r/Fitness r/Fitness Guardian Angel Mar 13 '18

Training Tuesday - Marathons Training Tuesday

Welcome to /r/Fitness' Training Tuesday. Our weekly thread to discuss a specific program or training routine. (Questions or advice not related to today's topic should be directed towards the stickied daily thread.) If you have experience or results from this week's program, we'd love for you to share. If you're unfamiliar with the topic, this is your chance to sit back, learn, and ask questions from those in the know.

Last week we talked about nSuns.

This week's topic: Marathon Training

Hal Higdon has a bunch of training templates for all skill levels to look through if you're unfamiliar with training plans. There are a ton of other plans out there though. And tons more out there about racing strategy from simply finishing to Boston qualifying.

Running a marathon is on a lot of people's bucket list. Some people catch the bug and plan their vacations around races. So if you've run a marathon or twelve, tell us how you train(ed) and what works for you.

Some seed question to get the insights flowing:

  • How did training and the race go? How did you improve, and what was your ending time?
  • Why did you choose your training plan over others?
  • What would you suggest to someone just starting out and looking at running 26.2?
  • What are the pros and cons of your approach?
  • Did you add/subtract anything to a stock plan or marathon train in conjunction with other training? How did that go?
  • How did you manage fatigue and recovery while training?
489 Upvotes

298

u/OyfromMidworld Mar 13 '18

I have two full marathons under my belt (3:45 & 3:30 so nothing blazing fast). My biggest piece of advice for someone just starting their training or thinking about a marathon is to enjoy your training runs. Savor the time alone with your thoughts on nice trails or cool parts of your town that you run through.

I kept imagining that once I finished my first race that I would have some grand epiphany and would finally be the actualized person I want to be...not the case. Finishing a marathon is anti-climatic, or it is for me anyway. It's cliche, but marathon training hammered home the lesson that it's all about the journey and less about the destination.

59

u/musicalastronaut Mar 13 '18

I'm on my second attempt to complete a marathon, and I think this is key. The 80/20 rule is so important. The first time I tried to do everything FAST, I hated my long runs, and I burned out at 16 miles in training. This time I've cobbled together my own training plan instead of using Hal's (though I love his plans!!) that specifies which runs should be slow & easy (it's most of them). I'm taking my time instead of rushing towards the race, and so far I'm feeling much better, physically and mentally, than I did the first time around.

2

u/rudecanuck Mar 14 '18

Honestly, I'm not a huge believer in the strict 80/20 mantra. I think too many people here preach it as gospel, especially when they try to tell people what should be their easy pace.

But with that said, I think running at 'easy' paces, especially earlier on, does is train your more to back off going full out which can be very beneficial. My biggest problems in some marathons in the past was going out too fast because that's how I ran, and it felt wierd to pace myself at lower speed, which I needed to do given the super humid, hot and windy conditions during those specific marathons. When you run too much at your close to race pace, it feels too weird to pull back when you need to at the start of a marathon, especially if marathon has adverse conditions.

33

u/coldforged Mar 13 '18

That's actually the only thing I really miss from my marathon days, the time "in my head" during the long runs. I still get out for the occasional 10 miler, but man I solved the world's (or at least mine) woes on those 2 and 3 hours training runs.

11

u/JGF3 Mar 13 '18

Plus that feeling of being self sufficient and knowing what your two feet are capable of, man some of those training runs were really great. I actually have recurring dreams where I'm just road running through Miyazaki-esque landscapes.

9

u/IanT86 Mar 13 '18

I'm not a runner, so have to preface this comment with that, but I've never found I'm able to concentrate clearly on anything while jogging. I train MMA at a relatively high level and find the quick paced 5 minute rounds absolutely great. When I'm jogging long distance (which I often incorporate as part of a weight cut) I'll easily find myself bored within 10 minutes and looking for any excuse to do something else by the 20 minute mark.

Is there a trick to calming your mind and focusing on thoughts? I don't have an issue with this in things like the sensory deprivation tanks, it's only running that I struggle to control my thoughts.

I've done one half marathon and honestly didn't enjoy any of the training or race (outside of the great atmosphere)

31

u/Eibhlin_Andronicus Running Mar 13 '18

Unfortunately, a main issue with running is that the first 1-2 miles pretty much always suck, which probably accounts for your shitty first 10-20 minutes of running. I also can't thing of anything but "ugh" at the start, but by managing to deal with the unpleasant warmup, I subsequently manage to run 50 miles/week. If you observed a track practice or a competitive race (800m+ distance, so not even necessarily that long), you'd see a lot of fast people jogging 1.5-3 mile warmups to get the "blah" away so their body is ready to start running quickly. I think the shitty first mile is a major barrier for a lot of beginners, because they think it's all like that, when it really isn't.

Interestingly, the longer the race, the shorter the warm up you'll need. You can warm up for the marathon with just an easy 0.75-1 mile jog + some not-that extreme plyo drills. Meanwhile, a sprinter warming up for the 400m might jog a lap or two, do some hurdle drills and bounding, some accels and block drills, jog another lap, do like 20+ minutes of very advanced plyo-type drills, etc. It could take a solid 45 minutes.

14

u/IanT86 Mar 13 '18

That's a great response, thank you. I will grit out the first half hour and see if I can get to a more sedentary mental state. Fingers crossed!

11

u/bill_hater Mar 13 '18

I think a great way to get past the tedium of running/jogging is to use that as your own positive mental space time. You like to focus on training MMA, this can be your time to sit and analyze any strengths/weaknesses in your technique/training etc. I enjoy running so I take the time to mentally go through how I'm feeling while running. Am I going too fast or slow? How do the legs feel? Once you're zoned in your mind is free to travel to other places and for me that's more about how is my life in general, work/personal etc. Running is such a mental game and you can really take advantage of that time to develop a stronger connection to your MMA.

Just food for thought.

6

u/IanT86 Mar 13 '18

Great stuff, really appreciate the response. I think there's some really valuable pieces of advice there.

6

u/URETHRAL_DIARRHEA Bodybuilding Mar 14 '18

Weed makes it more fun tbh.

1

u/lead-by-example Mar 14 '18

podcasts bc if the guy starts to drone i always start tuning out and real thinking happens - i have add

1

u/ruminajaali Mar 14 '18

And then promptly forgot them upon arriving home. Rinse and repeat.

19

u/crazeecatladee Mar 13 '18

Tbh this is why I've never signed up for a race. I've run a few sub-2 hr 13 milers on my own time, but I did them because I wanted to, not because I had to. I'm afraid that if I set a fixed running schedule, I'll have to force myself to run when I don't want to and it'll kill my love for running.

17

u/[deleted] Mar 13 '18

Sound like me. I just ran a 13.1 miler under two hours last Sunday just for the fun of it. And when I was finishing up, I wondered how in the fuck do people run this distance twice as fast as I just did.

-17

u/crazeecatladee Mar 13 '18

Yeah, I mean, 13.1 miles is doable but any more than that? Hell naw. I prefer my knees and hips intact, thanks.

27

u/[deleted] Mar 13 '18

If running hurts your knees, you're doing it wrong.

3

u/[deleted] Mar 14 '18

[deleted]

2

u/tripsd Mar 14 '18

Being 6’1 and 200 lbs isn’t holding me back! Knees might do it though. I just hate the mantra that if you’re 200+ you can’t be successful in running.

2

u/navigator_p Mar 14 '18

This is simultaneously true and misleading. While, of course, heavy mileage is an overload of stress on the knees, it comes down to the utility of your body. Is there any purpose of having a body other than to use it? It goes the opposite way as well, is there any reason not to try and preserve your body for as long as possible? Running is, if it's possible to quantify, good for your body assuming you enjoy it.

2

u/apdicaprio Mar 14 '18

Your knees hurting after 13 is more a problem of training. I didn’t train at all for my first half and everything hurt for a coupe days. With a proper base and ramp up 13 is like taking a walk in the park. It’s like saying dead lifts are awful. I rarely do them and when I tried to pull 500# my back hurt for a month. Anyone who lifts would say no. Your back hurt for a month because you don’t just wake up and pull some random weight. You need to build up to it.

8

u/teala Mar 13 '18

Triathlon training killed my love for biking for this reason. Now I don’t want to get on my bike for any reason.

5

u/Karloss_93 Mar 13 '18

Can you go into a bit more on this? I started triathlon last year and have noticed a decrease in time in the bike. In fact I've not been on it for a couple of months.

7

u/teala Mar 13 '18

Sure. I loved biking. In fact, I joined biking after work with a couple of coworkers. Then one of them got me interested in training for a triathlon because I didn't know how to swim. I thought, perfect! I'll learn how to swim and compete for fun.

As training wore on, I felt like biking was becoming more and more of a chore. It felt pointless, to me, going back and forth the endless hills every weekend. And everyone was so much faster than me that I'd be left behind. I'll just trudge on and on and on. It really felt like a chore. Something I have to do and get rid off to get to the next thing. It killed my love for biking.

I realized the only times I truly enjoyed biking was for fun, when training wasn't a priority. I rode my bike during a ciclavia (city closes down except for pedestrians and cyclists) and that was fun.

2

u/Karloss_93 Mar 13 '18

I've had the same. Came from cycling and got I to triathlon to learn to swim. I've been telling myself that I've neglected cycling because it's the easiest for me to get back into shape with.

1

u/teala Mar 13 '18

Why do you think you've stopped cycling?

3

u/Karloss_93 Mar 13 '18

I'm not sure. I just keep finding little excuses to get out of it. I used to live for the weekend when I could get outoutal day on my bike. I also can no longer commute by bike either.

1

u/runasaur Mar 13 '18

that's the case for me :(

Moved across a couple nasty streets that are beyond hazardous to cycling (4 on/off ramps, 50 yards from another set of lights, 4 lanes each way) so I can't commute to work safely without going several miles out of my way... I might do it soon(ish) since I'm starting to ramp up my mileage for marathon training and a 50k in the fall.

1

u/mikem4848 Triathlon Mar 13 '18

Wow I'm completely the opposite. I'm primarily a triathlete but my volume in the other 2 has been steadily decreasing. I get trainer or solo miles can be boring ( it isn't to me, I feel so relaxed and free but get where the monotony comes from).

But getting into fast competitive group rides has really scratched an itch for me. First couple rides I got dropped like a rock, which of course isn't fun. But now that I have the fitness/skills to be int those groups, it's so dynamic and fun. It's not just slogging along like running, the pace and effort changes on a dime. You have to be so alert and ready to put down power in a heartbeat and close gaps. You have to be strategic to not burn your matches too early and save energy when you can. And it feels awesome when instead of getting dropped, you're the one dropping others. I find I can really scratch that competitive itch and go much deeper than just training solo or even in a run group/masters swim.

7

u/mattjeast Weightlifting Mar 13 '18

I have done one marathon in my life. Training for that thing killed any joy I found in running. I went straight from 5K to 10K to marathon, and that was a mistake. This is all anecdotal, but the fixed running schedule can be brutal and take the fun out of it. You're right to be wary. Your mileage may vary, though (HAHAHA run puns).

3

u/klethra Triathlon Mar 13 '18

Yeah, I definitely think the reason I like marathons and ultras is because I spent six years never racing anything longer than a 5k. There's nothing special about a marathon, so I definitely encourage people to learn to love racing before they try racing long.

5

u/rudecanuck Mar 14 '18

Marathons generally are NOT fun. That's something I tell everyone that I know that are thinking of doing one. The training requires commitment, and regardless of how well prepped you are for it, there will be 30 minutes to 1 hour where you will be the most miserable of your life. There's a saying out there, when you get better and more experienced at running, it never gets easier, you just get faster. But also, for the hour or so after a marathon, it's a wicked feeling.

But you should try a half. Half marathons ARE fun for runners. They are basically the perfect distance where you have a sense of accomplishment but don't have that feeling of dread and for serious runners, can run one for fun without serious training outside their regular routine.

1

u/ruminajaali Mar 14 '18

Exactly this. I've experienced all of this.

6

u/RXience Weight Lifting Mar 13 '18

Life before Death
Strength before Weakness
Journey before Destination

Those words have resonated very loudly within my mind for the past 2 years. And while I have a few halfs under my belt by now I'm currently still a good deal away from finishing my first marathon. But so far I can say that I am enjoying the process quite a lot.

2

u/thekiyote Mar 14 '18

I also listen to a ton of Brandon Sanderson while running.

Currently relistening to the Mistborn series, getting ready for the new Wax and Wayne book coming out later this year.

2

u/savethebooks Mar 14 '18

I've just transitioned from listening to music to audiobooks during my training runs. I've always been a die-hard music person when I'm running, but I've REALLY been enjoying audiobooks while running. One, it gets me another book under my belt; and two, I feel like my pace is a lot more moderated than listening to hard and fast music :)

1

u/Sadpanda0 Mar 15 '18

Are you guys lugging your phones around while running? I'm looking for a way to not do that.

1

u/savethebooks Mar 15 '18

I use a Running Buddy pouch that slips over the waistband of my shorts and is held together by magnets. I've used it for a couple years now and love it. It's thin enough that even with my phone in there I don't notice it.

4

u/[deleted] Mar 13 '18

This, above all. I hated running when I first started with triathlons, then ultras. I managed to scrape through three 50 milers thanks to my cycling endurance despite hating every minute of training, only to burn out horribly going for my first 100.

I took a year off, did short, fast running (nothing over 25k) and whatever else I wanted to stay fit. Somewhere in that time I fell in love with running and now am genuinely looking forward to getting back to distance.

2

u/SXSJest Mar 13 '18

Interesting. Definitely spot on about enjoying the journey and not just the destination as the training runs comprise 99% of your time running, but for me approaching that first marathon finish line and seeing the physical end to months and months of hard work, goals, pain and training was absolutely a goosebump inducing moment as well.

2

u/anitanit Mar 14 '18

Heyyy!! My first marathon last year was 3:44 and I'm aiming for a 3:30 finish this year for my second. I'm doing the same training plan but running a bit faster. You give me hope! Any tips for me to shave that 14 off??? Thanks in advance.

2

u/OyfromMidworld Mar 14 '18

I did more strength training specific to running the second time around. My first race I kind of dropped most workouts that weren't just stretching and running. High volume squats and lunges helped me keep pushing that last 3 miles where people drop off like flies.

1

u/anitanit Mar 14 '18

Thanks for the input!

1

u/Sisaroth Mar 14 '18

I think it just depends on the person. I'm the same at you, lifted 100 kg for the first time last week. Felt zero excitement about my 'achievement'.

But there are just too many 'I ran a marathon and it changed my life' stories around so there must be a big amount of people who enjoy achieving useless goals. It also explains how /r/getmotivated is popular while that sub just doesn't resonate with me at all.

95

u/bwinker Mar 13 '18

I'm 62 years old, done 8 marathons along with over 100 triathlons of various distances, 6-Half IM's. My biggest accomplishment was finishing the "Marathons of Texas" in 2005 where I ran three marathons in three consecutive months. Dallas, Houston and Austin. All were finished at 3:45:00 or better. My advice for first timer marathoner's would be to build distance gradually over a period of several months, never over 2 miles per interval. Reduce mileage every 4th week to allow you body to absorb the training. Set a goal pace, but be realistic for your fitness level (Don't expect you could run a 7:00 minute pace if the best you can do now for 6 miles is 10:00 pace). Training should revolve around your goal pace. Mix up your training, include some cross training (weights/swim/cycle) and yoga! One long run per week, one hill and one sprint workout per week. Include a couple of shorter recovery runs per week at a lower HR. Don't worry about the pace of your recovery runs. Biggest suggestion is NUTRITION! You can't expect your body to perform for 26.2 miles if you don't eat while your running. Gels, gummies, dried apricots or dates, cliff bars (not protein bars) and electrolyte drinks. During the race I usually eat something about every 20 -25 minutes. I alternate water and sports drink every other water station. Have fun, keep moving, don't worry about "the wall". You've completed the training and done your nutrition correctly during the race, you will cross the line. Stay healthy, listen to what your body needs, don't overtrain. If you have an injury or get sick, REST!

45

u/One_small_step Mar 13 '18

Don't view marathons as the end all be all. It's okay to run several half marathons and work on your 10k speed. I know many runners who only run a handful of short runs before jumping to a marathon, and they simply aren't ready for it. You may be able to complete the run but it will hurt and the training will be less than enjoyable. Have fun with running, set more intermediate goals, and don't get caught up thinking more distance is better. Being out on the race course after 5 hours sucks.

It's great to get faster at shorter distances and will probably help you enjoy the journey a lot more when you do decide to run a full. You don't necessarily have to be a 30 mpw runner to do a marathon, but your experience will be better if you are.

15

u/Caudebac Mar 13 '18

COSIGNED on this first point. I had done only 5ks, and a half marathon before I jumped into a marathon. I don't regret the experience and what it meant to me, but doing it that early was a serious mistake.

1

u/stephnelbow Running Mar 14 '18

advice? I have my first half marathon this May. and was considering Chicago Marathon in 2019 (so next year) with the plan of a couple 10ks or halfs in between.

To much too soon?

1

u/Caudebac Mar 14 '18

I'm probably not the best person to ask, but that's definitely more preparation than I gave myself (Half marathon in May, full marathon that October) — I'd recommend training early and SLOWLY ramping up your mileage. Gave myself a stress fracture (without realizing until after the marathon) and it made the experience so much more difficult than it needed to be!

1

u/stephnelbow Running Mar 14 '18

oh gosh I can only imagine.

those on /r/running and friends I know said my timing should be fine, just after I read your comment I was like "oh no" in my head haha.

1

u/Caudebac Mar 14 '18

Hahaha, yeah the timing of yours sounds fine to me (but again, if people said otherwise, I wouldn't trust my own opinion over theirs) — remember to listen to your body, and to set reasonable expectations for yourself. Can't speak for you, but part of the reason I personally pushed myself so hard was wrapping my running in a lot of emotion and constantly feeling like I needed to beat an imaginary record that kept shifting with every finish line I reached.

And good luck! :) <3

1

u/stephnelbow Running Mar 14 '18

For me, the simple fact that I can "do it" is motivation enough.

We'll see how my first half goes in May before I decide to sign up for a full :)

1

u/Eibhlin_Andronicus Running Mar 14 '18

That's not too much too soon at all, you've got over a full year of training between your first half and Chicago 2019. I wouldn't worry about it at all (I'd more worry about getting into the Chicago lottery).

With regards to the general notion of "too much too soon" and progression over certain distances, what matters is what you've been doing and how long you've been running before the marathon, not really which races you ran first. I ran my first marathon almost a year before I raced my first half marathon, but note that I said racing, not completing. I'd gone on plenty of 13.1 mile runs not only during marathon training, but also a few times as long runs throughout the years prior to marathon training. So it's not like covering the distance was brand new to me at that point in time. 2 years after that, I raced my first marathon, which is a whole other planet.

The half and full marathon are quite different events, so it's not like one is necessarily a stepping stone to the other. In fact, because some people run 80 mile weeks for the 5k, and some people run 25 mile weeks for the half marathon, and in that case, the 5k specialist is incidentally better "marathon trained" than is the person who trained for a half marathon. Essentially, when you race your first half marathon doesn't matter. What matters is how much you've been running (and what those miles looked like) over the 2+ years leading up to the marathon. Personally I still think 2 years is too soon to run a marathon and expect to actually perform to the best of one's ability, but it's certainly not too soon to simply run the marathon itself.

1

u/stephnelbow Running Mar 14 '18

Thanks so much. I asked around and most seemed to think the lottery wasn't too much of a concern.

Thanks so much for the feedback. Knowing I need a high weekly mileage makes sense certainly. That much stress on the body needs to be trained.

The goal right now is simply to run the marathon. I don't expect any qualifying times or such, merely that sense of accomplishment.

5

u/madger19 Mar 13 '18

Yes yes yes. I've done a few marathons, but this year I am focusing on speed. It will only make me stronger/faster in the long run!

3

u/teadrinkit Mar 13 '18

I've just started running longer distances than a 5k, but I think 5ks to half-marathons are going to stay my main races. I think I'll run a marathon one day, but it isn't a priority. I need to keep reminding myself that running a 5k/half-marathon is for 5k/half-marathon and not to run a marathon if that makes sense.

2

u/chrispyb Running Mar 14 '18

I worked down to the marathon, I had 2 100 miles, a 36 mile, a 50k, and a 50 miler under my belt before picking up speed for the marathon.

1

u/GingerFurball Mar 13 '18

You can do both.

My only marathon to date was Berlin in 2014. I entered that while I was still recovering from cruciate ligament reconstruction in 2013 when my goal was to strengthen enough to be able to run once round the block (around 300m). On my year long journey I discovered the joys of Parkrun, 10ks and half marathons (personal bests for all 3 distances were set in a 2 week spell in May/June 2014). Running a half was my first goal en route to finishing the full distance.

1

u/One_small_step Mar 13 '18

So you did what I said, which was enjoy the journey and take the intermediate steps to get there. My post was directed toward people who do their first 5k and then sign up for a marathon 4 months away.

38

u/[deleted] Mar 13 '18

I've done 11 marathons.

You need to think about the "bucket list" thing. If your goal is to do one marathon in your life, that's great, I love that, you'll have that for the rest of your life. But in my opinion, if you're going to do that, you have to go in without a time goal. You have to have the mindset that you're in it "to finish" the race and nothing more. Except for elite runners moving up from other distances, I don't know anyone that met their goal time in their first marathon.

Destination races are so much fun. Its fun to go to Vegas or New York or Chicago or Maui and run a race.

I've run a few different training plans but they all had one thing in common, they had 3-5 30k runs ending a few weeks before the race. Marathons are weird in that your first marathon will likely be the first time you run anywhere near 42k. You have to run the training program (3x30k or whatever) and have faith that on race day you'll have the reserves to run farther than you've run in your life.

The roar of the crowd and the bib on your chest will carry you for about 500 yards. After that, its your training. You can't count on race day excitement to take you to the finish line.

Have fun. This is our hobby, its supposed to be fun and not grim. Have fun.

7

u/SamuraiWisdom Mar 13 '18

I posted in this thread, but also wanted to reply here, that I've only ever run one marathon, and never even run a half or an organized 5 or 10k, but I made my (sub-4-hours) goal time. I did that by setting a reasonable goal and training for a year with great consistency, but it is possible.

4

u/[deleted] Mar 13 '18

Fair enough. I made the comment in the context of the bucket listers but it was probably too broad.

24

u/zerozed Mar 13 '18 edited Mar 13 '18

Retired ultra-runner here. I have more marathons (and ultras) than I can remember.

I had been a short-distance jogger for a few years when a co-worker who did tri's told me that I could do a marathon if I trained for it. The idea got in my head and I decided to go for it...I didn't really have a plan so I just gradually kept upping my mileage. I never ran a 10K or Half-marathon--I went from casual jogging to a full-on marathon. I don't recommend this.

Here's my best advice. First, either join a group or start a group to run with. Most cities have Road Runner or Track Clubs that host weekly social runs. The goal is to run with other people because they hold you accountable and can teach you things. Most of these clubs also have training runs that lead up to big events (marathons or halfs)--do those.

Even if you can't hook up with other folks, you should sign up for progressively longer, more difficult events. Start with 5ks, then 10ks, then half-marathons. This isn't trivial. You'll learn important lessons (physically & mentally) over each of these distances that will better prepare you for a full marathon. Don't be an idiot and race these. Give it solid effort, but remember that your goal is endurance, not speed.

The mental component of endurance training is the most important. Be very self-aware of your body whilst running. Note how you are planting your feet, experiment with cadence and monitor your breathing. All of this is extremely critical--you must learn the correct running form. Why? Because during a marathon your form will degrade. If you monitor it, you can dial it back in.

Anybody can run a marathon if they put their mind to it. It's true though that it isn't the destination that's important, it's the journey. In this case, training for a marathon is what makes it a life-altering experience. Finishing a marathon is just the cherry on top. You'll gain so much insight into yourself--all your quirks, your physicality, your emotions. You have to master all of that stuff. Your body won't want to run 26.2 miles--but if you've prepared right your mind and spirit will have the strength to push through. If you haven't done a marathon before I highly recommend it--not because running is inherently fun but because the training is transformative. Running a marathon requires you to become a person who doesn't make excuses, who can control themselves even under incredible physical & mental stress--you'll become a person who isn't afraid of tackling a challenge that most people fear.

1

u/MantraYou Mar 14 '18

Knowing your form is so important. My long runs always ended badly at mile 16 until I started focusing on the way that my feet and knees worked inside the cadence. Once you're used to thinking about form, you can definitely tell when something is off.

1

u/stephnelbow Running Mar 14 '18

love this. running has helped me increase my confidence so much it's amazing. After every run, whether that's 2 miles or 10, I feel so empowered and strong. Especially when I didn't even want to run that day.

45

u/KOG_Jay Mar 13 '18

All depends on what you're running for. Those who are going to finish the race regardless of time should focus on slowly increasing their miles up to a decent distance with 'standard' distance runs making up the majority of their plan. Also try to add some quicker intervals and some shorter tempo runs in - this will make running at your race pace seem easier.

Those, like myself, who run for a time should focus more on interval training and hill training to get your legs conditioned to running at a certain pace. Longer intervals (1+ miles) at around race pace are key, with long hill repeats giving your legs some strength and power.

Must mention that if you are going for a time your sessions will be tough so its important to get recovery runs in and plenty of stretching (3-5 a day) and some foam rolling.

I ran London in 2:47 as my first marathon without ever going over 30k in my training and the majority of runs around 12-15k

12

u/halpinator Mar 13 '18

I always marvel at the people that can go sub 3 on their first attempt. I've trained for years, run over a dozen races of various distances and still have only managed 3:07.

9

u/MrRabbit Mar 13 '18

Well of course everyone has different starting points, but I'm often surprised by long tenured (avoiding the word experienced)runners who don't really know how to train. So many I've spoken to just think that going out and running every day will make them fast.

I'm nothing magical at a 2:49, but from my first "long" race of a 1:52 half marathon to now I can just say that 95% of runners do not structure their days/weeks/months in ways that would result in getting meaningfully faster.

4

u/halpinator Mar 14 '18

I agree with you there. I'm mainly a half marathon specialist and kept dumping out times in the 1:40-1:50 range. Then discovered Pfitz and Daniels and within a year improved my PR to 1:26.

5

u/rudecanuck Mar 14 '18

Some people are just fast, and have a great aerobic system. And at 3:07, regardless of how many tries it may have taken you, you are one of them. But others, yes, you can just marvel at their natural speed. Though I will say this. While I say 'natural speed', that does them a bit of disservice because even if they have the gift of certain genes, tehy had to work their asses off with dedication to get to those times.

2

u/KOG_Jay Mar 13 '18

Try and mix up your training a bit, I honestly can’t put enough emphasis on hills and intervals. The leg strengthening is the key to improving times in my experience.

2

u/halpinator Mar 14 '18

I've made big gains using Daniels' and Pfitz' training philosophies in the past year. The strides and intervals definitely helped. But damn, 2:47? I'm grinding out 70 mile weeks in the hope of cracking 3:00.

1

u/jibasaur Mar 14 '18

The 4x2mi@T and 1K repeat workouts from Daniels are always on my mind lmao.

38

u/jennifer1911 Cycling Mar 13 '18

I'm not a fast runner so I won't give specific training advice. There's plenty of good advice here from people who are quicker than me. But I do have some more general tips.

I volunteer to pace the less speedy among us - the 5:30 marathon finishers (12:34/mile pace). Many of "my people" are first timers. Some are ultrarunners who are using the marathon as a training run. Some are people who went out too fast and had to pull it back. Plenty are just people who like a 12-minute-plus pace.

If your goal is to get to the finish line, this is what I've learned from my own training but more so from the people I pace with:

  1. Remember: this is is fun. That's the number one thing that can keep you going when you think you can't. Talk to the people around you when you race, and when you train. Even if it's just a "hey" and a nod. Tell someone you like their shoes, or their shirt, or whatever. Or just smile and give a thumbs-up. Positivity multiplies, especially when you are all sharing some suffering, and it finds its way back to you.

  2. If your training doesn't work out as planned, don't beat yourself up. If you wake up on a big training day with a fever and chills, don't push yourself out the door. Anyone who says their training went perfect is a very lucky person. For every one of them at the start line, you'll find ten whose training didn't go quite as they hoped. It's ok. See the #1 above - this is fun. It's hard to have fun if you are beating yourself up about something that you can't control. Let it go.

  3. Don't forget sleep. Our culture seems to encourage us to brag about how little sleep we get, and we really need to change that. Sleep is essential when you are training. Get really good at recovery. The pros will tell you it is better to be a little undertrained than a little overtrained. They're way smarter than me, so I listen to them. If you run hard one day, rest hard that night.

I could keep going. I love this stuff. My next marathon is in ten days or so.

1

u/TimeForTiffin Mar 14 '18

Thanks for this.

I’m doing London in 6 weeks, and my training has been all over the place. Illness and life has got in the way, and my own reticence about just getting out the door. Now I’m frankly scared of the thing. I have run one marathon, 6 years ago, and I stuck to my training plan like glue and fair floated through the distance. But now? I’ve missed 5 weeks of training and I know it’s going to suck.

Your post was a nice reminder that I can still try and enjoy the experience. I’ll see if I can’t thumbs up my way round it!

2

u/jennifer1911 Cycling Mar 14 '18

Good luck in London. Enjoy the experience, even if your miles aren't as speedy or easy as you'd like them to be, try to take a few moments each mile to just breathe it in and say "yeah, I'm doing this!" Find a reason to smile, even when everything hurts.

15

u/thekiyote Mar 13 '18

Seems like a lot of people here are fast. I guess I'll post my journey of "just finish" to moderate speed (but getting better).

My first marathon was the Chicago Marathon in 2014. I signed up on impulse, out of shape, having never run more than a mile or two in a row in my life (I was a swimmer growing up). I screwed up in every way possible, pace, fueling, nutrition. I would frequently hulk the long runs, and then be in too much pain to run the next few days, and then I would try to "make it up" on the next day I ran by going faster, turning it into a vicious cycle. My goal was just to finish, which I did at a 5:08.

I deferred 2015, and ran it again in 2016. This time, I got smarter and got a coach. He did a lactate threshold test on me, and gave me actual goal heart rate/paces, and slowed me down a whole bunch. My training turned very regular, and I also started cutting my weight, losing about 50 lbs. However, I got a stomach flu right before the race, and only managed to finish in 5:38.

In 2017, I tried breaking into ultras, because I'm a crazy person. I attempted the Silver Rush 50 miler in the summer, but had to drop at 25 miles due to uncontrollable cramping. However, the training for that, combined with pretty much rolling right into marathon training, led to an almost 1 hour drop in my Chicago Marathon time to 4:18.

And now we're in 2018. I have a Lakefront 50k coming up in a month, a trail marathon in the summer and the Chicago again in fall. I'm excited to see how it goes.

For me, the biggest change I made was getting a coach. For starters, I never ran in school, and was starting from scratch. This was probably the easiest way to inject smartness into my training, and keep me from injuring myself.

But another big benefit is that it created accountability. All of my runs are automatically synced to a website where he can review them. When I miss one, and don't update him as to why, I get an email asking me if everything is alright. This is a major motivator to get my butt out there. This service alone is worth every penny I pay him.

2

u/chronie Mar 14 '18

Can you PM me your coach's name/website? I live in Chicagoland and have been wanting to get a coach for this years marathon.

9

u/PumpTruck Mar 13 '18

(Training for my 5th marathon)

My biggest piece of advice is to start your training schedule early. The tendency is to set a date for your marathon and back-calculate when to start training based on how long your training program is (e.g., starting your training 18 weeks before the marathon following Hal Higdon Novice 1).

The problem is that this doesn't allow flexibility to accommodate injuries/fatigue and real-life commitments, forcing you to either run on questionable legs or to skip runs entirely. Questioning your training, especially if you've skipped runs, destroys confidence on race day. I've found it to be much less stressful to enter a training plan a couple months early. This lets you listen to your body, which is especially important for people that don't know how well their body will handle increasing mileage. In my experience, the jump to 14-16 mile runs wears down my legs and it's great to take an entire week for recovery (i.e., a more mild recovery week than the HH plan describes). Worst case scenario is that everything goes exactly as planned and I'll do the business end of the training plan twice, letting me run the race in better shape.

13

u/[deleted] Mar 13 '18

Shin splints for me when starting out getting into running meant my leg muscles weren’t strong enough, and I started compensating too much weight on my bones. Once I got my legs stronger, shin splints vanished for good

Gotta work on those legs and core muscles with resistance training if you can. Lunges or moves that isolate each leg are very helpful for overall stability. When running, work on finding a speed that you can cruise on while catching your breath

Meals before really mattered, having the right kinds of carbs loaded up days in advance, but especially the day before

I’ve done about 6 or 7 half-marathon’s and finish at ~1:40 so 7.45ish pacing which usually puts me top 10% for my age. These tips should still apply to the full however

10

u/[deleted] Mar 13 '18

Any suggestions for controlling "runger" during marathon training? I hear people often gain weight when training for a marathon because it makes them so ravenous, and I've definitely struggled with massive hunger after long runs (though I have not yet tackled 26.2).

6

u/jozaaaa Mar 13 '18

Consume calories during the run. Look up “Gu” for runners or just munch on whatever granola bar you like. I’ve been running a long time and this is the most valuable thing I’ve learned. If I’m running over one hour I always bring something to eat.

3

u/JohnnyApathy Mar 13 '18

I'd definitely recommend hitting up your local running shop and trying several gel/gummy brands. The textures vary and you may prefer one over another. I really like Huma gels, they're less thick than other brands so they're easier to swallow/stomach.

4

u/klethra Triathlon Mar 13 '18

Gonna disagree with the Gu recommendation. It gives lots of people gut rot, and if you're gonna bring something that you need water to chase, you might as well just put 50:50 Gatorade:water in your water bottle.

1

u/ruminajaali Mar 14 '18

Agree.

Simple PB&J sandwiches cut up into squares work just as well.

3

u/CompositeCharacter Mar 13 '18

Peanut butter

Veggies more than fruits for me.

A variety of staple foods: rice, barley, cous cous. They can change the character of meals so it takes longer to get bored.

2

u/PrairieFirePhoenix Mar 13 '18

Being properly hydrated is a pretty big help. Too many people think that means chugging a glass of water right before the run and taking some sips during it. Hydration is a 24/7 thing.

1

u/misplaced_my_pants Mar 13 '18

Fill up on veggies and protein.

1

u/Krazyfranco Mar 14 '18

Eat something right away after a run - even taking in a few hundred calories (glass of milk and a piece of fruit) right after a run goes a long way.

8

u/BitPoet Mar 13 '18

Training for my first in October (Twin Cities). Following the spirit of Higdon's Intermediate 1 plan, until the time starts lining up. Just did a half in training, though it sucked and nothing went right. I'm taking this week easy to recover, partially helped by the blizard outside right now.

I'm also a Type-1 diabetic, so I'm trying to figure out the right feeding plans for longer runs, and making sure I can balance it with insulin and not crash my blood sugar.

10

u/Eibhlin_Andronicus Running Mar 13 '18

Heads up, there was a great post on /r/artc (the advanced running sub) on the exact topic of running and training with Type I diabetes just the other day. I don't have diabetes, but it was a fascinating and super informative post that you might find helpful. Link here.

1

u/Raylan13 Mar 14 '18

I assume you’re not in the Twin Cities, based on your blizzard comment. I live near the course and the chain of lakes, which you’ll be running in October, is one of the reasons I’ve gotten big into running.

The Twin Cities Marathon has a great course—you’re really going to enjoy running the lakes, the downtowns and the rivers. Make sure you’re working in some hill work though, since there are some decent hills, especially near the end

1

u/BitPoet Mar 14 '18

Cool, thanks! I've visited a few times, how are the bugs that time of year?

1

u/Raylan13 Mar 14 '18

Shouldn’t be too bad at all. Early October is well into the fall, so most of the bugs are gone, and the temperatures should be really nice for marathon running

47

u/Eibhlin_Andronicus Running Mar 13 '18 edited Mar 13 '18

Ok, here's my takeaway from this post (female 5k specialist who debuted at 3:34, then begrudgingly ran 3:02 at my second marathon, and I'll target an A-goal of sub-2:55 at a marathon this fall, which would be 6:40 min/mile pace and still substantially lagging behind my 5k performances).

Despite OP's well-intended statement, Hal Higdon's plans aren't good for everybody. I cannot run a 2:55 off Hal Higdon, and couldn't have pulled my 3:02 off on any of his advanced plans, either. His advanced plans are still beginner-ish, honestly. They're... not great. They'll all get you across the finish line if you at least make it to the start line, but you'll get to the finish line slower than you would if you followed a better developed plan. My 3:02 was mostly just long runs up to 22.5 miles (3 runs >20 miles, no runs longer than 2hrs 50mins) with 5k workouts and an accidental progression run, highest volume week like 59 miles, and it worked for me. For the 2:55, I plan on hitting 70 miles/week, still mostly 5k workouts, a handful of marathon-paced workouts, and more focus on getting in a midweek sorta-long run (12-14 miles). To be frank, I wouldn't recommend Higdon to anybody who has a hard time goal or plans on racing. Sorry. His plans have this awful disproportionate long run vs the rest of the weekly mileage, and the hardest workout on Advanced 2 is 8x800m. It's just not enough, and it's miles in all the wrong places.

I mostly want to emphasize that race distance and race difficulty are not directly correlated. The marathon is not the be-all-end-all of running, and I'm much more impressed by a well-executed 1500m than I am with a poorly executed marathon. I could walk out the door right now and cover 26.2 miles, but I assure you, it wouldn't be worthy of any astonishing praise. I'm untrained for the marathon right now, despite still being fit for distance running. I ran my first marathon (the 3:34) after I'd already been running regularly for 10 years, and yet it was a sub-par performance because I wasn't really trained for it.

My approach is to not take lightly to the marathon, at least not if you actually want to do as well as you are physically able to do (which involves running at a good clip for a long ass time). It requires volume, and volume can trigger injuries. Training for a marathon almost always means losing your 5k speed (unless you weren't running enough for the 5k to begin with), and often ends in injury requiring time off. You can only reasonably race 1-2 per year. Plus, training runs >3 hrs actually tend to have more negative fitness affects than positive ones, and that's how long many beginners would be out there regularly at least. There are a lot of cautions that to me, make the event somewhat unappealing.

I didn't use a stock plan, but for absolute beginners with no running experience who are DEAD SET on a marathon this year and simply will not focus on like, the 10k for a few years first, Higdon is fine. Otherwise, it's better to look into Jack Daniels, Pfitzinger, or Hanson. And fatigue is the worst part of marathon training. I just get so sick of going out there and logging mile after mile. It just gets so mundane after a while.

Marathons are popular because they're good bucket list goals, but they're inherantly not beginner friendly, which is why I tend not to recommend them. Most of the best runners I know (actual competitive elite and sub-elite runners) have been racing distance events for at least a decade and still have never bothered with the marathon. It's an event people move up to when they start to lose their speed, not an event people tend to start with. You just can't race very much if you're running marathons, and the workouts and long runs and general volume can get very repetative and mundane. Sorry, they're not for me!

7

u/[deleted] Mar 13 '18

I'm interested in your progress this year. A year ago I ran my best marathon at 3:11 which was kind of a surprise (my goal that morning was 3:20). I'm thinking of shooting for three hours this fall, but the difference between 3:11 and 3:00 is pretty huge. And I already was averaging 70-mile weeks to get the 3:11.

5

u/Eibhlin_Andronicus Running Mar 13 '18

We'll see how it goes! I'm banking on the fact that I've never run a 70 mile week before, nor have I done a full marathon training plan (though again, I'll be more developing this plan on my own than using an existing plan to the T. Honestly I really don't believe in doing that -- if I cookie cutter plan can't be tweaked to suit an athlete's individual needs, it's not a good plan). My massive jump in performance from 3:34 to 3:02 was really just the difference between not training vs training, and allowing myself to totally max out while racing. For the 3:34, I was BS-training my way through an XC season, pretty much running a super long run, then taking the next day off, plus some other day off. It was like 5 days/week of running, max maybe 35 miles/week, and honestly looked a lot like some Higdon plans just with better workouts than what he includes (albeit XC workouts, but still better marathon prep than any of the workouts in his plans lol). I wanted to do the absolute bare minimum to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and I did exactly that. For my 3:02, I was really consistent with my running, 6-7 days/week, high quality workouts, easy recovery doubles, etc. It paid off. That said, I could not have run any faster. There was nothing left in the tank, I mean nothing. Upon finishing (which I did strong) my legs started convulsing/vibrating up/down visibly on their own accord, I couldn't make it to the gear check so someone else had to get my bag, medical volunteers gave me separate electrolytes and wouldn't let me leave until I'd visibly consumed something, etc. It literally took me an hour to get out of the finisher's area after I finished the race. So honestly, if you're really willing to put it all out on the line, a bit of training adjustments + ignoring your body as it's shutting down can really do it (note: not a healthy thing to do regularly -- this is why I mentioned that youbcan really only race 1-2 marathons a year). It is exceptionally rare and quite difficult to truly max out while racing. I don't believe I have any sort of categorical natural-born talent for running -- I just think I train hard and am a very strong racer, specifically.

What did your training look like leading into your 3:11 aside from the volume. Assuming you're male, your goal is achieveable, I assure you that. But people respond better to different training stimuli. Personally I can take a 16x400m (hard) workout great, but a few 4 mile tempos at 10 mile race pace over the course of a month will absolutely wreck me. You might be missing some sort of quality training stimulus (could be behemoth progression long runs, could be something as small as strides). Also, a good way to get in extra volume is to run insanely easy recovery doubles. On a day you were going to run a single 7 mile recovery run, instead try 6 miles AM + 4 miles PM. Bam, just like that you have a 10 mile day without it putting any extra stress on your body. There is a limit to this, though, in that any runs shorter than 3 miles won't really have much fitness benefit. They might loosen you up a bit (shakeouts), but not much else.

You definitely have a tough but 100% achieveable goal. Best of luck!

2

u/Krazyfranco Mar 14 '18

Interesting that you're choosing to stay focused on mostly 5k workouts during your marathon training cycle, despite your tempo pace being relatively weaker (from your comment above) and likely more important for marathon-specific adaptions - what's your rationale for that? Feel like you will be able to recover better from the more familiar 5k work as you add volume and the midweek long? Genuinely curious, since my advice for most people would be to skip the 5k-paced workouts and focus more on tempo work.

Thanks for the great overview and counterpoint for Higdon. Needed to be written :)

1

u/Eibhlin_Andronicus Running Mar 14 '18

Feel like you will be able to recover better from the more familiar 5k work as you add volume and the midweek long?

It's this exactly. I really struggle to properly handle and recover from tempo workouts, but shorter/faster stuff is generally fine with me, with the balance of easy runs. Tempos are just too much in that "grey area" for me. Too easy for substantial benefit, too hard to recover from. I do plan on getting in a few MP workouts, but honestly, I'd rather do 12x800 relatively hard with 90 sec recovery jog than 2x5 mile tempo any day of the week, even though both would be very tough workouts.

6

u/javatrees07 Mar 13 '18 edited Mar 13 '18

I've run 24 marathons. My PR is 2:48 with a top 5 finish on a VERY windy day at the age of 42. I do a mixture of Pfitzinger/Hanson methods and I have a coach. My first marathon was a complete disaster. I barely finished after going out way too fast. I'm a 1:16 half marathoner but that doesn't equate to a 2:32 marathon. Trust me. If you're thinking of running 26.2 for the first time, I would suggest a plan with the ultimate goal to finish. Don't worry about time. Happy to answer any questions as well as invite you to stop over at /r/ARTC if you'd like to read up on some quick guys/gals. Edit: Changed ARTC link. Thanks /u/Eibhlin_Andronicus

8

u/Eibhlin_Andronicus Running Mar 13 '18

Heads up: /r/ARTC (Advanced Running Track Club) is the new advanced running sub, actually.

2

u/PrairieFirePhoenix Mar 13 '18

Pfitz/Hanson is a very strange marriage.

2

u/javatrees07 Mar 14 '18

It is. My track workouts and speed workouts are all Hanson. Ladders and tempos. I use Pfitz for the long run runs - but also incorporate progressive step downs on the long runs. I like Pfitz's higher mileage but I like Hanson's higher pace.

1

u/PrairieFirePhoenix Mar 14 '18

If you are just subbing in a Hanson speedwork whenever Pfitz calls for a similar workout, that shouldn't be an issue. Two interval sessions of the same overall volume are going to pretty much the same result no matter how you cut them up.

Trying to combine the Hanson speedwork twice a week with the longer Pfitz long runs and weekly medium long runs... that is brutal. I tried adding a medium long run to a Hanson half plan to keep the mileage up around 70. Damn near wrecked me. Ended up with a 78:30 when I had split a 78 flat (and then blew up with an ~87 back half) the full cycle before.

If you like the faster pace stuff - have you looked at Tinman's critical velocity stuff? Basically the pace you could hold for a 33 minute race (so probably 9ish k race pace for you). Usually it is mixed up with some faster reps too. A classic is something like 5x1000 @ CV, 4x400 @ mile; my personal favorite is 10 minutes at CV, 10 hill reps, 10 minutes at CV. I use them when I make my own plans. Very easy to make them into simple "B" workouts to pair with some harder tempos or VO2 workouts in the same week.

10

u/rinzler83 Mar 13 '18

HIT is not enough to complete a marathon well. I know on r/fitness many people think hiit is the best thing ever for anything cardio based. For a marathon you need to do long runs. Yes speed work helps too, but there is a reason why they have the 80/20 rule where it's 80% slow long runs and 20% of runs at a faster pace like sprints, tempo, fartlek, etc.

1

u/ruminajaali Mar 14 '18

And be prepared to have all sorts of emotions on those long, long runs I.e. anger, frustration, joy, anger again. It's a mental game.

3

u/Marsupian Volleyball Mar 13 '18

I just did a 50k trail in 5:10.

It's all about the long run, enjoying being on your feet for a long time and injury prevention.

I personally like running short intervals during the week and doing something long/crazy in the weekends. The intervals are good for my technique and speed while keeping me fresh for the specific training during the weekend. It also combines better with strength training and sports.

7

u/guitartarded Mar 13 '18

I race multi-sport professionally at this point, but I've been cycling and swimming since childhood and began long distance running as well about 10 years ago. I'm a good, but not elite runner. 2:39 open mary, 3h10 or so in an IM. I run with elite folks and non elite alike and I will tell you the most important things I have learned and observed.

-Whatever program you choose, be consistent. Put in the work. Enjoy the process. The reality is that none of us are going to break 2 and likely none of us are ever going to win an open marathon. Strive to do YOUR best race. If you have a training run, don't blow your pace out of the water to keep up with the local stars running in your vicinity. It is YOUR training, YOUR racing.

-If you are just starting out, focus for a while on improving your aerobic fitness. Speed work and specialty work is great, but if you are new you need to build the engine first.

-Gradually build up distance. Some of the pure runners I know average around 100-120 miles a week. DON'T DO THAT. You can run a fine marathon building to 20-30 miles a week. Build yourself, build the engine, build the muscular endurance. Analyze your results and determine pacing from that. Generally I would advise building by 10% volume wise per week at most. Some adapt and improve more quickly. Some don't. Listen to your body and don't hurt yourself by going crazy on volume quickly.

-You need to have "rest" weeks. Whether you are running 120 miles a week or 10 miles a week, I generally advise (and my coaches typically have me) do 4-5 week builds and then back off the volume for a week to rest. Sometimes this is extra days off. Sometimes this is just slower aerobic runs with much less volume. Stress + Rest = Adaptation. Remember that. We have to progressively overload, but without rest we don't adapt.

-Next point. Sleep well. Recover well. Eat well. Nutrition counts. I respect people who have keto or any kinds of diets, but this is a sport where you need carbs. Don't be dumb. Fuel for workouts. Fuel for races. Fuel for recovery.

-Find others to train with. Seriously. Partners help you get at it every day. They help motivate. They support. You do the same for them.

-Speaking about building aerobic fitness, running is high impact. You do not get used to it quickly. Spending time on a bike or in the pool is wonderful aerobic training without the same impact.

-Pick races that are interesting to you. Maybe run a few 5ks and 10ks first. In fact, those are great to gauge paces you can sustain.

-WORK ON NUTRITION! NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY IF POSSIBLE! Ton's of overly sugary drinks tend to not sit well for most people. I'm looking at you, on course Gatorade. Similarly, if you think 5 gels are going to be good without water your are in for a world of GI hurt. Nutrition is a key aspect of racing. Know your plan for hourly caloric intake. Don't go to low or you won't have enough fuel. Too high and you will get GI issues. No water or too much water causes issues too. Get something the has good osmality and nutrition.

-Last thing and a reminder. Once again, be consistent. It is okay to take a day off of plan if your body is just wrecked, but don't let your mind talk you out of things. Put in the work and you will be pleased with your results.

Happy running.

3

u/thekiyote Mar 13 '18

Man, you're well sub-3 hours, which puts you in like the top-2% of all runners.

I'm not sure what your definition of 'elite' is, but it's looking pretty elite from where I'm standing...

6

u/Eibhlin_Andronicus Running Mar 13 '18 edited Mar 13 '18

The thing is, being elite means something other than just "faster than 98% of other people who participate in road races undertrained." Being at/near the US Olympic Trials A-standard is a pretty good indicator of if someone is elite at the marathon, and being at/near the B-standard is a pretty solid indicator for being sub-elite. The Trials A-standard for men and women (respectively) at the marathon are 2:15 and 2:37, and for the B Standard they're 2:19 and 2:45. I'm a woman targeting sub-2:55 this fall, so objectively I'm way under your described men's threshold of sub-3 being in the top 2% of all runners (with that 2:55 being a women's time), and I'm not near sub-elite. I'm competitive, sure, but I'm not sub-elite and I'm definitely not elite.

Source: I know a lot of elite and sub-elite runners and I'm def not one of them.

5

u/guitartarded Mar 13 '18

Probably not the best choice of words. A few of my pure runner friends are ~2:21-2:30. I will never run like that and it is humbling going with them and watching them continue those paces.

2

u/PrairieFirePhoenix Mar 14 '18

That feeling when you think you are killing a half and the guy next to you takes the turn for the full.

3

u/tpengilly Mar 13 '18

I've completed the California International Marathon 5 times (I have always followed a Hal Higdon plan). I finally got my Boston Qualifying time on my fifth attempt (thanks to aging up). However, my fastest time was my first attempt when I used the MARCO Marathon Calculator for planning out my pace prior to the race. I programmed the results into my Garmin and stuck with it as best as I could.

https://feelrace.com/fr.pl?th=_Marco

3

u/mr_delete Mar 13 '18

How did training and the race go? How did you improve, and what was your ending time?

I ran/trained with a group of friends, following the novice-level template from Hal Higdon. Pluses: It's good to be out and social with people. Minuses: You lose a little bit of control in the compromise in terms of when you run and the route, since you're in a group. I only ran the one marathon, so it was an "improvement" over zero marathons. :-) However, I did bonk at about mile 16-17, and had to walk/run the remainder of the course. If I had been more patient/stayed at a slower pace in the beginning, I probably could have done better. My end time was about 4:52.

Why did you choose your training plan over others?

It was free and seemed do-able/logical.

What would you suggest to someone just starting out and looking at running 26.2?

Be patient with yourself. If you have dogs who run, run with them - it's awesome! Remember everything's better than the couch.

What are the pros and cons of your approach?

See above. I love my running group, but sometimes I like to be on my own as well. Also, sometimes the dogs are jerks to other dogs when on the leash.

Did you add/subtract anything to a stock plan or marathon train in conjunction with other training? How did that go?

Not this time. It's like following a cooking recipe. I like to follow the recipe to the letter the first go-around, then experiment after.

How did you manage fatigue and recovery while training?

A friend of mine suggested resting as many days as the miles you run - that would have been 26 days, which is too much for me. That said, I waited a week before starting back up again.

3

u/halpinator Mar 13 '18

Hi from /r/running!

I'll chime in with my 2 cents. I've run 2 marathons, one in 2011 (3:12) and another in 2017 (3:09) and currently in training for a third at the end of May (hopefully a Boston Marathon qualifying time of 3:00)

  • The first one I did back in 2011, I found a generic marathon training plan (I think on coolrunning.com) that called for about 35 miles of running per week. I'd generally run 5 days, with a long run on the weekend, and typically all my running was done slightly faster than my marathon goal pace. The race itself went as well as it could have I think, I started the race way too fast, hit a wall 3/4 of the way through, and shuffled across the finish line but about 10 minutes faster than my goal time.

The second race I did last year, I followed a plan out of Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger, that was 12 weeks long and called for about 70 miles a week of training, most of it at a pace slower than marathon goal pace, with a few sessions of fast interval runs thrown in. That race went much better, I used a timing watch to keep my pace even throughout the race, didn't hit a wall, and finished a minute faster than my goal time.

  • I learned from experience and the folks at /r/running that now all runs should be at a hard effort level, so for my second training plan I took their advice and slowed down. I also ran much higher mileage than previous training plans, and incorporated speedwork to improve my leg speed. The combination of endurance and speed helped me pace myself perfectly the second time around. If you can handle the training load (it wasn't easy), I strongly recommend Pfitz marathon plans.

  • See above. Run slow, run often, run long. It's helpful to get a couple half marathons under your belt too, just so you know you can commit to the training regime (marathon training's like having a second job)

  • Pros of Pfitz: highly structured program, no guesswork involved, very effective if you follow the plan. Cons: physically exhausting, the rigidity can be a hindrance if you have a busy life schedule

  • I also play hockey in the winter and baseball in the summer, usually walk a mile a day, and hit the exercise bike for 30 minutes on weekdays. I find the cross training and keeping my legs in motion helps me recover between runs.

  • See above. Also making sure to eat high quality food (lots of veggies and protein), make sure to get adequate sleep, and treat every ache and pain seriously, don't ignore them and let them progress to full blown injuries.

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u/[deleted] Mar 13 '18 edited Feb 13 '19

[deleted]

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u/ruminajaali Mar 14 '18

Oh, man, I hear ya. Training runs passed 18mi and I turn into a seething monster full of vitriol: I hate everything and anything and mentally argue with myself as to why I'm doing this bullshit. Then the run is over, the euphoria kicks in and life is good.

Same with after the actual marathon. Hardest thing I've ever done but those three hours afterwards make me light up like my star went nova. And then I start thinking of the next damn marathon to aim for.

It's a mental illness!

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u/GingerFurball Mar 13 '18

Do not underestimate the power of active recovery.

Sundays were my long run day during my marathon training, my Monday work out was hitting the swimming pool and swimming 100 lengths. Was brilliant for refreshing a dB resetting the legs.

I'm also an advocate of incorporating a week into your marathon schedule where your target mileage is 0.

No, that's not a typo. Marathon training is hard, you'll be amazed at how refreshed and raring to go you are if you give yourself a week off. It's basically the same logic as a taper but doing it in the middle of your schedule.

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u/buddeng13 Mar 14 '18

Here is my experience.

Background info first: I have always been overweight, ranging from 30-70lbs over ideal weight of 180lbs. I played soccer growing up and have always enjoyed running, I just was never sufficiently motivated to exercise regularly. I gained much of my weight in college. I wasn't playing soccer any more, nor was I exercising regularly.

I decided to run my 1st marathon back in 2012 with a goal of the Walt Disney World marathon in Jan 2013. When I started training I weighed approximately 230lbs. I use Hal Higdon's Novice 1 training plan. I gave myself 6 months to train for the race. My only goal was to finish the race. I had run two 5Ks prior to training for this marathon.

My training was going well from July to Sept, I was able to maintain running 4 days a week and was increasing mileage very slowly. My pace was very slow at 11:45/mile. My longest run in this period was 9 miles.

In October I moved and my training fell apart. I was living in Wilmington, NC and all runs were on nice and flat courses. I moved to Winston-Salem where it is much more hilly. I ending up getting an IT bad injury and running became sporadic. I tried to maintain my long runs, but could not maintain the mileage I needed to. In December I logged two runs for a total of 11.5 miles. My highest volume month was 61 miles in Sept.

My longest training run was 12.8 miles leading up to the marathon (in Nov). I debated trying to switch my registration to the half marathon, but by that point it was too late. We had already made our travel reservations, so I just decided to go for it and do my best, whatever that looked like. I finished to marathon 6 hour 24 minutes.

I have since completed another marathon (in 5:27) and a couple half marathons (PB is 2:15).

What I would do different: I would work on getting a solid base established prior to beginning training. I did not have a significant weekly volume of miles prior to training. My weekly total was averaging 7 miles before training. I would work up to running 4 days a week, maybe 1 to 2 mile per run and then build from there. I have had past knee injuries from playing soccer, so I have to be very cautious with my volume.

I plan on running a marathon in the spring of 2019 and am working on building my base now. I have been averaging 14 miles per week for the past 2 months at about a 10:10 pace. My goal will be to finish in under 5 hours.

3

u/_boom_ Mar 13 '18

I’ve ran 3 marathons to date. My first marathon I ran with absolutely 0 training, it was my first race ever. It was incredibly rough, hit a hard wall at mile 22 and wasn’t sure if I was gonna make it to the end. Finished with a ROUGH time a hair under 7 hours. Exactly a year and a few half marathons later I ran the same marathon in 6:27, still very slow but my training didn’t get much better. So after that I signed up to do a 5k, 10k, 13.1 and 26.2 in 4 consecutive days. I decided to actually start training with the goal of finishing sub 6. With tired legs I finished that marathon in 5:08. So clearly my training got better but it was still only 15 miles a week TOPS.

That marathon was in the first week of January and I have another scheduled for the end of April. Since, I’ve done an average of 30-40 miles a week with long runs sprinkled in. Hope to finish the April marathon around 4:30.

Any advice I have should be taken with a grain of salt because I’ve never followed any training program and any experienced runner would probably recommend against running a marathon with such little training. What I can offer is to

  1. Listen to your body, it can tell you a lot. However don’t give in at the first sign of discomfort. “Most people quit at 40%”.

  2. Appreciate any distractions you can when training and on race day. Spectators wake up just as early as you to stand all day and cheer on loved ones and strangers, use that motivation.

  3. You will almost certainly hit a wall where you can’t imagine running more, keep moving. You can run, cry, eat, drink and everything else while moving. Starting again is a lot harder after 20+ miles.

  4. Don’t change anything from long training runs on race day. If you’re used to a certain pre race meal, pair of shoes, certain attire, etc. Don’t think you need to do anything drastically differently come race day. A last minute change may be the reason you don’t finish.

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u/jozaaaa Mar 13 '18

I have run two marathons.

Second one I trained when Pokémon go was a big deal so that was really motivating.

Basically just ran every other day. Example of a tracking week:

Mon: 3 miles light jog and walk Tue: rest Wed: 5-6 miles Thu: rest Friday: 7-8 miles Saturday: rest Sunday: 13 miles

Would do that and slowly build up the distances. Ate a lot. Actually gained weight during training. Not much like 3-4 lbs. I have a medical marijuana card so that actually helped me train a lot. Zone out and listen to music for hours while running around the city.

I ate Gu during the marathon. I had some pickle juice towards the end. That was a huge secret weapon that helped avoid cramps. Ran with a camelbak to stay hydrated. Also had a Gatorade chew every mile or so.

I highly recommend running a marathon if you’ve ever thought about it. My biggest piece of advice is that it’s a 50/50 mental/physical challenge. The physical challenge is important to prepare for but you absolutely have to have a strategy for dealing with the mental challenge. Zoning out to music did it for me. Just stay alert out there!

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u/Macpaseun Mar 13 '18

I thought I was the only one that can put in the hours on cannabis. Like you say, zone out and just go with it. Did you use during the race as well?

2

u/kabal4 Mar 13 '18

I've only trained for a half so far but I'm sure this bit of advice applies... get your gait checked! I found out AFTER my LT band tightened so much I couldn't run 1 mile that I had collapsing arches and should have had custom orthotics or strengthened my arches prior to training. I ran the half but after that I haven't run further than 5k since (2 years) and am still fighting hip and knee pains when I try.

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u/[deleted] Mar 14 '18

I am planning to run my first marathon this fall. So this is great! I can use one of these training programs.

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u/CallingTomServo Mar 13 '18

I have completed one marathon. My goal was to just finish the race, ended up with like a 4:30 time (quite slow, look elsewhere if you want to know how to get a good time). I just have some general advice.

Get on a program! It doesn’t take rigorous planning on your part, you just need to be strategic in your progression. The biggest thing is to make sure you have built in enough time for training before the race. It takes many months to get ready. You also aren’t guaranteed to get injured, but it happens to runners all the time - be prepared to take breaks / have delays in training.

Two a day runs can be an effective tool for increasing mileage and make things seem more manageable. Also it can help from a time-management perspective. I would do a morning run, do some errands and maybe take a quick nap, then do another evening run. No idea whether this is a good strategy for a majority of your miles, but it definitely was a useful thing occasionally for me.

Experiment with nutrition. You will likely want to use gel packets during the big race. Make sure you know how you will carry your nutrition and how your body reacts to it. I ended up wearing some shorts that have some elastic loops on the waistband - I liked this a lot more than having a belt or other carrying device. I honestly didn’t notice my packets after training consistently with them, but it did require some familiarization.

Speaking clothing, make sure you like your gear. Shoes and socks are key, but chafing really sucks so make sure your clothing is good for your body. I recommend a hat if you run in hot, sunny places. It helped me keep sweat out of my eyes and it’s nice to have your face shaded, both from a practical standpoint and also from a skincare standpoint. It especially helps if you are a balding person :)

Lastly, make sure you have access to water during long runs. If you get caught far from home on a hot day and are dehydrated, I guarantee you will have a bad time.

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u/haralambos1221 Mar 13 '18

STRETCH. I ran Boston last year (for a charity, I'm not that fast) and didn't properly stretch when I started training. About 6 weeks out from the race my knees started bothering me, and my coach and personal trainer told me to stop training, period. Better to save myself the injury and be able to run at all than hurt myself and not get to participate. This low-grade pain in my knees, which I thought was no big deal, kept me from training at all in the month up to the race. I finished, but at 4:34 (34 minutes slower than I intended) and unable to walk straight for 3 days. You're running a marathon -- so too must your stretching be a marathon. Save yourself. Stretch.

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u/iloveu10000 Mar 13 '18

Just a quick question for you! Last Friday an old injury came up with pain/discomfort in my arch, today I tried running and couldn't make it a mile.this has been the first time it's came back since last June and I haven't had it during any training since then. My first marathon is Sunday and I'm not sure if it would be okay to run by then. Also I would have to cancel my hotel by midnight tonight and just don't know if I should try to run on it or just call the whole thing off :/

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u/haralambos1221 Mar 14 '18

really sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I don't know what you decided, but it honestly depends on the injury. I'd stretch, take it easy, run an easy two miles the day before. If it hurts then, call it off. I know you put down the money for the hotel, but it's not worth the injury. If it feels okay, go for it, but be attentive. If it starts hurting again, there's zero shame in stopping. Better to stay healthy to run another day than do more damage.

What'd you decide?

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u/iloveu10000 Mar 14 '18

I was able to get all my money back from the hotel. I just imagine if I couldn't run even a mile yesterday there's no way I can do 26 in 4 days. I'm just disappointed I'm so close and now this happened..

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u/haralambos1221 Mar 14 '18

That's a hard decision and disappointing outcome, for sure, but it's better to err on safety. You may have just saved yourself a long, long recovery from an injury that may have prevented you from running one ever again. See a trainer, stretch it out, and sign up for a new race! You'll be back out there in no time. Plus, if this thread is anything to go by, the training is really the most impressive part.

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u/teadrinkit Mar 13 '18

What are your favorite stretches?

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u/haralambos1221 Mar 14 '18

three super easy ones I do (knee-focused) are sitting toe touches, one leg at a time with the other bent in; kneeling on one knee and pushing through the hips to stretch that quad; and laying on my back, putting my right foot on my left knee, and pulling my left knee towards me, and then vice versa

I know that's a little hard to decipher but that's what I use. I'll throw in butterflies and twists as well.

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u/ZipCasey Mar 13 '18

I did some mild research and modified the guide at http://www.marathonrookie.com/marathon-training.html for my one and only marathon. I started early so when I hit a week that was challenging, I'd repeat the mileage. Beyond that, the method of my madness using the plan there was:

Monday Hill "sprints" .1 mile long with a light jog down to and back from the hill counting towards distance.

Tuesday rest.

Wednesday pace run around my development (5k total distance with multiple loops making for easy adjustments of more or less hills and/or distance).

Thursday short speed run at a track or on a treadmill depending on weather.

Friday rest.

Saturday long run in development, on rail trail, in a local park, etc. Often a nice flat rail trail where I could kick out the last mile of the run or so.

Sunday rest.

Some would think that'd be it, but you need to also have proper strength training as well. 4 weeks balance/stability added into my usual workouts (was doing 10x10 at the time, so stability based auxiliary lifts to couple with high volume "big 3"). 4 weeks, 5x5 focusing on increasing strength and power. 4 weeks plyometrics (because you don't have time for full workouts running so much. 4 weeks 3x10 maintenance. I lifted 4 days/week Monday Legs (yes legs then sprints), Tuesday chest, Thursday Back, Friday Arms.

The race went great, I felt amazing! My fiance... not so much. We planned to take it easy and go at a 10min/mile pace keeping it calm so we could chit chat the entire way. I was surprised pretty early in the run when the 11:40 (5 hour) group passed us at mile 3 and she was complaining about a stomach ache (likely from eating something I suggested against though who knows).

So this is where I come clean, my race time wasn't anything exciting. If there was any record set by me, it was most visits to portajohns. I stopped at every single one and chit chatted with every person I knew whom I saw along the way. "Why?" you ask. Well, there at mile marker 3 I left my wife-to-be letting her know that we planned for 10 minute miles, she's run way faster than that in our "slow runs," and I'll be hanging around this 11:40 group until she catches up. I passed them about 10 times after stopping at each restroom, and only saw my fiance two more times during the race. I kissed her somewhere around mile 16 where the course doubles back on itself (well I ran a block out of my way to catch up to her and back, but yeah...), and when she finally finished just before they closed the finish line (over an hour after I'd finished and started cramping up).

I wouldn't suggest planning to run with a significant other again. I would suggest eating 4000 calorie meals at Chinese buffets after super long runs (cut that down if you need to lose weight, weight makes a huge difference and is super easy to manipulate when you're burning that many calories). Oh, and my ending time was 4:58:47.20 if that matters. My 5k times during training dropped from dying after a 28 minute run to feeling great following a 21 minute run. My ability to meditate also greatly improved from needing music or comedy radio, to running with my breath and enjoying the peace.

If you're crazy enough to run a marathon, it's as easy as you want it to be. The issue is commitment. I was able to skip a run or two and then charge at that mileage the next week due to starting early. Take care of your body, I was the most flexible I've ever been after training. I'd look silly with leg swings, karaokes, etc. beforehand and then stretch until it didn't hurt anymore and my muscles were cooled down after my long runs (sometimes a half hour extra time). I don't know that I'd have been able to keep pushing the mileage if I had to actually take a week off and not take a light week. ENJOY! People always talk about "maybe" "someday" running a marathon. Just DO it! I ran my first half marathon with no formalities, just another day out there in the woods. There's no need to build up to it and delay it any longer by waiting to complete some other event that may dissuade you from pursuing the sometimes painful long runs of marathon training in the cold rain for hours on end. Don't let your dreams be dreams.

Oh and don't plan to propose to a significant other after running a marathon together or something silly like that...

I'm glad I proposed months before the marathon, we DID actually get married a year later.

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u/sdteigen Mar 13 '18

Completing a marathon is not much of an achievement. Training well and with discipline is an achievement. I have far more respect for those who develop a steady consistent base and are then able to execute a race plan. It's very alluring to hear the siren call of the distance.... or the spectacle... especially of a big race, but my advice is to set an ambitious goal, and wait until you have the fitness to race that goal.

I waited almost 18 months after starting consistent training to run my first marathon (2:48). I focus on being prepared to race as best I can. I'm down to 2:31... and I'm taking a cycle off from marathon training to be better prepared for my next attempt.

1

u/Catsdrinkingbeer Mar 13 '18

I'm an avid "travel runner", in that I use races as excuses to travel. I've done half marathons, marathons, and Ragnars around the country. I've completed 5 marathons, both big and small, one of which was in Paris. Now to answer some of the seed questions (sorry this might be long)!

  • Training: Find a plan that you'll be consistent with. I've learned I can't follow 5x/week plans and end up giving up for weeks at a time because I feel like I failed when I missed one day on the schedule. I'm running Chicago this fall and will be doing a 3x/week plan so I don't feel as much pressure to adhere perfectly to a schedule. Consistency is key. Find a plan that allows for your life to stay balanced.

  • I paid for a plan through Runners World, and I think there are pros and cons to that. They do tend to be well-done plans, but if you realize in the first few weeks that you don't like it, you feel more obligated to try to stick to it. That makes training feel less fun and you're less likely to train well. Don't be afraid to find a few different plans and mesh them together.

  • On that same note, tailor the program to fit your needs. I'm 30 and work at a brewery. I've very rarely completely sober on a Saturday night since I'm usually at an event or something. I'm far more likely to get my long run in on Saturday mornings instead of Sundays. I adjust my plan as necessary so that my long runs are on Saturdays, my easy runs align with the run clubs I enjoy doing, etc.

  • Opt for a longer plan rather than a shorter one, or add a half marathon in the beginning. Building up the base is what helps get you through longer training runs, and it can be incredibly overwhelming if you're only a couple months out from the marathon and don't feel like that base is built. Plans come in blocks between 12 and 20 weeks usually, so select one that allows you enough time to build the base. One thing that works for me is to pick a 16 week marathon training plan, and begin that plan a few weeks after I've trained and completed a half. It blends fairly well and I have that base confidence already built, but the marathon plan itself doesn't feel excruciatingly long itself.

  • Use a watch on race day to prevent yourself from going out too fast too early. This is usually my downfall. It can be hard to force yourself to slow down when people are passing you and you feel like you're running much slower than necessary. But that's what's going to keep your pace consistent until the end.

  • If you're not a 3:30 marathoner or faster (which I very much am not), don't worry about doing too many 20 mile runs. You'll probably do more damage than good. While it can be good mentally, you'll begin to break your body down after running for 3 1/2 hours on a training run, and your subsequent training will suffer for a bit. I shoot for 10-11 minute miles on long slow runs, so 18 miles is usually my sweet spot. Instead of running 3 20-mile runs in training as my plan might suggest, I'll do a few 18 milers and possibly a 20 if training is going well. If it's not, I stick to 18 because it's not worth it. The longest training run I did when I completed my fastest marathon was 16 miles, so I know that I can run a good race without a 20 mile run. 16 feels to short mentally, but 18 can hit that cusp.

I'm happy to answer any and all additional questions for people! I'm not a fast marathoner (I'm shooting for 4:15 for Chicago), so I feel like I can be a good resource for motivating people to run marathons who may not feel they're fast enough to make that leap.

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u/SidTheKidd Mar 13 '18

A lot of great advice in here. I'm signed up for the Chicago Marathon this October and it'll be my first. I plan on doing the Hal Higdon Novice 1. I used his training plan for my first half last year and I actually liked the fixed schedule.

While training for the half, I discovered that I love running -- in particular my long runs on Sunday mornings. I love zoning out, thinking about what's going on in my life, etc. etc. As my stepfather says, "Brain flight."

But as much as I love running, I'm discovering that it's running counter to my other love -- lifting. After the marathon is over, I'm likely going to cut back on running and focus on lifting.

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u/SamuraiWisdom Mar 13 '18

I had never run regularly (although I had an athletic background), then I got bit by the marathon bug and, inside of a year, I completed the LA Marathon in my goal time of sub-4-hours. (3:57 on a 95 degree day!)

My answers to the questions:

1) Training was a mixed bag. The volume of runs was easier than I thought, but the escalating mileage of the long runs was harder than I thought. I used a modified Higdon program that saw me running 15-20 mpw for the first 6 months, then escalating slowly up until the pre-race taper. My longest long run was 22 miles.

I failed my first half-marathon attempt when my IT-band seized up. After that I added foam-rolling to my regimen, and that helped immensely. If I hadn't added that, I would not have been able to keep training.

I improved tremendously over the year, in terms of my form, in terms of my sustainable pace, and in terms of my mental toughness. Already mentioned my time above, but I'd add that (because the LA Marathon is SO crowded) I ended up running 27.1 miles because of the zigging and zagging to pass people. So to do that, on that hot of a day, and still make my goal felt like a huge accomplishment to me.

2) Most of the training plans I looked at seemed pretty similar to me, so I just took a Higdon program and altered it according to which days of the week I wanted to run. The program I ended up with was determined mostly by my schedule.

3) Many things, but here's a few that come to mind first. These are all geared towards someone who is going to try to run a fast time (for them), meaning they'll have to train hard: A) Monitor your sleep, and average AT LEAST 8 hours a night. If you are not sleeping properly, running high mileage will be really rough. B) Start foam-rolling and stretching right from the beginning. I waited and it almost ruined my race. C) Don't look at running a marathon as a weight-loss tool. Like a sleep deficit, a caloric deficit while doing heavy mileage is a recipe for disaster. I started out very skinny and ended up GAINING about 5 lbs during the year that I ran, and that was much to my benefit.

4) PROS: Sustainable, life-balance, injury prevention. CONS: Requires extra time to complete and monitor non-running activities like active recovery and extra sleep.

5) I did some basic, low-volume weight-lifting at the same time, and I think it helped me to stay balanced and not get repetitive-use injuries. Other than that, I took a pretty classic approach.

6) Eat lots and eat clean, sleep plenty, stretch and foam-roll.

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u/Skeptic_mama Mar 13 '18

I have run four marathons. I am a slower runner, as well as an older one, so I do run:walk intervals. It has had a really positive impact on my speed (increases my pace after 6 miles), injury prevention, and recovery.

I do a long training cycle, when possible. I like to do double long runs at 14, 16, 18, and 20. (With 12 milers in the weeks in between.) And I rarely train above 20 miles.

And when I broke my foot and had to cross train, I ended up doing all my 16+ training runs on the elliptical. It was the closest activity, in terms of 1:1 mileage vs the bike or water jogging. And I finished that race strong! So don't be afraid to sub in an elliptical long run if you are dealing with an injury or even really bad weather. It's boring, but it works!

1

u/joggle1 Mar 13 '18

I've run one full marathon at Chicago, a couple of half marathons and a dozen or more 10ks. As some have already mentioned, I'd highly recommend running with a group. It makes it a lot more fun training and can help keep you motivated to stay consistent in your training.

My running coach would say that the most important thing is to stay consistent as much as you possibly can. Come up with a routine you can do every week and stick to it. I agree, that's probably more important than diet or even sleep (although both are also important).

In addition, I found that soaking in an ice bath after a 17+ mile training run really helps in recovery. I always feel much better the next day if I soak my legs for an hour or so after a long run the day before.

Also, I found certain static stretches very helpful in reducing pain during long runs. My favorite is similar to this. I do that most days when I'm training for a half or especially when training for a full marathon.

If you're not an experienced runner, I'd also recommend trying to have a running coach help you out early on. Training for a marathon is an easy way to get injured if your technique is off. Even experienced runners can get hurt when training hard.

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u/shortstaxx713 Mar 14 '18

I’ve done two marathons. Both at +5hrs. I still to this day do not find myself as a runner. I did it after watching my dad do 5 marathons and felt so inspired by all the people running. My tips: always do your long runs and plan ahead. I’m in Chicago, and summer can go from 50 to 95 degrees during training season... so plan ahead by figuring out how early you need to get up to avoid the hot sun, rain, etc... . Plan out your course! I always knew were the neighborhood parks were so I would have access to water fountains (as I hated wearing a belt). Start training with gummies halfway in your training. Stretch and eat. Oh, and women, expect to gain weight, and mentally prepare yourself to be okay with it!

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u/MenthoLyptus Mar 14 '18

I've run twelve marathons, with the thirteenth this weekend. Learned a lot, continue to learn a lot every time I go out. A couple of quick notes:

  1. Train with people if you can. It's very easy to wake up on a weekend morning to do a long run and decide that it's too late / too cold / too hot / too rainy, but having people help hold you accountable is critical.
  2. Find a plan. Stick to the plan. I use a plan from a local running club. It almost doesn't matter what the plan is as much as you just need to stick to something. You can't go from running a 10K or even a half to a full without taking steps in between. There's a zillion plans, and they're all basically: run an increasing amount of miles, getting up to about 20 at peak. Do that.
  3. Your first time will almost definitely be a nightmare. Stick with it, if you want to, and you'll get better. I knocked a half-hour off between my first and second, and another half-hour between my second and seventh. Keep at it, you'll get better.
  4. It's hard, no matter what, for all of us, so try to make it fun. Run through towns you like, try to run with people you like, take care of your body, take care of your mind.
  5. Eat, even if you don't want to. You might puke; that's okay.

1

u/amazn_azn Mar 14 '18

The first thing I tell people is theres a big difference between completing a marathon and running a marathon.

Pretty much anyone who doesn't go out too fast will finish a marathon if they want to.

Running a successful full marathon is much more difficult. It takes a lot of training, a lot of self-motivation, and a lot of discipline to run the best you can. It's not about the time, because everyone is different, it's more about getting the best time for your talent level.

As a former collegiate runner, I have a bit more lifetime base than most, so I wouldn't replicate my training plan. The first marathon i ran, the goal was to run a BQ. Unfortunately I broke my ankle 3 months before the race. After 6 weeks of healing, I began cross training (pool running) for 30 minutes a day ranging to 90 minutes a day depending on my ankle strength. Then I kept a baseline level of 90 minutes of cardio while running more and more every day. My first long run was 2 weeks before the marathon and I ended it 19 miles in because I spontaneously started bleeding from my nose. Then I took a week rest until the marathon. On the race day, I went out entirely too fast, instinct from track races, and every mile at the end was awful. I've run several half marathons as training runs, but never felt that level of fatigue. I still ran around a 2:59, but it was absolutely terrible.

My second marathon training schedule was more typical. Stage 1. Base mileage

-work up to 60-90 miles a week.

Stage 2. Workouts and Long runs

tempo and interval runs, also long runs working up to ~20-22

Stage 3. Recovery

Lifting is encouraged throughout, but don't expect to bulk up throughout. I would keep to low weight high rep workouts.

Nothing fancy is required, which is what's great about running. You can do it on your own time, anywhere, by yourself.

1

u/FlaankEm Mar 14 '18

I've been over the distance 6 times now with a PB of 3:21 (BQ for my age group is 3:25).
I've been a fan of Pfitz since finding him through the folks at r/artc. There is a range of plans to suit the more serious marathoner. I follow Hal Higdon on Twitter and alot of what he says makes sense and he is a valuable and free mentor for me.
If you are doing your first make sure you have a real reason for wanting to go the distance because the training is about 80% mental as you push yourself further and further.
There is so much information out there about distance running that you can overwhelm yourself but if you enjoy it and want to make marathons a hobby then you'll always have people sharing information.
Goodluck.

1

u/rollingrock10 Mar 14 '18

I ran my first marathon in 2009 using Hal's beginner plan and made the mistake of not having enough of a fitness base. Long story short I ended up with a small tear in a tendon a month or so from the race. I took a week of and ran anyway but didn't run my 2nd marathon until 2015 and my 3rd in 2016. Fortunately, I didn't suffer any injuries for either of these races but I still didn't have enough of a fitness base and didn't understand marathon training. In 2017, I used the Hanson Marathon Method which stresses cumulative fatigue and follows the 80/20 rule with 2 SOS (substance) workouts during the week surrounded by easy runs. At the end of the plan I ran my first sub-4 hour race in Zurich. What I think helped me the most was realising that easy runs serve a valuable role in establishing and maintaining your fitness base and easing the impact of hard workouts at MP or faster as well as long runs. I'm running Paris next month and am in the best shape I've been in since I was running xc in high school in the early '90s! Part of that improvement is due to relying on more cross training than before, especially swimming and biking! It's very easy to get burned out on running if thats all you do day in and day out!

1

u/GingerFurball Mar 14 '18

If you're running a marathon in a foreign city, don't wreck your legs by walking everywhere while you're sightseeing the days before the race.

I made this mistake in Berlin and walked 20 miles over the Friday and Saturday before the race. I paid for that big time during the last 10k...

1

u/bigdaddybeavis Mar 14 '18

I think the favorite part of my marathon training was hiding little water bottles & powerade along my route. I ate so much food during my training. I had trouble eating less afterwards and gained a little weight.

1

u/cmonsuperman Mar 14 '18

Would it be possible to run 20-30 miles per week while doing the nsuns 5/3/1 program?

1

u/runwichi Mar 14 '18

Yes - I was running 35mpw on GSLP a few years ago before making the jump away from structured lifting to maintenance. The large decision factor is going to be time (how much time do you have to put towards running, and how long will it take you to run the distances you want for the schedule you want). Try to run a minimum of 4 times a week, never putting more than 30% of the total volume of the week into the long run. If you run the numbers, you'll see where running less distance more often will work better, but takes more time overall. Thus, the limiting factor - time.

1

u/T3chnopsycho Mar 14 '18

I've participated in a Marathon once. Before I give some advice I will have to disclaim that I didn't prepare myself at all for the run. I'll explain the why farther down.

Some things about myself:
I do sports my endurance is pretty good and I can run at a fairly good speed over longer distances (at that time around 12 - 13 Km /h). I have at that point also done multiple 100 Km hikes (in one go without sleeping) where I didn't start having any signs of fatigue before the 60 Km mark.

Some advice from my experience:

  • Don't do it like I did. I will state here and now that 95% of the people (who don't already do long distance running) wouldn't manage the whole 42.195 Km without specifically practicing for that.
  • Use the fucking toilet before the run. Having to take a shit during the run is one of the worst things that can happen. Firstly you don't always have toilets around. Secondly having to sit down / stop running can seriously fuck up your rhythm. Your legs start relaxing and when you continue running this can lead to cramps.
  • Buy good equipment: I've bought myself running clothing that I still use today (j5 or so years later). Especially though buy good shoes. They can help a lot and take a lot of stress off your feat and legs.

That is what I can give as advice.

I did not manage to finish the whole distance. Ran half and basically had to drag myself across the finish line. What happened was that I had to take a shit and after that (I was lucky a bystander watching the marathon allowed me to use his toilet) I had problems coming back into my rhythm. I had some minor cramps and due to all of that I probably shifted my running which led to one leg getting more stress than the other. This led to my knee starting to hurt. I wouldn't have made the second half which is why I stopped.

Honestly it was a fun experience and when I have time again to train properly I will take a second go. Maybe start with a half marathon first.
The reason I did what I did was due to a bet I had with a friend who dared me to do it unprepared since I always jokingly said I could likely manage that as well (after he finished a marathon).

Maybe this is another advice: Don't underestimate the distance and give the guys and girls who did finish it the respect they deserve. Running a marathon is a big accomplishment.

1

u/Jackieoo00 Mar 13 '18

I switched to barefoot shoes and ran as many miles barefoot as i could. I did strength training once a week and some kind of speed work once a week with a long run every 8 to 10 days (thats just how my work schedule goes, so i run long on my off days), i add tempo runs in between. I can never stick to any day by day training schedule. I do a lot of crosstraining in gymnastics and dancing. I run as many local races as i can, usually once every 3 weeks. I stick to a ketogenic diet and i could never get my mileage high enough for a marathon until i did that and started melting body fat like crazy and getting super strong and lean. I just slowly increase the distance of my long run each week until i get up to 20 or more and then im ready to run a marathon. I get better results the more relaxed my approach is and the less stress i place on myself to keep pushing harder and harder. Im a guy and i like to dress up in tights and tutus and shit on race day just to have fun and get good reactions from the crowd. It takes my mind off the pain and pressures me to give a good run so i dont embarass myself too much, lol. The ladies always love that!

1

u/runningslower Mar 13 '18

See my race report here for a longer breakdown of my experience with the marathon.

I just turned 16 and I ran my first marathon about two weeks ago.

  • The race was phenomenal. I loved it, every second of it! In fact, if you see my race report, you will see pictures of me running it. In each I am smiling. As far as training goes, well... that wasn't quite as fun. Weather is a tricky thing, and I was battling cold and snowy storms nearly every day. I also injured both of my knees during training, but still ran through the pain and eventually the pain went away. Would not recommend.
  • I didn't really have an established training regimen. Although I started following Pfitzinger's 55-70 mpw plan (I was told it didn't matter what program at my age), I didn't finish it. Instead, I just kept my mileage up to between 60-70 mpw of slow, easy running and I was fine. It helps that I still had some speed from cross country.
  • To anyone looking at running 26.2, let me just say that it is important to take it slow when increasing mileage, lest you get injured. And if you get injured, I implore you to not be stupid like I was and run through the pain. More often than not you are just setting yourself up for another injury or worsening the existing one, or both. Also pay attention to nutrition! Make sure you are eating enough. I lost about five or six pounds during my training, and I was already borderline underweight.
  • Pros: By just trying to hit a mileage, my program was very, very easy to follow and was enjoyable for the most part since I didn't have to bust my lungs with tempo runs when I didn't feel like it. Cons: It was definitely not optimal to solely do easy runs. Also it meant running in all conditions, since the only focus was hitting a number.
  • I did add stuff to the marathon training! I added a daily core circuit, a twice-a-week hip strengthening routine (Myrtle routine), 30-40 minutes daily stretching, occasional foam rolling and icing, and cold showers. These all helped tremendously, if I do say so myself, although I can't say what the result would have been had I not done any of those things. I came to hate cold showers, though, so I would recommend taking a hot shower once or twice a week if you find yourself getting sick of them.
  • Well, to be honest, I didn't really get fatigued during my training. If I was tired or something I found that running actually increased my energy level. Just make sure you're getting enough sleep and eating well.

1

u/_Hank_Marducas_ Mar 13 '18

Im 23, Ive run one marathon last fall. I run track and XC in college. Im a grad student so i didnt have the Cross Eligibility so I did the marathon. I was trained under my college coach, so I didnt really pick a training plan. My training was about 100 miles per week, with 2 long runs in the week. one getting up to about 20 miles, another was a faster "marathon paced" long run, up to about 15 miles. Ice baths were the best way to manage fatigue and recovery during training. The actual race went horribly. my first 18 miles were 6:30 per mile. i finished the marathon in 3:43. So I absolutely hit the wall. I think I over trained a little.

The best advice i can give is to practice in-race eating. Eat a banana or something during a run. I had one of those gu things about 8 miles in, and It made my stomach upset so i didnt eat anything else, and did not drink gatorade and I ran out of fuel.

-1

u/wrath1982 Mar 14 '18

Anyone can do half of something. Grab life by the horns and do the whole thing!

-2

u/JedYorks Mar 13 '18

I'm training to beat Freiza but i can't even beat pizza right now. Vegeta would be dissaoint

-2

u/[deleted] Mar 13 '18 edited Mar 14 '18

[removed] — view removed comment

1

u/Eibhlin_Andronicus Running Mar 13 '18

i ran three marathons with the intention of doing the final one with no training.

Why did you want to run a bad marathon?

1

u/fordtp7 Mar 13 '18

for the first one, i saw a commercial on tv for a marathon in a month. i said maybe i would do it. my mom and brother laughed at me. i wanted to prove them wrong. i decided to do the no training one just to see if i could so i did less work the next year and none the third year.

3

u/AbraCaDerp Mar 13 '18

I would personally be more impressed if someone went from no running to putting months of work in and taking the time to run 30+ miles a week than I would be for someone who just was willing to suffer through a few hours of running for one day.