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Marathon questions?

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So, I've decided that in order to push myself to that next level (I've felt stagnant at the gym the last few weeks), I am going to make the move and start training for a marathon. I think having something to keep myself motivated and driven to do will really ensure I get out there and push myself. And saying it on here is my public declaration to actually do it, hehe!

I'm just wondering, from anyone who has ever done one before- which program (if any) did you use to prepare yourself? I'm looking into Hal Higdon's. The program lasts 18 weeks, and looking at marathon schedules, there is one near me at the end of that 18 weeks, so I'll probably sign myself up. Has anyone used this, and what was your success with it? Is it okay to skip forward a week or two in the program (I already run 6 or 7 miles without a problem)?

Also, Higdon's program doesn't really say much about lifting while in training. Can I keep myself on my lifting schedule (4 days/week) while in training, or would this be counterproductive?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated- thanks!

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Congrats on your decision to run a marathon! It is a great accomplishment. I have run two and used a training schedule from the book How to Train for and Run your Best Marathon. Here is the link to the book: athon/dp/0671797271

I like this training schedule better than Higdon's as you train for total time, rather than total distance. Mentally, it was easier to see I had to run 90 minutes one day rather than seeing 12 mies, etc.

You should still keep your lifiting as cross training is important and lifting on your legs will help build them up.

Best of luck to you!!

You can skip forward in the plan a few weeks if you are already managing a 6-7 mile run. Check out the novice and intermediate. If your goal is simply just to finish, try the novice, if you want to really work on time follow the intermediate schedule.

I, personally, don't like beginner's marathon training programs that have back to back increasing long runs.  I prefer alternating weekends.  With that said, here are some alternative web sites to research marathon training plans:

Jeff Galloway

Girls on the Run

Cross training is a good thing!  Especially if you are working the upper body.  Other good forms of cross training are swimming and cycling.

Good luck!!

I 2nd Jeff Galloway his book Marathon! You Can Do It!  Helped me a lot when I ran my 1st Marathon at 18 years old and as an inexperienced runner.

Hi ..

 I have run 3 marathons and training for Pittsburgh in may.I did use Hals,but I did a 22 miler and 2 20s for my first.It was a good program.You need 16 weeks to train.I kept a base of 10-12 for my long runs all winter,so I am doing 14 on sunday and will go from there .I am planning on doing 6- 20 t0 23 milers for this one.Anyways the key is to run slow.You want to build endurance and train your body to stay out for 3 to 4 hours.Do not worry about speed.I ran my first one in 4:19..I was impressed with that.Just go slow and stay on track.Have fun and joy it.

Thanks for the advice and support everyone! I think I will run out to Barnes and Noble this weekend and check for those books.


One other question- do you tend to do mini-carbo loading the day before your long runs? Just trying to start planning out any dietary adjustments I'll need to make. Thanks!

While I don't do marathons (too young -15- but I'd like to when I'm older) I have done some long bike rides (50+ miles) where I'll be riding 3-4+ hours.

I DO carbo-load before these rides and take multiple energy gels and Cliff Shot blocks with me.

I'd say, do a "mini-carbo load" if it's a long run.

Original Post by horsinaround23:

Thanks for the advice and support everyone! I think I will run out to Barnes and Noble this weekend and check for those books.


One other question- do you tend to do mini-carbo loading the day before your long runs? Just trying to start planning out any dietary adjustments I'll need to make. Thanks!

If you get a good book on marathoning, one of the topics will have to be nutrition.   You will need to take in liquids and food WHILE you are running the marathon.  You should determine your sweat rate to help figure out how many ounces of fluid to drink per hour.  Calories should be in the 1-200 per hour, depending on how heavy you weigh.

You will need to practice this on EVERY long run to train your body to use what you are giving it.  If you are trying to lose weight, don't get discouraged.  Just stay on top of your meal planning during the week.

Good point-  I'm not trying to lose, except perhaps 5 vanity pounds- just maintain and increase fitness. So that shouldn't be a problem to work into my routine. I have an 8 mile scheduled for tomorrow, I guess I'll start practicing then with a gel pack (I always bring water). Thanks!

I've done Hal's program for 3 marathons, and I like it a lot.  I like that you run 5 days a week, because 4 doesn't seem like enough to me.  I also like that the majority of miles are on the weekend when I have more time.  I now incorporate speed training on the weekdays for the shorter runs, which is easy to do on the treadmill.  I am also convinced you don't need to do anything over a 20 miler for long runs.  When you are in the race, your adrenaline will be more than enough to carry you those extra miles.

I don't think you have to eat anything different the day before your long runs.  This may take some experimenting though, everyones different.  Just no alcohol!  You'll feel it :).  For morning of, I always have oatmeal and maybe a powerbar.  A small amount of tea or coffee is okay.  Have some gatorade or chocolate milk in the fridge for afterwards.  It will be on your mind those last couple miles!  

For the gels, i usually only take one for anything over 12 miles, and then one every hour, but i don't think you need to take them as much as recommended on the package (after all, these recommendations are from the people who want to sell you more gels...)

Good luck and happy running!

You also asked about weight training and I don't know if any one has answered that question yet. Most training programs that I have seen only suggest lifting 1-2 days a week while training for a marathon and then stopping all together when you begin your taper before the marathon. Basically, you don't want your muscles to be too exhausted from weight training to get in the requisite number of miles. If you can keep lifting 2-3 days a week, then maybe you can go for it, but if you start feeling tired/burned out, I would suggest cutting back.

10 Replies