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What Running Training Paces Should I Aim For in Marathon Training?

by Dan
(Long Island)

I am a 31 yr old male. Last year was my first year of running competitively. My PRs are: 1 mile - 6:55 5k - 24:50, 10k-53:30, Half - 2:02. My training was probably 15 - 25 mpw, 3-4 runs, speed, tempo, long weekly. I came down with mono / glandular fever about three months back.

I haven't really started running consistently until this month. I can't believe how much fitness I have lost. If I had to predict, I'd say my best 5k right now would be in the 26 - 27min range. I feel like I overtrained last year and got sick.

HR max is 190+ based on last year's races.

What pace/HR should I train in, and what is a realistic marathon goal for a marathon in 10 months time?

Looking for feedback from people with similar fitness as me. Thanks.

running tips
Answer by Dominique:
Hi there,
Thanks for your question about your running training.

Regarding the sickness: I am not sure if it was overtraining.

15-25 mpw is excellent as a base, but not enough to get overtrained from.

What might have happened though is that you had other stressors in your life (work, relationships, sleep deprivation, etc) that combined with the running could have made you more susceptible for the virus.

Famous bodybuilding / body-conditioning coach Javorek says there is no such thing as overtraining, only under-recovery. I have tried one of his weightlifting programs (3x per week) in addition to my running and had to severely moderate it as he had me doing weights at high intensity for 75-90 minutes. This guy knows about hard work!

But he also knows about recovery and makes sure he monitors heart rate, sleep, how his athletes feel etc as well and adjusts training based on that.

Anyway, it looks like you are back to running again. Yes, it can be a shock after you haven't done running for a while. Where has all that fitness suddenly gone? You sometimes find that after 4-6 weeks of running it comes flooding back, sometimes it takes a bit longer than that.

Regarding your marathon goal and the type of training you should do: the first thing I always do when people provide their PR times is enter them into the Race Conversion Calculator. It's such a useful tool to get some insight into your strengths and weaknesses.

Anyways, when entering your 5k race time of 24:50 and then calculating a predicted time for your 10k and half marathon the results are way lower than what you have run.

That's okay, that's normal.

It has to do with your base. You see, when you get into long distance running, the most important part is developing a base, building endurance. It can't be stressed enough how important that is.

That's why base running drills should be top of the agenda. Lots of easy runs, lots of long runs. They'll help you build up that base and help you lower your times across the whole range, 1 mile, 5k, 10k, half, etc.

Want More Running Info? Check Out These Pages

Any race of 800m and up is mostly aerobic, i.e. mostly relies on your base. So do base running first and foremost.

In addition to that tempo running is a must-do. You have got about 10 months to prepare. You can afford yourself a longer period in which you just do base running and tempo running only.

Maybe start with doing one tempo run, three base runs each week for the first few months, then switch over to two tempos per week or maybe three per fortnight for a few months.

Doing this consistently should help make you much, much stronger and I wouldn't be surprised if you shave minutes of your current 5k, 10k and half marathon times as well by just doing this type of running.

Then the last three-four months before the marathon I'd get into some of the faster training and some of the more marathon-specific training.

I'll also give you a few links to explore further:

Marathon Training Tips - Some running tips on how to best prepare for a marathon.

Heart Rate Monitor Training - The Zoladz Method - Calculate your heart rate monitor training zones using the Zoladz method.

Heart Rate Monitor Training - The Karvonen Method - Calculate your heart rate monitor training zones using the Karvonen method.

Marathon Calculator page - Contains a number of calculators which may be useful closer to your marathon.

Hope this provides you with the info you need.
Kind regards,

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