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  1. #1
    Senior Member Dieter's Avatar
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    Can you train for a marathon while doing tri sports on low time budget?

    How many of you have experience running a marathon, or experience training for one and fail? I would like to run a marathon a year from now if I can train for it. The goal would be just finishing as long as I can jog the whole distance. No walking!

    I average about 100 miles per week on the bike and 15 miles running atm. I suck at swimming, but enjoy it and try to get 1-2 workouts in every week. I am 26 years old and 142 lbs. Usually I have 1-2 interval sessions each week, 1 long swim/ride/run combo (not always including all three) and 2 rest days. The rest are low intensity base/recovery days.

    I know I could do it if I gave up swim/bike. But I want to keep working on those as well. Can I train for one if I only run 2 or 3 times per week? I mean, will the cross training with the other sports help me sufficiently to achieve that? I would like to avoid all my long sessions becoming run sessions as I plan on competing in a few bike races next summer. With 6-10 hours per week to train, what is your experience?

  2. #2
    Senior Member jennings780's Avatar
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    I think last month (or maybe the one before) Inside Triathlon magazine had an article on doing an offseason marathon while doing tri training. You may find it helpful.
    Send me a personal message with your e-mail address and I'll scan it in and e-mail it to you.

  3. #3
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    A friend I ride with is a good marathon runner (right at 3 hours). He rides a fair amount as cross training for his marathoning. so, I think you can do the marathon, and tri train with limited time.

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    In my limited experience, finishing (time irrelevant) a marathon on 35-40 miles a week (peak), 3 runs a week is probably doable. I can't imagine getting away with only 2 runs a week, and I'd feel much more comfortable on at least 4 runs a week.

    Realistically, you'll want to get in at least one 20-mile run before the marathon. Doing something like 10 miles Wednesday, 5 miles Friday and 20 miles on Sunday represents the "easiest" maximum mileage week I can think of. Fitting cycling and swimming around that should not be impossible.

    Coming up with a traithlon/crosstraining system that gets you enough aerobic/cardio fitness to get to the finish line should be doable, especially if you're doing 100 mile weeks on the bike already. What you'll need is to strengthen up your legs to handle the pounding and abuse the marathon will feed them.

    I haven't combined the two disciplines yet, but I'm looking to run a marathon next spring, before the triathlon season starts up. I'll probably swim twice a week all winter, neglect my cycling (maybe once per week at most?), and focus on running miles. After the marathon, picking up cycling miles should be fairly easy. I hope.

    Hope that helps.

    V

  5. #5
    MHR
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dieter
    How many of you have experience running a marathon, or experience training for one and fail? I would like to run a marathon a year from now if I can train for it. The goal would be just finishing as long as I can jog the whole distance. No walking!

    I average about 100 miles per week on the bike and 15 miles running atm. I suck at swimming, but enjoy it and try to get 1-2 workouts in every week. I am 26 years old and 142 lbs. Usually I have 1-2 interval sessions each week, 1 long swim/ride/run combo (not always including all three) and 2 rest days. The rest are low intensity base/recovery days.

    I know I could do it if I gave up swim/bike. But I want to keep working on those as well. Can I train for one if I only run 2 or 3 times per week? I mean, will the cross training with the other sports help me sufficiently to achieve that? I would like to avoid all my long sessions becoming run sessions as I plan on competing in a few bike races next summer. With 6-10 hours per week to train, what is your experience?
    You can only expect to get out what you put in so I would say either do it right, put in the time, train correctly or don't do it at all. You will only be full of I should a, I could a, I would a's and not have anything of any "real accomplishment" to show for it.
    A "low time budget" for me is near 2-hours/day and at least 3-hours on Saturday, running on 6-days (my total running miles are 60-70 range average/week), strength training 2-3 days/week. My largest effort for a given period of time was 3-marathons (including Boston and the Pikes Peak marathon) + Ironman Hawaii + 2 1/2 IM's, an Olympic and a ton of others (totaling over 25 events easy) in 10-months. Something I'm pretty proud of as I know there's not many who have accomplished the same in the equal given time span. So what is the key to doing it (Marathons and Triathlons together) and being successful?
    #1 Experience and a solid training plan. I have been doing this since the 1980's and along the way in my journey.... I have had the help of others who were successful athletes.
    #2 Durability, thanks to strength training and how I train as a Triathlete.
    #3 Fueling
    #4 Recovery
    You may be able to get by on 5-days/week running and on less miles than me (especially since I'm turning 47 next month). But, I go into each event with a very specific goal in mind (in realtion to time, overall position and age group standing) and I am very competitive. My overall goal every year is to be in good enough shape to race in anything from a 5k to an Ironman Triathlon and I do just that and prove it every year. I'm not a gifted athlete by any means, not even close - I just work very hard and race with passion.
    Put in a real effort and "Anything is Possible" trust me.

    PS
    For help on running hang out here - it's one of the best forums anywhere
    http://forums.runnersworld.com/forum.jspa?forumID=4
    Last edited by MHR; 10-15-05 at 04:03 AM.

  6. #6
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Check out Runners' World "Less Is More Marathon Plan". Basically, it keeps the Sunday long runs and forces you to do intervals and tempo runs for speed. And it encourages you to cross train the rest of the week.

    I'm doing this right now in prep for the CIM in December and two weeks ago I had a half-marathon personal best. So far, so good.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dieter's Avatar
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    I have found quite a lot of resources on this now, with good help from the people here. Thanks!

    I like to read up on things when I first decide, so I look forward to receiving these:

    1 of: Not Normal Behaviour
    1 of: Triathletes Training Bible
    1 of: The Cyclist's Training Bible
    1 of: Total Immersion
    1 of: Going Long: Training for Ironman Distance Triathlons
    1 of: Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes
    1 of: Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition (The Complete Guide to)

    Something to read on the plane....

    The weekly average I put down above is just that, the average. I have recently had a few 250 mile weeks on the bike and occational 30 mile weekly runs, with 15 miler's in one day. Then I might be traveling with work and can only get 2-4 workouts in one week and it drops...

    The plan is to cut down on the cycling, which is the more time consuming sport, and ramp up with a little more running. I am starting to think 6 hour recovery weeks and 10 hour distance training weeks really isn't that bad. I can do this!

  8. #8
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    I think you can do it on three days a week, but four would be a lot better. I race both tris (4-6 each year) and marathons (2 per year), and I "layer" my marathon training around the other sports. You'll get some benefit from cycling and swimming, not a lot. You need a long run at least every other week, perferably every week. And do not build mileage too quickly, give yourself time - I've heard a rule of thumb "don't add more than than two miles to your previous long run in the past two weeks." I try to get in a couple of 20+ milers and seven+ 13 milers. My long runs might look something like this:

    Weeks prior long run
    to marathon distance
    13 10
    12 12
    11 13
    10 14
    9 16
    8 13
    7 16
    6 18
    5 20
    4 17
    3 20
    2 17
    1 10

    Will this work for you? I don't know, it's worked for me. I've been successful at least once on a "reduced" plan (didn't have the time). And as you get into the longer distances, it's really more important about the time running than the distance. I read somehere that you max. time for you long training run shouldn't be much more than 3 hours.

    Good luck,

    TK

  9. #9
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    My advise... reduce the pace of your LSD workouts by 15-20% of your race pace! That equates to 1:00 to 1:30 per mile slower for most runners. You almost have to work at going slow but you'll recover overnight and be ready for a solid cross-training day... I either run 3-4 miles, bike 20 miles or swim 2000m the day after my 20 mile runs!

    The primary training goal of an endurance athlete is to build the muscle cells that store glycogen. During the race you can always eat carbs to refuel your slow twitch muscles (used for gross motor control), but run out of glycogen (need for fast twitch for fine motor control) and you are FINISHED, regardless of your will-power or training. These glycogen storage cells are increased by going far, NOT fast.

    I'm 44 and have been enjoying 4-5 summer tri's with 2 winter/spring marathons for the last 20 years... without a single injury! The biggest mistake I see others make is overtraining by trying to see how far and fast they can go every workout.

    Hope this helps.

  10. #10
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    I agree with Vuruth and Tremolo 57. You can definitely do the marathon without ever having run more than a couple of 15-20 mile training runs. It is not your cardio that will get you. It will be your legs.

    Go slower than you feel you should. Look around and have fun. At 142 pounds you aren't lugging much with you on the trip.

    Tyson
    From the 55+ forum

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