General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Pre-official Marathon Training Rss Feed  
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2013-10-22 9:27 PM

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Subject: Pre-official Marathon Training
So I have 9 weeks before I kick into official marathon training. I'm doing an 18 week Pfitz plan (haven't decided on the mileage yet though, either 70 or 85, probably 70 due to time). Goal marathon is May 3 which puts me starting the plan the last week of December.

I can already handle the long runs. I'm doing 15-17 mi on the weekends when I can. Haven't gotten them the past few weekends due to being sick, but could still do it. I'm running 4-5 times a week now. I've been doing some pace testing the past few weeks to see if my speed is still up to par and making sure that I can handle it. So far so good. I have a 15k race in 2 weeks to get a good benchmark for fitness and a better judgement of what my paces should be. Goals for that 15k are Achievable: 1:05 Probable: sub 1:00

I feel my background in running is pretty solid. I've been running pretty consistently for over 10 years with the longest break being 3 months. Been doing serious training to try to be competitive in races for the past 3 years. I keep my logs up to date and accurate if you want to check that too.

Goals for the Marathon:

Definitely Achievable Goal: sub 3:15
Probably Achievable: BQ, sub 3:05
Dream Goal: Sub 3:00

My main question: What's the best use of my time now? I'm torn between trying to get as many miles in now to get as big of a base as possible and doing some harder tempo runs. What would you do given those goals and background? I'm dedicated to the goal and will make time to get all of the running in that I need to.

Thanks!



Edit: pace mistake...oops!

Edited by The Chupacabra 2013-10-22 9:28 PM


2013-10-22 11:02 PM
in reply to: The Chupacabra

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Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training
Do lots of easy miles to get/keep your base before you start your cycle, it'll pay off once the speed work starts. If I remember right Pftiz's 85 mile plan ha you running 7 days a week, seeing how you are not running 7 days a week now then this would be a good time to get yourself running everyday and adding the miles at the same time. Good luck and what marathon are you running?
2013-10-22 11:55 PM
in reply to: navbtcret

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Seattle
Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training
Yes yes yes! So glad you are asking this!!! As Nav said, Building a big solid base of easy miles is a great way to launch in a marathon plan. It will also help you decide which plan you want to go with. I think this is very often neglected and so very important. If you get a chance, read Jack Daniels Running Formula.
2013-10-23 7:56 AM
in reply to: The Chupacabra

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Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training

The Pfitz 70mi plan starts at 53mpw.  You haven't been running at that level (recently, at least).  So, if you are planning to go with that one, you should spend the next 9 weeks building your volume so you are able to comfortably do that mileage by the time you start the plan.  No need to worry about tempo running while you are building the volume.  Do a few strides each week for some speed/form work.

2013-10-23 8:04 AM
in reply to: JohnnyKay

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Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training
Originally posted by JohnnyKay

The Pfitz 70mi plan starts at 53mpw.  You haven't been running at that level (recently, at least).  So, if you are planning to go with that one, you should spend the next 9 weeks building your volume so you are able to comfortably do that mileage by the time you start the plan.  No need to worry about tempo running while you are building the volume.  Do a few strides each week for some speed/form work.




Seems right. I would stay away from too much tempo or hard runs. You are much faster than me but I found that if I wasn't doing 80 percent of those base miles leading up to the first week I was crushed and started missing workouts. I think the 70 plan is 6 days a week, so try to get in the habit of doing 6 days a week.

I felt like I was well prepared for my attempts at the Pfitz plan. If you pick your goal right it will really beat you up.
2013-10-23 8:17 AM
in reply to: navbtcret

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Waukegan, IL
Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training
Originally posted by navbtcret

Do lots of easy miles to get/keep your base before you start your cycle, it'll pay off once the speed work starts. If I remember right Pftiz's 85 mile plan ha you running 7 days a week, seeing how you are not running 7 days a week now then this would be a good time to get yourself running everyday and adding the miles at the same time. Good luck and what marathon are you running?


Awesome. This is what I thought would be my approach.

I'm deciding between 2 races now: Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha, WI on 5/3 or Kalamazoo Marathon on 5/4. I ran Wisconsin last year and it's a flat, fast course which is what I'm looking for. It'd also be nice to try a new venue, which makes Kalamazoo appealing. Illinois Marathon in Champaign, IL is the weekend before that, too. I'll probably go with Wisconsin because of how close it is to me and I won't have to worry about added stress of an unfamiliar location on race weekend.


2013-10-23 8:19 AM
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Waukegan, IL
Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training
Originally posted by Asalzwed

Yes yes yes! So glad you are asking this!!! As Nav said, Building a big solid base of easy miles is a great way to launch in a marathon plan. It will also help you decide which plan you want to go with. I think this is very often neglected and so very important. If you get a chance, read Jack Daniels Running Formula.


Thanks! I've seen Daniel's Running recommended so much. It's officially on order. I'm currently working my way through Advanced Marathoning by Pfitz and Douglas. My family thinks I'm crazy when I sit down with a drink and Advanced Marathoning to wind down at the end of the day. =)

Edited by The Chupacabra 2013-10-23 8:22 AM
2013-10-23 8:27 AM
in reply to: The Chupacabra

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Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training
Sounds like the consensus is a ton of base miles. Looks like I'll be doing a lot of easy stuff for a few weeks.

When I'm thinking about my weekly miles now, in the pre-plan period, should I am for a volume near the 1st week's volume of my plan (as in +/- 5 mi per week) or should I aim a little higher than the first week? If my first week of the plan calls for 55 mi, should I aim for 55 or maybe try to get closer to 60 or more? This might be covered in my books I have waiting to get to...

Thanks for your help everyone! I feel comfortable preparing for just about every race shorter than the marathon...but I learned a hard lesson the last time I tired to run a marathon and am trying to get it right and run at my potential now. =)
2013-10-23 8:42 AM
in reply to: The Chupacabra

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Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training

Take a look at how aggressive the plan will be for you. Generally I would think the first few weeks should be rather easy to get through. Maybe almost easier than what you had been doing depending on how you like to do things.

2013-10-23 8:43 AM
in reply to: The Chupacabra

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Media, PA
Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training

Originally posted by The Chupacabra Sounds like the consensus is a ton of base miles. Looks like I'll be doing a lot of easy stuff for a few weeks. When I'm thinking about my weekly miles now, in the pre-plan period, should I am for a volume near the 1st week's volume of my plan (as in +/- 5 mi per week) or should I aim a little higher than the first week? If my first week of the plan calls for 55 mi, should I aim for 55 or maybe try to get closer to 60 or more? This might be covered in my books I have waiting to get to... Thanks for your help everyone! I feel comfortable preparing for just about every race shorter than the marathon...but I learned a hard lesson the last time I tired to run a marathon and am trying to get it right and run at my potential now. =)

Aim for volume just slightly greater than what you are running currently (looks like mid-30's mpw on average) to start.  Then build gradually.  Let the mileage fall where it will.  Don't up the mileage each week just beacuse you want to get to a set number.  Aim for the 53(ish), but 'listen to your body' and adjust your progression as needed.

2013-10-23 11:15 AM
in reply to: JohnnyKay

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Seattle
Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training

Originally posted by JohnnyKay

Originally posted by The Chupacabra Sounds like the consensus is a ton of base miles. Looks like I'll be doing a lot of easy stuff for a few weeks. When I'm thinking about my weekly miles now, in the pre-plan period, should I am for a volume near the 1st week's volume of my plan (as in +/- 5 mi per week) or should I aim a little higher than the first week? If my first week of the plan calls for 55 mi, should I aim for 55 or maybe try to get closer to 60 or more? This might be covered in my books I have waiting to get to... Thanks for your help everyone! I feel comfortable preparing for just about every race shorter than the marathon...but I learned a hard lesson the last time I tired to run a marathon and am trying to get it right and run at my potential now. =)

Aim for volume just slightly greater than what you are running currently (looks like mid-30's mpw on average) to start.  Then build gradually.  Let the mileage fall where it will.  Don't up the mileage each week just beacuse you want to get to a set number.  Aim for the 53(ish), but 'listen to your body' and adjust your progression as needed.

Excellent advice.

You have plenty of time so just pay close attention to how you are feeling as you start to ramp up the mileage. Don't be afraid to back off a bit.Considering you have 9 weeks until you start your plan and then another 12-18 weeks of specific training, you have time on your side. And time to establish a routine that works for you.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

 

*We also have an ongoing Jack Daniels thread if you ever need to pop in and ask a question: Jack Daniels Thread



2013-12-07 1:07 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training
Aight...so I'm bringing this back because it's decision time.

So I'd been aiming for more easier miles before starting my official 18 weeks. My 18 week countdown starts the last Saturday of December with the goal marathon on May 3. Looking for criticism, recommendations, whatever on what I've decided. (FYI - doing a Pfitz build, using some Daniel's principles for paces and some modifications...bad idea?)

1. Ran 2 races in November to help me determine training paces for my marathon build. I might be putting another in December. 15k at the beginning of Nov with a time of 59:03 (VDOT 54-55). 5k on Thanksgiving with a time of 17:24 (VDOT 58-59). That's a pretty big difference in VDOT values and tells me I should probably focus on endurance, which I knew. Not sure what to do about training paces yet. I handle higher intensity pretty well, so thinking of leaning towards the higher end of that.

2. Decided on the 18 week 55-70 mile build. I will be more likely to get all of those miles in than I would a build up to 85 miles. However, knowing that I need some more focus on endurance, I'll be using the long runs from the 85 mi. build for that purpose. In most cases, they are only 1-2 miles longer, so not a big difference, but every bit should help. Also, making those mid-week med-long runs of high importance should help as well.

3. Any other suggestions? Am I misinterpreting something?

Thanks for you help guys. I have a good handle on other distances. I'm trying to understand the marathon and training well for it a bit better. I think I'll try working out my own plan for the next build, depending on how this one goes.
2013-12-07 8:34 PM
in reply to: The Chupacabra


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Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training
Originally posted by The Chupacabra

Aight...so I'm bringing this back because it's decision time.

So I'd been aiming for more easier miles before starting my official 18 weeks. My 18 week countdown starts the last Saturday of December with the goal marathon on May 3. Looking for criticism, recommendations, whatever on what I've decided. (FYI - doing a Pfitz build, using some Daniel's principles for paces and some modifications...bad idea?)

1. Ran 2 races in November to help me determine training paces for my marathon build. I might be putting another in December. 15k at the beginning of Nov with a time of 59:03 (VDOT 54-55). 5k on Thanksgiving with a time of 17:24 (VDOT 58-59). That's a pretty big difference in VDOT values and tells me I should probably focus on endurance, which I knew. Not sure what to do about training paces yet. I handle higher intensity pretty well, so thinking of leaning towards the higher end of that.

2. Decided on the 18 week 55-70 mile build. I will be more likely to get all of those miles in than I would a build up to 85 miles. However, knowing that I need some more focus on endurance, I'll be using the long runs from the 85 mi. build for that purpose. In most cases, they are only 1-2 miles longer, so not a big difference, but every bit should help. Also, making those mid-week med-long runs of high importance should help as well.

3. Any other suggestions? Am I misinterpreting something?

Thanks for you help guys. I have a good handle on other distances. I'm trying to understand the marathon and training well for it a bit better. I think I'll try working out my own plan for the next build, depending on how this one goes.


I am in almost the exact same position as you, very similar paces, and very similar dates. Last race was a marathon 3 weeks ago. Ran a 3:07. Looking at next marathon on 4/27, 6 days before yours. Goal is sub-3. Likely will go sub 3:05. My considerations:

1) I am also going with a Pfitz plan. I was deciding between 18/85 and 18/70. I did 12/70 for last race. I may do a 16 week plan, since I want a bit more recovery as this is the only time of year I can really get it in. If I was just running, I feel very confident with 18/85, but I plan on building for an August IM, and will probably be doing 7500-10000 yards swimming, and 5-6 hours on the bike weekly by April, so I am not sure if I could hold up.

The plan: I will start with the 18/85 plan, then back down if I need to.

2) I've gotten fat. Not really fat, but I was 165 for my IM last July, and kept eating like I was still training afterwards. So for my marathon 3 weeks ago I was at 177, and today 178. I wasn't really serious about my diet even during IM training. I was hungry a lot, and I ate a lot. If I can focus on nutrition over the next few months, I can drop 15 pounds to a nice lean race weight. I don't see how that is not going to shave minutes.

The plan: If I can head out for runs at all odd hours, for all sorts of distances and efforts, in all sorts of weather, I should have enough self discipline to stop shoving food in my face.

3) I have to consider my limiters for my last race. One, I had a hamstring cramp that may have cost me 20 to 30 sec/mile for about 4 miles. Also, I did feel energy wise I started to fade at 17-18 miles. I also have consistent recurring calf issues during training, nothing debilitating, but every month or so I deal with some minor strain.

The plan: Start a strength program. Focus on hamstrings and calves, and some core. If I can stick to the 18/85 the extra volume may push me past the 17-18 mile mark with more in the tank. Also, work in a series of drills into my training schedule twice per week. I have it in my head that I need to start doing drills. This is the part of my plan that it fits into the best.

4) Pacing plan. I was considering being "mathematical" and using something like Daniels to help, however, I did my last race with the 12/70. I pretty much followed Pfitzinger's suggested pacing for the various workouts, and it worked for me. For example with the long runs, do them at 10 to 20 percent marathon pace, getting closer to 10 percent as the race nears. It seemed to work, and I hit my projected goals.

The plan: do the same, just a bit faster this time.


For you,

You seem to have identified your main weakness as endurance. The 18 week plan is nice and long, and provided you stay healthy, should address this nicely.

One thing I noticed is that you say you handle higher intensity training well, but you have to consider the volume increase. Those mid week long runs are substantial. I would stick to the plan, if you put more intensity into the program, you could be risking injury, and it seems like you are already strong there.

Other stuff: how is your weight and diet?, any weak points (injury history)? Do you have a strength program?

2013-12-08 12:14 AM
in reply to: 0

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Waukegan, IL
Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training
Originally posted by ImSore


I am in almost the exact same position as you, very similar paces, and very similar dates. Last race was a marathon 3 weeks ago. Ran a 3:07. Looking at next marathon on 4/27, 6 days before yours. Goal is sub-3. Likely will go sub 3:05. My considerations:

1) I am also going with a Pfitz plan. I was deciding between 18/85 and 18/70. I did 12/70 for last race. I may do a 16 week plan, since I want a bit more recovery as this is the only time of year I can really get it in. If I was just running, I feel very confident with 18/85, but I plan on building for an August IM, and will probably be doing 7500-10000 yards swimming, and 5-6 hours on the bike weekly by April, so I am not sure if I could hold up.

The plan: I will start with the 18/85 plan, then back down if I need to.

2) I've gotten fat. Not really fat, but I was 165 for my IM last July, and kept eating like I was still training afterwards. So for my marathon 3 weeks ago I was at 177, and today 178. I wasn't really serious about my diet even during IM training. I was hungry a lot, and I ate a lot. If I can focus on nutrition over the next few months, I can drop 15 pounds to a nice lean race weight. I don't see how that is not going to shave minutes.

The plan: If I can head out for runs at all odd hours, for all sorts of distances and efforts, in all sorts of weather, I should have enough self discipline to stop shoving food in my face.

3) I have to consider my limiters for my last race. One, I had a hamstring cramp that may have cost me 20 to 30 sec/mile for about 4 miles. Also, I did feel energy wise I started to fade at 17-18 miles. I also have consistent recurring calf issues during training, nothing debilitating, but every month or so I deal with some minor strain.

The plan: Start a strength program. Focus on hamstrings and calves, and some core. If I can stick to the 18/85 the extra volume may push me past the 17-18 mile mark with more in the tank. Also, work in a series of drills into my training schedule twice per week. I have it in my head that I need to start doing drills. This is the part of my plan that it fits into the best.

4) Pacing plan. I was considering being "mathematical" and using something like Daniels to help, however, I did my last race with the 12/70. I pretty much followed Pfitzinger's suggested pacing for the various workouts, and it worked for me. For example with the long runs, do them at 10 to 20 percent marathon pace, getting closer to 10 percent as the race nears. It seemed to work, and I hit my projected goals.

The plan: do the same, just a bit faster this time.


For you,

You seem to have identified your main weakness as endurance. The 18 week plan is nice and long, and provided you stay healthy, should address this nicely.

One thing I noticed is that you say you handle higher intensity training well, but you have to consider the volume increase. Those mid week long runs are substantial. I would stick to the plan, if you put more intensity into the program, you could be risking injury, and it seems like you are already strong there.

Other stuff: how is your weight and diet?, any weak points (injury history)? Do you have a strength program?




Awesome. Sounds like you've got a good plan goin for you. I was myself choosing between the 18/70 and 18/85 and while I know that the 85 will increase my chances of a sub 3:00, I need to be realistic about my time commitment, including wanting to maintain 7.5k-10k yds of swimming a week. I've made a lot of gains there and don't want to lose them. I really want to have a successful tri season after the marathon. I've also been a pretty decent runner for most of my life and I've met a lot of goals at other distances. The marathon is the big major distance I haven't conquered in my head yet.

To your questions....I wouldn't add more intensity. I think I was more thinking about choosing training paces and the differences between my 15k and 5k times. The 5k time would dictate faster paces as it is a higher VDOT.

One other point that I mentioned that led to my downfall in my previous marathon was a poorly executed nutrition plan. After endurance, nailing down a nutrition plan is VERY important. May even be tied for 1st. I'm convinced my poor nutrition was a main contributor to my time (which was ok, but not where I wanted it).

Other stuff....under 30 years old, currently weigh 145, but that will get closer to 140 as I add more miles to my run. Diet is pretty good. Mostly vegetarian by choice. I have noticed a difference in training and race performance for me. I eat lots of fruits and veggies. Occasionally a bit of meat in a dish, but I avoid it when I can. No injury history. I've been running pretty consistently for 10 years. Last time I was injured was when I had a nasty fall practicing hurdles in high school. The track was being completely rebuilt and they had just put down new asphalt, but hadn't covered it with rubber yet. I didn't get my leg high enough, went tumbling over the hurdle and had a hurt ankle and wrist for about a week...but it cleared up fine. Broke the hurdle though. I do some core work...but no formal strength program.

Edited by The Chupacabra 2013-12-08 12:15 AM
2013-12-08 7:35 AM
in reply to: The Chupacabra


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Subject: RE: Pre-official Marathon Training
I picked up "Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes," by Monique Ryan awhile ago, and never have gotten to reading it, at one point I also bought a food scale. I've started leafing through the book lately. I have a pretty good grasp on healthy eating and dieting for performance, but I never have put anything in place.

140-145 is a weight I will never see, but if I can get anywhere down near 160, my running should get a nice boost.

The time commitment is a factor for me also , but when you break it down, what is 15 more miles running over the course of a week? 15 minutes or so a day? I waste more time than that reading internet forums!

Given you are relatively young, no injury history, and have a strong base, you should have a great shot at sub-3. If I were in your shoes, I would challenge myself, do the 18/70 at the higher end of your pacing, and add a strength program. You haven't been consistently running higher mileage, and if you take the extra time from dropping down to the 70 mile plan you can fit in some strength training!!

With regards to nutrition, your weight looks good, and will come down a bit as you ramp up the training, you just need to get the day to day down, with pre workout, and recovery eating. Enough carbs pre-workout, protein/carb mix for recovery, and enough calories with a healthy dose of carbs to help replenish your glycogen in between workouts.
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