Running question - marathon plans

Hi I’m really confused about want plan to use for my first marathon in May this year.

I have about 5 years of experience of triathlon, having done a few half Ironmans. I have run many half marathons, my pb is 1:39:45 from May 2021… I ran this as part of triathlon training.

I have been averaging around 35 miles pw for the last 8 weeks. Bit I am quite constrained for time and struggle to get much above that consistently. I know I will need to peak higher than that and that’s ok.

I like speed work and would want at least some fartlek but ideally intervals in my programs. I don’t have faith in myself to write one. Ideally I would run 4/5 times a week.

Also not sure on what my goal should be - just finish it off maybe 3:45.

Thanks in advance

Firstly if you are running 3:45 then you don’t need intervals and speed work. I have run sub 2:50 many times and didn’t use anything more that tempo runs/marathon paced runs in my build up - although I did use intervals in other parts of the season when targeting 5/10k. Firstly for marathon training I would only run 4 times/week - especially if you use TR as well. You need a long Sunday run at minute/mile slower than MP. For you about 9:30miles - start at 12 miles and add 1 mile a week up to 18 miles. Keep it easy and run them off road if possible. I did 22 mile long runs but ran them at about 7:10 pace. The key thing is don’t run for longer than 3 hours as it massively increases the risk of injury so for slower runners that limits the run to about 18miles. In addition I would add one tempo run on say Tuesday - 8 miles - 2 mile warm up 5 miles at 1/2 pace so about 7:30 and 1 mile warm down. Then add a 5 mile easy run on the following day which you could slowly build to 10 miles so you get a mid week hour plus longer run to support the Sunday run. Friday could then be another 5-7 miles easy. That’s about 35-40miles. Every 4th week have an easy week where you just run 45 mins easy 3-4 times to recover. Lastly twice in your build up once after about 6 weeks and once about a month before the race replace the long slow run with a shorter 15 miler - but run the first 12 v easy and the last 3 at MP. Make sure that by the end of your build up you have 3 of the longest 3 hour runs in the bank. Marathon running is simple - you just need to run as far as you can without getting injured …that last bit is the problem! - give yourself 2 weeks to taper before the big day and make sure you know your race pace and STICK TO IT…no matter how good you feel at the start. I never used a published plan but have picked the brains of lots of v good runners over the years…good luck :grinning:


Like he said… Tempo, threshold and race peace will be your friend. Although I would also add speed training at the very beginning to get your legs used to speed, maybe the first month or so. That way once you move to threshold runs it will feel not as hard…

Getting injured is ridiculously easy… Even coming from a tri background.

I would really suggest to train your current speed and opposed to train on your goal. So maybe a time trial of sort to learned your current paces and go from there.

Best of luck… Also there is a running thread with lots of information and very helpful athletes

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Comprehensive answer there from @jdman, and totally agree speed work is not needed. I know a lot of people find speed sessions fun and rewarding when completed but they are not really needed in Marathon training.

Long to very long continuous tempo intervals (compared with training for a short events) are great for building the mental fortitude required, but ditch them early if form starts to go, been injured many times keeping the pace but on crappy form.

Pfitzinger has the long runs starting around MP+20% (pace in seconds plus 20%) and dropping to MP+10% which IMO is good advice especially if you struggle to keep your HR under control when running. Personally my HR stays very low until I get to threshold pace (and then sky rockets at and above it), so I tend to start the long runs +15% and end up around +5 to +7.5% if my hydration is good.

Oh, and put the prehab work in, strength and core, it goes a long way to help reduce injuries when the volume goes up, (feel uneasy typing that, feels like I tempting injury on myself, hate all injuries but running ones are, for me, always hard to recovery from) so do as much as possible to try and avoid them.