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Training for my first Marathon - Advice Please (Read 2303 times)

Scout7


CPT Curmudgeon

    I want to clarify my stance.

     

    I am not saying "Do not set a goal time, ever".

     

    I AM saying that you should let your TRAINING dictate your goal time.  I do not advocate picking a goal time out of thin air, and asking people on a message board what they think a good goal time would be is doing exactly that.

     

    OP, you have 12 weeks of training left to gather more information about your fitness and abilities.  Look at your current training and times, and re-evaluate the week before the race.  Use your long runs and tempo runs to make a determination as to what a realistic goal time should be.

     

    If you want to speculate about one now, go for it.  Just don't modify your training in an attempt to hit that goal time.

     

    As to a strategy....  I would generally plan on even splits, and see where the chips fall.


    Prince of Fatness

      His log is long and includes two separate half marathons last year. He was doing 25-28 mile weeks and knocked out a half in 1 hr 38 min. 

       

       

      I would not even think about that 1:38 half when trying to figure out a goal.  MacMillan says he can run 3:26.  If he goes out at 3:26 pace I hope he gets a video because the death march late in the race should be fun to watch.  He's only run ~600 miles YTD, and while the last couple of months have been pretty good, that's pretty low mileage if you want to be aggressive with a marathon goal time.

       

      To the OP, this is your first marathon.  I suggest a conservative goal time.  It doesn't have to be just to finish, maybe something like 3:50 - 4 hours.  Funny things happen after mile 20 that you may not be prepared for.  Get the experience.  There will be other marathons where you can be aggressive.

       

      As for training, I'd focus on stamina over speed.  Keep getting out the door consistently.  Don't worry about doing intervals or any of that stuff.  Maybe a long tempo mid week, and add in some quality to your long runs.  And be careful not to build up your long run to the point where you are sacrificing total weekly mileage in order to recover from it.

       

      Good luck.

      Semi-retired.


      Feeling the growl again

        I would not even think about that 1:38 half when trying to figure out a goal.  MacMillan says he can run 3:26.  If he goes out at 3:26 pace I hope he gets a video because the death march late in the race should be fun to watch.  He's only run ~600 miles YTD, and while the last couple of months have been pretty good, that's pretty low mileage if you want to be aggressive with a marathon goal time.

         

        To the OP, this is your first marathon.  I suggest a conservative goal time.  It doesn't have to be just to finish, maybe something like 3:50 - 4 hours.  (Funny things happen after mile 20 that you may not be prepared for.  )2 Get the experience.  There will be other marathons where you can be aggressive.

         

        As for training, I'd focus on stamina over speed.  Keep getting out the door consistently.  Don't worry about doing intervals or any of that stuff.  Maybe a long tempo mid week, and add in some quality to your long runs.  And be careful not to build up your long run to the point where you are sacrificing total weekly mileage in order to recover from it.

         

        Good luck.

         

        +1.

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

         

        kcarel


          I would consider myself an experienced runner. Ran competitive cross country and track for 6-8 years and just started getting serious again. I would say for any new event, just finish it and run at a comfortable pace. Goaling for a time could be a mental demon when he gets into mile #18-19 when he discovers he is not keeping the goaled pace. Get that first one under your belt and use whatever time you achieved as a benchmark for the next one. The goal would be to finish without stopping, not a time. I like the word "arbitrary" because that is exactly what it is for someone who does not have a marathon under his belt. Just fair warning, you set a time goal and it turns out to be unrealistic you could not only ruin your first run and not finish but you could become a major mental case and could associate resentment with the event next time you attempt. First impressions are huge especially for such a long distance. make the first impression a good one by locking in on a comfortable stride and finishing it. Good luck.

            a

            "First impressions are huge especially for such a long distance."

             

            Agreed. My NYCM blow-up (first and only marathon to date) soured longer distance racing for me for over 10 years. Only just now re dipping toes in water with a half attempt.

            Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
            We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

              I think that whatever approach you take needs to be deeply considerate of your personal perspective on things.

               

              For my first marathon I had only 9 weeks of training under my belt. I did it on a dare. So your log looks extremely enviable by comparison.

               

              Some people have argued against setting a goal. For me not having a goal time would have meant not having focus... all I am saying is that it is completely to each their own approach. If you are comfortable not setting a goal time and feel you can have the focus required using that approach then all power to you, however, if you are the type of person that needs a goal then I say use it to your advantage... to provide focus.

               

              One thing I like to do is run a 10K - 1/2 about 4 weeks out from my goal race. This gives me some objective data to help determine where I am in my training and what I can set as a goal window. For my window I set 3 times that I would be happy with. The first, "the stretch goal" is exactly what McMillan says I could run based on my test race, I then chop two 5 minute blocks off of that. The first, 5 minute slower increment is my "Main" Goal. The final block is my "Good" day goal. Outside of one race when I was injured, I have always met one of the goals using this approach. 

               

              Just my two cents for what is worth... your mileage may differ.

              Steve

                I will weigh in a little with this but in all honesty I only read page 2.  I'm with having a goal pace with some data to back it up.  I think you do need to have something to shoot for here.  It just needs to be reasonable and running a couple of half marathons will help with this.  Plug that number into McMillian and factor in the course elevation, the heat, how you feel that day, other weather factors, how you ate the last few days, how you slept the night before, all of your training runs, how healthy your are and how hydrated you are.  This should give you a good idea of what to run Wink.  My point here is that the marathon is very tough to predict but I still you should have a reasonable goal time or else should you start off at 14 min pace or 10 min pace?  Even if you get this right all it takes is not getting enough fluid, food in your system or someone stepping on your foot to mess up the marathon for you.  I love the marathon!

                 

                Good luck with your quest.   It is a very noble one. 

                2014 Goals: (Yeah I suck)

                • Sub 22  5K
                • Sub 1:35 1/2 marathon 
                • Sub 3:25:00 Marathon

                  Some people have argued against setting a goal. For me not having a goal time would have meant not having focus... all I am saying is that it is completely to each their own approach.

                   

                  Like you, I need to set a goal in order to keep focus.  I ran my first and only marathon last December and I set goal(s). I think that's what the OP should do.  I had three goals...#1: Finish the marathon.  #2:  Finish without stopping.  #3:  Sub-4.  Although I didn't obtain the sub-4, I was able to finish, and finish without stopping (although miles 21-24 were so slow it felt like I stopped). 

                   

                  Anyway, I didn't reach every goal, but I finished and that was #1 for me.  Along the 26 miles and during my training and morning of the race, I learned things.  I will apply everything I learned during the 18 weeks of training and on race day in my training and race this year with the new #1 goal of sub-4. 

                   

                  It's a learning experience, especially in your first one, and I would suggest making sure a time goal isn't the only goal you set for yourself.  When the 4 hour pacer passed me right before mile 21 my heart sank.  But I quickly remembered that I still hadn't stopped and I needed to finish this damn thing.


                  Climbing Mt Ruapehu

                    I like the idea of setting a time goal more than the idea of going in wanting to reverse split the course.   Sub-3:45 doesn't sound all that unreasonable to me (my race times were similar to yours for my first marathon and I ran a sub-3:40 on a course that I'm guessing is less hilly on about 50 mpw).  And, there's no reason why you can't change that goal the closer you get to race day.  I know I changed my goal time about 2 or 3 times for my first - not widely, but 5 or 10 minutes up and down based on training, races, and feedback from other people. 

                     

                    But, I think it's really hard to reverse split a marathon.  This is not to say you can't do it - I'm not one to tell someone else their limitations and maybe the hilliness of the first half of this marathon is a game changer.  But, I think you could be setting yourself up for some disappointment.  I would advise something like planning on even halves going in, but letting yourself pick things up after Mile 22/23 if you feel like it.  (You may want to also look at last years results and see how many people actually reverse split.  It may give you a sense for how big a difference the elevation change/wind made for the field vs. your friend).

                     

                    Yes, by negative split, i didnt mean MASSIVE negative split, just close to even.  I know my mate last year went through at 600th in the first half and about 200th for the 2nd half to come out at about 400th.  He is a stronger and far more experienced runner than myself.  He says in the last 10km you want to be passing people instead of the other way round - better for the head and confidence. The theory of being comfortable for over half the run and putting in the hurt when closer to home is probably better for the head.

                     

                    Nice to kick ideas around though

                    Personal Race Records:

                    M 3:52:48 (Auckland 2011), HM 1:38:16 (Taupo 2010), 10km 45:05 (Sir Barry 2010), 5km 20:21 (How Pak 5km 2010)

                     

                    2012 Goals:
                    Run the 75km Hillary Trail in a day (done 10/3/2012)

                      I am trying to get into the habit of running 50km weeks consistently before upping the mileage, but during the weekends i try to get in a run anywhere between 16km to 20kms or so. Thats more like 30%-40%.

                       

                      20km seems like alot. Thats about what my long run works out to be. Anything more than that and I start to feel terrible.  But, I dont mind getting up early to go for a run. Even adding a little onto a ho-hum easy day might make the long run more managable. It all takes weeks / months to adjust. Thats sort of what I've done anyway. But, to each their own. 

                      All about that bass


                      Consistently Slow

                         

                         

                          Funny things happen after mile 20 that you may not be prepared for. 

                            +1 The  race starts at mile 20.

                        Run until the trail runs out.

                        2014***1500 miles 09/28/14

                        50miler 13:26:18

                        Race Less Train More

                         Pistol 100 ----01/03/15

                        Ana Trason  "Living Her Life"

                        "The Marble in The Groove"

                         

                        unsolicited chatter

                        http://bkclay.blogspot.com/

                        slickster3-00


                          Sounds to me like you have a good base and should do well,the marathon is a tottally different race than a half m.In the end its not about being winded,but about fat burning and fatigue.You have to have an aerobic base  unless your lightning fast. Do all the long runs you can without getting injured somewere between 9:15 and ten minutes. The longrun is the key and running it 1.5 to 2 minutes slower  than your goal pace is also key. I dont see why you cant come in at 3:35 or better if you do the work.Hills are good but only if your not even slightly injured or prone to one.Try to do the long runs exactly like race conitions except for the speed, Just be mindfull of running at that pace on long runs because injury is more common than you might relize. Plenty of trainig programs on the web that would work well,take your pick.......setting a time goal is ok if you have good ineractive advice or a coach.


                          Climbing Mt Ruapehu

                            Thanks

                             

                            Long run-wise last 8 weeks I have done a 30km-36km every 2 weeks (4 runs so far) with a lighter weekend in between. More than anything this has been for my head in the early stages as a marathon distance is daunting and I wanted to get that monkey off my back (and try during run hydration and nutrition options) earlier than 4 weeks out. The first 3x 30km runs went ok though I struggled in the last km or two.  The last 36km run I went pretty well and still had gas in the tank at the end so I am improving and feeling more confident

                             

                            My "training to train" period has been about aerobic fitness, keeping motivated and interested and avoiding injury.  I have attempted to make running 30km as 'easy for me' as what 20km felt like last year.  "30 is the new 20" was my motto.  I have also worked more toward monthly milage targets and loose weekly targets instead of a set daily type programme.  I have allowed myself recovery days and allowed myself the odd day off if I feel stale.

                             

                            Now I have moved into the final 3 months of prep so away from my looser 'training to train' and into training itself.

                             

                            I had thought about dropping the length of my long run for the first month of training at least and perhaps doing a 20-25km every weekend (for month 1 of 3 remaining months) instead of a 30-35 every 2nd weekend. Also perhaps allow myself to go a touch quicker on the odd occasion. Thoughts here? (Last year I did some 20km training runs at 4:30.km!!!  Wouldn't go that fast but perhaps 5:00-5:10/.km)

                             

                            After that introducing again 30km-35km runs again in september before taper in mid- late October

                            Personal Race Records:

                            M 3:52:48 (Auckland 2011), HM 1:38:16 (Taupo 2010), 10km 45:05 (Sir Barry 2010), 5km 20:21 (How Pak 5km 2010)

                             

                            2012 Goals:
                            Run the 75km Hillary Trail in a day (done 10/3/2012)

                            Julia1971


                              Yes, by negative split, i didnt mean MASSIVE negative split, just close to even.  I know my mate last year went through at 600th in the first half and about 200th for the 2nd half to come out at about 400th.  He is a stronger and far more experienced runner than myself.  He says in the last 10km you want to be passing people instead of the other way round - better for the head and confidence. The theory of being comfortable for over half the run and putting in the hurt when closer to home is probably better for the head.

                               

                              Nice to kick ideas around though

                               

                              I think most people go into the marathon wanting to finish strong.  But, as some others have said, the bear usually jumps on your back at some point and keeping the same pace - let alone speeding up - becomes a real challenge.  As others have said, funny things happen at the end of the race.  But, I do think the mental part of the race are important.  I was also determined not to slow down after Mile 20 for my first marathon - I ended almost every run giving myself positive affirmations about it trying to steel myself for it mentally.  I'm not saying it was a substitute for all the hard work I put in training.  But, I think it helped keep me stay patient during the first part of the second half (Miles 13-20). 

                               

                              Good luck!  Don't do anything stupid during the race and you'll do fine.  Smile

                              You're too strong not to keep on keepin' on. - The Pips
                              Yes, I am! - Gladys Knight


                              Consistently Slow


                                 

                                I had thought about dropping the length of my long run for the first month of training at least and perhaps doing a 20-25km every weekend (for month 1 of 3 remaining months) instead of a 30-35 every 2nd weekend. Also perhaps allow myself to go a touch quicker on the odd occasion. Thoughts here? (Last year I did some 20km training runs at 4:30.km!!!  Wouldn't go that fast but perhaps 5:00-5:10/.km)

                                 

                                After that introducing again 30km-35km runs again in september before taper in mid- late October

                                 Long run every 3 weeks 30/ 35K.  Last 32-35K 4 weeks before race day.Count backwards from race day. 3-- 30/35 miles in a 18 week program.Pete Pfitzinger suggests a 4 week taper.

                                Run until the trail runs out.

                                2014***1500 miles 09/28/14

                                50miler 13:26:18

                                Race Less Train More

                                 Pistol 100 ----01/03/15

                                Ana Trason  "Living Her Life"

                                "The Marble in The Groove"

                                 

                                unsolicited chatter

                                http://bkclay.blogspot.com/

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