I started my marathon training last week after taking it easy for the last 6 months and I thought I'd share my experiences for anyone similarly inclined to run long distances who hasn't yet done so.
Firstly assessing my current state of fitness is what I should have done before beginning training. I've not been doing much running for a while, I've put on a bit of weight, and I've lost some fitness. This is, in fact, why I want to run a marathon. I want to get that fitness level back. I've been running 3 to 5 miles, 3 or 4 times a week. 10 to 15 miles in total. That's where I'm starting out. My marathon is in 16 weeks time.
Monday - Rest day. Cross training and cycling.
Tuesday - 30min Steady Run - 3.2 miles
Wednesday - 9.1 miles run with a slower friend - 96 minutes
Thursday - Rest
Friday - 10 minutes Steady Run, 20 minutes Hard Run, 10 minutes Steady Run - 4.5 miles
Saturday - 30 minutes Steady Run - 3.2 miles
Sunday - 70 minutes Long Run - 7 miles
Total - 30 miles
I've gone from 10-15 miles to 30 miles. This was a mistake and I should have eased into it or spread my workouts around a bit. My Saturday run was horrendous and I really struggled just to keep a steady pace going. The speed work on Friday really took it out of me and I don't think I'd recovered from the 9 miles two days before. Then Sunday was even worse. I was struggling just to finish and my legs felt like I'd been running for twice as long.
This week I rested again on Monday and I'm glad I did. I kept getting cramps in my lower legs, shin and calf muscles, and it felt like my legs wanted to give out on me every third step. I did a 40 minute run this morning without any problems so I looks like I'd just overreached myself. Lesson learnt. That's why I didn't run on Monday and kept off my feet most of Sunday after my bad run.
Week 2's plan
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 40min SR - 4 miles
Wednesday - 8.2 miles Long Run.
Thursday - Speed work - 10min ER, 3 x (5min TR, 2.5min ER) 10min SR - 4 miles
Friday - Cross train. Cycling. Core & stretching.
Saturday - 15min Easy Run, 10min Threshold Run, 5min Easy Run, 10min Hard Run, 15min Easy Run - 6-7 miles
Sunday 10 miles LR
Total - 33 miles
If I'm in pain after tomorrow's long run then I'll switch the speed work to Sunday and cross train on Thursday instead. I don't need two long runs in a week. The point in the first month is to build up the general fitness levels so that the later, longer distances are achievable.
Any tips for early marathon training would be appreciated.