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  1. #1
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    Commuting and Marathon training

    Is anyone out there a commuter and training for a distance event like a marathon? I just started training for a couple fall marathons and my legs feel absolutely dead on the long runs on the weekend.

    I have done a couple marathons and countless halfs so I know I can do the distance, but I have never trained for them while commuting.

    My current plan has me running before work (longest run during the week is about 6 miles for now) 4 days a week. Weekend has a long run on Saturday and a mid-length run on Sunday. I typically commute 4 days a week, 22miles round trip and I think that is just wearing me out.

    I am thinking I may need to change up and take fridays completely off and maybe just bike commute Mon-Wed or maybe even just Mon-Tues to get my legs back under me.

    Any tips/suggestions?

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    I am. I have a short (10 km round trip) commute that I pretty much treat as if I don't do it. My normal schedule is: Monday off, Tuesday - one hour run hard, Wednesday 30 km cycle (on top of the commute), Thursday one hour run easy, Friday one hour run easy, Saturday 20 km easy cycle plus 1 mile swim, Sunday 2 or 3 hour run or cycle (2 and 3 hours on alternate weeks). In the winter I drop the Wednesday cycle and replace it with another one hour run.

    I usually do two marathons and an olympic distance tri each year (tri was yesterday) plus some other long event (2 week bicycle tour, 64 km run, back to back centuries have been the most recent). The commute, which I started about 6 months ago) doesn't seem to have affected the training. If I had a longer commute I think I would alternate longer and shorter training sessions (every second day I would only train for half an hour in addition to the commute).

    All my weekday training is done after my commute and I don't worry too much if I miss a day every two weeks or so. The last marathon I ran was after a week of moving furniture to a new house that completely screwed my normal taper before the run and I still managed my normal time (3:45 ish).

    I'd say, if you feel like you need the rest, take it. My worst marathon time ever was after over training.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, I'm training for my first marathon (in November). I have a short commute though (around 7 miles round trip), but I treat it like a time trial most days. As I ramp up my running, I think I'll be taking it easier on the commute

    Is your commute very hilly? You could always just take it much easier on rest days. There are a lot of benefits to taking a leisurely ride on rest days actually.

  4. #4
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNJgOJ1n644

    You may find this video interesting. Keep in mind it's not an instant solution and it takes some serious backbone to maintain your running cadence for any period of time on these. Also, while the guy says stationary bike work, there's no reason you can't do the same high cadence work during your commutes.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    I commute while I train for triathlons. I'm not super-competitve but I do compete well in my age group. I missed 3rd place in my last tri because I had to fix a flat tire and I placed 2nd in the one before that. I use my commute for my bike training on bike days and when I've got a run work-out scheduled, I just take it super easy on the commute. Swim training along with bike commuting hasn't been too much of a problem.

  6. #6
    Senior Member envane's Avatar
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    Marathons? **** that ****. Train for double-centuries.

  7. #7
    Got Scotch? goalieMN's Avatar
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    I ran Grandma's Marathon this year, and am training for IM Wisconsin next month.

    I commute 20-22 miles round-trip 5-days a week to work. I often run after I bike home, and do my long runs on the weekends.

    I take it easy on the ride in to work, and push it a little on the ride home. It's worked out well for me so far.
    "It turns out that what you have is less important than what you do with it."

  8. #8
    Senior Member novas's Avatar
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    i've trained for a half marathon while commuting ... but i take my bike commute pretty easy; i don't crank it too hard so i still have energy (and muscle strength) to do my runs while training. i did my longer runs on weekends.

    now my job sucks up too much of my energy and it's the best i can do just to get on a bike and ride the 8 miles each way.

  9. #9
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    solution? Run to work?
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  10. #10
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    If you're feeling worn out when you start your long run you're either over-trained, tired or not allowing yourself enough time to recover. I think you're being smart and addressing this problem now before it becomes an issue. I'd cut the Friday commute at the least and make sure you get plenty of sleep Thu/Fri night, at least 8 hours both nights to make sure your long runs go well. It's the foundation of marathon training after all.

  11. #11
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    My commute is only 4 miles so I would often run home. I had one route that was an even 10K.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member novas's Avatar
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    oh yeah, and i'd be remiss not to caution against adding too much too soon. i'm sure you know this already, but injury can take you out from both the biking and the running. build up your base gradually and try not to increase your running mileage by more than 10% each week, whether you're biking or not.

  13. #13
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    Do you have a good place to lock up your bike at work, that you wouldn't mind leaving your bike at overnight? You could always try riding to work, then running home, and then running to work the next day, and riding back home again. I've never trained for a marathon though, so I have no idea if that's even a good idea, just thought I'd throw it out there.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the replys. I took it easy last week and only biked to work once and the runs this weekend were much better. I think I am going to cut down to just Mon-Wed biking, since that is where my shortest runs of the week are.

    I do triathlons (mostly sprint) and duathlons too, so during that season commuting is great, but this longer distance is a little tougher on the body.

    Unfortunately, work is about 11 miles so running that doesn't really fit in with the training plan, and I am a little anal when it comes to following the plan that worked so well in my 1st marathon. All in all, I am just going to have to listen to my body and take a break when I need it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member littlewaywelt's Avatar
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    Usually run one every fall. Was scheduled this fall to do NYC and Phili three weeks later but a month of pneumonia has killed both.

    There really isn't enough info to answer your question.
    Are you training in cycles? 3 weeks on, 1 week recoup/rest? Are you doing speedwork? Basemileage? Weekly mileage? Days per week? Are you eating within 30 mins after your runs? Are you increasing your weekly mileage more than 10% a week?

    You sound like you're overtraining. Have you been taking your resting HR? Take it every morning and chart it. A climbing resting HR or BP is classic symptom of overtraining.

    If your rides are at low intensity the rides can serve to speed recovery. If you're riding 5/days/week, I would not run more than 5 days, and at least one of those should be a complete and total rest day. Right now it looks like you're either running or riding every day. That's not good. I would suggest moving your long run to Sundays and taking Mon off from running. Use your commute as a recovery day. Cycling is excellent for recovery as it moves blood and fluid around without the impact and stress. With a 10 mile commute each way and only a couple of marathons under your belt, I would suggest caping your weekly base mileage (excluding the long run) at 20 miles/4 days a week.

    I would also strongly suggest you look into L-glutamine. I'm not one to use or pedal supplements, but this stuff which I tried begrudgingly is a magic bullet. Taken after training it nearly eliminated soreness and vastly improved muscle recovery.


    Here's guess:
    M no run & bike commute for recovery
    T easy run & bike commute
    W easy run & bike commute
    T hard run & bike commute
    F easy run & bike commute
    S rest day
    S long run day
    Last edited by littlewaywelt; 08-11-08 at 09:10 AM.
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  16. #16
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    I've done one full marathon and several halfs. I started bike commuting in March of this year, 4.5 miles each way. I was able to keep running okay, it just took a while to adjust.

    But my office just changed locations, and I now have a 6.5 mile commute each way, with a couple of good-sized hills (uphill on the way home). No way I can get back up to marathon-level mileage after doing that (I normally do marathon training in January-May or June).

    What I'm going to try doing is run to work once a week. Bring 2 days of clothes with me on my bike on Tuesday and then run to work on Wednesday, and try that for a while. If it goes okay, I'll up it to twice a week, or Tuesdays and Thursdays, during marathon training, and possibly add some mileage on the way home on Thursdays late in the training. Long runs on weekends.

    So far, this is just an idea. Our office is moving on 8/13, and I'll just ride my bike for a couple of weeks before I try running the route. I don't plan on running all the way home the first week I try this. Or the second. Or the third... (If I'm still trying this by then...)

  17. #17
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    P.S. Bike commuting is what blew me out of the full marathon last spring... I got my first bike, and rode it so much I got tendinitis. Took 12 days out of my marathon training in the middle of my schedule. Knocked me back far enough that I had to settle for the half. I did come back and do a decent job of that, though. Good times... Just got overenthusiastic when I got the bike.

  18. #18
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    To do well in a marathon, three runs each week are essential - a long, slow one to get you used to the distance gradually increasing the milage each week up to 18-20 miles at the end, and two mid distance with speedwork. The other 3 or 4 days are for keeping your endurance base up to you can tolerate the speed and the long day, and these can be slow and easy. Instead of running some of these, consider your commute as doing that.

    If you can leave your bike at work overnight safely, ride in and run home. You'll need to be careful though and wait since 6 is now your long. But once you get built up, 11 miles is a good distance for marathon training - a mile or 2 warm up, 4X1 mile intervals with a mile recovery in between, and a mile or so cool down.

    One thing you're doing that keeps your running from being sharp is a mid length day immediately after your long one. Running long really beats up your legs so I found 5 miles at most the day after is enough. Or just do a bike ride instead.

    Keep us posted on how you are doing.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  19. #19
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    When I first got into marathoning, it was an offshoot of triathlon training, so needless to say I was biking and running a lot at the same time. After a long ride I was less tired than after a long run, so I always took my recuperate/cross training day after the long run. My recuperative day was really easy; some combination of a 1-2 mile jog, 2 miles of walking, leisurely bike ride, beer and wings, and/or weight training. I pretty much never did a run of any substance after a long run.

    I also found that a quick transition from bike to running was best for me, so I would run immediately after biking (maybe you should trying running when you get home from work?). I would usually eat something during my ride (a cliff bar, pb & j sandwich, apple or something) so that I would have energy for the run to follow.

    I liked Hal Higdon's training programs, http://www.halhigdon.com/marathon/inter2.html

    and have followed those during the several times I've done marathon training.

  20. #20
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    I'm glad to see so many people, like me, both run and bike. It's a great way to stay healthy! Personally, I look at my bike as a benefit to my running. More running (so long as the increase is gradual) generally makes for better performance. But, once you get the miles up pretty high, overuse injuries become a worry (though not as much of a worry as a lot of non-runners seem to think). The bicycle is a great way to throw in some cross training, working different muscles, and with a low impact exercise.

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