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Marathon vs. Triathlon Training. Advice please!

Hi, please help!

The plan for next year was to hit the training hard and properly improve my times for Sprint and Olympic distance for next year. The training plan in my head was to do lots of speed work to improve strength as well as endurance.
However in a moment of madness I've entered a marathon for a laugh.

I've never run a marathon before, and I'm really worried that the training required for this will effect my chances for speed and improved times.

Can anyone offer reassurance or better still advice for managing both? I haven't been running long (couple of years only).

I'm not concerned about completing the marathon, but don't want to ruin my quest for speed. I currently run a 10k in 40 mins but had hoped to get that down to close to 38mins for a straight race (non tri). I don't care what time I do for the marathon (which is in April - the Brighton one).

Thanks in advance everyone!



  • ShaggyShaggy Posts: 140
    I'm getting ready for a marathon in a few weeks and I'm using the 'FIRST' training plan from the runners world website because it isn't running overload, keeps shorter speed work and tempo runs and leaves time to bike/swim too.


  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    Interesting Ade.

    I'm training for Dublin in October, also using the FIRST programme for the most part anyway.

    The prescribed weekly speedwork sessions rarely cover 5k, usually 4.8k per session I think.

    Is this a bit short to attack a 10k PB? I read an article recently advocating 5 x 2k intervals.

    The session is clearly designed for a purpose, but also in context of running a competitive marathon whilst not overdoing the running.

    Anyway, I guess I'll answer my own question in November / December when I start running 10ks again after the marathon.
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    @dangermouse: You've kind of answered your own question. Your problem isn't completing the marathon. You goals are for speed in Sprints and ODs. In terms of hours of effort, a marathon is only a bit longer than an OD (well, an hour longer maybe!). So you are going to have a pretty good endurance base already. So the marathon simply becomes a question of finding a pace, and nutrition strategy that gets you through comfortably. Upping the distance you run will just increase your chances of injury, so I'm not sure you even want to do that.

    What is you current longest distance that you run in training? If you already have a long slow 10 - 13 miles in training, then that is probably long enough. Certainly, if you go out for 2 - 4 hour rides on the bike.

    I would be tempted to stick with your tri training program, only modifying it if you don't ever do a 10 mile run - a couple of those at an easy, or marathon pace, perhaps replacing a longer cycle ride, assuming a 12 week run up to the event (i.e. not that many needed!)

    Then just treat the Marathon as a long slow training run.

    Good luck!
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    Dangermouse, I'm also doing Brighton and my aim is to increase my weekly LS run (sundays or wednesday evening) upto about 22 or so miles, do a tempo run and one hill session per week, this leaves me plenty of time to do a long ride on the bike (saturday) and swim twice a week. after all most of this training is going to be during the off season for tri - so you should be building your base fitness anyway. i find that a half hour tempo run above 10k pace was enough for me to knock 7mins off my 10k PB last time out.In the tempo session (lunchtimes) I would cover 4.5 or 5 miles, as I get stronger and faster this will increase, as it is that's near enough 10k for me to know adrenaline will get me through the rest. But I agree with jack that it depends where you start from, what's your 10k PB?
  • Thanks chaps!
    I feel better now.

    The plan was to kinda carry on the usual training, speed and tempo stuff during the week and then a long run at the weekend. I guess I've just got a few months to get that up to a very long run. It can only help right?
    md6, sounds like we're in the same boat. Glad to know I'm not the only one.
    Perhaps see you there!!
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    i'm nowhere near these exalted levels but passing on what I have read elsewhere (mags, marathon runners etc) the general advice seems to be no more than 20 miles/3 hours running in training as it takes too long to recover from.

    That doesn;t mean you should be looking to do 20 miles IN 3 hours... just if you train by distance no more than 20 miles (and even that only once or at the very most twice in your training program, just before taper), or if you train by time, no more than 3 hours (and again max twice in a program at that length of time).

    usual caveats about received wisdom


  • danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    I'm going to run Brighton next spring as well, and the last weeks through the end of the year I'm just going to focus on speed and leg strength. Since getting a lot of good advice here, I've switched to twice a week running above my race paces, one session in mile repeats and one in 200-400m intervals. So far that's really helped out.

    I don't think, if you've been running regularly, that it takes 16 weeks to get up to marathon completion shape. If you can do a couple of long runs in the 8-12 weeks building up to april of 16-18 miles then you'll be able to finish the marathon. Be around 40-50 miles for 6-8 weeks and you can finish it, maybe even less. If you want to really 'run' it, then you'd need different advice, which I wouldn't guess at but runnersworld has in abundance...
  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    I'm considering doing the 60 mile Blenheim cyclo-sportive 3 weeks before my marathon.

    This'll be a stretch for me as I haven't been doing much riding for various reasons, but at same time it's perfectly doable at the right pace.

    Do people think this ride will be beneficial, harmful or neutral in context of a marathon 3 weeks later? I'd be doing a long run anyway that weekend, which I'd obviously skip.
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Beneficial, I would say - compared with doing nothing!

    Three weeks is long enough to recover and for the body to adapt.

    You will be developing your C/V system.
    Some positive effects on muscles too, in terms of power/endurance.
    Less chance of injury than if you ran for a similar time.

    So lots of cross training benefits, reduced chance of injury, improved endurance performance.

    Sure, a running specific programme would, perhaps, be optimal, but, then again, if you injured yourself, then it might not be.

    Running wise, you just want to focus on speed work (speed being relative to the requirements of a marathon - so some tempo runs of 30 mins or so. Intervals if you fancy it.)
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