Four runs a week for a marathon?



  • Ashley

    Thanks a lot for that. I'll certainly have a look at your web-site. This will be my first marathon (Blackpool btw, not FLM) and I got invoved in a thread where people were talking about 100-120 mile per week (minimum in some cases!) training for a marathon.

    To say I got a little discouraged is an understatement. Like most people on this thread I have family and work committments to consider and whereas I appreciate that running a marathon will be the hardest thing I ever do (physically at least), I'm encouraged to see that despite the extra time I'll have to commit to it, it seems do-able. Thanks again.
  • Like others here, 4 days a week worked for me with the odd 5 / 6 day week where circumstances allowed .... and sometimes 3 days !

    General schedule, 1 long run, 1 sustained piece of 8 - 12 miles, 1 speed work and a "general" 6 miler to give a total of 30 - 45 miles a week.

    The key for me was to get in one long run every 2 weeks (18 - 22 miles) for 2 - 3 months leading up to the race, with a couple of 1/2Ms to get used to moving a bit quicker.

    This schedule got me through my first marathon in 3:19. The single biggest help I feel was getting in a number of runs in the 20 to 22 mile range, for me these are very different to 16 to 18 milers and took a bit of getting used to.

    Like others, I found building the mileage up to fast introduced niggles and slight injuries.
  • chimp - I think its only only elite runners or nutters who need to do 100/120 miles a week. Because I'm no longer a youngster! yet still new to running for London this year I thought it was as important to look after my body as it was to do a massive amount of miles. I did max. 4 runs a week but looking back they were not all good quality, yet I managed to get round in just under 5 hours. I recently ran New York but signed up late so didn't have enough time to build up slowly so I made sure every run be it short or long was quality. I did lots of very hilly courses and my midweek shorter runs were about increasing speed. I still only did 3 or 4 a week. However, I've signed up for Paris and no longer want to be a 5 hour marathon runner and so will keep the quality and still do a max of 4 a week but the long runs will start much earlier and there will be more of them which will include a couple of 22 milers, the last being 4 weeks before April 6th.
  • I am running the NY marathon in Nov, my first ever marathon, but am only training 3 days a week; between 9-12 miles 2 days, getting upwards of 15 miles now on a w/end. Will this be enough to complete the race? Dont care about winning, just want to make sure i can finish!?
  • Hi Stuart
    if you want to get round, you will
    Its a mental thing
    15 miles sounds good
  • Did 2 of my marathons on 4 runs a week and another 2 on 4/5.
  • I can totally appreciate the comments from people that say they can't manage more than 4 runs a week due to time commitments.

    However, I find it very odd that so many people are talking about being limited to 4 runs a week due to potential/actual injuries if they do more than this, who don't seem to have considered the need for strength training and stretching sessions...

    IMO it is almost essential for novice runners to do some leg specific weight training and stretching if they want to train successfully and injury free for a marathon. Most novice runners' legs just aren't going to be up the battering that a marathon training schedule will inflict on them without strengthening them up first and building up the mileage gradually.

    Having said that, I am inclined to agree with everyone who has said that 4 runs a week should be sufficient. After all, if you make these 4 sessions hard, quality sessions (long run, tempo run, hills, etc) then all that you are leaving out from most schedules is going to be the easy/recovery runs.
  • I'm doing my third marathon in a year - all on four runs per week. Have tried stepping this up to five but found that I was just too tired. In all three 'campaigns' I have lost time thru injury...probably not enough time spent on stretching and leg specific weight training (as Lawrie says).
  • Good point Lawrie!

    My four runs were quality as you say and I did circuits once a week and swimming for recovery, so in terms of effort there was quite a lot involved.

    I'm training again for another marathon and because I want improvement I'm now running 5-6 times a week, swimming and circuit training when I can fit it in.
  • Never done any weight lifting.

    I am currently doing three runs a week. One speed session with a coach (with 1.7 miles warm up and cool down). The one hour session in the middle consists of techniques and sprinting up hill.
    One session is a lng run up to 23 miles and one is circa 10 miles. I average 30 miles a week and am aiming at a sub 4 time.

    After Thanet I will then be building up the miles gradually and also adding a fourth day and also increasing the miles so that I peak at 70 ready for London to Brighton in October 2004.
  • I don't think you have to do weights Ashley. Hills are an equal way to build leg strength.
  • Hi all, you all sound like you have had interesting times training for your marathons..I have loved it and am really looking forward to sundays London race now, my first! Good luck to all. Dave Sheppard Stourbridge running club.
  • I've just read some people prefer 4 runs per week and some prefer 3. But what about every other day with a long run once a fortnight. This would actually be sticking to the easy day hard day rule recommended. The easy day being taken to the extreme (complete rest), and the hard day you could push the boat out as well (high mileage), I mean what is the best for 50miles a week training? 10 miles x 5 days a week, or 16miles x 3 days per week. I think that if your training for a distance event then the latter is the best way. Just look at what most ultra runners do - 3 or 4 really long runs a week and no more.
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