/ Marathon training for the older woman

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Robyn Vacher - on 10 Oct 2013
Posting on behalf of my sister who is planning to run her first marathon next May (Edinburgh).

She has always been a regular runner but never run more than a half marathon for which her fastest time was about 2.5 hours.

She is unable to join a running club (she lives in the middle of nowhere and in any case works shifts) and has tried the off the peg training plans before but have found them hard.

Are there any older women runners out there (Lesley is 54) who are new to marathon running that can share their experiences and, even better, their training plan?

Feeling bold on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to Robyn Vacher:

See Runners World website http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/target262/ which I have found useful for training advice. I've made up my own schedule for doing a 20 mile run (Grizzly), you have to be disciplined and generally keep to the plan but also flexible as well. Im adjusting mine as I go...
mbh - on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to Feeling bold:

That's a great event. Loads of atmosphere. Oh, and shingle beaches. And mud. And hills...... but hey, the memory of pain is shorter than the five years since the last time I did it, in 2009, so I will be there too next year. It is more a matter of having the mental strength to keep going rather than having out and out speed. For me it was, anyway. I came in in 3:53, and almost noone around me was running up any of the hills, right from the start, where the logjams would anyway have made that difficult. The support from the marshalls and the spectators was terrific.

Robyn - your sister might be encouraged by the knowledge that she will be hugely cheered by those watching, whatever her time or position in the field. Her biggest challenge, especially in training when those cheers are not around, is to overcome the voice on her shoulder that tells her to quit. That's where it helps to have some way of letting someone know what you have just done after each run during the long training months, whether that is family, friends, a club or a forum like this one. The slight pressure of not wanting to let them down helps one to keep going. If alone, who cares if you stop?
andy - on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to Robyn Vacher: The Runners World marathon threads are a great support - I used to use the sub-3:15 thread and shared training sessions, times, all the ups and downs - and got great support, advice and made some good mates.

Feeling bold on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to mbh:

Yes I have heard that it's better to walk up the hills for the full course unless you are super mega fit, which i am not. I tried entered a 10 miler race last weekend down near Budleigh Salterton that included mud and rivers...thought it would help with training. Maybe I will start a Grizzly thread nearer the time.
But thanks for sharing details about that event
Wonrek - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Feeling bold:

Third Grizzly next year for me. Good little fun day out and if you can run the grizzly you can run a marathon....
andy - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Wonrek:

> Third Grizzly next year for me. Good little fun day out and if you can run the grizzly you can run a marathon....

I think I know what you mean, but there's a massive difference to running/getting round a multi-terrain event over 20 miles and running 26 miles on roads where you get no respite (assuming the intention is to run it at a reasonable pace). I have mates who are absolutely tip-top standard fell runners and they reckon a road marathon's amongst the hardest things they've done because it's so unrelenting (and, to be honest, boring) - the same pace (probably faster than you'd run off road), the same surface and nothing technical to take your mind off it.

So yes - if you can get round a 20 mile, hilly, multi-terrain race you'll have the stamina and strength to get round a 26 mile road marathon - but there's no guarantee you'll hit your target time without doing some road specific running.
Wonrek - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to andy:

Who mentioned road?!?!

Off road marathons are where it's at :-)

Talking of road marathons, I did the Dartmoor Discovery road ultra this year, now that was just torture. 32 road miles on some of the hardest hills in Dartmoor when all you want to do is get onto the trails....
The New NickB - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Wonrek:

> Who mentioned road?!?!

The OP, specifically Edinburgh!
Uluru on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Robyn Vacher:

I would personally be very careful about using some of the pre written plans available on the internet.

I'm doing Edinburgh next May as well and a lot of the plans suggested 5 days running.

Now I'm not the same age as Lesley, I'm 37, but will be running 3 days a week to ensure I can still do my circuit training once a week, climbing and mountain biking.

I've had a plan written for me which slowly builds up the miles. I am prone to injury as I tend to push it too much too soon. So my plan gives one long run a week, sometimes off road, sometimes on road.

My two shorter runs vary each week. So one week I'll be doing hilly runs and the other interval sessions. One of my shorter runs will be at a very easy pace.

I'm aiming to do under 4 hours.

I have two friends who had plans like this written for them prior to Berlin Marathon this year and they managed 3 hours 42 and 3 hours 47. They both ran three times a week and remined uninjured.
The New NickB - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Robyn Vacher:

My girlfriend is decent marathoner (3:40), at 41 not as old as your sister, but has to juggle a full time job and looking after a 12 year old around training. She simply gets a few runs in during the week, 2 or 3, 4-6 milers when ever she can fit it in, then a long run without fail at the weekend. She does 20 miles pretty much every weekend, but clearly the distance can be built up over time.

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