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Is 3:30 unrealistic for the first time marathon runner? (Read 1804 times)

    Here is my stats: 35 year old Chinese (not a world class running nation I know), 5'5, 122lb.

     

    I have run on and off for about a year. I only participated one 5K race a couple weeks ago, finished just under 21 minutes.

     

    My longest run during my 5k training was 12 miles.

     

    Now I am starting a marathon training. My plan is May 2013.

     

    I haven't set the time yet. I am thinking maybe 4 hours is more realistic, but 3:30 would be great. I know the BQ for my age is 3:10. So I hope to run the Boston in a couple years.

     

    Anyhow, I just keep on the training program and see how it goes.

     

    To keep myself motivated, I write my training diary. http://liumarathon.blogspot.com

     

    David

    5k - 20:56 (09/12), 7k - 28:40 (11/12), 10k trial - 43:08  (03/13), 42:05 (05/13), FM - 3:09:28 (05/13), HM - 1:28:20 (05/14), Failed 10K trial - avg 6:10/mi for 4mi (29/08/14), FM - 3:03 (13/09/14)

      No, I don't think it's unrealistic, you have the speed and the time to get there. McMIllan  predicts a 3:24 for a 21 min 5K. Nobby has a plan at running-wizard.com to take you from your current fitness to your stated goal. Or pick any other plan with a goal time and then work backwards, but those work from just a number you pick, not a logical progression from where you are to where you could be on the race day in other words they work backwards.

        It might be aggressive but I wouldn't say it's unrealistic. The 5k speed is already there so to speak, and honestly that could get a lot quicker as you more serious, consistent training for the marathon (you mentioned your previous training has been inconsistent).

         

        Within reason any initial time can be realistic for a first marathon, an elite runner with a HM PR of 59:00 can reasonably look to run 2:06 or better in their first one. Obviously this has to be relevant to your fitness level though, which 3:30 is.

         

        With 6 months to prepare you should be able to run decent mileage to build support for both the race and some decent workouts. Given what (I infer) is your running history I see it as an aggressive, but realistic goal. It might even end up being easy depending on how well you respond to good, consistent training. 

        They say golf is like life, but don't believe them. Golf is more complicated than that. "If I am still standing at the end of the race, hit me with a Board and knock me down, because that means I didn't run hard enough" If a lot of people gripped a knife and fork the way they do a golf club, they'd starve to death. "Don't fear moving slowly forward...fear standing still."

          Congratulations on your 5K!  Now, as to your marathon goal, that's laudable and possible, but as Happyfeet says, I think it will be much wiser to progress forward and incrementally.  Every person is different.  You don't yet know how your body will respond to training for longer distances.  You may not know how much training time you will be able to manage.  Pushing too hard too soon can bring on injuries and a setback.  Why not take it a little at a time, first with a 10K goal, then maybe a half marathon before you decide whether you will be ready for a marathon in May?

          Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

          durunner


            Definitely not.  I'm right around where you are now (after coming back from some health issues beginning in April) and plan on running a marathon come May and I'm looking to BQ by then with a 3:05.  Granted, I have run two marathons already and have more experience than you, but you have the speed to do it.

             

            For comparison, I started my first comeback in May of '09.  I went from zero mileage to a marathon by Nov. '09.  That was too soon and I struggled to a 3:48 finish.  I upped my mileage, peaking around 60, and in May of 2010 ran a 3:14 and change.  I missed BQ by 3:30ish.

             

            As others said, you have the speed now for a 3:30 and could progress even more rapidly if you are new to running.  Just be cautious and don't overdo it and get injured.  You have plenty of time to break 3:30 and eventually 3:10.  Let things progress normally and you will do all of that and maybe more.

             

            Of course the other big thing is how much you commit and how you train.  It is one thing to have the speed to run a fast 5k.  It is another thing to find the time and put in the needed miles for a marathon.  If you do that, you'll be well on your way to 3:30.


            I'm back!

              As a first-cut guess at an appropriate goal, 3:30 sounds reasonable. But as mentioned, you don't really have a lot to go on at this point. Run some 10Ks and half marathons; you'll get a much better idea.

               

              Starting a marathon training plan after running "on and off for a year" may be a bit aggressive. What has your weekly mileage been like lately?

               

              I had in my mind running a marathon someday when I trained for my first 10K. I joined a running board, learned that the Pfitzinger book was a good way to go. But I didn't let myself buy the book or really take the idea seriously until I had run my first half marathon. The book was my reward. By that time I had gone up to I think 17 as a long run, and was at 30-35 miles per week. That's about where you would like to be, starting a marathon training plan for the first time.

               

              MTA that first 10K was I think 44Tight lippedx; the marathon was 3:12. I was improving rapidly at that point, as you likely are now.


              Interval Junkie --Nobby

                ´╗┐´╗┐Just did it last year: First marathon, just started running 9months before, 39yo.  This thread ends with my race report: 3:32. http://www.runningahead.com/forums/topic/722ea580d0024517a51286802c4960fc

                 

                So, yeah, I'd say it's possible.  My 5K times were near yours.  Good luck!

                2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

                Current Status 08/28: Slowly working back up from a pelvic stress fracture.  4mil distance PR w00t!

                  My first (about a year ago) was 3:23.  Definitely doable. 

                   

                  TBH, I did run 2 marathons 20 years ago when I was in college but hadn't run for a long time after that.  I was basically starting from nothing

                  2014 Goals

                  Weight - 200 lbs (stuck around 211)

                  2000 miles (1700 as of September 10)

                  Stay healthy for Boston 2015

                  Marathon - 3:05 (St. George in October)

                  5k - 19:55 (19:43 July 4, 2014)

                   

                    No, not unrealistic at all.  My first was a 3:42 for which I was woefully under-trained and lacked the requisite respect for the distance.  It doesn't sound like you will have either of those problems -- you have plenty of runway to fix these deficiencies.  I had to learn the hard way.  Second one was under 3:30 (although I still had a lot to learn).  Smile

                    - Joe

                    all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

                      Small and light is good for distance running (5'5" and 122lbs is almost exactly the figures for the great Haile Gebrselassie) and 21 mins for a 5k puts you in the right ball park for 3:30 marathon. Basically you have to put in the miles - there are lots of marathon training plans and books out there, but whatever plan you go with remember that everyone is different, you have to observe how you're responding to the training and be pro-active about the balance between the different kinds of runs and your rest.

                        What has your weekly mileage been like lately?

                        My first week training is about 17 miles. I follow this plan. http://www.runningplanet.com/training/marathon-training-beginning-competitive-runner.html

                        Last Sunday I ran 6 miles in 50 minutes (warm-up and cool down included, a little harder than my easy pace). Yesterday my culfs were a little sore, but today I am fully recovered.

                         

                        I think this plan may not help me to reach 3:30. I may need to change my plan. 

                         

                        I like Happyfeet about the backwards training plan.

                         

                        Is this a good plan? RW's Garmin-Ready Marathon Schedule: Sub-3:30 I may switch to this plan in the last 16 weeks.

                         

                        Wow, what a great community here! Thank you all for your encouragement.

                        5k - 20:56 (09/12), 7k - 28:40 (11/12), 10k trial - 43:08  (03/13), 42:05 (05/13), FM - 3:09:28 (05/13), HM - 1:28:20 (05/14), Failed 10K trial - avg 6:10/mi for 4mi (29/08/14), FM - 3:03 (13/09/14)


                        Feeling the growl again

                          My first week training is about 17 miles. I follow this plan. http://www.runningplanet.com/training/marathon-training-beginning-competitive-runner.html

                          Last Sunday I ran 6 miles in 50 minutes (warm-up and cool down included, a little harder than my easy pace). Yesterday my culfs were a little sore, but today I am fully recovered.

                           

                          I think this plan may not help me to reach 3:30. I may need to change my plan. 

                           

                          I like Happyfeet about the backwards training plan.

                           

                          Is this a good plan? RW's Garmin-Ready Marathon Schedule: Sub-3:30 I may switch to this plan in the last 16 weeks.

                           

                          Wow, what a great community here! Thank you all for your encouragement.

                           

                           

                          As a "marathon plan", IMHO the runningplanet plan is one of the worse ones I have seen on the internet.  Far too much focus on intervals and very fast running.  However, perhaps using it as a lead-in to build some strength and speed before starting a REAL marathon training plan is not so bad.  The second plan you list is OK....however, before you start it, it would be good if you could work up to a little higher mileage than it starts out at, and spend more weeks of the plan adding a little extra in to get over 40 mpw and top out closer to 55 mpw.

                           

                          It's nice to have goals.  But at your stage, you really don't know what you are capable of.  Instead of setting a firm goal and trying to gear your training to that, I would let your body tell you what training you can handle.  Run a half marathon or 10K about 5 weeks out from your goal marathon, and use that to set your goal.  Plug it into a calculator and add ~10 minutes (the calculator will be optimistic because your peak mileage is low for the marathon compared to the shorter race).

                           

                          MTA:  Looking for Hudson, Hansons, Pfitzinger, or Daniels plans would take you to better plans.  For low-mileage runners I am partial to Hansons.

                          "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

                           

                            It's nice to have goals.  But at your stage, you really don't know what you are capable of.  Instead of setting a firm goal and trying to gear your training to that, I would let your body tell you what training you can handle.  Run a half marathon or 10K about 5 weeks out from your goal marathon, and use that to set your goal.  Plug it into a calculator and add ~10 minutes (the calculator will be optimistic because your peak mileage is low for the marathon compared to the shorter race).

                             

                            My question is along these lines.

                             

                            How does one go about selecting a goal pace / time prior to beginning a training plan? Is there a rule of thumb for how much somebody can improve through completing a training cycle... ie.. 3%.. 5%? I get that there are many outside factors. 

                            Dont call it a comeback

                            qwerty85


                              Here is my stats: 35 year old Chinese (not a world class running nation I know), 5'5, 122lb.

                               

                              I have run on and off for about a year. I only participated one 5K race a couple weeks ago, finished just under 21 minutes.

                               

                              My longest run during my 5k training was 12 miles.

                               

                              Now I am starting a marathon training. My plan is May 2013.

                               

                              I haven't set the time yet. I am thinking maybe 4 hours is more realistic, but 3:30 would be great. I know the BQ for my age is 3:10. So I hope to run the Boston in a couple years.

                               

                              Anyhow, I just keep on the training program and see how it goes.

                               

                              To keep myself motivated, I write my training diary. http://liumarathon.blogspot.com

                               

                              David

                               

                              It depends on the first time marathon runner... and not your ethnicity or weight but your genetic makeup (Natural speed, ability to recove, etc etc) and your attitude and commitment. 

                              I have seen a very-hardworking, talented runner run her first half marathon and first marathon in 3:15 six months after having her baby (not her first either, small children at home).  (I believe she used Daniels.) 

                               

                              The 5K suggests it's possible.

                               

                              What's probably best is go about your running, get the best training you can, and decide on your goal closer to the race.  Your training now should have more to do with current fitness than goals.

                                My question is along these lines.

                                 

                                How does one go about selecting a goal pace / time prior to beginning a training plan? Is there a rule of thumb for how much somebody can improve through completing a training cycle... ie.. 3%.. 5%? I get that there are many outside factors. 

                                 

                                I would try to parlay your recent 5k result into an equivalent marathon time.

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