...after i complete the Birkebeiner x-c ski marathon on Feb 22nd, i'd like to train for RnR mara San Diego(May 31st)...i currently run about 2 miles per week on a treadmill but swim, bike, speed skate, lift, step, spin, jump rope, ski, etc...as well so base is no prob. i have recently regained good range of motion after a nagging high hammy...i ran grandma's mara back in '97 having only trained to 12 miles before kidney stones put me down three weeks before the race...i am 46...can i squeeze in a cram session to make this happen?...to what minimum distance should i train and perhaps just let it rip and hope for the best?...i'm guessing i'll have no room for a taper?...any assistance would be greatly appreciated!!!
Honestly, I don't recommend it, why not target a half marathon for 3 months out and if all goes well then target a full marathon 3-6 months after that. It sounds like you would be fine aerobically and muscle wise you could easily train for a full marathon from a very strong base in 3 months but realistically...it takes many months for your tendons and bones to adapt to the pounding they are gonna take training and completing a full marathon. This means that if you attempt it in 3 months even though it is physically possible, your risk of injury would be very high. You sound like you really enjoy being active so you gotta consider do you really want to risk that?
Another good point is that if you don't take the time to train and run several lesser races before you start training for the marathon, you have a much higher chance of bonking, DNFing, or not reaching your performance goals. People that don't train adequately for marathons often end up finishing only to throw in the towel on running and cursing the sport as a horrible experiance. A marathon is to be enjoyed.
From my experiance (I am your same age) I would recommend at least 9 months of total training before your marathon judging from the fitness level you indicate. Good luck eitherway.....
Chairman, Reef Ball Foundation
Todd, thanks for responding. I appreciate your candor. Although, I'm not stoked about what I do believe to be your prudent advice...I did expect and assumed that injury would be my greatest concern. I have zero interest in running a half-marathon, tho...I don't have my nose in the air, rather, I would suck at a half-mara. and a full but "just finishing" a marathon would be worthy(to me) anyway...I just can't see "feeling that way" about a 'half'. I'd get more stoked about racing a 5k!....I race Inline skates at an elite level and am very competitive at sprint distance triathlon(age group winner) so I guess I'll "get real" about my aspirations for this year and do my regular gigs and incorporate some add'l running to begin a plan for RnR in 2010...
Thanks again for your sound advice!
One more quick thought. It sounds like you are blessed with very good genes from a fast twitch perspective. (As you probably know there are 3 muscle types, fast twitch and slow twitch a & slow twitch b) which are determined genetically (the percentages of each). You can train to strengthen one over the other but the propotions are the same. In general if you favor the faster ones you compete well in shorter races/are faster and if you favor the slower ones you will have more endurance.
What this MEANS for you is that you would very likely perform much higher in a 5K race than in a full marathon (relative to competitors).
In terms of "just finishing" a marathon as being a worthy goal...their is another option that might appeal to you. There are several training programs available (most famous being Jeff Galloway) that teach you how to finish a marathon with minimal risk of injury by using the run/walk method (where you walk a portion of each mile). A program like that could help you accomplish the goal of finishing without worrying so much about injury.
But do believe me, if you decide to go the route of taking up serious running as a sport...and work you way from 5K to 10K to 1/2 marathon to full marathon RACING....it's a fun ride and trust me a half can provide just as much excitement as a full when you are racing not just trying to finish!
Chairman, Reef Ball Foundation
I wanted to provide a different perspective for you...but all the standard disclaimers apply (everyone is different, I'm not a doctor, etc., etc.). Disclaimers aside, I say GO FOR IT!! I've done 8 marathons, and have experimented with my own recovery time and training time needed, and found that with a good base, I don't need 9 months to train for a marathon. Last year, I completed 3 marathons in 7 weeks, with 12 weeks of training before that. The third of those marathons was just 7 days after the 2nd, and it was my first podium-finish. Let me put that in perspective for you. My PR was 4:25...and I finished 2nd in my age-group with 0-miles as my starting point just 16-weeks earlier.
Now, having taken almost a year off (new job, new baby, etc.), I'm jumping back into it with the NJ Marathon on May 3rd. I started sporadically running again about 4 weeks ago, and am comfortably up to 12 miles.
Anyway...I say GO FOR IT...and just get out there to have fun and enjoy the experience. Listen to your body, and let go of any finish-goal expectations. Have fun! - Kevin "Pugger" Pugh, from PuggerRunner.com
:: Kevin, from PuggerRunner.com
Thx for the support, Kev! I may just try what you suggest. I'm up to 6 miles at btw 7:30 - 6:40 pace. Still swimming, riding and lifting to maintain balance for the rest of the summer's events. Unfortunately, I'm focusing on speed work for a 5k on 4-18 so my volume will suffer. But who knows, it may just work out!