Marathon Training and Discussions


Need help building a marathon training plan (Read 292 times)

Think Whirled Peas

    I'm gunning for my first marathon in October (Oct. 19 - Grand Rapids) and am looking to build my plan based on 18 weeks. I'm currently running about 35 mpw, but plan on running in the 45-55 mpw average for the training. I would expect to peak at 65-70 miles, around 3-4 weeks out. I've been running for just over a year, and am comfortable running every day. I typically run 5-6 days a week, and each run is usually 5 miles in length w/a weekend long run of 8-12 miles. My longest run to date is 15 miles. I have time to do a mid-week, mid-long run on Wednesday evenings, and plan on Sundays as my long day. I have three races tagged over the 18 weeks, none are goal races, but I would like to keep them in mind as I build the plan. June 28 - 15k (16 weeks out); August 23 - 10 miler (8 weeks out); Sept. 28 - HM (3 weeks out). I'll probably sprinkle in a 5k here or there as I get the opportunity, but again, I will not want to alter my schedule much (essentially train through them). My thoughts are to build the plan in 3 increments of 6 weeks. The first 6 weeks I want to just ramp up mileage, w/out much in the way of of anything other than getting used to the load. The second 6 weeks will start to include hill workouts once a week (Tuesday) and mile repeats (or some such work) once a week (Friday). The final 6 weeks are probably the most crucial, and where I really need help. I don't know what I should focus on over this period. I also need some help figuring out when to take a day off. My initial thoughts are that I would take one off every two weeks, but I'm not sure. Tapering? No clue. Speed work, relative to a marathon, no idea. I need help!!!! Please note: I've not mentioned a goal pace or time. It's my first shot at the 26.2 and I don't want to set any expectation other than finishing in one piece. That said, I also want to approach this by respecting the distance, hence giving it my best effort. I would welcome any input from people, and appreciate you taking the time to help a n00b out. THANKS! Q P.S. I also posted this in the Coaching Forum, but was hoping some folks in here could help me out too!

    Just because running is simple does not mean it is easy.

    Think Whirled Peas

      *bump* Anyone? Buehler?

      Just because running is simple does not mean it is easy.

      Eye Lick Two Rhune

        It looks fine to me. I did about the same as this and I finished and made the goals that I set the only thing that you might want to consider is the pacing and adding some longer tempo, steady state runs of about 6-9 miles. at a pace 15-30sec faster than the pace you feel you will be running for the race.

        ON THE 7th DAY, GOD DID AN EASY 6 "Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'" - Peter Maher

        Imminent Catastrophe

          I like the idea of doing shorter races before the big one, it gives me the chance to practice pacing and fueling tactics, plus there are people handing you water and you get a t-shirt.

          "Able to function despite imminent catastrophe"

           "To obtain the air that angels breathe you must come to Tahoe"--Mark Twain

          "The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.


          √ Javelina Jundred Jalloween 2015

          Cruel Jewel 50 mile May 2016

          Western States 100 June 2016


            Can't really advise much. I have done 2 marathons so still learning and asking for advice when it comes to training for one Did London in April and the idea of a regular 5km is a good one i did one, once a month (also did 2 one mile races) and they certainly helped, i just ran through them i didn't taper until the most important race of the lot. Thats whats important

            Giants Fan

              If you figure out a plan, let me know! Am training for my first...and am a little lost myself. CC

              "I think I've discovered the secret of life- you just hang around until you get used to it."

              Charles Schulz


                I'll chime in here.... Your plan sounds good but I think you will need one day off a week at least. One off every two weeks is not enough, especially for a first timer. (just my opinion) You have a good base but you want to make sure that you're not setting yourself up for injury. Another good rule of thumb is seeing how you feel after the long runs. I think it's hard to do 5Ks while training for a marathon. For me, the long run takes priority no matter what. I would definitely focus on getting in at least 3- 20 milers, or possibly a 22 or 23 miler thrown in there. The longest run in three weeks before your marathon... any closer and you risk being tired at the start. And you might know that you want to have a long run (over 15 miles) only once every three weeks, with the other weeks in the 10-13 mile range. As far as speedwork is concerned.... There are lots of options. I would set aside one day of the week sandwiched in between easy days, as your speed day. One week I would do intervals of 800s ( or 1/2 miles) then recover or slowly jog for 2:00-3:00 minutes and go again. Always make sure to do a proper warmup and cooldown. on the other weeks I would do tempo runs or longer repeats ( mile repeat, for example) It sounds like you have a very well thought out plan. Try not to overthink it, though. For me, I need to make sure that I get hills in, speedwork, and long run and I'm good. Good luck and keep up posted on your training. Let me know if you have any more questions.

                Think Whirled Peas

                  Thanks gang! Kimmie, some specific questions for you. I think you're right in needing a day off per week. I have a rest day scheduled for every other Monday (day after a long run on Sunday), but on the Mondays where I've scheduled a run it is listed as a 2-4 mile recovery run. The plan is to go on how I'm feeling on those days and take a rest if I need it. I have noticed over the last 4-6 months though, that I seem to fair better from running more frequently (if lower/slower) than by taking complete rest days too often. Either way, your point there is duly noted and will most likely be the case most weeks. Regarding the 5k's, yeah, I'm with you there too. If I do any (none scheduled) they'll be in the "fun run" category, and most likely with my wife who's new to this whole running thing. Definitely won't be out to set any PR's in a 5k, that's for sure. I have three 18 milers and three 20 milers scheduled over the 20 week plan as long runs. I may bump one of the 20 milers up to nearly race distance just for my own peace of mind, if nothing else. I like knowing I've covered the distance in training come race day. FWIW, I've scheduled mid-long runs of 10-14 miles most weeks on Wednesday. My reasoning for this is to help support my long runs better, as most of my easy runs can only be about 5 miles most days (running during lunch hour at work). Is five miles a day (most days) sufficient training? I did not know about keeping the long runs to one every three weeks. I was planning on building up for three weeks on long runs and then back down for one week. Should that be alright, or should I rethink that? Regarding the intervals, how many per session? I don't want to just put 4 x 800 intervals for the heck of it, but how do I know how many to run? Run 'em until I can't hold the pace? See, these are the silly questions I am fretting over...prolly shouldn't be sweating it, can't help it. Smile Thanks again for the help and input! Q

                  Just because running is simple does not mean it is easy.