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Pre-marathon training plan (Read 1959 times)


Tomorrow will be worse

    I have some questions for the almighty wise-ones on here about base-building, since I'm not totally sure what my focus should be at this point.

     

    I've decided to run a marathon in the spring (the Ottawa Marathon), and am trying to determine my best approach at this point, as I'm in a bit of an in-between. I'm far from a couch-jockey, but haven't ever considered myself a runner. In my younger days (not that I'm too old, I turned 30 last week) I played competitive soccer, but haven't since a couple years after university, so it's been 5-ish yrs since that. Since then, I've been running and cycling and generally staying quite active, with fairly regular intense workouts (I find I can't ride a bike or run without chasing the next person in front of me...it would seem I have the same mentality as my Jack Russell). As for the running, as I say I've been running (well, jogging) to stay fit, but haven't really been doing anything over 10km, as they've been relax/tension release type runs, normally around 5min/km.

     

    So at this point I have 6 months available to me abd I'm wondering where I should start. I popped a 21km long test-run out last Sat, at 5:30/km and felt pretty good, Sun off, fartlek Mon, progression Tues, and today will be 8.5-9km easy. As with anyone starting at this, I have Boston in the back of my mind, and while I won't be disappointed not to qualify (especially since the time has been dropped to 3:05 for my age group), I do want to run faster if I can. So I'm wondering if I shouldn't run some speed work, and if so probably run less? In my head a good idea is fartlek work Mon, stride or progression Wed, easy light run Fri and long run Sat with Tues and Thurs totally off to start with, or at most 3-4km light and easy.

     

    I guess the main question is, am I ok running fewer miles faster to try to build my speed? I used to be able to hold 4:15-4:20 for a 10km, and would like to get closer to that, but probably won't be able to train that far down with the time available to me? I'm really at this point still testing my legs to see where I am, but any advise from people with experience actually training would be very much appreciated.

     

    Cheers


    Tomorrow will be worse

      To clarify, my concern was exactly nailed in another thread

       

      Quote from BoilerTom90 on 15/11/2011 at 9:45 PM:

      I think most new runners, if they have a competitive background in other sports, would automatically have a tendency to over-train and push too hard every day.  In most other sports you really push yourself hard, every day.  You can't do that in running and last very long. 

       

      My background is soccer, not running. Probably this makes me able to run faster than my body can sustain for now, without very long-term buildup. The last think I want is to put months of hard work in only to have the wheels come off from over-training. Help!

        I'm no marathon expert. But, it seems to me from what you described you want to go from (close to) zero to very fast marathon in 6 months. You want to build base miles to be able to run 26.2, but you also want to build speed. Seems those goals are at odds, at least for a while. You probably need to do one first, then the other. If it were me, I'd focus on getting miles in for the first couple of months, then worry about pace later.

         

        I would say that putting in "easy" miles (a lot of them) shouldn't be described as not "pushing hard". It is hard to get in a lot of miles, no matter what pace they are, if you haven't before. Just know that what may feel like "too slow" to you is still work, and you're doing it for a reason.

         

        Second to all that, I would take a step back (if it were me, it's not, it's you) and question why marathon first and why fast marathon first and make sure I had good answers to those.

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

          5 days a week, 35-50 miles:

           

          M off

          T: 6-8, strides

          W: 10-12, steady pace, or something like 3 x 10 minutes up tempo, or run to the barn if you feel good

          Th: off

          Fr: 6-8, strides

          Sa: 6

          Su: 10-14, do some pace variation in here--slower and faster. 

           

          Miles: 38-48.

           

          Sometime before the marathon find time to do a couple of 16 mile runs and an 18 mile run. Those weeks, you might touch 50. Every day except W and Su, just take it easy and enjoy your runs. W and Su, enjoy the runs, but do a little digging, and have a little fun with faster running.

           

          Also, race at the 5k and 10 mile or HM distances fairly regularly--at least once a month.


          Tomorrow will be worse

            Thanks (ummm...hydrogen bubbles? Wink) for the reply

             

            Those are fair questions I guess, but I don't really have an answer as to why run a marathon, or why run fast. Is there ever an answer better than "I want to?"

             

            Maybe for fast a 1/2 would have been smarter to start with, then scale up, but I do have a tendancy to take large bites - I just need to be able to chew this one without spitting out too much

             

            So miles then speed is better than speed then miles? Certainly I can just chellax and rack up miles, but still don't really know what pace to run at

             

            Also, would I be better to post in miles than kilometers? It seems like us metric types are drastically outnumbered on this forum...

               

              Those are fair questions I guess, but I don't really have an answer as to why run a marathon, or why run fast. Is there ever an answer better than "I want to?"

               

              So miles then speed is better than speed then miles? Certainly I can just chellax and rack up miles, but still don't really know what pace to run at

               

              It's doable if you're smart--and careful!  I went from non-runner to first marathon in about six months (though, ten years ago, I was a runner--if that counts).  I was also not a couch potato (hiking, backpacking, rock climbing).  Realistically, I would totally avoid setting a goal time until you're really, really close to the marathon.

               

              The thing that settled me on a pace--and that I credit with keeping me from hurting myself--was sticking to mostly easy, Low-HR training for the vast majority of my runs until I did about 2 weeks before the marathon that had significant "quality."  I would let myself, at most, run above Low-HR once a week before that. 

               

              If you don't want a heart rate monitor, there's always the talk test--if you can't be conversational, too fast.  Slow down.  Lower impact that way--and a stronger base.

               

              The low heart rate training forum is a great resource of tools, articles, etc for that, if you're interested: http://www.runningahead.com/groups/LOWHRTR/forum

               

              I also found the McMillan calculator to be really useful, since I could "see" if my easy pace matched the "easy pace" of the speeds listed.

               

              Good luck!  Most importantly, listen to your body.  Rest and easy days are important!

              "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
              Emil Zatopek

                I have some questions for the almighty wise-ones on here about base-building, since I'm not totally sure what my focus should be at this point.

                 

                I've decided to run a marathon in the spring (the Ottawa Marathon), and am trying to determine my best approach at this point, as I'm in a bit of an in-between. I'm far from a couch-jockey, but haven't ever considered myself a runner. In my younger days (not that I'm too old, I turned 30 last week) I played competitive soccer, but haven't since a couple years after university, so it's been 5-ish yrs since that. Since then, I've been running and cycling and generally staying quite active, with fairly regular intense workouts (I find I can't ride a bike or run without chasing the next person in front of me...it would seem I have the same mentality as my Jack Russell). As for the running, as I say I've been running (well, jogging) to stay fit, but haven't really been doing anything over 10km, as they've been relax/tension release type runs, normally around 5min/km.

                 

                So at this point I have 6 months available to me abd I'm wondering where I should start. I popped a 21km long test-run out last Sat, at 5:30/km and felt pretty good, Sun off, fartlek Mon, progression Tues, and today will be 8.5-9km easy. As with anyone starting at this, I have Boston in the back of my mind, and while I won't be disappointed not to qualify (especially since the time has been dropped to 3:05 for my age group), I do want to run faster if I can. So I'm wondering if I shouldn't run some speed work, and if so probably run less? In my head a good idea is fartlek work Mon, stride or progression Wed, easy light run Fri and long run Sat with Tues and Thurs totally off to start with, or at most 3-4km light and easy.

                 

                I guess the main question is, am I ok running fewer miles faster to try to build my speed? I used to be able to hold 4:15-4:20 for a 10km, and would like to get closer to that, but probably won't be able to train that far down with the time available to me? I'm really at this point still testing my legs to see where I am, but any advise from people with experience actually training would be very much appreciated.

                 

                Cheers

                I really don't mean to promote what we've got, this on-line training program called Master Run Coach, but this really IS culmination of all that I've learnt (and, the truth is, still learning on-going) put it in this program.  This is, by NO mean, a cookie cutter program.  In fact, I believe this is THE most individualized training program available out there.  And, at this point, I guess I'm sort of gathering lots of guinea pigs!! ;o)  So far I think it has worked well for most people.  A guy from Germany had a 23-minutes PR this fall and first sub-3 along with 45-seconds PR in 10k and 6-minutes PR in the half.  This guy who had never run a marathon faster than 5:30 did 9-weeks of this program and had a 40-minutes PR.  So I know it works across the board.  TeaOlive used this quite successfully for her first marathon...

                 

                The thing is; you have to think in blocks.  You have to look at each development coming one after the other, and finally putting them all together.  That's the beauty of training program.  And, ideally, it DOES take 6-month (24 weeks) if you want to do it properly.  What gets you to the finish line successfully is a sporadic run over the distance here and there to "make sure you can do it".  The only time you do that is the race.  We know all about training; there's nothing we don't know about what each workout would do for you.  The trick is to put them all in the right place in the right order so you CAN put them all together when it counts--race.  Even "regular intense workout" won't help you much if the purpose of the workout is not in sync with the demand of the goal.  You can run up and down the hill hard and you'll get exhausted and you feel you had done a great workout.  Well, what marathoning requires is the ability to take lots of poundings and it won't really do much for that.  

                 

                If you have 6-months, what you need is to gradually build-up your endurance by doing lots of easy running at first--for about 10 weeks.  Then build up your leg strength by running up and down the hills; then sharpen up by doing some repeats...  And THEN finally in the final 4~6 weeks, you put them all together, do some long tempo-ish workout and start to taper.  6 months is a long time to start working on a set-weekly schedule and continue doing that, week in week out.  You need to work in blocks, building one development at a time.

                 

                Now, everybody's situation is different; everybody's background is different.  And I believe our program can take care of that.  We have balanced point workouts through 4-days, 5-days, 6-days and 7-days a week program; starting point of 60-minutes long continuous run, 90-minutes and 120-minutes.  And, deepening on how many weeks you have and depending on your background of exercise, we'll give you exactly what kind of ratio you should do each phase.  It's already available; but we are changing the format completely to make it more easy to navigate.  It'll probably take a few more months to complete--we're shooting for 1/1/2012 re-launch.  But, if you're interested, I can hook you up and get you go through with it.

                 

                Some may not like to workout in this structure and that's perfectly fine with me.  But if you ask ME how to set up a training program, this really IS the way to do it and this is how we figured to convey it to the public in the most effective and efficient way.  

                  Also, would I be better to post in miles than kilometers? It seems like us metric types are drastically outnumbered on this forum...

                  We have post our program in both miles and kilometer as well!! ;o) 


                  Tomorrow will be worse

                    thanks rgilbert, I do actually own a garmin 305, but have never used the HR monitor as I find it feels awkward. Proabably because I've never really used it...I know some people have quite a lot of success training with a HR monitor and no speed cues really at all, but to be honest I'm a bit too data-focused to bin my speed/distance/pace info. Not that it has any particular value, since I have no idea what I'm doing, but I like it nonetheless

                     

                    maybe I'll have to play about with the HR monitor to find what my different paces actually should be - thanks for the input

                     

                    cheers


                    Tomorrow will be worse

                      We have post our program in both miles and kilometer as well!! ;o) 

                       

                       Yep, and I'm quite liking the site (and am using it in km) - before I was just using the garmin software to log runs/bikes, and it wasn't very good for seeing any progress

                         

                        maybe I'll have to play about with the HR monitor to find what my different paces actually should be - thanks for the input

                         

                        cheers

                         

                        No problem--and listen to Nobby.  I've definitely benefited from lurker-reading plenty of his posts Smile.

                        "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
                        Emil Zatopek


                        Tomorrow will be worse

                          Thanks, I've gleaned a few very useful tidbits from Nobby's posts already as well, in my couple of days on here. Obviously very knowledgeable

                            No problem--and listen to Nobby.  I've definitely benefited from lurker-reading plenty of his posts Smile.

                             

                            +1  Nobody knows like Nobby knows!

                            2014 Goals:

                            #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                            #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

                             


                            Tomorrow will be worse

                              Resurrecting this thread, since nothing's really changed since I posted the first time, except another week of mileage-ramping. I found out that my log isn't automatically public (who knew?) so it's up now, though I haven't really been logging for long (I lazily dumped all of the biking from my garmin in too, so it looks like I've been around longer than I have).

                               

                              I tried running without looking at my garmin, ended up running faster than I'd intended for 19km by around 15-20s/km (which is ~30s/mi?) when going just by feel. That seems a little harsh on the legs at this point, so I'm going to have to go back to using the garmin, but as a speed-limit more than anything.

                               

                              Question though - is 5:45-6 min/km slow enough on easy/recovery runs? Anything below that and my form feels sloppy, but maybe there's value in tightening up my form anyway?

                                Resurrecting this thread, since nothing's really changed since I posted the first time, except another week of mileage-ramping. I found out that my log isn't automatically public (who knew?) so it's up now, though I haven't really been logging for long (I lazily dumped all of the biking from my garmin in too, so it looks like I've been around longer than I have).

                                 

                                I tried running without looking at my garmin, ended up running faster than I'd intended for 19km by around 15-20s/km (which is ~30s/mi?) when going just by feel. That seems a little harsh on the legs at this point, so I'm going to have to go back to using the garmin, but as a speed-limit more than anything.

                                 

                                Question though - is 5:45-5 min/km slow enough on easy/recovery runs? Anything below that and my form feels sloppy, but maybe there's value in tightening up my form anyway?

                                 

                                I just looked at your log, and your last week looked pretty good to me. Lots of pace variation, length variation, runs not too long.

                                 

                                Recovery pace should just be happy and slappy, but it doesn't need to be painfully slow (this can be counterproductive to recovery.) It might take a little discipline to run slow enough, but the idea is simple: you just want to keep the effort totally minimal on recovery days--some days this will turn out to be faster, some days you kinda need to slog around slow like your grandmother (or a Kenyan.)

                                 

                                With respect to your question about pacing: you should listen to your body more than the Garmin. How do you know you were running too fast? Why would the Garmin know your speed limit better than your body. Maybe you felt good that day--good! Just don't expect to run that fast every day, and after a couple good days in a row, expect a not so good day.

                                 

                                I think you are more or less on the right track. Don't be afraid to take a day off here or there and a low week here or there. As a general rule of thumb when building miles you want every third week or so to be lighter so that you can absorb the training you have done.

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