Help ease my marathon confusion??

My friend who is training for the NY marathon at the smae time as me is using a different schedule. On his it suggests that you should do at least 3 20 milers before the race whereas mine (Hal Hidgon I think) recommends just one 20 miler and other than that one 18 miler before tapering. All thoughts & comments appreciated? I cant read another book - information overload.


  • New Runner,

    If your programme is working for you then keep to it and just as with the actual race let the others do their own thing.

    It will all depends on 24,000 variables as to what distances programmes suggest you run. The other point worth noting do not be a slave to the book/programme if you feel you are pushing it too much ease back.

    Good luck with it and keep us all posted how you get on.
  • Thanks SB. Just having a few mild panic attacks. Only 12 weeks to go..!
  • i think it was bruce tulloch (RW coaching writer) who said that if your 5 longest runs don't add up to 100 miles or more then you're not ready for a marathon.

    scared the life out me that did!!!

    i did a couple of 20s an 18 and a couple of 16s and snuck in under 4 hrs on the day

    mind you, i bet bruce's boys were peppering the 3 hour mark!
  • Well that was how the URWFRC got started as we were all having the same panic attacks about London. We were all worried when we got a sore throat or a twingle in a leg or knee, and most of us made it. I think this is what the URWFRC is all about. Reassuring preople who are new or on their own. I found it great as I was training through the Swiss Winter for London.

    I must always say that my work colleagues were also great, they were always asking me how the training was doing. And the two weeks before my boss did not pressure me atall the new I had other things on my mind.
  • New runner

    My marathon debut is 8 weeks on Sunday so I should panic.

    I'm planning based on time and have so far completed two 2:30 hour runs. I plan to do probably two more 2:30's and one 3:00 before the event - much as I hate long runs!
    I am hoping to run under 3:30.

    I think the amount you do depends largely on how much time you have versus your objectives. If you are following one of Hal Higdons programme you can guarantee that lots of other people have done so and that they are very effective.

    So don't worry now -save all your worry for one week before the race!
  • Hi New Runner,

    I'm on a Hal Higdon programme as well (Intermediate I) and it is working wonders for me so far! I will do 2 x 20 milers before Dublin, but for my first marathon I only did one 20 miler.

    As SB says, all these schedules vary and as long as it's working for you, you'll be fine.

    Don't panic and enjoy your training.

    Good luck!!!!
  • You know what? This forum is totally great! As I'm not a member of a running club - hope that you will allow me to bore/share with you in the run up to the big day with small progress reports! Good luck with your debut too Martin H! And Dog Walker - good to know someone else has followed the programme and been successful with it - thanks!
  • Get really into it with the URWFRC web site Click Here <br>
    This is a test click

    <script language="JavaScript">
    function rjkclick(){
    alert("You clicked the wrong one");
    return false;
    Click here
  • ok so I can only past links in the html that i put inhere I can not do other groovey Html stuff. :-(
  • It's been on my "favourites" -for months, thanks!
  • When I completed the London Marathon, my longest run prior to that had been 13.5 miles almost three months before, following which I did nothing apart from nurse an injury.

    I would NOT recommend this approach! Anyone with any sense would have pulled out, but all I wanted to do was finish even if it meant walking the whole way.

    Cheers, V-rap.
  • My longest run pre FLM was 16 miles - the last 4 of which were a shuffle. I did loads of 3 hour jogs round and round a football pitch once a week due to injury - and that's all the 'running' I did for the last 6 weeks but can't believe I went over 15 miles when I did them. I did loads and loads of cross training in the gym though.

    I think you Have to do at least one 'run' > 16 miles in order to get the ligaments used to the workload otherwise they really start hurting - but if your aim is completion - rather than a set time - you don't have to do excess long runs - and are more likely to injure yourself if you do.

    Good Luck
  • Hey New Runner, I can personally testify that Hal Higdon will get you round in one piece. I followed him to the letter in my bid to finish New York under 5 hours and ran a clock time of 4hrs 59 min and 57 seconds! How's that for pacing?!
  • Hi New Runner
    I agree with whats been said but would add that the length and number of your long runs depends on your target finish time. I planned to run the London Marathon in under 5 hours and in training ran 1x16 miles 2x18 and 1x20 miles and managed 4hrs 50 min (could possibly have been sub 4hrs 30 but for blister on foot).

    Good luck and you have a perfect rite to have the jitters, we've all been there.


  • HillyHilly ✭✭✭
    I'v always worked on the principle of my longs runs adding up to over 100 miles before taper for a marathon, but I've always set myself a time target. If I was just wanting to get round then I would be happy to do a couple of 18's and a 20! At the end of the day it's what suits the individual and what they want to get out of the run. Good luck and happy running!
  • My longest pre FLM 2002 was a 16 miler, then with a probably very unwise drink /v short rest at home and a further 4 mile walk/run - although mainly walk ;-)

    In the Marathon I did fade a bit after 22 miles butnot too much and finished in 3.43

    I will do more long runs though for next year. Promise !
  • I started out "just wanting to get round" but now...i really want to do 4:30...we'll see! Dedicated runner that I have become (or mad) found myself doing 5 miles in torrential rain last night!
  • New Runner

    I ran the New York in 98 - WOW!!. You will NOT be disappointed, I didn't think anything would surpass London but for me this did, just being in one of the most vibrant cities in the world was enough for me but to top it off with one of the best 3 Marathons in the world really was the icing on the cake.

    You don't say whether this is your first marathon or not? I've run 18 now including 8 London and the only thing that has been the same is the distance!!, my slowest is 4hrs 10m and my fastest 3hrs and 3mins. If this is your first I would suggest that your programme is about right for you. I found that concentrating on TIME ON YOUR FEET rather than distance in training helped me in my first 3 marathons or so. That is I made my long runs 2 and a half or 3 hours rather than 16, 18 or 20 miles or so. I would recommend that you do at least 3 or 4 runs of 2 and a half hours and 1 or 2 of 3 hrs. Make your longest 3 or 4 weeks before the race and taper your time/distances down afterwards.

    At the end of the day what do want to achieve in your 1st marathon? I would suggest that you just enjoy every single minute, because believe it or not it WILL flash past and don't worry about the finishing time. If you follow your structured training programme it will be enough to get you around in a fit enough state to be able to enjoy it. If you're hooked afterwards then you can start worrying about times like the rest of us!!

    Let us know how you get on - all the very best.
  • nice note craig...good time on the 3.03!!

    agree entirely with the time on feet principle too - i have to say though the last 6 miles of my first one didn't flash by - in fact i think at that stage the only thing that flashed by was my whole life!!!

    seriously though, just a thought for NR and any other mara-newbies, there will be some bits where you'll have to grind through - (around 18-20 miles) and hopefully come through on the other side. if you're ready for this, it won't take you by surprise.

    i'm sure hal higdon has mentioned it somewhere in the small print!!
  • Very nice note Craig and Wolf too - thank you! Out of interest are you guys believers in the walk/run theory or did you run all the way?
  • I trained to run all the way, which would have got me round in 4.30, but I stopped to take a few photos, walked through drinks stations, waited while a friend went to the loo, stopped to get a plaster on my toe.... it all adds up.

  • NR

    Never walk unless I pick up an injury. I believe that it is far far harder to get going again in the later stages (after the wall - 20/21 miles) if you walk, just try to keep plodding along.
  • I was a quivering wreck in the days leading up to my first marathon - I had done all the training - 3 x 20 miles and as much mid week as I could fit in, I did London in 2000 and followed the training schedules in RW published that year - got round in 4.15 -did another marathon later in the year, followed same traing schedule and knocked 30 minutes - so - try and stick to the training programmes, do the longer runs and enjoy it - I have put in again for 2003 as this time I want to enjoy it

    See you there

  • Neilruns - you took photos en route? You were carrying a camera with you?!
  • Oh yes. It's interesting to see how the quality of the photos deteriorated as the miles passed! It was a disposable - they don't weigh anything.
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    Definitely recommend taking a disposable camera for NY.I ran it in '97 and there were hundreds of people with them - and wish I had one too. Lovely views of Manhattan from the bridge at the start and great atmosphere throughout.
    Shame it pi**ed down when I ran it in a pw time.
    Definitely on the list of 'to do agains'
  • tried not to walk, but round about 22 miles it became rather too much and i ended up doing the 1 min walk/9 mins run routine (which isn't a too bad ratio i guess) for the last 4 miles

    interestingly, as long as you walk quickly - and i'm sure there wasn't too much difference between my fast walk and slow run by that stage - you actually don't lose much time at all, but somehow get that all important breather.

    as an aside i once strode up the second half mile of the monster hill at the henley half marathon (regulars will know it) and overtook people who were running!!

    there's a thought in there....
  • New Runner,

    The rule of thumb I used this year was to complete 100 miles in my 5 longest runs...Me and my running partner did 2 x 23 milers, 2 x 20 milers and a 16 miler...This seemed to put us in good stead for the London and I found starting these about 6-7 weeks before the marathon really helped, with the last long run, the 16, 3 weeks before London....Hope this helps!
  • Thanks Cheeky! All I need now is some motivation to run 6 miles this evening..!
  • New Runner, Hope you mustered up enough motivation for that 6 miles....Well, did you? Nice evening for it anyway, so you couldn't use the weather as a reason not to go!
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