I got to running to a plan was last autumn when most of my running was based on Pfitzinger  & Dougas (Advanced Marathoning book). The book is worth a read even if you don't use their plans - lots of explanations on types of sessions. I use a lot of that theory to shape my running along with articles/ideas from other authors and my own hairbrained ideas

    I can't say Advanced Marathoning  is better or worse than Gratton plans. They also have high mileage plans. One benefit is sharing progress with others on here ( look for the P&D thread). 

    How the plans fit with lifestyle would be a big issue for me. I trialled a high milege week, and running doubles for a week  recently. I concluded that it wasn't for me, but will add 2 to 3 double days per week later on in a marthon campaign. I'm not massively results driven and try to balance the training with retaining enjoyment from running. I would have to find about 3 mins to break 2:45 - I'm sure Gratton or P&D would help achieve this, but for me they don't suit. I appreciate that plans work brilliantly for many though - so I'm not knocking your choice. 

  • Hi Guys

    Just a quick update on the interim plan.  I decided to build myself up using the 14 week marathon plan I used 2 years ago.  I tweaked it slightly by throwing in a double session here and there until I reach doubles nearly every day.

    As for the long run I'm up to 15 miles at the moment just under 2 hours which I'm quite pleased with.

    Still suffering from small niggly injuries.  But then that's part and parcel of ramping up your training.  The calf has fully healed but the knee is playing up every now and then.

    I start the beast in November so I should be well used to twice a day training by then fingers crossed.  The only problem I can forsee is lifestyle as mentioned before.  My wife "The Marathon Widow" will have an input for sure LOL.

    Anyway thanks for all the advice.



  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Good luck.

    Just remember that you are allowed to rest every so often and if you feel a niggle its often best to rest it for a couple of days rather than running hard on it and being out for a couple of weeks.

    I am speaking from experience on that one and have learnt the hard way.
  • Im not in your league by any means but did qualify for GFa for London 2014.

    Be careful with the calf strain - they take along time to heal and need massages and deep tissue repair etc, especially with your plan and speed. That would be my main worry as i have been there.

    I am only aiming for sub 3hr, but intend to it on smart training, rather than smacking the miles down, as my body does not tend to like high miles.

    You must be a very gifted runner! - do you not think what you might have done if you started doing marathons 5-10 years earlier? - i have only been running 2 years (when i was 40) and i wonder how much better i would have been 10-15 years earlier, and i am no where near in your class. image

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