Improving on marathon in 2.5 months!

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    Jul 30, 2009 2:02 AM GMT
    Hey guys, so I just completed my first marathon in San Fran this past weekend. Woo hoo, I have no idea how I did it! Anyways, my friend and I decided to sign up for more pain, I mean the Columbus marathon in mid-October. I'm just wondering if there's any reasonable chance for me to improve on my time with only ~7-8 weeks of effective training?

    Since SF was so hilly, I clawed through to the finish in 5 hours. My aim is to get down to 4:30, hopefully. Also, is anyone else running the CBus marathon?
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    Jul 30, 2009 5:17 AM GMT
    Congratz on your first it is a great accomplishment. I am doing Chicago over Columbus since they are relatively close and inexperienced runners (aka non professionals or competitors) are not recommended to the marathons but once a year but most push 2-3 as long as there is about 4 months in between. So first of all get some rest!

    You can improve on your time. I personally like the RJ 12 week marathon program as it incorporates a lot into a marathon prep for beginners. With proper training and a decent effort I can imagine you dropping the time about 20 minutes. 5 hours is great for a first one but I am guessing you walked a lot so your primary goal should be to run about 20-22 miles before walking.

    Give the program a look and see where you fall. Count backwards from race day.

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    Jul 30, 2009 8:59 PM GMT
    Thanks for the tips Pinny! I was aiming for a finish time of 4:45, but unfortunately my running buddy contracted a case of Runner's trot around mile 7. Long story short, I stayed with him while he was trying to recover over the next few miles and we definitely walked more than we planned to. But I'm glad we pulled through with decent times in the end.

    Yea next time I'll space the marathons out a bit more. Good luck with your training before the Chicago run. I would be doing that race had they not filled registration by the end of May.
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    Jul 30, 2009 9:06 PM GMT
    Ya Chicago is retarded because it fills in a week or so.

    Good for you for sticking with your friend. I am convinced that if you plan to jog around 15-20 miles you will easily get to your goal if not break it and hit 4:30-4:35 ish. If you can average 10:30/mile you will finish in 4:30, 4:48 is 11/mile.

    Good luck, take your vitamins, stretch and avoid shin splints.
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    Jul 30, 2009 9:16 PM GMT
    Congrats, Buckece. That's great.

    You might improve your time some. You'll have the experience of the first race behind you, so you might well have a better sense of how (psychologically) to negotiate a marathon. And there will be differences in the course. (Maybe San Fran is hilly? Columbus is a pretty flat course, which could help your time significantly.)

    But really, eight weeks is not enough time between races for substantial training. You got to figure that you need at least a couple of weeks to rest up after the San Fran race. Then you got to figure that your hard training needs to taper down two or three weeks before the Columbus race. That leaves you three or four weeks between for training, which isn't enough time to get faster.

    My take: you may well do a 4:30 in Columbus, but if so, it won't be because of the training--but because of your better mind set, perhaps a flatter course, and because you weren't running up to your potential in the first race.

    To really train for a marathon takes three or three-and-a-half months.

    Have a great race.
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    Jul 30, 2009 9:23 PM GMT
    I just finished the SF marathon myself in 4 hours. You should be able to attain you goal. Just stick to the training. You should plan atleast one long run at the six week mark in your training. I was running six miles every other day and 18 miles on saturdays. I still did not hit my true goal of 3 1/2 hours but it was an improvement for me. I needed to work on hills and speed more. Also cut crap food from your diet.

    Good luck!

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    Jul 30, 2009 9:35 PM GMT
    I'm planning to run the half in Columbus. I've run the course before when I was training as part of a relay team...I was going to run the last half of the course, as Columbus did 3 person relay teams that year with the last man doing 13.

    Thing is, Columbus isn't as flat as you think. The stretch north on High St is actually a long slow incline.

    Good luck! C-bus's race is a lot of fun.

    edit: As to improving your time? Speedwork will help. The race is...12 weeks off? Find a good 10 week half training program and adjust the mileage caps?
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    Jul 30, 2009 9:50 PM GMT
    CONGRATS! That is awesome!
    Welcome to the wonderful and painful world of marathons!

    This was my 6th SF Marathon, that course is a really challenging and arduous course with the bridge and hills (but the beer stop makes it all ok!)

    I would suggest doing some cross training to give your joints a rest. If you are as gung-ho about this as you seem a major concern for you should be over training. If this was your first one you need to understand that your joints and bones are taking a serious beating that they aren't used to.

    I say it all the time, "Spin & Swim" will take time off your races and also help build up the musculature which can better support your bones and joints on the long runs.

    I spin & swim a few times a week. Run on the treadmill no longer than 30 minutes (sprints and hills) and do one long run of 15 miles two weeks before I race. *That's what works for me* but my point is, you might be different so gauge your training accordingly and use all else as guidelines.

    Food for thought:
    My PR is 3:16:27 which I'm really proud of and all but the races I've enjoyed the most, had the most fun with, felt the best afterward and reveled in the most were the ones where I ran 4 hour times, talked on the phone and updated Facebook during.

    *Time is not everything*
  • Run4Life83

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    Jul 30, 2009 9:58 PM GMT

    I'm going to agree though with OverandOver and RunnerBen, you need to give your body some rest time, through out right rest and cross training. It takes the body 1 day/mile that you've run to fully recover according to a lot of the general thought in the running community so for a 26 mile run you should take 26 days of recovery! While this seems like a lot, it can be active recovery, I did a mile time trial 2 weeks after I finished Boston this past spring and had a PB of 5:20, so it's not inconceivable. Listen to your body as you recover, if your legs feel heavy, cut the run short or go bike/swim, this way you'll avoid injury. Otherwise, incorporate some speedwork in (fartlek, 800s, 400s, 5K/10K races) and I think you'll get where you want to be.

    Good luck and keep us updated!!
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    Jul 31, 2009 3:33 AM GMT
    Wow, I highly appreciate everyone's advice here! Hmm I was going to begin training again next week, considering how good everything feels right now. Yeah I will watch my body carefully these next few weeks to avoid over-training. Plus in the end, I simply want to enjoy the race-day atmosphere. Again, thanks for the suggestions.
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    Jul 31, 2009 3:42 AM GMT
    over_and_over said*Time is not everything*

    You are right, but all serious athletes want to BQ before 35.
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    Jul 31, 2009 3:52 AM GMT
    At this stage, consider what you'll do for the next month as maintenance -- maintain your fitness without trying to increase distance or speedwork. Easy running, good diet, adequate sleep, plenty of stretching and massage. One long run but only for 2 hours should be doable 2 weeks post without any pain or feeling exhausted.

    Then as someone else pointed out, you will do better than your first race because you've got a psychological edge of having finished one and knowing how your body responded then. You won't have injured yourself by trying to 'train' during recovery. Plus you won't be dragged down by your sick friend so that you can focus on your own body's performance. 15" improvement is very realistic.

    Good running!