66yr Old Wants to Repeat Similar Age Related Time for Marathon

by Andrew
(Roi-Et, Thailand)

66 yr old wants to run marathon

Hello, I am a 66 yr old man/boy wishing to repeat a marathon in time related comparison to my 2h 59m 15s which I did when I was 50. In the interim I have not done serious running or training but have coached football and athletics at Primary School having done necessary courses with relevant sporting bodies so have been pretty physically active.

I now live in Roi-et Thailand and have to train in the local Park which is beautiful but both circuits are on concrete pavers. I can run on the road which I do occasionally but if you have ever been here you will understand what I mean when I say that you need to be ready to leap into the hedgerows at any moment.

Last year I spent 12 months preparing with a number of injuries due to trying to do too much on the concrete before I was ready. My maximum runs were 30K; two in the month before the marathon and I am doing 20K on a regular basis throughout the year. These long runs are done at about 1.5 minutes / km slower than the time I hope to run in the marathon.

Last year I was well over-confident and tried for a 3.30 marathon as the tables relating my past marathon told me I should be able to do that.

I did a 1H 45M 21 Kilometers but at 25K started to get cramp everywhere and had to jog my way to the finish. 4 H 22m.

This year I felt I was better prepared. I had gotten used to running on concrete and had no injuries having adapted from heel to midfoot strike and using cushy Lunarglides. I moderated my pace expectation to 4H time hit the half-way mark bang on the nail, got to the 30K mark but again had to stop not because of cramp but because my legs were rigid and just would not respond. I am pretty sure I never went anaerobic in those 30K and the rest of me felt great. I had to hobble then walk and eventually jog in. 4H 45m.

I took it very easy after stopping as I am only interested in trying to run the race and did not want to do any further damage.
Both years my peak distance weekly was 80 kilometers.

I did not carb load for the first year but did this time, consuming about twice the amount of carbohydrates to normal over Thursday, Friday and Saturday the race being at 4.15 Sunday morning.

During training I have to tolerate extremely hot conditions and obviously have to be careful not to overdo it in the heat.
Race conditions on both occasions have been perfect cool at that time of morning.

66 yr old wants to run marathon
Since my 2.59.19 when I was 50 I have led a reasonable decent life health-wise do not drink much a beer or couple of glasses of wine with dinner and I do not smoke and have had no illnesses in between time.

The major difference to my training now is that there are no hills at all here and all my runs then finished with a good slope. I did no speed work as such that time and very little tempo work. This time I have done tempo work and a little faster running but no reps as such.

I think I need to replace the hill work somehow. Increase total mileage and chose a training plan and stick to it.

I never have any recovery trouble even today the day after the latest marathon attempt, I could go out and run 20k without any trouble at all. I won't but I could. I'm having a sit down today.

I would be really interested to hear what you think. I am prepared to put in some hard work but always have to be careful as the concrete is punishing and the tarmac is not particularly safe. Maybe rigidly structured training is what I need. Please tell me what you think.

Answer by Dominique:
Hi there 66 year-old boy... :)

Thank you for your question about marathon running.

The marathon is a cruel distance. You prepare all that time, battle through injuries and hours, days, months of training only to see it all slip away somewhere between the 25k and the 30k mark.

Your story is oh so familiar. I have a few thoughts that may help:

1. You (generally) get the race you pepare for
2. Five tips for a faster marathon

You (Generally) Get the Race You Prepare For

66 yr old wants to run marathon
For most of us the answer is fairly simple: put in more work. Obviously given your age, you'll have to take some more care than 'young dogs' when increasing mileage and pushing up the workload.

80k (50 miles) for your peak mileage is pretty decent. It's not super high. Some of the issue might not be with the 80k in the highest week, but more with how low your mileage might be off-peak.

Whether more mileage is indeed the answer depends a lot on how much mileage you are doing now and how many running workouts you currently do. I am assuming you are running 4-5 times a week, one long run, mostly easy paced runs and a once-in-a-while tempo run.

Tips for a Faster Marathon

66 yr old wants to run marathon
Tip 1 for a faster marathon - the long long run
It is great you are doing a regular 20k (~12 miles) long run. It's a really good base. It would be good if you could tag a few more km to that run in the off-season. Make it a regular 22k-23k (~14 mi) long run. Occassionally push it to 25k-26k (~15 mi).

Then the step up longer long runs in your marathon program will not be as big. You will be able to do more 30k-32k (19-20 mi) runs as part of your marathon campaign. Ideally you'd very regularly be running 27-32k runs (17-20 mi) in your marathon campaign.

Tip 2 for a faster marathon - the mid-week long run
As part of your marathon training, in addition to the long run, do a mid-week mid-long run, at least 90 minutes in length. You want to get very familiar with an effortless couple of hours of running.

Tip 3 for a faster marathon - goal pace
The big benefit of the longer long runs year-round is that you get to run more runs in that critical 27-32k (17-20 mi) space. But, additionally, it allows you to play with variety within the long run. Build in some marathon pace running. You can start with some faster finish runs in which the last 20-25 minutes you try to run at marathon pace. Closer to the marathon you can do some long runs with goal pace blocks in there.

Tip 4 for a faster marathon - strength work

66 yr old wants to run marathon
Not sure what you do in terms of strength training. This gets more important as we get older. The best time to start strength training was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. This helps compensate for the loss of muscle you are experiencing.

Tip 5 for a faster marathon - carb loading and fuelling during the marathon
You said you did do carb loading for the second marathon. I am almost certain you still may not have had sufficient carbs in the days before your second marathon. Maybe you did, but you need to eat a lot of carbs. About 7-10g per kg of body weight. It requires a dedicated strategy and if you leave it to guesswork, you will most likely not have had enough carbs.

Additionally, I'd recommend regular gels and water / sports drinks during the marathon. During your long runs and the marathon, aim to consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour. This can come from energy gels, chews, sports drinks, or even natural options like bananas or raisins.

It's vital to practice this fueling strategy during your training runs to see how your body reacts. Starting early and fueling consistently can make a big difference to sustain your energy levels and overall performance. Don't forget to hydrate adequately. Small sips of water or sports drinks throughout the run will help maintain electrolyte balance and prevent dehydration, which can also contribute to muscle cramps and fatigue.

Further Recommended Reading

Marathon Training Tips - some further advice regarding marathon training.

Marathon Training Nutrition - Tips regarding marathon training and nutrition.

66 yr old wants to run marathon
I hope this helps. It sounds like you already have a good foundation, but tweaking your training to include specific long and mid-long runs, goal pace work, proper fueling strategies, and structured training might help you get closer to your goal. Always remember to listen to your body and adjust as needed to avoid injuries. Consistency and balance between training and recovery are key.

I hope these tips help you on your marathon quest. Stay motivated and enjoy your running journey. Wishing you the best of luck in your upcoming training and your next marathon!

Kind regards,

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Marathon Training Questions.

Like this page:

Share this page:

Like this site:

[?] Subscribe To This Site

follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!


  • Beginner Running Tips

    Are you a beginning runner? Then this is your best starting point. Many tips and running programs on offer, dedicated to you.

  • Running for Weight Loss

    Aiming to lose a few pounds? Get into the Running for Weight Loss section for tips and advice.

  • Running Training

    The Running Training section of the site has got the most articles. It is constantly getting updated with new tips and information. A must-visit if you are serious about improving your running performance.

  • 5k Running Tips

    The 5k is a great distance to run and train for. The great thing is that you can do it quite often and see big improvements.

  • 10k Running Tips

    The 10k is a real challenge. You need to run fast for an uncomfortably long time! Check out this section if you are strong of mind and legs!

  • Marathon Running Tips

    The marathon is a massive challenge. Proper training is so important! Make sure to check out this section if you have got your mind set on the marathon!

What's New?

  1. Running Pace Calculator - Work Out Which Running Training Pace is Right for You

    The running training pace calculator provides you with the right running training paces for you, based on recent race results.

    Read more

  2. Unleash Your Running Potential with Personalized Coaching

    Get some running coaching. Achieve your personal best with a laser targeted running program from Best Running Tips.

    Read more

  3. 18 Months To A Marathon Doable?

    Is it feasible - through hard work and determination of course - for a beginner to be ready for a marathon within 18 months? At this point I'll be

    Read more

  4. How Do I Prepare for My First 5k?

    Hello, I'm a 21 female who is about 30 lbs overweight. I used to do sports in high school but haven't really run in a long time. I want to do a 5k

    Read more

  5. 66yr Old Wants to Repeat Similar Age Related Time for Marathon

    Hello, I am a 66 yr old man/boy wishing to repeat a marathon in time related comparison to my 2h 59m 15s which I did when I was 50. In the interim

    Read more