Running a marathon if you’re a triathlete (week 1)

I am training for a marathon. I haven’t actually entered a marathon. I might not enter a marathon. But I’m training for one none-the-less. I have in mind the Barcelona marathon for the following reasons:

1- it’s two weeks after I move to Spain so makes sense to do one in Spain
2- as it’s the middle of March it leaves plenty of time for recovery and then a July triathlon
3- I don’t really have a third reason.

Why am I thinking about running a marathon?

1 – I read so many blogs where people run them that it got me inspired
2 – I need something to make me run over the winter. I am so bad at skipping workouts if I’m not actually training for something.
3 – my run is my weak spot. Even though marathon training isn’t normally recommended for triathletes, I can’t possibly see how running three times a week, including endurance runs, tempo and intervals won’t improve my running!
4 – I’d just quite like to.

So there you have it – not very well thought-out reasons I admit! I have chosen to use the FIRST running plan – I came across this when Amanda on the Run to the Finish blog did a really interesting series profiling the different marathon training methods – here is her article on the FIRST plan. I immediately liked it because it means I only (ha!) have to run three times a week, and I have to cross-train. As a triathlete who will want to keep up biking and swimming at slightly lower levels throughout marathon training, that appeals a lot.

I’m using this plan as I liked how it is based on my 10k time / planned marathon pace. I’m hoping to run in under 4 and a half hours. I want a good time but I’m willing to admit I’m not really sure what that is. I thought 4 hours, but then so many bloggers see 4 hours as the “holy grail” and try and try to get to that so I thought it might be a bit premature to aim there for my first marathon! Having never run longer than 8 miles, I really have no idea what speeds I’ll be able to hold.

So this week was my first week of marathon trainingIt was also a week in which I went to Andalucia in Spain with my mum for some running, biking and hiking. More blogs will be coming on that subject but the first, on a lovely run and a hike, is up here. Lovely pictures as well, not because I’m great at taking them but just because the scenery was so absolutely incredible.

Due to our holiday, I did 12 and a half hours of training – and it was all wonderful.

1) first marathon training run – an intervals run on the treadmill. 10 min warm up, 6×4 mins (1 min fast (12km/hr), 3 mins slow), 10 min cool down. I enjoyed this – I had David Attenborough on my ipad, the fast was hard but only for a minute and I always felt like I could manage it.

2) Strength training session with a trainer at the gym. He is focussing on my muscle imbalances that I have as a result of minor scoliosis in my teens. Really hoping his exercises will stop my knee pain!

3) second marathon training run – meant to be a tempo run but the tempo part of it ended up just being trying not to slow down too much on the big hills I was running up!


4) long hike up over the mountains


5) 5 hr off-road cycle ride through the mountains

IMG_5342 (1)

6) third marathon training run – the long run! The programme starts with an 8 mile run, perfect as it was just about the furthest I’ve ever run. I’ll blog about this in detail as it was just so beautiful but for now – we kept just under a 6min/km pace. We had really really tired legs after the long and hilly cycle ride the previous day and I was moaning by the end, but we managed it. So who knows how fast I could go on fresh legs?!! Positive outlook 😀


We also did lots of sightseeing in various Andalucian villages and towns – Zuheros, Priego de Cordoba, Cordoba, Antequera… more on that coming in future blogs!



  1. Barcelona was my first (and second) marathon. It’s really nice. It’s the most popular marathon in Spain and the course is amazing. I heard that they are going to change it in 2015 to make it faster 🙂
    If you want to practice your Spanish you can take a look to my blog 😉 Good luck!!!

    • ah muy útil, gracias! He aprendido español durante los últimos diez meses porque voy a trabajar en Madrid por seis meses. Recomiendas algunas triatlónes por la distancia olympic? Puedo practicar mi español 🙂

  2. Muy bien! Hay muchas carreras cerca de Madrid. Puedes ver el calendario en la pagina web de la Federacion Madrileña de Triathlon:

    En breve publicaran las fechas para la temporada 2015. Yo te recomiendo la prueba de las Skoda Triathlon Series:

    Yo hice las carrera de Barcelona y Gava y estan muy bien organizadas. Ademas te puedo recomendar el Triatlon de la Casa de Campo:

    El dia siguiente hacen la Copa de Europa en el mismo recorrido. Seguro que el ambiente va a estar espectacular. Hasta 2013 era una de las pruebas de las ITU World Series 🙂

    Cualquier cosa, comentamos!

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