1st Time Marathon Advice

So, what to do?  There is so much advice out there, I'm a little confused.  Right now I train 5 to 6 times a week.  I body build twice and I run on the other days.  I run in the week, on a treadmill.  I run 4 miles.  Sometimes I fartlek train....hate it, but it has increased my minute miles.  I run between 8 to 9 minute miles.  When I run at 8, I always feel like I'm going to die.  On a weekend I try to run anything between 6 to 8 miles.  Weekends have not been consistent lately, due to having a 6 year old and a 1 year old to look after!.  However, I run more than I do not and not training is like emotional torture.   I think I'm fairly fit (but not marathon fit) and in terms of marathon's, I'm a beginner.  I have ran half a marathon in 2011, but I was slow, 2hrs 10m.  But at least I know what it takes to train for distance.  So, what should I do now?  The marathon programme I have is a Novice 2 from Hal Higdon.  I like his simple, straight forward programme.  I was thinking of starting it in mid December as that would be 18 weeks before the marathon.  I was going to get 'running fit' starting next week and try to get up to 13 miles in about 7 weeks.   Is that too much?  He doesn't mention in his programm Fartlek training, whereas I know this has helped me with my minute milers?  I also plan on sometimes weight training in my lunch hour and doing my runs in the evening.   I can run home from work, which is 8 miles.  I can just see myself over training though, because rest is like a dirty word in my vocabulary.   I also know I probably need to cut down on the wine.  I do like half a bottle with dinner most evening and then weekends, well...the skies the limit!  I'm also really afraid of putting on weight.  I recently lost 9lbs, which took my down to a size 6.  I've now put on about 5lbs and I can't bare the thought of putting on more because of marathon training.  Aaaaaaahhhhhh...how can I complete this challenge, stay toned, fit and skinny!  Anyone if the same boat?  Much sought after advice needed!


  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Chill. Its only a long run with loads of noise.

  • size 6????

    and you're worried about putting on weight?

    anyway when is your marathon?

  • Pippa, rather than trying to get 'running fit' before starting the programme, why not start the programme now but repeat the early weeks and gradually converge with the timing.  That would reduce your chances of injury by slowing down the build up and allowing your body extra time to adapt.  You seem to be at around the right level to start already.

    On the question of weight management - I found I lost weight doing distance training and have pretty much kept it off.  The biggest factor for me was ensuring I had low fat good quality protein for consumption asap after long / hard sessions, to stop ravening hunger and cravings.  I used soya protein shakes with fresh fruit as a supplement.

    I think keeping up the strength training is a good idea, it can't hurt to have the strength to maintain posture and gait for extended periods.

    Fartleks - although the long distance training focuses on building stamina and endurance, since you are starting ahead of schedule and building up slowly I'd keep those speed sessions (max once a week though) certainly for the next couple of months.  They do increase the chances of injury so have to be assessed in the light of overall training effort.  The 'pace' session and the long runs are the most important and shouldn't be compromised.

    ...just my tuppence worth, I'm rather a slug but I do a lot of reading... 

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    I agree with the protein. 

    Its ok all the talk about carbohydrate, but its no use without material for repair.

    Its like a car with a full tank of fuel but falling apart.

  • I'd stop weighing yourself to start with. Size 6 is tiny. Don't worry about putting on weight - just go with what your body wants to do.

    Definitely start the program early. You will get ill at some point or miss training so if you have a few weeks extra to play with - there is less stress. You can always tinker with the end of the schedule if needs be.

    What doesn't compute is your race time. That was ten minute miles for a half.

    You are running faster in training for a full marathon.

    Unless your fitness has improved a lot since then - you'll be looking at a 4.30 - 4.40 marathon.

    I think you're running too fast too soon. You say you overtrain - I think it's started already. The marathon breaks a lot of people - you need to respect the distance and listen to your body. It's better to be 10% undertrained than 1% overtrained.

    Slow the pace down for most of your runs. Save the speed for one session a week.

    If you do everything at top speed - when does your body recover and get stronger ?
  • Hi Pippa - well done on your marathon place, I've secured a place for London (I'm assuming you have too).  This will be my first full marathon.....I have 6 half's (well after Birmingham tomorrow), couple of 10 milers and 10ks under my belt already.

    I'm the same as you though, concerned about over training.  My long runs are up to 13 miles and my other 3 runs are between 6-10 miles in length (this has been the same for a over a year now), I also weight train!  I think the posts are spot on - recovery, pace and listening to your body.

    I've brought a garmin forerunner watch to help me keep my pace slow on my training runs, which I'm going to start at the beginning of November. I'm going to continue with the weight training until a month before and drop it and do strength training instead using bodyweight.  I've also started reading up on nutrition.

    Good luck with the training, oh and don't worry about the weight, I'm sure it'll stay off! I also have no intention of cutting out the wine..... well not straight away anyway!  image

  • Thank you all so much for your replies.  The Marathon is the London Marathon next April.  Louise, your advice has been the best advice to date.  I never thought of starting the training programme now.....that's such a good idea.  I went to a running club last night and ran 6 miles.  It was an easy jog, which is encouraging.  I also like the advice of once a week speed training and no more. 

    Cougie, yes my fitness has improved and I now run comfortably at 9 minute miles and not 10.   It was in 2011 I ran the half, so I've improved since then.  I hope to keep on improving.

    Mush, you are superwoman in my books!  Your mileage per week is fantastic.    You probably have the body of a goddess too!   I am finding it hard to think about fuelling all the time instead of vanity!  I'm quite used to waking up in the middle of the night feeling starving and knowing that I will be lighter in the morning.   I've been so focussed on muscle definition that it's a challenge to switch to energy resource instead.  And I agree, what a stupid idea to stop drinking...that's never goign to happen so early in the game x


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