Trainerroad while training for a marathon


Preparing for a marathon, the weekly running takes a toll on my overall training. Therefore I cannot push as hard as I would like. I was following low-volume sustained power but just cannot complete the workouts after 4 weeks. What plan could fit to keep my cycling ability while preparing for my marathon ?

I would look at the triathlon plans. Sub the swimming work outs for more running. Keep in mind you are adding stress with the running and the bike. You’ll have to pull back on one or both to keep from breaking down.

Listen to your body. You can’t push as hard as you like on the bike because you’re training for a marathon. I personally wouldn’t try to do a build plan while training for a marathon. Instead, I’d use the bike as a recovery tool (I did this the last time I trained for a marathon). Instead of recovery runs, spin your legs on the bike. You’ll keep the physiological adaptation of the bike position, gain some recovery while reducing the impact of all the running you’re undoubtedly doing. Running taxes the body more than the bike does, so no question if you’re usually a straight cyclist, your body won’t be able to maintain the same training load while running like you are.

You could follow a triathlon plan, but again, how much running are you doing? How much running are you used to doing? Without knowing anything about your background or your priorities, I’d tell you to seriously consider just recovering on the bike and focus on the marathon. It seems like your body is telling you trying to do a Build plan on TR while training for a marathon is too much.

I have a half marathon coming up, coming off a 70.3 triathlon season which ended two weeks ago. About eight weeks between events, but I also have a substantial history of running. My priority is building bike fitness, so I am going through Sweet Spot Base 1 right now, running in between days at a somewhat reduced volume, and I’ll just go poke through the half marathon knowing I can finish, even if not as fast as I’d like. I think you should make a similar choice based on what’s important to you and what your background is.

Hi, maybe you can also give me some related advice…I just signed up for a 70.3 mid-July 2019 and will be doing a marathon 11 weeks later. As far as goals and priorities - I just want to have a good time and not get injured.

My background - I’ve only done one stand alone marathon, but three full IM’s including Kona, after qualifying on my second one. That was two years ago and since then I’ve been a bit burnt out, although I’ve continued to stay active - mostly mountain and road biking, back on TrainerRoad getting ready for the bike portion of a hilly, windy 70.3 distance relay at the end of January. I’ve also added weightlifting twice a week and I can finally do a pull up! I’m a 59 year old female, who came to all of this pretty late - at age 45.

I was thinking of doing the entire 6 months plan for the half Ironman, and just lengthen the runs according to a marathon plan so I make sure I get enough long ones in. Any advice you can give me based on your experience? Thanks!

I just completed a marathon by following the TR low volume full distance triathlon plan. I did strength workouts instead of swim workouts as I enjoy heavy lifting. I followed the plan because I love to bike and only like to run. I assumed that since the full distance triathlon ended in a marathon that I would be fit enough to complete a marathon. Also, because I was only doing a marathon and not the full triathlon if my body was feeling beat up and I needed to skip a workout or shorten it I skipped the strength work or the bike ride.

I felt this plan kept me on top of my game and felt good throughout the season. I did the base, build and specialty phase as designed. All for the full distance Tri.

Towards the end someone asked me if I was burnt out on running and training from my marathon preparation. The question took me off guard because my answer was no. In fact, I have started sweet spot base 1 less than two weeks after finishing my marathon because I feel so good and I’m nowhere near burned out.

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This definitely sounds like it could work…I could train for the half but use the run workouts from the full…I especially like that you are not burnt out! Hope you had an enjoyable race! Thanks!

With the marathon 11 weeks after the 70.3, I would train them as separate events. I don’t know your background, but that’s a lot of training stress that’s probably not necessary based on your timeline and goals. You’ll have plenty of fitness from the 70.3 training to lay the foundation for your marathon training afterwards as you’ll be fit enough for a 5-6 hour aerobic event already. Then you just need to finish building your run fitness. Odds are you’ll do some two hour runs in your 70.3 training. And odds are you won’t go much over 3-3.5 hours in your marathon training runs, and maybe less than that depending on goal pace.

With 11 weeks, you’ve got plenty of time to build from 2 to 3-3:30 long runs and get a couple of your longest runs in, even if you take a week or two to recover from the 70.3. You can still bike or swim for recovery between your key run sessions if you want to.

Almost 9 months is a long, long time to run marathon volume, especially when a good portion of that time you’re training for another event altogether. Earlier this year, I raced my A 70.3 and got a good result. I scheduled a C type half marathon 8 weeks later where, building off my fitness from the 70.3, I wanted to go after a PR on a flat fast course. Turned out, after my 70.3, I had little desire to train for the half marathon. I can’t imagine how I would’ve felt with that much more run volume already banked. So even if you physically can handle that training load - and then build off of it - I think most people would struggle to remain motivated.

All due respect to the plan the user above spelled out - which obviously worked for them - remember that they weren’t training for a triathlon while doing that plan. If they skipped strength or skipped the bike, it had no impact on their goal event. You’re going to be training all three sports for a competition, doing a lot of two a days, and if you skip a lot of workouts, your performance at your goal event will suffer for it.

Good luck!

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I would agree with @kurt.braeckel. Treat them as two separate builds.

You’ll have a good deal of fitness from 70.3 training. Take a recovery week after the race and you’ve got a 10 week build to the marathon. Sounds pretty ideal to me.

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Oops Sorry. Yes, I agree with @kurt.braeckel and @JulianM for @bjill question.

My response was supposed to be directed at @lorin26100

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Thanks for clarifying and for the great explanation @kurt.braeckel @JulianM @Drbeau252. Yes, I believe I will have plenty of time - I thought to start the training plan for the 70.3 in February and if the 11 weeks between the events is enough for the long runs, I should be ok. The fact that I’ll be doing the marathon with my youngest son (his first) hopefully will keep me motivated. I usually recover well physically- sometimes getting back into training after an event is tougher for me mentally though. Thanks a lot!