/ 8-week marathon

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fiendoidel - on 20 Feb 2013
My brother-in-law has just got himself injured and as a consequence I have been offered his London marathon entry.

I have run (sporadically) in training for 10km 'races' for several years and have done a handful (3 or 4) of half marathons (all thoroughly painful and unenjoyable). However, after at least a year off, I only started running again recently in December and Strava tells me that I am currently averaging 2 runs (totalling 20km) per week. My longest run was 22km a few days ago and, while most of the run was enjoyable, the last 4-5km were not. I also ride 60km per week (in 5 rides) and swim between 2 to 5km a week (one or two sessions).


I think I could probably struggle round a marthon course in April, but is it worth it?

Half of me thinks I should go for it as I like collecting finishers' medals and I will probably never do a marathon otherwise. The other half of me thinks that there is no point in risking getting injured by making a hasty decision - if I want to run that far UI should train properly (and slowly) for it next year.

So, who better than a group of faceless climbing-obsessed strangers to help me make up my mind. Your opinions please on what I should do.....

IainRUK - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to fiendoidel: I think you always struggle towards the end.. if you can run 22 km now I think 42 in 8 weeks is fine...

Just drop some of the swimming or cycling for runs.. you need to convert that fitness to running fitness.. get some long runs..

At least one 20 miler.. I'd do one 15-16 miler, one 18 miler and one 20/21 miler then general runs at least one mid week run of 8-10 miles, then on the weekends you don't do a proper long run at least do a 12 miler.
FrankBooth - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to fiendoidel:
marathon's are sometimes described as a race of two halves - a twenty mile half based on training and stamina, followed by a six mile half, driven by determination.
Yes, you could probably do it, based on three runs a week - a speedy 30 mins, an eight miler and then a long run (typically) at the weekend.

To reduce injury you should only add a mile or two a week, so if you're starting from a baseline of 13 miles (22km), then in five weeks you should be able to get up to 18 miles, which you could then sustain for a further couple of weeks. As a rule of thumb, you can usually run 1.5x your training distance, so by getting your legs use to 18 miles, and your body use to the nutritional requirements at that distance, you should get by.
Can't guarantee it'll be injury free though!
Simon Caldwell - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to fiendoidel:
> My longest run was 22km a few days ago and, while most of the run was enjoyable, the last 4-5km were not

I generally find that regardless of the distance I'm running, it's always the last 3 miles or so that hurt. I guess your brain goers into "nearly there" mode and starts turning on the "stop immediately" signals :-)

I guess the answer to your question depends on your attitude to pain and humiliation. Personally I get enough out of long distance running that I don't care about either, the satisfaction of finishing is enough. Though I never run on tarmac due to dodgy knees.
Steff - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to fiendoidel:

It's doable, but as you said, you will suffer and the injury risk is real. If you are fit through you cycling and swimming, it will probably be relatively easy for you to increase mileage due to fitness, but your joints and ligaments won't be used to the impacts. It's quite common for fit cyclists to get injured when they try themselves at running.

Also, it depends how much you want to run a marathon. Having run many marathons and longer races, I never really understand the attraction of just running one to get it ticked of some list. Running a marathon is not difficult, running a fast one is. If you really want to do one, I would recommend picking another one and prepare properly. It does not have to be London.

Tyler - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to fiendoidel:

If you have a London Marathon entry you postpone it for 12 months, is it too late for your brother to do that? It sounds like he might want it more than you and I believe getting an entry is not easy so you could magnamaously persuade him to do that to save you the effort of running 26 miles :-)
fiendoidel - on 20 Feb 2013
Thanks Tyler, that's the kind of answer I was hoping for - so I can persuade myself I don't need to do it.

To everyone else, those are also the answers I was hoping for - so I can persuade myself that I can do it.

The concensus at the moment appears to suggest that it is manageable. With that being the case, assuming I come to the conclusion that the risk of injury is worth the reward of a medal and a silver blanket, how does a training plan like the one detailed here sound:

http://www.active.com/running/Articles/4-Steps-to-Condense-Your-Marathon-Training-Plan
IainRUK - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to fiendoidel: Not bad.. its similar to what I mentioned..

I reckon three weeks of 16, 18, 20 will be too much.. I'd do 16, 12, 18, 13, 20..

So drop one of the longer runs.. 4 long runs in 5 weekends I think could lead to injury.. so long run every other week may be better.. see how you feel..
fiendoidel - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to fiendoidel:

Right, I have made up my mind. Although it makes me feel like a bit of a wuss I am going to make the sensible decision to leave it for this year. There are lots of other things which I already doing later this year for which I need functional knee joints (my weak point)and so I cannot justify knackering them out by April - especially as I don't really like running, roads or London.

Thanks everyone for the advice.
Steff - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to fiendoidel:

Sensible decision I would have thought, but if you as you say don't like "running, roads and London" a bit of a no-brainer really ;-)
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fiendoidel - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Steff:

Well that was overstating it a bit. I am getting to like running the more I do it and I do enjoy a bit of suffering, as well as the warm glow of finishing things. I was willing to put up with the roads and the London bit but, in reaility, I would rather do something like the Gower off-road marathon next winter when I have lots of miles in my legs...... better views.

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