Firstly you need to work out how much time you have and plan training goals
so that you can be at your best for the LM without getting injured due to
Realistically, there is only 10 weeks to go which is not much time to
develop the stamina necessary for such a tough distance.
Therefore, I'd be inclined to tackle this backwards; ie get some long and
gentle training runs/walks in as soon as possible,
especially as you are already an experienced runner. This will then give you
the basis and weight loss upon which to superimpose faster training and
racing. If you can substantially improve your basic speed at shorter
distances, then running further (ie the LM) at a slower pace will seem
easier until you are well into the race, at which time your long training
runs will help you to get you through the very tough final 8-9 miles.
Therefore, I suggest that you commit yourself to a few weekly training runs
of considerable distance (15-25 miles) but without time constraints so they
will probably have to be at weekends. Try to think of them as a
wandering/exploring/travelling experience so that the distance is not a fear
or pressure. These runs will become very tiring towards the end (you have
to experience this to race a marathon) but if you take them steadily and
realise that it's time on your feet which is important, then you'll learn to
enjoy them and actually find them a relaxing escape to which you look
If you find you can no longer run at some point (ie the severe weakness
feeling you get when your glycogen runs low and you have to convert to
running off your fat reserves), it's OK to walk but after a few minutes of
walking, you'll feel a degree of energy returning and be able to run again,
albeit with a 'running on empty' feeling. This is how it is in a marathon
and you need to practise it to become familiar with the experience so that
you know how to manage it, and also to extend your pre-wall threshold
towards the full marathon distance. These long runs can be made interesting
and enjoyable if you select your routes carefully and in such a way that you
are committed to the distance. Do not attempt them if you feel at all unwell
or fatigued - adjust your schedule until you feel ready. Think of them more
as travelling from one place to another on foot (like all those who couldn't
afford a horse or stage coach once did) rather than long training runs.
Choose interesting routes and objectives, ie places you haven't been to
before or catch a train somewhere and run back. It can be very enjoyable so
long as there is no time pressure. Suggestions which come to mind:
1. Run to Ely Station and catch the train to Cambridge Station and run back
though the city and along the river banks to your home.
2. Look at an OS map (use Multi-map) and find somewhere interesting 8-12
miles away as an objective and use different out and back routes. Always a
good idea to include some off-road to vary the pace and style, as well as
being more interesting.
3. Have a drove wander - plan a cross-country circuit - take a map print and
see if you can follow it. If you get lost and have to run a bit further
that's both a challenge and a bonus.
4. Run along one riverbank to Waterbeach and back along the other to Ely -
this is about 22-23 miles and a very tough run. You'll find a bit of walking
may be necessary. Might pay to take a snack for the final stages.
5. The club route from Woodditton to Ely (see ER website) - 18m to the
Paradise. You'll need someone to take you to the start.
6. There are lots of other drop-off and run back to Ely runs - a good one is
from Denver Sluice along 10 Mile Bank and the riverbank road from Littleport
back to Ely.
7. As it is a road marathon, at least half these runs must be predominantly
on the road, and more so towards the race day.
8. A back to back weekend of running; ie say 8-12 miles on Saturday
afternoon and the same again on Sunday morning.
Always ensure that you are well hydrated (from the night before) well before
the run, then you'll find you can cope (and condition yourself) without
comfort drinking, but if you can scrounge or take a few drinks en route,
that's OK and sensible. Some members hide half way water bottle the evening
before. It's important to know and feel that you are running reasonably free
of unnecessary support. Avoid relying on the so-called sports drinks,
they're expensive and can be counter productive before running, especially
if you do not normally have sweet drinks. However, it is important to have
a good breakfast (or other meal) before these long runs. The sports drinks
or carbo gels (rather unpleasant!) are best taken sparingly and of most
use when you are at a low ebb towards the end of the race. However, an
apple, orange, carrot, fruit cake or a banana are cheaper, just as effective
and much more pleasant.
Concurrent with your long runs, I do recommend fortnightly racing but not
necessarily all long races as these can rob you of both training energy and
encourage slow pace running. It is never a good idea to enter a race as a
'training run' - you can do this by yourself at much less cost and with more
convenience. Racing should be fast and progressive so that you build up your
strength and speed to develop an efficient but then an eased back pace for
the marathon provided you immediately start regular long training
runs as above, I suggest the following races:
5 Feb Frostbite Bourne (if you do a 2m warm up and 2m warm down, this
is 9.1 miles with 5.1 miles of fast running in the middle) and free.
19 Feb St Peter's Brewery 20k, Bungay (v popular so enter asap)
5 Mar Watford Half Marathon
12 Mar Mondi 15m, March
26 Mar Sandy 10m or Joe Cox 10m at Stowmarket - aim for a fast time - you
should be getting good by then!
9 Apr Belvoir 1/2 Marathon
This last race will give you an idea of your LM pace; eg if you run at say
7:45 pace, then your planning speed for the LM will probably need to be
about 8:30 m/m. It is important to stick to your planned race pace,
especially during the first half of the LM.
Your long training runs should be interspaced with fast training over
shorter distances. The Tuesday and Thursday training sessions are ideal but
you can also do some of these routes by yourself. As you get nearer to the
LM, the frequency and quality of these runs should increase until you taper
gently in the last 10 days or so.
Make sure you eat well and enough for the extra running and that if you need
new shoes you buy them well before the race (ie now).
Avoid overeating in the last few days before the LM - just normal diet - the
decrease taper and your fitness will do the rest.
Before the LM, ensure you're well hydrated from the night before. Have an
early breakfast and avoid stress before the race. Drink enough to maintain
normal hydration before the race and avoid 'tanking-up' with water. During
the race, drink water (more so in the early stages) little and often. A
small amount of the offered sports drinks are OK in the second half/last
third of the race but keep the little and often water intake going until the
last few miles.
Although this reply is orientated to your situation, I'll copy it to members
as they may be able to find something appropriate.
Hope these suggestions help - it's a difficult subject and different for
Ultimately you have to plough your own furrow in marathon running.