enough training for marathon?

Discussion in 'Training Information/Training Regimens' started by Tristan, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. Tristan

    Tristan
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    For those of you perhaps more skilled in the marathon or ultra distances I have a question. I've been debating about my upcoming marathon, October 16th... whether I can attempt it or perhaps back down to the half. A little background... I've run this twice, probably with similar training as I had this year (maybe more long runs but similar or less weekly mileage). Both times they kicked my but, left me limping and hobbling for days, and the second one did some damage to my achilles which I think is still a lingering problem for me. With that in mind I told myself I wouldn't attempt the marathon again until I could get adequate training. Last year I skipped it knowing I wasn't prepared. This year I thought I had a shot at enough training and signed up for it back in spring when the price was lower. I did have a slightly better summer but still very doubtful it's adequate. My plan, knowing I probably wasn't going to be trained to race it competitively was to just go easy at a normalish long run pace and just try to finish it without hurting myself. But I am not really sure how much training is good enough just to finish it at a modest pace and not be limping afterwards.

    My longest run this summer has been the 18.12 mile race, and I did it well, but was hurting after with full on DOMS for 3-4 days after, using hiking poles to get around easier and avoid straining my weakened right achilles. I did recover seemingly without injury, though a bit of stiffness persisted for a couple weeks but pretty much back to normal now. I really wanted to do a few 18 milers to prep for the marathon, but at this point (within 3 weeks) I'll be lucky to do one this week. My last 3 weeks were all short/easy runs I don't even feel like 18 miles would be smart this week without working up with an intermediate long run or two less than 18.

    Here are my longest runs of the summer, everything I did that was longer than a half-marathon:
    2016LongRuns.png
    Not to many unfortunately. Pretty pathetic actually considering in years past I had several over 15 miles and at least a couple 20+
    For the last two marathons I did both times I got a couple runs in 20+ miles, though there is a strong opinion out there that one doesn't need to run more than 18 miles to train. Not sure if 1 18 miler is enough though.


    Here is my weekly mileage for most of the summer:
    2016_summer_miles.png
    You may have to click on it to read it. I had some good 30+ mile weeks. Lately though, I haven't had over 30 miles in a month and a half. This week I could easily, but start tapering next. Realize though that there is quite a lot of cycling and hiking and other sports adding to my overall fitness in there, that wasn't all I did, but just the running part of it.

    But there is a huge difference in running a race fast, and just casually to finish. Still it would be pushing myself. But I could back down to the half-marathon, though I'd have overpaid for it, but that is ok. I've done well this year at the shorter distances, and even the 18 miler, so if I backed down to the half I might actually have a shot at a PR. And it probably would be a lot easier for me to get a couple of speed workouts in rather than a couple of long runs in at this point.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. rickwhitelaw

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    Hey Tristan, sorry for my absence, looks like I have some catching up to do. So to be honest, your consistency is a problem and your lack of long runs is a problem. They are problems if you intend to RACE the marathon. If you go out and just run the marathon at a easy pace, enjoy the morning and have a good time, walk through the aid stations, you will be fine on your current training. It will be hard to hold back, you will be passed by youngsters, grandmas, great grandmas, and guys that outweigh you by 50 pounds. Block that from your mind and stay slow. The benefits to not racing are: you don't need to worry about taper, your injury risk will be low, and you will be shocked at how fast you recover.

    Do not do the half. Been there done that. Might as well get your moneys worth.
     
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  3. dutchie53

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    X2 what Rick said. Start towards the back enjoy the day and walk through the aid stations.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  4. Tristan

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    @rickwhitelaw I think two years ago I posted a similar question and I think you answered then too. But then I just went with how I felt, and of course once I get going I feel great. This time around I've learned my lesson (well, mostly) and if I attempt the full it will be at a more casual pace. I was doing really well there for a while ramping up, but the last race just really knocked me back with needing lots of recovery and I had a couple really low weeks. I suppose had I not went 'all out' on the 18.12 Challenge, and kept up with the 40 or so mile weeks with a few more long runs I'd be in much better position. In future years I guess I need to decide which one I really want to race. I am very curious about the recovery and soreness difference with such a long run between pushing to the limit versus just running casual, so I think this time around I'm more interested in sticking to the casual pace. I really don't want to strain the achilles again. I guess I was a bit concerned I wasn't up to it even at a casual pace, sometimes I'm just a worry wart.

    If one doesn't have to taper much (since not running competitively), would it be ok to do an easy pace 16-18 mile long run 7-9 days before the race? I'd still take it easy the final week just doing short 2-4 mile runs a few times perhaps.
     
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  5. skedaddle

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    I know you know this, but to train for a marathon you have to build up distance slowly and consistently over time to peak just before the race. Throwing in an easy long won't effect you or your results that much as long as the base is there to support it. If it's not you're just inviting injury.
    In the real world most of us don't have the luxury of consistent training, we have to do our best with the time we've got, which can lead to a lot of pre race nerves and doubt because we don't have the confidence that consistency brings.
    Just enjoy the race in the way that feels comfortable for you Tristan. You can never totally negate risk, especially when you start hitting the longer distances. You are going to hurt after running 26miles! I read somewhere that for every mile you run in a marathon you need a day of recovery post race.
    Sometimes it's more challenging to run easy, especially if you have a competitive edge to you. But we run marathons to challenge ourselves, there are more ways to win a race than posting a PR.
    I don't race anymore, so take what I say with a pinch of salt. Just some observations on how I feel personally. Good luck, experience the day and have fun!
     
  6. Tristan

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    Thanks for the words @skedaddle I feel the same way really. And you mention something that is part of my doubt... " as long as the base is there to support it" but defining a base can be hard to do. As you can see I've only done good long runs about once a month. There is however several other 10-13 milers in throughout the year, I just set my filter on 13+. Also what filtering doesn't show is the back to back days which partly simulates a longer run. In my first few years, including both prior marathons, I ran only every other day. I always allowed a day of recovery, since back then when I tried doing back to backs my legs really felt strained on the second day. But this year I've really embraced back to backs to make use of my extra days off on my rotating work schedule. Anyhow I am splitting hairs here, over-analyzing (my specialty), so I'll say pretty much what has been said that I'll run it casually and of course report back afterward. Thanks everyone for the advice. :)
    Keeping my fingers crossed that the overnight low temps wont be too cold, it's hit or miss in October :coldfeet:
     
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  7. rickwhitelaw

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    Should be ok, but don't get hung up on numbers. Plan on the mileage, but if you are not feeling it or have any ache or pains, cut it short. Sometimes that close to a race, even one run easy, the benefits of a long run do not outweigh the risk. You know yourself the best.

    Keep in mind I am not an experienced marathon runner and it is rare that I run any race competitive (against my own times of course, much to slow to even consider placing). Although I do want to run a marathon hard in January. So hopefully you will get a few more comments coming in. I know how hard it is to get consistent training with a crazy work schedule.

    A few more tips to run a marathon slowly. Run with a slower friend (if he doesn't mind), use a pace group (you don't have to run with the group, just keep in mind where they are), run without the gadgets (or use it to set an upper pace alert).
     
  8. Tristan

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    Thanks again Rick, and good luck preparing for yours January. That sounds cold! I got a good long run in today, around 17 miles, if I do one towards the end of next week I'll probably cut it shorter. I'll be running the marathon solo, I only know one other runner who I've run a few halfs with (Yvonne from here) and even though we've done plenty of long runs in the upper teens and she often gets more consistent weekly mileage she so far doesn't want to try a full. I may try to hang with a pace group though. Yeah the shift work makes consistency impossible. However now I'm able to do more back to backs I'm getting better mileage in, will break last years mileage total I think by the marathon, and have 2.5 more months to go. But I'm not sure if it will get much better than this year until I retire lol. Might be able to squeeze some miles here and there, get up really early some mornings perhaps which I rarely can bring myself to do now, but maybe. This year I gave up several things to free up more time, I stopped working on my major house renovation, I didn't have a garden, a got a nice zero turn that saves me about 2 hrs a week mowing, etc. We had the mildest winter that I can remember but I still bailed on a 50k I wanted to do in May. Cycling took up more of my time though, still a secondary sport to running for me but I did commit some pretty hard rides, all day and multi-day trips that preventing me from running a few times. Anyhow I rambling now so I'll just say I'm going for the full but just casually and really hoping I won't be limping for days afterward. :oops: Really want to be able to get back at it quick before the cold sets in and carry some of this momentum into winter.
     
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