From Sprinting to Marathon (Read 42 times)


    Hello All,

    I am new to the forum and have a few questions regarding running. I have an competitive background in multiple sports, including some in sprinting. But, that was a long, long time ago. I am 33 years old, 6 months after cancer treatment. I am in the process of gaining weight back. My diet is set up well for what I am doing now.


    In about 20 months, I would like to run a marathon. Prior to my diagnosis, I had been training for spartan races and since I always kept in pretty good shape, the shorter distance races were not an issue. As long distance running has always been about the most difficult thing for me, that is what I was initially training for. Then, Boom! I got the bad news. But, I am feeling better and have some questions.


    1. I can quite "easily" get up to a half marathon. But, going from a half marathon to a full marathon will be even more of a challenge for me because of my athletic background and style (more explosiveness, less endurance). Has anyone here done this progression? What are some things to know?


    2. Are there any known training plans for a half marathon to marathon runs?


    3. As I am in the process of gaining weight back, I am hitting the weights because I obviously do not want to blow up like a balloon. Once I reach my ideal weight, my calorie intake will stabilize and I will focus more on leadness, personal comfort, and overall health. No, I am not doing a bodybuilder's dirty bulk. Leading up to the marathon, does the diet change? How do you cope with the massive caloric deficit during a marathon? It seems that if one is fit enough, the diet becomes very important.


    4. Leading up to the run, what do rest periods look like? How does recovery work?


    5. Post run, how does recovery, diet, and the body respond to the run?


    6. Do any runners do time on bikes to build up strength in the knees to avoid injury? It seems that this may be a concern if you are always hitting hard surfaces. Or, does a cross country run better prepare you for a run on a relatively flat surface?

    There was a recent marathon in my city and I saw others doing it, which gave me the idea that if some of them can do it, I can too. My goal is to do the half marathon first and the following year, do the marathon. Then, depending on how I feel after, maybe I will progress. The point is to prove it to myself that I can do it. I am not after any record times at this point.

    Thanks for any help from all of you lovely people.

      I think your questions are answered in much literature that is available in books and google. Here are a few
      notions to get you started.


      1. Sprinting is very different from running a marathon in that you are training different energy systems.
      You will probably find it hard to translate your raw speed from sprinting into marathoning. The reason behind this is that
      you use more fast twitch fibers for sprinting and slow twicth for endurance running. You should really consider them two different


      2. There are a ton of training plans out there. Hal Higdon has some free ones on his website to look
      through and get a sense of what it takes. www.halhigdon.com
      Other than that there are an assortment of plans you could pay for.


      3. Diet is important in that you can't really train well if it sucks. Extra weight up to a certain
      level will slow you down over longer miles. Many distance runners train to allow their bodies to run more on fats
      for fuel rather than carbohydrates. Leading up to a goal race, most agree to increase carbohydrate
      intake slightly to build up glycogen stores. A marathon or any endurance event run well will decrease those
      stores. If you are on top of your fueling during the race, you will not bonk (run out of glycogen/glucose) and
      hit "the Wall".


      4. All good training plans have rest and recovery built into them. Many have a "taper" or period of reduced
      training load before the race to absorb the hard training and allow a peak effort. I think a very good start to understand
      endurance training is found in The triathletes Training Bible or any book by Joe Friel. He is good at explaining the science behind training,
      supercompensation, and the like.


      5. It varies by individual. Running a marathon is taxing and muscle damage is inevitable. It may take
      time to feel "normal" again.


      6. Not usually. Biking and running are complimentary but to run well you must run. Running over varied
      terrain helps strengthen stabilizer muscles and can be good for overall conditioning and help prevent injuries caused by repetitive stress (overuse).

      "Shut up Legs!" Jens Voigt