First Marathon

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  GTF 10 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #10590


    Hi. I am new to this board and looking to run a marthon in May. I haven't run regularly since high school, but I am in the Army and ran an 11:27 two-mile on my last effort. Due either to depression, or boredom, or some innate feeling of hopelessness, I have decided that now is time for me to tackle the marathon as one of my lifetime goals. I would also like to qualify for Boston, if at all possible. I have read Tom Holland's book The Marathon Method, but he only offers a 16-week program that is mostly for beginners. Given that my marathon is seven months out, what program should I pursue? Are there any proven six-month programs that I can latch on to? Any advice and training ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • #26349

  • #26351


    Don't you have to run at least four days a week?  We ran five days a week when I was in the Army. 

    If not you need to start getting out there most of the days of the week.

    When you do run – how far do you go?  How long do you run?

  • #26352


    The Hansons method linked to by GTF is a great place to start. Another of my favorites, though one that makes you do a little more work in planning, is:

    Even with that 16 week plan, the thing to remember is that it probably assumes you've already done the work to establish a base of aerobic fitness. That's what your next 3-4 months should be about. Answers to the questions Ed asked might give a good idea of where you starting point is and what might be called for next, though most of the advice would boil down to gradually building up from where you are at now as your body allows.

  • #26353


    Ed, you must have been Active Duty. I am not. Even in training, we only ran three days per week and it wasn't very far. Since joining the Army, I am much less able to cover long distances, but can cover up to two miles relatively quickly with almost no training.

    At this point, I am only able to run 4-5 miles per day while feeling comfortable. Anything more requires too much effort for me to risk at this point. The 16-week plan that I mentioned does not require a previous base-building phase, which is another reason why I'm kind of skeptical.

    During my last two runs, I have completed 4.5 miles in 35 minutes, so even though I haven't run in a while it's not like I'm completely unable. The biggest issue for me is my weight. In high school, I weighed 155 pounds and could log 60 miles a week (although I eventually got hurt). Now I weigh 175 and most of the gain is in muscle. One thing that the 16-week program does well for me is that it only requires four days of running per week, something that would suit my body very well.

    Thanks for the advice.

  • #26354

    I've not yet run a marathon, but I have done a pretty good amount of reading, and it seems that it would be good that some time before the marathon you can run at least 16-20 miles, or 2.5 hours, but not more than 3 hours, although some people may be able to handle more.  As far as how many miles, if you feel that running no more than 4 days a week is best for you, maybe you could follow something like this for the next few months.

    WEEK 1: include two 4 mile runs, one 5 mile run, one 6 mile run; 19 miles total
    WEEK 2: include one 4 mile run, one 5 mile, one 6 mile run, one 7 mile run; 22 miles total
    WEEK 3: include two 5 miles runs, one 7 mile run, one 8 mile run; 25 miles total
    WEEK 4: same as week 2 or 3
    WEEK 5: include two 6 mile runs, two 8 mile runs; 28 miles total
    WEEK 6: include two 6 mile runs, one 8 mile run, one 10 mile run; 30 miles total
    WEEK 7: include one six mile run, one 8 mile run, one 9 mile run, one 11 mile run; 34 miles total
    WEEK 8: same as week 6 or 7
    WEEK 9: include one 7 mile run, one 8 mile run, one 9 mile run, one 12 mile run; 36 miles total
    WEEK 10: include two 8 mile runs, one 10 mile run, one 13 mile run; 39 miles total
    WEEK 11: include two 8 mile runs, one 11 mile run, one 14 mile run; 41 miles total
    WEEK 12: include one 8 mile run, one 9 mile run, one 11 mile run, one 16 mile run; 44 miles total
    WEEK 13: same as week 11 or 12
    WEEK 14: include one 9 mile run, one 10 mile run, one 12 mile run, one 17 mile run; 48 miles total

    Somewhere in the middle of this, one day a week you might want to start including 4-6 mile race pace runs lasting about 20-30 seconds, with about a minute jog in between each one. I like these towards the end of a run, but you might also like them in the middle.

    What I have given is only a suggestion, maybe it provides some ideas to help you find what works best for you. Try to train according to your body's signals.

    Best wishes.

  • #26355


    My initial thought, two words: slow down.

    4.5 miles in 35 minutes? That's sub-8:00/mile pace. I'm not claiming to be any great runner but I've done a 2:40 marathon and I run 8:00/mile pace sometimes, especially when trying to build volume. Drop that pace back and I would be surprised if you couldn't build up the distance and possibly frequency of your runs fairly quickly. Do this and you'll be much more comfortable covering the distance, which is the real key to running a marathon.

  • #26356


    Ryan is right, slow it down and improve consistency.  Slowing it down and running more would suit both one's body and one's ability to reach one's goals better.  Both aerobic development and weight loss are better served by five to seven 30-minute runs than they would be by four 35-minute runs.  No need to extend the lengths of the runs much at all until consistency improves first.  Unless and until one can get up to running 6-7 days of the week for many weeks then no “plan” would really make much difference.  At the very least supplement running with cycling and/or swimming at an aerobic effort level until one reaches the point of being able to run more than just four (then five, then six) times per week.

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