Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Everything about the training process, including programs, experiences, etc.

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ratherawkward
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Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby ratherawkward » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:19 am

The more I think on it, the more I think I want to take a shot at STWM 2013 (so, next October) for my first full marathon. This obviously gives me the luxury of several months to increase my base (definitely needed) and choose a training program.

Clearly, this is a question that different people will have different opinions about, but the great thing about a site like this is getting the benefit of others' experience. So, if you'll indulge me:

For your first marathon, (a) roughly what kind of mileage were you running before starting marathon training; and (b) what plan did you use, and how did you like it?
PR's so far: 5K 27:15, 10K 55:25, 21.1K 2:10:53, 42.2K 5:21:27
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Jwolf
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Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby Jwolf » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:16 am

I did my first marathon in 2006. Before then I had done 3 halfs and several 10ks- it was about two years after my first half.

When I started marathon training I was doing about 40k/week and built up to peak mileage of about 70k/week following a modified Running Room plan. (I had a peak or about 50k/week for my last half before that training).

The mileage and training was definitely enough to finish the marathon, but at the time I had an overly ambitious finish time goal. For most people I'd advise against this unless you have a lot of prior racing experience. (My best half time was about 1:55 and I was aiming for a 4:00 marathon; I came in at about 4:25 with a huge slowdown in the second half. I would have been better off pacing mode evenly for about 4:15-ish, but with a primary aim of "to finish").

You have a lot of time between now and your target marathon. You can definitely have a good experience if you pick a reasonable training plan and have a mostly a "to finish" goal in mind. Good luck and enjoy the journey. :)
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Jogger Barbie
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Re: Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby Jogger Barbie » Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:04 pm

ratherawkward wrote:For your first marathon, (a) roughly what kind of mileage were you running before starting marathon training; and (b) what plan did you use, and how did you like it?

Before my first marathon, I was running on average 4 times a week, and I'm guesstimating about 50 km each week. That's a rough guesstimate because I didn't consistently track distance a lot of the time, just ran by time. I did my first half marathon in 2001 (about 7 years after I started running on a regular basis) and after that did one half marathon a year, in the Spring. Before each half I would up my distance probably about 10 km per week (not sure, wasn't following any kind of program), then afterwards go back to my regular distances. In 2006 I did a half in the Spring and Fall for the first time. After the Fall half I decided to train for a marathon a year later.

Fast forward to January. DH and I registered for our first Around the Bay (30 km, end of March). I probably did about the same amount of distance over January and February as I would have done training for a half; i.e.: maybe 60 km a week. Maybe a little more. I don't really remember. In March I added more distance and my longest pre-ATB run was 28 km. ATB went so well that I decided to run my first marathon two months later (Ottawa, end of May). I got Hal Higdon's Beginner Plan off the internet, counted back however many weeks before race day (it must have been 8 or 9), and followed the plan from that point until the marathon. It worked well. I liked the plan, was able to get in most of the training runs, and had a good first marathon except for my right hip seizing up at 32 km, which made for a miserable finish. But it was "good" in that I had the endurance to do it.

Unsolicited advice coming up. You trained for and ran the half. Recover from that, then think about registering for Around the Bay 2013. It is (surprisingly, at least it was surprising to me) not that difficult to go from 21.1 km to 30 km. See how you feel after Around the Bay. Assuming it goes well and you're not injured, give yourself a few months of maintenance running and then 18 weeks before STWM start a beginner marathon plan. Train to finish strong, and treat anything on top of that as a bonus. And have fun along the way! Don't get so focussed on training for a longer distance that you don't keep the joy of running just for its own sake.
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19 marathons (3:24:56), 9 30 km ATBs (2:21:33), 2 Midsummer 30 km (2:22:07), 15 half marathons (1:33:53), 5 10 Ks (44:17), 1 5K (22:59), 1 50 K (4:29:22)
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2016: Boston, followed by injury rehab and then ???

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Re: Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby Jwolf » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:20 am

Jogger Barbie wrote:Unsolicited advice coming up. You trained for and ran the half. Recover from that, then think about registering for Around the Bay 2013. It is (surprisingly, at least it was surprising to me) not that difficult to go from 21.1 km to 30 km. See how you feel after Around the Bay. Assuming it goes well and you're not injured, give yourself a few months of maintenance running and then 18 weeks before STWM start a beginner marathon plan. ...


Just keep in mind if you take this advice-- this would mean building up to essentially the same distances you'd do in marathon training, but about 7 months earlier. I think this might be a bit of a rush, unless you are used to going over 21K in training (it is a big jump to 30K, especially for a 2:13-half-marathoner-- that's about another hour of running). You could do it, but it really means building up a lot more quickly than you initially planned.
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Re: Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby Jogger Barbie » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:44 pm

Jwolf wrote:
Jogger Barbie wrote:Unsolicited advice coming up. You trained for and ran the half. Recover from that, then think about registering for Around the Bay 2013. It is (surprisingly, at least it was surprising to me) not that difficult to go from 21.1 km to 30 km. See how you feel after Around the Bay. Assuming it goes well and you're not injured, give yourself a few months of maintenance running and then 18 weeks before STWM start a beginner marathon plan. ...


Just keep in mind if you take this advice-- this would mean building up to essentially the same distances you'd do in marathon training, but about 7 months earlier. I think this might be a bit of a rush, unless you are used to going over 21K in training (it is a big jump to 30K, especially for a 2:13-half-marathoner-- that's about another hour of running). You could do it, but it really means building up a lot more quickly than you initially planned.

I'm a little confused about "the 7 months earlier", since I wouldn't expect the training for a 30 km race to be as strenuous as the training for a marathon. I'm not familiar with 30 km training programs, but do they actually go up to that distance? In any event, you could well be right, and this Spring might be too early for a 30 km. Although assuming no injuries, etc., if 30 km training started the beginning of December, that would be 4 months to add 9 km. Then some rest/maintenance running and only then more training to add the next 12.2 km.

But Jennifer, you know a lot more about the technical aspects of running and training than I do, so I'm not in a position to say very much!!!

(Hope this isn't hijacking your thread, Rather Awkward).
Jacqueline
--------------
19 marathons (3:24:56), 9 30 km ATBs (2:21:33), 2 Midsummer 30 km (2:22:07), 15 half marathons (1:33:53), 5 10 Ks (44:17), 1 5K (22:59), 1 50 K (4:29:22)
2015: London :)
2016: Boston, followed by injury rehab and then ???

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jes
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Re: Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby jes » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:57 pm

I did a few halfs before my first marathon, so I think I was running 4 days/wk at about 40k/wk or so?

I used the RR plan, but only ran 4 days a week. Not ideal. I finished, but it was rather slow. I think I had one week over 60k during that cycle. Contrast that to my last few cycles where I've ran 5 days a week with most weeks over 70k/wk (except for race cutback/injury). Big difference in my times as well :)

Instead of ATB, you could consider building up to 30k for MidSummer Night's Run. Same distance, but it gives you a few months extra to build up to 30k. It's in Aug though, so not sure how that lines up with the timing for Scotia.
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Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby Jwolf » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:01 pm

Well, I don't pretend to be an expert and I've never trained specifically for a 30k. :) I know many people don't train up to the distance of the race, but once you DO the race you'll have done as much as many beginner marathon programs. If she follows a standard training program for a fall marathon, she may not be doing 30k till September (so I guess 6 months later, not 7).

Again- I think you (ratherawkward) could definitely do it but it would be more (earlier) than you were originally planning. Training for a 30k road race as a stepping stone before a marathon isn't a bad idea for sure- and it would be nice if there were more of those races to choose from. There is also one in the summer you could do in Toronto instead. (We didn't have any around here before I did my first marathon.)

Eta: jes snuck her post in while I was writing and she suggested the same summer 30k (Midsummer Night's Run). There's no "preview" warning on Tapatalk so I didn't see her post ;) .
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Re: Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby jes » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:12 pm

I'm totally sneaky that way :)
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Re: Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby HCcD » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:19 pm

Take a looksie at the ATB online training program http://www.aroundthebayroadrace.com/training.htm .... apparently, it tops off at about 25K before tapering down ...

Both ATB and Mid Summer's Run are in pretty good alignment with either a Spring and/or Fall Marathon, in as far as it is usually the first attempt at 30K in training cycle ....

As for me, I am a believer in running up to 25K, when training for a key 1/2 marathon goal, as it would give you a nice cushion of over distance .... As JB suggested, peaking at 30K @ATB, would allow you to continue to focus on some quality workouts for a Spring 1/2 .... take a bit of a periodization / recovery, then start your marathon training cycle in June for a Fall Marathon ... As a result, having trained your body to go beyond 21K to 25K then peaking at 30K @ATB, would allow your body and mind to be prepared for the marathon training, in the summer ....

As for me, I started running in September of 2001, ran couple 10K races in the Fall and Winter/Spring ... ran my first 1/2 in Ottawa in May, ran a second 1/2 in August, then continued on for my first marathon in October of 2002 about 13 months after having started running, in my adult life ...
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Re: Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby ratherawkward » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:02 pm

Thanks for all the feedback! I don't think I can swing ATB (logistical reasons), but I had been eyeing the Midsummer 30k as potentially a good stepping stone on the way to an October marathon. This will give me some things to think about, but encouraging to not be told I'm completely crazy. :wink:
PR's so far: 5K 27:15, 10K 55:25, 21.1K 2:10:53, 42.2K 5:21:27
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Re: Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby Dstew » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:09 am

In 2002 I ran a 10 K race, 2003 was three 10 K races, two 8 K races and one 5 K race. I was running three or four times a week during the summer and gym in the winter. My guess was 20 - 40 k a week. In the months leading up to my marathon, I ran three 5 K races as at that time my main goal was to break the 20 minute barrier. So my mileage was low and concentrated on speed. My long runs were wear a cotton tee shirt, no gels or even water. I would start way too fast, have to stop to buy water or food just so I could stagger home. The timing of these long runs would be when I could not get a tee time for golf on Sunday. As I never kept any records, I do recall I was not getting a lot of these long runs in so four weeks before the race decided I should get in one really long run to make up for that so I did a 40 K run. It hurt like hell but it did not cripple me so I figured the completely random and stupid time of break four hours was doable. I did break that barrier by about two minutes and could walk, all be it with a slight limp, so I was extremely happy.

So to recap, no program, low mileage that was almost all speed work, sporadic and ill conceived long runs and rely upon my general athletic background and even more on luck. So in retrospect, it was the Barney Stinson approach to running a marathon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_-RDyxaJ1E

As an aside, it also shows that we can get a tad over analytical about all of this to the point some people will freak out if due to some time constraint, etc that they can only do 25.5 k of a planned 27 K run.

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Re: Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby Robinandamelia » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:02 am

Before my first marathon I had run 2 1/2 marathons. I ran 4 times a week with my maximum long run 12 miles. My halfs were done in 2009. I trained for my first marathon using a Nike+ 24 week marathon training program, trained 5 days a week with my maximum long run 18 miles. I averaged 30 miles/week for my first marathon, and I peaked at 45 miles (one week only. No other week went into the 40's). Had a great first experience/marathon in 2010.

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Re: Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby Joe Dwarf » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:32 am

Lessee ... was running a few times a week in 2005, ran a 10k and got injured, ran casually or not at all until spring 2010 when I got more serious, ran my first half that August after completing one of Bruce Deacon's training programs from the Victoria website. Ran 3 more halves over the winter and following spring, then started training on another of Bruce's programs for QCM in Sep 2011. So basically my first marathon was about 1.5 years after re-starting running semi-seriously. Bruce's program was 20 weeks peaking at around 80 km/week with a couple of 300 km months, I was probably doing 40-50 km/week heading into it.

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Re: Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby RobW » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:10 pm

ratherawkward wrote:For your first marathon, (a) roughly what kind of mileage were you running before starting marathon training; and (b) what plan did you use, and how did you like it?

From 2006-2008 I would train for 2 months so I could run in the 10k Sun Run. No running in 2009 but in 2010 I continued running after the Sun Run (in April) averaging about 30k/week to train for my first half 2 months later. I trained for my first marathon in the same year using the Runner's World Rookie plan where I averaged around 50-55/k week. Since it was my first marathon it was a bit of a slog to get through the training program but to date it's my only marathon where I met my goal and ran an even split. So I guess you could say I liked the program.

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Re: Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby Stampie » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:40 pm

Before I started my marathon training, I had only started running about a year earlier. I had 2 5k’s, 4 10K’s an 8k & a 9.5K under my belt. I was running usually 3x per week and peaking at about 20-25k per week. I then decided to train for a marathon. Now I did my training with TNT and there training plan is a 24wk program that gradually builds you up to a marathon. Prior to training for the marathon, the longest I had ever run was about 14-15K. Within almost 7wks of starting my training, I was at 15K and then we slowly progressed to 32K. We then cut back and gradually climbed back to 32K again, peaking just 2wks prior to the marathon and tapered from there.

It was in that training that I ran my first half. My goal was simple for my first half (at the Vancouver First Half too), run this race as a training run, have fun and gain experience. My goal time was 2:10:xx, but my competitive nature got the better of me and I ran it a little faster than maybe I should have, but I still finished with a smile on my face at 2:01:50. I was thinking of running a 30K race before my marathon (Birch Bay 30K), but due to scheduling I was not able to do that one. I must point out, when I originally was going to sign up with TNT, my plan was to do a half and then work towards a full. I ended up signing up for the full, based on my discussions with the TNT coach and my research into the new Vancouver course for this year. I stuck to the schedule and was peaking at 55-60K per week and running 4x per week. The plan I used was geared to get us to the starting line injury free with no real time goal. I got the run done and I was within 8 seconds off my targeted time of a sub 4:30:xx (4:30:07 chip time). So yes it can conceivably be done, it depends on how you want to approach it. I guess my advice and the advice I got from my coach, take it slow, stick to the plan and most importantly, listen to your body.
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Re: Thinking ahead to first marathon...

Postby purdy65 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:45 pm

I used this plan for my first one.

http://marathontraining.com/marathon/marathon.html

It got me through my first. There isn't much in the way of speedwork. It mostly focuses on building mileage.

After the first, I began to follow other programs that included various types of workouts - speed, hills, tempo etc (Higdon, Pfitz - combination)
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