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Primal Marathon training idea

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  • Primal Marathon training idea

    I've got a question about a marathon training style I'm thinking about trying, and I was wondering what you all thought. I know marathon running isn't really in the pb b/c its generally associated with chronic cardio and all that stuff. That got me thinking about a different way to train.

    This is going to be my first marathon. The marathon is at the end of June, basically 2.5 months away. I've trained for a marathon before and had to stop training 3 months before the date of because of a knee injury due to jiu jitsu. This was over a year ago. Now, as far as i know the standard way to train for a marathon is to run a long distance on the weekends and then 2 or 3 "shorter" distances during the week. The "short" distances aren't really all that short, more like 6 to 8 miles or so. That adds up to be a lot of running, a lot of time, and a lot of calories. So i put my (small ) brain to work and tried to come up with a different plan. What do you guys think:

    I'll do weight training for my legs, core, back, and arms once or twice a week. Also during the week I'll get in one or two sprint routines. And finally every other weekend or so I'll do a long run. But nothing farther than 15 or 16 miles, at a slow pace (eg:9 to 10 minute mile pace), and on dirt trails to get a good stride/footstrike variety. This will all be barefoot too.

    I also get in about 3 to 4 miles of barefoot walking each day to and from the campus where I go to school.

    My reasons for training this way instead of the conventional way are:
    1. It should be shorter with respect to time.
    2. It requires less calories/sugars which means less $.
    3. It's easier.
    4. It fits into the PB much better than the traditional training style.

    My only goal for the marathon is to finish. Do you think that should be probably given this training style?

    Thanks in advance!!

  • #2
    I like where your head is at. It's possible, but it's gonna hurt! Cardio-wise you can finish a marathon at a slow pace with that plan, but weight training for the legs is not a substitude for training for the 4+ hours of pounding - on concrete! Of course every body reacts differently, but the pounding is the issue for most people and it can really take a toll on the under trained. And cause injury. Keep in mind that your long run of 16 is a full 11 miles short of your goal - so you're gonna be forced to make up a big gap on race day. Again, I'm not saying you can't do it, it's just not usually advised w/so few miles of training. Best of luck, Paul.


    • #3
      I remember reading some stuff about people preparing for marathons with minimal running and cross fit style weight lifting, example here,

      Form personal experience the pounding from 20 plus mile barefoot running on concrete is going to be hard on your body, and I mean HARD! I say go for it, post your results, and good luck
      Give them nothing! But, take from them everything!


      • #4
        Originally posted by Barefoot Paul View Post
        My only goal for the marathon is to finish. Do you think that should be probably given this training style?
        There are a lot of variables that happen in training for and running the marathon. So, I'd hesitate to say that anyone's success at that event is probable regardless of how they train. That said 2-1/2 months is quite a short time for a marathon ramp up (especially for a first marathon), unless you've already got a high degree of running specific aerobic fitness. I did it, but I'd done more than a dozen marathons before then and knew well what I was doing and what I was getting myself into.

        If your only goal really is to finish then your success will be a question of your mental strength, rather than your physical strength. But mental strength doesn't necessarily mean simply gutting it out through intense discomfort. For instance, how will you find the determination to keep going after 22 miles if you're feeling awful and getting passed by people who look way less fit than you? Are you strong enough to start walking if that's what it takes to get to the finish line rather than drop out? Even if it's cold and rainy or brutally hot and humid? Are you strong enough to keep your ego (and speed) in check during the middle miles when you're feeling and looking good?

        The prime determinant of success in the marathon will likely be your long runs because of the physical adaptations they provide but also the (more) important mental ones - getting you used to the distance, time on your feet, and (yes) monotony. I agree with Go-Pre that 15-16 miles could well be a little short for your longest long run. Programs like the Hansons' that top you out at that distance typically have a much higher weekly running volume than you're contemplating. Programs like Galloway's that have you running slowly just a few times a week typically have you go really long (22+ miles). Programs like FIRST that have just a few sessions of faster running are usually longer than 2-1/2 months. (Heck, almost every marathon training program I've ever seen is at least 12 weeks long.) If I were you I'd stretch those long runs to at least 30-K (18.6 miles) and mix in some walking to lessen the impact.

        But you've not given me a lot of information about your running history to work with. How much running have you done in the past? What's worked well for you? What's been a problem? How long was your most recent long long run? What's the longest distance you've ever raced? Are you speaking from personal experience when you write that that 9-10 m/m is "a slow pace" for 15-16 miles? What's your motivation for doing a marathon? And, more specifically, why a marathon that's just 2-1/2 months away? The more information you can provide the better guidance I can provide.
        Last edited by Geoff; 04-15-2010, 07:58 AM.