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so i registered for my first marathon ( :banana: ), from which i'm currently about 6 months out.
i've been a pretty casual runner, with about 10-15 mi/wk at a 5.5-6.0 mph pace. so it's not much, but it's something to build off of.
i keep telling myself not to set a time goal and just finish with little to no walking, but, as a chronic sufferer of delusions of grandeur, i would LOVE to break 5.
i've got a couple different beginner plans i've been looking at, but since i've never trained for anything long like this, i'm having trouble deciding...

should i go with 18 weeks or something longer?

some suggest as few as 3 days/wk running, with supplemental cross-training. is that enough running?

some don't specify mileage (except for one weekly long run) but rather an interval of time. should i be working more on building mileage or will building on that one long run do the trick?

is yoga enough to qualify as cross-training, or should i reserve that for a rest day? or is it too much for a rest day?

should i throw some weight training in there as well or will that put too much strain on my run workouts?

alright, i think that's all i got, thanks a million in advance for any help.

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Well first I have never done a marathon myself but have coached someone through a few. 3 days a week running is not enough IMO to train for a marathon. Second, yes, add some weight training it will make you a stronger runner, balance out your leg muscles and strengthen your core. Yoga as cross training?? Sure, but still add the weights and maybe even cycling or eliptical. Good luck! :wavey:
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Follow a training program. At your level of training, I'd go with Hal Higdon's Novice program.
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hal higdon's is definitely one of my favorites. currently, however, i'm kind of leaning toward this one since i really like that it incorporates speed and strength work in addition to the straight runs. it's pretty intense though as it stands (part of what draws me to it, i must admit,) so as a tradeoff, might it be wise to go with the suggestion they make for shortening the peak long run to 20 instead of 26?

also, how should i work in weight-training? i'm used to a 3-day push/pull/legs split, but it'd be hard to fit that in with all the running.

i want to get the most out of this training as possible so as to not just finish but finish well (relative to my experience level of course), but i'm wary of setting myself way back by pushing too hard and hurting myself in the process...

thanks for the advice!
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I completed my first marathon about a month ago, I was further along with my running than you when I started.

I chose this regiman because of the 23 miler. I figured that if I could run 23, I could run 26.2, and it worked.

I would say you would have to run a bare minimum of 40 miles per week and complete all of your long runs.

Best of Luck.
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Agree for most part with all the replies so far.

You have six months till your marathon, rather than being "a pretty casual runner with about 10-15 miles per week" why not start your gradual build up in miles right away.
I'm all for some cross training but for a first marathon the most important thing is miles in your legs or time on your feet.
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I'm agreeing with Phar and RAS here. A base is crucial in building yourself up physically and mentally for a 'thon. As Phar said, you have the time to build that base, but get started on it and don't waste time.

Like Sue, I don't know of anyone who makes a 26-mile run part of their 'thon training. Better to get two or three 20-milers in (that seems to be about the longest, though I've seen one or two that go with a long of 22), than just a single 26. Come race day, the base you've built plus the adrenaline of the race will take you the final 6.2 miles.
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