Can anyone please give me a training program for someone who cant go training 3 or 4 times a week. I see all schedules are for multiple days but for my 3 kids under 5 this has become a nightmare on my wife.

At present I can get out 1 or 2 times inc a long run.



  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Peter, I think you'll find it difficult to find a schedule based on 2 or 3 times per week.

    the following link lets you choose between 4 & 6 days but it may give you some ideas.
  • I would guess that you are going to struggle to complete a marathon on once or twice a week. You'll either have to get up earlier or train late at night - I do the latter.
  • Yep Pete,
    you'll just have to get up earlier. For last years marathon I would get up with the baby at 4, feed him, put him back to bed, go for a run and be back in time to get breakfast for the other 2.
    I did this 2 mornings a week as well as fitting in other training.
    I don't want to sound condisending but if you want something bad enough you'll find the time.
    Good luck.
  • BTW Drew, do you prefer the Time out doors schedual to the RW ones on this site and Hal Hidgens?
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Pizza man, I don't use any schedules as they are too inflexible.
  • Peter,

    I think you can get by on 3 sesssion a week.

    You need your long slow run, gradualy building up the milage each week to the levels shown in the training programs. This is really important.

    You need to do some training at your anticipated marathon pace each week (also building up the milage gradually).

    And then maybe a session of long intervals at faster than marathon pace (get your legs used to running anaerobically - they will be at the end of the martahon).

    But if you really can't afford three sessions a week, the first two session if done religiously will get you 'round the course. Not as fast as you could have done - but keeping your marriage and your health is more important than a few minutes saved in a marathon.

    Good luck
  • Karaoke Peter - You seem to be in the know, what is aerobic and anearobic running? I know it with and without oxygen but in running terms what does it mean?
  • Peter. keep it all in perspective. Make sure that you are enjoying your children and that they are enjoying you and the little lady gets some space as well. PB's will come and go but family is for life. You might be better doing halfs or 10k's for a couple of years and come back to the big one. As a father of 4 myself i know these are stress days.
  • early morning is how i cope with being a hospital doctor
    5.30, ugh, but you can squeeze in 30-40 minutes then
    Good luck!!
  • I think making time to do things you want to do is important. I know that financial pressures can mean we spend longer at work than we want to - but if at all possible try not to make yourself so busy you can't spend 4 or 5 hours running (or doing some other physical activity) every week. I know that sounds a lot but think about it like this - playing a game of football is at least 2 and a half hours out of the house, then maybe a couple of games of squash or a couple of sessions in the gym and you are already there.

    I know that is hard - I've got 3 kids aged 4 and under myself. I seriously wouldn't bother with a marathon unless I could really do myself justice in it. Is there much point in running it in an hour more than you know you could have done otherwise. The great thing about running is that the age limits that apply to some sports do not.

    Also why put yourself under pressure. My most enjoyable running has been long training runs through picturesque areas rather than races. It's nice to go out and do the run that you want to on any given day rather than have to do a long run or a speed session because your schedule says you have to. If after a while you enjoy running and get better at it then think about racing and maybe a marathon.

    All that said it is of course your choice so to answer your question if I had to run a distance race on 1 or 2 sessions a week I would try and go as far as I could in each rather than bother about speed. Build up gradually though.
  • Paul,

    Yes running anarobically means that you are running at a pace where your body has to use fuel other than the normal glucose/glycogen and oxygen route.
    ie sprinting, 3K, 5K

    Also at the end of longer races (or running distances your not used to) your glucose/glycogen deposits will be exhausted so body has to dip into other reserves.

    To get the best from your running you have to train to get most from both anaerobic and aerobic pathways. If only do aerobic work you will lose loads of weight etc but will tend to slow down at the end of races when the anaerobic paths have to kick in more.

    Great article in RW somewhere (when I find it I'll pass it on to you) on lactate threshold, VO2max etc will explain it better than me.

  • There are some good tips on marathon training on a recent thread called marathon schedules I think.

    Also, what is your reason for wanting to do a marathon right now? If you're happy to do it on minimum training, then you can probably squeeze in enough to get around, although if it's causing difficulties already, it can only get more pressured as you really do need the long runs. On the other hand, will you be frustrated and feel compromised knowing you want to do more, and perhaps creating friction at home? Then maybe it's better to wait until your kids are older or you have more flexibility in your schedule. When my kids were little I just didn't have the ability/energy/time/sleep/focus to take on any more than just looking after them and working. It was a happy time, and goes so quickly.

    Everyone's circumstances and goals are different though but marathon training is a huge commitment, and mentally absorbing as well, so you'll need supportive people around you or it's a very lonely journey ahead.

    Good luck whatever you decide.
  • thanks Karaoke Peter. Interesting stuff.

    Does that explain the vomitting some athletes experience at the end of a long run, as all energy stores have been depleted and they are digging into a non-normal fuel system?

    I ask this as yesterday as i was in the last 500m of a 10km race, when a club colleague who had already finished shouted some encouragement from the side of the road. This spurred me into a sprint finish which i wasn't expecting or really able to do but which resulted in an aforementioned vomit at the end. All very embarassing but amusing at the same time.

    Or am i barking up the wrong tree completely?
  • Can I ask a question?

    Isn't the production of lactic acid due to the breakdown of glycogen molecules without the use of oxygen rather than using a different energy source than glycogen (ignoring the fact that fat and protein can also be used as energy). The build up being due to the fact that complete breakdown requires O2.

    So it isn't the case that you start using anaerobic energy pathways when you exhaust your glycogen stores - you start using them when your muscle requirements for oxygen can no longer be met - or am I wrong?

    As I saw it you produce lactic acid when you can no longer supply enough oxygen to the muscles rather than enough glycogen. The build up of lactic acid at the end of a race would be if you were running slightly above your lactic threshold and were accumulating more lactic acid than your body could recycle over a period of time or due to you raising your pace for a sprint finish.

    I'm probably wrong in this but can someone explain why?
  • Paul,

    I think the vomitting thing is different. Something to do with eating kebabs the night before.


    You are correct. How I phrased the source of fuel was misleading in terms of glucose and glycogen. I was hinting to the fate of pyruvic acid (which of course is derived from glycogen/glucose) in the absence of oxygen and the different source of acetyl coenzymeA (wich can also come from burning fat).

    Probably too much information for the question asked (and should probably be the source of another thread - or better still an RW article - needs some diagrams Krebs and all that).

    But the message I was trying to get accross was that if you don't do some training at or just above your lactate threshold pace your performance in a race will not be what it could be.


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