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Topic - Marathon training advice: feasibiltiy and training pace

James1982 - on 10 Jul 2014
Hello all. Am looking for some advice on marathon training.

Brief history: been running for years but for the last year or so I've been upped it to 4-5 times a week supplemented with 1-2 Bikram yoga session. Generally I run between 5km and 10km and on average do 30-40km per week. I've ran 3 half marathons in my life (2 races, 1 training) the last of which was about 5 weeks ago in 1:48. I have gone sub 22 mins at 5km and sub 45 mins at 10km this year.

I am signed up to the Thames Meander Marathon on 1st November and last week started the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 training plan. My target is sub 4 hours but aspirationally would love to get close to 3:30. At the minute this feels ambitious because historically I have neglected the longer distances which is probably reflected in the disconnect between my 10km and half marathon times (I think my half marathon should be closer to 1:35-1:40).

First question is given this background am I pushing it by doing a training plan which involves a number of weeks at 40-50 miles? Obviously I'll listen to my body but interested to know if people think for a first marathon I should lower my expectations a little.

Secondly and more importantly everything I read suggests the majority of training runs be done at below marathon pace. I am finding it very hard doing a midweek 5m run for example below marathon pace as my mind tells me that surely it's beneficial to go above that pace so that when it comes to the long runs / marathon it'll be nice and easy to go slower.

So can anyone briefly explain the reasoning behind this and does anyone do something different? Also can anyone give any advice on what pace they personally train at in relation to their marathon pace? For example currently I would run 3-5 miles at around 7:30ish pace, 8-10 miles at 8:00 per mile pace and anything above around 8:15-8:30 (at these longer distances always setting off faster but slowing by the end).

I guess my key issue is endurance so advice on the best way to address that in the context of the training plan and the pace issues would be very gratefully appreciated.

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