1

working towards a marathon (Read 713 times)

    Anyone run a marathon by going at their own pace (i.e., without working on tempo/pace, etc. or strictly following a training plan)? If so, any advice? I started the C25K this time last year and after a few months of not being able to run more than 4 min at a time (or so I thought), I decided to ditch the training plan and run for distance. That first 1/2 mile lap took me 6 min to run but I was thrilled that I'd run 1/2 mile nonstop! I eventually worked my way up to 3 miles equally thrilled about each milestone (no pun intended). I'm still slow at 12 min miles but I'm fine with it because I've not had any serious injuries. On New Year's day I ran 5 miles...and it was on my hilly neighborhood! I normally run 3x per wk increasing my distance a wee bit at a time. I've run a few 5Ks without any problems (other than being shy/nervous) because I was already running 3 mi at home. Once I reach 6 mi I plan to run a few 10Ks. By the end of the year, I'd like to run a HM or two. My goal is to run a marathon for my 40th, which is just shy of 2 years from now.
    Scout7


    CPT Curmudgeon

      Best advice..... Look at training plans. Not that you're necessarily going to follow one. But by looking at how others have suggested structuring the training, you can look for commonalities. How long should you run, how often, how to increase mileage; those can all be gleaned from looking at conventional wisdom. After that, get an idea as to what time you have available to train. Determine what your limiters are in terms of a schedule, and pick a race to train for. Doing so should let you get a time frame for setting everything up. Look at people's logs here. See how they are handling their training, what events they are training for, and ask them questions to clarify. After this is all said and done, the most important keys to success are: consistency, listening to your body, and frequency. Every successful runner has those three elements in their training. Listening to your body is probably the most important, followed closely by consistency and frequency. Pain is going to be part of it. You're going to have some aches, some soreness as you stress your body. Recognize it for it is, and learn to determine the difference between the normal aches and pains, and something that is the sign of a possible injury. Learn how to pay attention to your effort levels, your breathing, and what your body is telling you when you're running. If you can do this, you'll have an advantage on many people in a race. Some will argue how many miles, how many long runs, and the perfect mix of all the various aspects for a successful marathon. Personal experience is just that: personal. Look for commonality, but also realize that you'll probably have to make adjustments as you go to match your specific needs.
        If you don't care about speed work at all, then you just need to build up a lot of miles over the next year and a half or so. Somewhere around 40 per week would probably suffice. Make sure a good portion of those are during the week. You'll get different estimates ranging from 50-75%. The remaining 25-50% of your miles should be a weekly long run. Have the long runs peak around 12-13 miles on occasion. Build all of this up slowly. Give yourself easy weeks to recover. Several months out from the marathon (18 weeks is pretty standard in training plans), start upping the long run mileage a bit at a time. Go a couple of miles farther that you had previously, then do a shorter run the next "long" run. Try to get two or three 20-22 milers in. Spend the three weeks before your marathon tapering down your mileage, so you go in feeling refreshed. All of that said, you may still consider following a plan. My girlfriend had similar goals and just did a plan but replaced the speedwork with easy miles. They will help you structure your build up to the mileage needed. Some will start you from as little as a 20 mile per week base. The more mileage you go in with though, the better the marathon will feel. You can also do less total mileage and focus more on just the long runs, but this will make those longer runs much harder. No matter what you do the mileage will, in fact, make you faster!

        -------------------------------------
        5K - 18:25 - 3/19/11
        10K - 39:38 - 12/13/09
        1/2 - 1:29:38 - 5/30/10
        Full - 3:45:40 - 5/27/07

          Thanks much guys! Exactly the type of info I was looking for.
          Mr Inertia


          Suspect Zero

            I did. When I started this I didn't know about C25K or anything, I just added on what I felt I could. I had a mentor that told me some of the risks involved with running too fast too soon, so I was aware of that. Heck, sometimes I even heeded his warnings. All in all, it was a really good way to get into running. I trained similarly for my first marathon last year. It got me through, but probably not the best way to go. I added mileage fairly conservatively and had a few 20 milers and two 22 milers. I did no structured speedwork, but ran "a bit faster" or ran a really hilly course once per week. I peaked at 48 miles per week. One of the things I noticed is that the training, overall, was VERY boring. It was just this nonstop flat ramping up of mileage that seemed to last forever. I'm getting ready to train for my second. I'm not using anyone's plan; I've devised my own, but it's based heavily on Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning and Daniels Running formula. Speedwork, tempo running, VO2MAX, strides, all of those not only serve to make you faster, but breaks up the training and gives you some variance in your day to day training. When all is said and done, it can be done. You're certainly not going to run your best race that way, and training is mentally draining when it's done that way.
              Some good advice/info presented so far. You may want to take a look at Galloway's run/walk/run program. He and his wife recently ran/walked the Huntsville marathon in under 5 hrs by running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute the whole 26.2. They smiled the whole way. Run/walk is a neat thing to try. Check it out. Neat to do a marathon at 40. Neater to do one when you are 50-60-70-++. If you take your time and build gradually the odds are you will want to run into the "golden" years--if not, you may end up doing too much--too soon --too fast and end up joining the world's largest running club--"I use to run but...... club". All the best. Nick
                First of all, congrats on your progress so far. I myself would have said that it was impossible for me last year, but I am currently only one month away from my first Half Marathon, with a Full on the horizon some time this year. As for the Half Marathon, I have used Jeff Galloways training schedule (kinda loosely) but I have not used the walk break idea mainly because I don't feel that I need it. However, I say that to say that I really liked his Half training so I am sure it would be a great Full training as well. Good luck with your training and remember to take it slow, and don't rush your body. Increasing mileage or speed too fast can really cause you some major problems, as I am all too aware. Jeff Galloway Marathon
                "Better to take the slow approach then the no approach."
                My Quest to a Marathon blog.262quest.com
                  Mr. Inertia & LRN, glad to hear from you gentlemen. Always enjoyed your advice on CR (I was a lurker).
                  One of the things I noticed is that the training, overall, was VERY boring. It was just this nonstop flat ramping up of mileage that seemed to last forever.
                  I've heard of folk getting bored but lucky for me, I'm easily amused. I don't listen to any music but I sure do zone out when I'm running.
                  Some good advice/info presented so far. You may want to take a look at Galloway's run/walk/run program. He and his wife recently ran/walked the Huntsville marathon in under 5 hrs by running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute the whole 26.2. They smiled the whole way.
                  I'll have to give it a try. Thanks. TimWilson, thanks for the encouragement.