Marathon Training and Discussions


Laying out my first marathon training plan - please comment (Read 725 times)

    Hi everyone -


    I am contemplating entering my first marathon (Detroit Free Press 10/10, or Disney 1/11).


    If I back up from October of this year, I would need to start the training plan (will probably go with Hal Higdon since his plan got me through my first HM) in July.


    From now until July, I'm thinking I need to increase my weekly mileage from 20-25 to 35+.  Is this enough?  Or should I be looking for a higher number of weekly mileage heading into stating the 'training plan'?  I understand more is better.  I'm not looking for a MINIMUM mileage, but rather something reasonable, without streching me too fast from my current mileage. 


    FWIW, I been running for a year (injury free!), and have completed one 10k, and one HM.  I like to be overprepared for everyhting, running included.  My goal for a first marathon would be to simply finish with a smile on my face.


    Input is appreciated, even if is to wait until Fall '11 to attempt a first marathon.



    “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory." - Mahatma Gandhi

    Lia's Daddy

      IMHO I think you have a good idea. I would increase your mileage to about 35-40 and see how that feels after a couple of months. I think your body will tell you what to do from there. My experience has taught me that I can add drastic mileage as long as I don't do much speedwork at the same time. I would increase each run by a little (time or mileage) and perhaps add another day.


       There are a lot of people who have a lot more experience then me and are much more qualified to give you a plan but I responded because I was in your shoes about two years ago. just keep running and having fun and you will know when the time to run a marathon is right. If your goal is to be a life-long runner then the marathon is just a small part of it. 

      "Stadiums are for spectators. We runners have nature and that is much better." Juha "the Cruel" Väätäinen

      Hawt and sexy

        It depends. I can not run a good marathon on 40 mpw. But the thing is, I would not know that unless I tried.  You have to figure out if that in enough for you. And the only way to know is to try it out.


        The best way to finish a marathon with a smile, regardless of training, is to do the marathon in a costume. it's crazy fun and I recommend it to everyone. If it is your first, then relish it. Put on a superhero outfit and slap hands with all the kids you pass. That will bring a smile. Beer helps too.

        I'm touching your pants.

          If your goal is to finish and you don't stress out over a time goal, then yes it's probably enough. Is more better, sure.


          I began "training" for my first marathon after I had been running for a grand total of 12 weeks. I averaged 27ish mpw over this 12 weeks. Then over the next 18 weeks, I "trained" by running an average of 31 mpw - a little skewed - because 5 of those weeks were less than 20 miles and 5 of those weeks were 40-50 miles. For reference, I wasn't some ex-runner who was just getting back in shape, I was just a fat guy who had quit smoking after almost 30 years.


          Some advice that I'm glad I listened to was that you only get one first marathon - make it fun. I did and have no regrets. There's plenty of time to run more miles and run faster marathons later.

          When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

            Thanks for the responses.  I'll try to get my weekly mileage north of 35 and see where it takes me. 


            Runningwild, thanks for the reminder that there's no need to rush if I plan on being at this running thing for the rest of my days.  Maybe even one day, I'll consider myself a runner! 


            Bonkin, another great reminder.  I just ran my first half marathon a couple weeks ago, and when I saw my pictures, I was waaaay to serious.  Geez, smile Dave.


            And Willamona, the only costume I'll be wearing for my first marathon is that of a marthoner 

            “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory." - Mahatma Gandhi

            an amazing likeness



              Since you're planning on using a Higdon plan, I'd suggest you take a look at the version you're planning to use and aim for getting your normal, steady, week-in/week-out mileage up near the plan's level.  This way the plan will change your structure and makeup of runs, change your pace goals, but wont be forcing you to add a lot to your weekly miles.


              Hal's plans tend to have 3 weeks of building, then a fall-back week, then build again.  If your miles are close to the plan's level, you only need to worry about the structure.  (and that's a lot to handle)


              Personally, I like Hal's plans, especially how he layers the marathon pace mid distance runs on Saturday so that you go into the long run on Sunday with tired legs. 

              I've done my best to live the right way. I get up every morning and go to work each day. (for now)

                I will be running my first marathon Jan. 30th and I am building my weekly mileage to 45/week before I start a plan. I will also have a few 15 mile long runs in before I start. I plan to use Jack Daniel's Running Formula to build my schedule. I put a lot of pressure on myself because I really want to qualify for Boston in my debut marathon. I think the OP can complete a marathon on low mileage but it might hurt and a smile at the end might be forced. Good luck!