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Marathon training question (Read 1981 times)

    I'm registered to run Marine Corps at the end of October and I'm already averaging over 40 a week (52 this week).  My longest long run (done on Fri) is 20 miles and it felt great.  How would you "train" from this point forward?  Most plans would have me start training right about now with a long run of 13 or something like that.  What do you do when your base is already much higher than the "average" base and long run distance?  Also, would anyone know of a New England(ish) marathon between now and September 25 so I could potentially squeak in for a bq attempt before deadline?  Just missed getting in on a local one in Wakefield, MA on 7/28.  Thanks! Smile

     

    2013 Goals:  >2,000 miles, 50-miler and 2 marathons  - Goal met PLUS a 50K.  Take that, Cancer.

     


    HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

      I usually start marathon training running more weekly mileage than you are. What I do, at least in theory, is to

      • try to run long runs every week or two, trying to get myself to run fast finishes or tempos during the long run
      • try to do some faster running during the week
      • try to do some type of medium-longish run during the week (say my average daily run is an hour, then maybe 1.5hrs+)
      • increase my running volume (maybe hit 100mpw once or twice?)

       

      Disclaimers:

      1. I'm just a hobbyjogger, with no expertise in training at all, so I shouldn't be giving advice -- it's just that I see you haven't received any replies yet
      2. I'm just kind of imitating what I see as the common thread of training plans
      3. I don't generally do hill work, but I would like to do so
      4. I am weak about doing the "quality long runs" -- e.g., pick up the last 10mi of the run -- but I've read that that is a good idea
      5. I haven't been doing any long runs -- I've been racing short stuff (10mi & lower) this spring after my last marathon, and been lazy and not doing long runs

      It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

        Even just doing more of the same all the way through to the marathon will have a huge benefit. Better yet, you can progress weekly mileage and long run mileage upwards at a more sane pace than many people who train for marathons. This puts you at much lower risk of overdoing it somewhere along the way.

         

        This is a topic of endless arguments but in my opinion the downside risks of getting up to 22, 23, or even 25 mile training runs are vastly reduced if you've recently run several runs that were a mile shorter without feeling wiped out. Most people do not have that luxury as their first 20 miler is just 6-8 weeks before the race.

         

        IMO the thing you could stand to build the most is your weekly mileage. 40 mpw is a little light vs your 20 mile long run which is already up into the "adequate zone."

         

        A lot of people here derive success from mid week medium length strenuous runs. In the end these might be 14-17 miles with the last half at goal marathon pace. To start with, just pick a day 3-4 days after your long run and start making it your second longest run of the week. Leave it short enough at first that you can run a little faster than the super  easy pace you should be doing your long runs. Add a mile or two to it as it starts to feel comfortable.

          If you are running a marathon at the end of October, my first question to you would be: Then why the hell are you doing a marathon pace 3-hour run now, 16 or 17 weeks before the actual marathon?

           

          I suspect you are one of those people who train a lot, almost race effort all the time and never let go of the effort...  You seem to have a good solid basic fitness to begin with right now; have plenty of time before the marathon (depending on which day, 16 or 17 weeks); my suggestioin is; why not plan ahead?  You can continue builidng up for another 5 weeks or so; do some hill training for 4 weeks; do some intervals for 3 weeks; 3 weeks of coordination; 2 weeks taper...  That should give you 17 weeks.  I would go anything beyond 2:45.  I think you've done plenty of long runs and wouldn't need to stiffen your legs any more than necessary.

           

          Everybody has a different "kcik"; you may be one of those people who like to just jump in and enjoy running races for the sake of participating and don't give a damn about "improving" your "performance" and that's fine too.  But if that's actually what you want, I would not suggest you do another marathon mere 4 weeks before your "target" marathon just to see if you BQ.  I would suggest you actually shoot for THAT marathon and see if you can really BQ.  With your current fitness (being about to do a 20-miler at marathon pace and feel good about it), 12~13 weeks might be more than enough to achieve that.  To do both may not be a smart way to go about.

            If you are running a marathon at the end of October, my first question to you would be: Then why the hell are you doing a marathon pace 3-hour run now, 16 or 17 weeks before the actual marathon?

             

            Thanks everyone.

             

            @Nobby That was kinda the reason for the question to begin with... and thanks for your candor.  My friends would have been much more colorful in their language choice with me... I had initially planned to go out and do 15 but I happened to be running with someone who is doing an ultra at the end of July and his plan called for doing 20 that day so I stuck it out...  and yes, if my friend was jumping off a bridge, I'd jump off, too. 

             

            As you guessed also, the truth is I don't have much race experience so you are probably right also about me training at a pace that is too close to "race" pace for me as opposed to training pace.  I appreciate your insights and will blow off the idea of trying to BQ in the interim and do more hills, intervals and track running between now and then. 

             

            2013 Goals:  >2,000 miles, 50-miler and 2 marathons  - Goal met PLUS a 50K.  Take that, Cancer.

             

              I just sent in a draft of an article to Running Times (I don't know if they're going to use it or not) but I feel one of the things that most "beginners" or slower runners neglect is the development of leg strength.  Seriously, in a way, Richard DID have some points (his problem was that he neglected everything else).  It seems to me, almost anybody can run 20 miles.  But it's not as easy to go a bit faster.  Of course, for some people, going a bit faster has no meaning whatsoever to them ("No Need For Speed"?).  Speed is not just for speed but to build-up your leg strength.  Running fast would do for you but it's not just running fast that would do it--hills are one of the best ways to do just that.  Particularly if you incorporate BOTH ups AND downs.  Downhill running is probably one of the best effective, yet neglected, ways to prepare yourself for a marathon.  It's one of the best eccentric strength exercises for your legs to prepare yourself for the pouding of the marathon. 

               

              You can run three 20-milers to get you through to the finish line however long it may take you.  But if you cut down some times to get to the finish line, there are a lot more elements that had been neglected in today's running circuit.  I'm not talking about cutting corners.  I'm talking about covering ALL the elements (not just long runs; not just muscle factor).  And to do that, you really need to sit down and figure out how much time you have from not till the race; how much time and when you devote certain development; what you've already got (you can go far already) and what you haven't developed; what's your priorities...

               

              You CAN do both marathons if you want--Wannaberunner did that (thought she had 2 months in between).  It wasn't ideal but she managed it alright.  Not something i would recommend all the time--if BQ is your priority, you should pick the right race and shoot for it.

                To sort of echo something Nobby suggested, IMO an extremely common marathon training mistake is to take on too many or too aggressive goals during the long training period.

                 

                The reason training plans take so long is that they need to be that long. It simply takes that long for your body to adapt to be ready to do the job well when you get to mile 24. But during the long training period we tend to have good weeks and they often convince us to add new goals. Then when we have a bad week our pride will not allow us to back down. The result is often either a serious injury or deciding to run the marathon MUCH too fast and getting into a trainwreck at about mile 21.

                 

                In a lot of marathons I've been able to spot people like this at mile 7 or 10. Sometimes it's really hard to resist the temptation to say, "Dude! it's going to really suck to be you in about 11 miles." Smile

                 

                That is not to say that sometimes goals can be adjusted, or that all kinds of things you're thinking about might be great ideas some day. Just be cautious in response to having a good week.

                  @Nobby Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it.  I'd rather say I'm a beginner upfront as a disclaimer of sorts should I make an asinine assertion down the road.  Historically, my long runs are generally done on hills.  This particular 20-miler was not.  The impetus behind trying to find another marathon before September was simply so I could try to BQ for 2012 and not have to run with a club waiver.  As I live less than 90 minutes out of Boston, it's kinda a big thing in these here parts.  I can definitely run it even if I don't qualify, but I'd prefer to do it on my own merit.  I was registered to run it back in 09' but was diagnosed three weeks later with stage III cancer so I couldn't run it as hoped.  I suspect the only statement I would totally disagree with you on in your reply would be, "It seems to me, almost anybody can run 20 miles..." - most people I know couldn't and wouldn't run 5 if they were being chased or on fire or both.   dari 

                   

                  2013 Goals:  >2,000 miles, 50-miler and 2 marathons  - Goal met PLUS a 50K.  Take that, Cancer.

                   

                    I suspect the only statement I would totally disagree with you on in your reply would be, "It seems to me, almost anybody can run 20 miles..." - most people I know couldn't and wouldn't run 5 if they were being chased or on fire or both.   dari 

                     

                    Not NOW!  But almost anybody CAN work their way up to running 20-mile (particularly with the help of walk-breaks).  I think it's harder for a lot of today's runners to do one 7-minute mile than "surviving" 20 miles.  I've received an e-mail a while back from a woman who runs 20-miler almost every other week.  She does it at 14-minute mile pace...when she's running!! (goes slower during her walk-breaks).  You know how long it takes!!?  But I'd suspect she probably can't crack 9-minute for a mile even if her life depends on it.


                    A Dance with Monkeys

                      In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.


                      HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                        ... disdain for Chef Gusteau's

                         

                        When he tore his ACL, that is what did for him.

                        It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                          Not NOW!  But almost anybody CAN work their way up to running 20-mile (particularly with the help of walk-breaks).  I think it's harder for a lot of today's runners to do one 7-minute mile than "surviving" 20 miles.  I've received an e-mail a while back from a woman who runs 20-miler almost every other week.  She does it at 14-minute mile pace...when she's running!! (goes slower during her walk-breaks).  You know how long it takes!!?  But I'd suspect she probably can't crack 9-minute for a mile even if her life depends on it.

                           

                          That's what bugs me about some of the Ironman triathletes I see everywhere now. I certainly applaud the endurance but is it really "racing if you are doing the marathon leg in six hours and finishing in 16hours? To the OP's original question, I think the best thing to do now is to build up that sustained leg strength hills/track and longer tempo runs of 5-7 miles. For me the best indicator of how marathon fit I am is how my longer tempo runs are going in the final two months of training. These are runs that are between 10k and half marathon pace. Simply plugging in LR's and base miles isn't sufficient, at least for me. If you can hold a good tempo, you will succeed.


                          Closed for repairs

                            The reason training plans take so long is that they need to be that long. It simply takes that long for your body to adapt to be ready to do the job well when you get to mile 24. But during the long training period we tend to have good weeks and they often convince us to add new goals. Then when we have a bad week our pride will not allow us to back down. The result is often either a serious injury or deciding to run the marathon MUCH too fast and getting into a trainwreck at about mile 21.

                             

                             

                            I've had this experience.  Feeling good and being goal-oriented is good, but can lead to poor decision making.

                             

                            Point is, don't get carried away.  Listen to your body along the way.  Have a goal and a plan, and don't get ramped up too early.  

                             

                              Thanks everyone.

                               

                              @Nobby That was kinda the reason for the question to begin with... and thanks for your candor.  My friends would have been much more colorful in their language choice with me... I had initially planned to go out and do 15 but I happened to be running with someone who is doing an ultra at the end of July and his plan called for doing 20 that day so I stuck it out...  and yes, if my friend was jumping off a bridge, I'd jump off, too. 

                               

                              As you guessed also, the truth is I don't have much race experience so you are probably right also about me training at a pace that is too close to "race" pace for me as opposed to training pace.  I appreciate your insights and will blow off the idea of trying to BQ in the interim and do more hills, intervals and track running between now and then. 

                               

                               You're getting a lot of good advice here.

                               

                              I'd recommend selecting a book by a generally accepted author (Lydiard, Hudson/Fitzgerald, Pfitzinger).  Read it in its entirety to understand the coach's thinking.  Then commit to one of the plans in the back of the book, adapting it to your life and based on the feedback from your body.

                               

                              If you look at Hudson's training plans, for example, you'll get a picture of how 20-mile runs fit into the bigger training picture.

                               

                              Last year, my training was all over the place.  I ran a big PR, but that was merely a function of running a lot.  Had I been more focused, perhaps I would have done better.  

                              "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

                                Last year, my training was all over the place.  I ran a big PR, but that was merely a function of running a lot.  Had I been more focused, perhaps I would have done better.  

                                 

                                Or maybe it's just that simple.  Running a marathon...Run alot of miles.  No need to worry about a training plan with certain mileage each week.  Just get out and run.  If the body feels tired, or you're not there mentally one week, back off the mileage to give the body and mind a break and come back strong the next week.

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