Mike Griffin

The first six weeks of marathon training


I started training for the 2023 Dublin Marathon six weeks ago, using the Hanson Advanced Marathon training plan. It’s brought me back to running six days a week and my weekly mileage has more than doubled from what I was doing for the earlier part of the year.

There are three slow runs a week which give most of the mileage, and sticking to those paces was hard at first. I started the program a few days before we headed off to Lanzarote for our holidays and while I was there I got most of my runs done before 8am. It was a great feeling to be going down to breakfast knowing that you’ve already done exercise for the day.

I moved a few days around, changing my rest day from Wednesday to Tuesday one week and Thursday the next to accommodate my birthday and our flight home, but overall I was really pleased with how I was able to get into the routine of it all.

When we got back, I had a week where I was running from home before we headed off to Achill for a week. Running in Achill was totally different than Lanzarote, not as hot and even windier. There was even a nice dose of rain thrown into the mix. I was able to keep going and got all my sessions done this week too.

Weeks five and six were done from home, and the early morning runs mostly went out the window. I was running later and later in the day, even into the darkness one night.

Week six was the hardest, I gave blood on my Wednesday rest day and then had an injury scare. While I was collecting the iPad, it somehow managed to get dropped forcefully right on the top of my foot. It was sore at the time, but I didn’t think too much of it until it was time for bed that night. I wasn’t able to sleep with the pain all round my foot and when I went to go and get some painkillers, I found I couldn’t put any pressure on my foot. I was thinking the worst at this stage, possibly a fracture of some sort. After Louise got me some painkillers, I sat feeling sorry for myself before falling off to sleep, this was it, the end of training!

But then I woke the next morning and there was no pain. And no swelling ro bruising either.

I took that day off just as a precaution, but I was able to run on Friday where I did a seven mile marathon pace run. To say that didn’t go well would be an understatement! I had to stop twice and take a large rest, I was really disheartened at the end of it. If I couldn’t even do seven miles, how could I do 26 at that pace?

But a couple of days later it dawned on me, giving blood is going to have a definite effect on performance for the next while, right?!

So I finished out the week by doing Friday and Saturday’s sessions on Saturday and Sunday instead for a slightly lower weekly mileage.

That’s a quick recap of the first third of my training program, overall I’m glad I’ve got something to follow. It’s forcing me to get out and run when otherwise I’d be looking for excuses and saying I’ll run tomorrow. The consistency of running six days is not too wearing, I think the slow runs in there are making that all possible.

Twelve more weeks to go and it’s going to get more interesting over the next few weeks too. Next week, I’m breaking things up by doing some track races and then two weeks after that I’ll run around in the National Hal Marathon championships in Tullamore. The goal for that one will be to be finishing strongly at less than marathon pace, I’m scheduled for a 15 mile long run that day.