Training For First Half Marathon & First Marathon- Advice?!

Hi All, this is my first post on RW so please be kind!

I've been running regularly for about 18 months and have done several 10k races. Recently I decided to step up a bit and have entered the Royal Parks half marathon at the beginning of October. I have now also entered the Edinburgh Marathon next May!

At the moment I am running 3 times a week. 1 x 10k, 1 x interval training (on treadmill) , mixing things up for 30 minutes, and 1 x longer run (I am now up to 12 miles and planning to get up to half marathon this weekend!).

I also fit in the following cross training: 1 x HIIT based workout, using free weights and lots of squats, burpees, press ups, etc; 1 x HIIT based workout using similar moves but less/no weights, and focussing on core strength; 1 x gym session using kettle bells, focussing on upper body strength and squats.

My plan is to pretty much carry on like this (2 rest days a week) but to extend the longer run once I've completed the half marathon in October, working up to maybe 21 miles max. I am keen to keep cross training to help avoid injury and to keep a good balance/ maintain muscle mass. 

Do you think this will be enough for the marathon running 3 x a week as long as I can get the long distance up? Should I adjust the other 2 runs I'm doing to go longer? I'm just keen to keep balanced as I have suffered a lot in the past with arthritis in my knee, but in the last 18 months I have so far been absolutely fine using this new approach (particularly with all the squats I've been doing!) Along the way I have also managed to lose the 4 stone I put on during the years when I was unable to train with my knee problems!

Most marathon training plans seem to involve running 5x a week but I am not sure this is going to work for me - any advice much appreciated as I am in very new territory here!


Thanks so much image


  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    3 runs a week is really the bare minimum required to get you round.

    I think you would be better off dropping one of your gym sessions for an extra run.

    The best way to get better at running is to run.
  • Hi Nicole, I did my first marathon this year (London) on 3 runs a week + 2 strength/interval sessions at the gym - it worked well for me, but at 59 I was trying hard to do enough but also not overdo it. Have a look at Shades marathon training thread on here, I found it really helpful. Good luck!

  • roebyroeby ✭✭✭

    You really need to make sure you get one long steady run of about 18 miles in each week before you taper down., this run should be slow and steady .Drop the gym sessions and concentrate on the running 8/12wks before your marathon.

  • I'm following the "5 longest runs in training adding up to over 100 miles" approach that someone on this forum told me about this year for a marathon, so far 18, 19 and 2 x 21 miles for a race at the end of Sept.  Last year for my first marathon, I only managed 19, 2x18s and 2x16.5s in 3 months training and suffered massively, got round in 4:18 but suffered a lot after a 1:50 halfway.

    On my long runs it tends to be muscle/joint fatigue that gets me rather than aerobic issues - so more running to get legs used to running on empty seems to be the key for me, rather than cross training for aerobic purposes.  But if you are clever and get your long runs up I don't see why 3 runs a week will not work for you.  There is a book based on this  "Run less, run faster" with marathon plans in it.

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