Five Year Plan - help please

A bit longer than the average plan

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18/01/2012 at 13:24
It's all a long way off for me

I fancy having a go at the Liverpool Marathon sometime, because I have a friend that lives near New Brighton. Looking at the date on your blog, I was there just a week after the race last year without knowing about it. The weather was fantastic for October!
18/01/2012 at 13:32
Tenjiso, with regards to injury prevention, some stabilisation work on the midsection and below can work wonders in staving off injuries. I've had atrocious luck over the last two years, but more recently cranking out the squats and so forth on a fairly regular basis has had a very pleasing effect. Perhaps it's something you could introduce very gradually to supplement your running, and keep your routine fresh?

As for long term plans, everyone is different and it sounds like you've settled on something that's going to work for you. Five years is a long time, but I think juggling the short-term goals whilst vaguely keeping in mind the bigger picture is a good idea. Just don't let your ultimate goal alter your training too much in the shorter term!

Best of luck - it's very inspiring to see people have such motivation later in life.
18/01/2012 at 15:06
Hi Moonlight, ironically I believe it was doing squats that may have led to my current groin strain. I did some heavy (for me) sets on Sunday, then attempted to do an interval session on Monday when the injury occurred. My fault for not applying the hard/easy principle to all forms of training.

Up until then, I had been weight training twice a week (full body) for the last few months, building up slowly. I'll have to rethink how I approach heavier sessions so I don't conflict with running goals.

Admittedly, if you ask whether I stretch, I would have to say "not as much as I should!"

18/01/2012 at 19:18
In that case, please disregard my previous squat advice as I look a bit of an idiot now

I know the feeling regarding the heavy sessions though, it can be tough to rein it in at times especially since that sort of core work really can have large benefits. I suppose just building up slowly is the best way, with the lower weights. I prefer this way since I'm lacking in muscle mass, so the more intense gym sessions are a bit wince-inducing!

As for stretching, that's a whole other debate as long as you stretch a bit after rigorous exercise I'd say you'd be fine. Anyway, I'm wittering on - let us know how it goes in the coming weeks and months!
18/01/2012 at 19:32
I do also think that squats help. My stupidity was doing a heavy session and not allowing enough recovery (or stretching) before my interval session.

I'm sure my "heavy" session would be laughably light to many people, but I'm just trying to retain some muscle while losing weight. The leg work really gets the heart pumping too.
01/02/2012 at 11:20
I just thought I would update on where I am at with this idea. Hopefully I've taken on board all of the advice offered to me so far.

Rather than casting a five year plan in stone, I'm approaching the same idea more flexibly. My dream goal remains to run a good for age in the marathon (3:15), which is way beyond my current capability and will take years to achieve (assuming it is even achievable for me - but there is only one way to find out).

This spring, my target is to complete my marathon in 4:20 - 4:30 and I'm making good progress towards that target.

All being well, my target for next year will be to run a sub-4:00 marathon. With this in mind, I have looked at the times that I should be achieving at shorter distances in order to achieve this target. I will try to achieve them this year. These will be sub-50:00 10K, and sub 1:50 Half-Marathon. Then I will be ready for marathon training to commence again Dec/Jan. So this gives me good focus on goals for the remainder of the year.

I've used this technique to pencil in goals for subsequent years, though I have no idea what rate of improvement is likely over the years - so I won't be surprised if they are a bit too ambitious (loosely 10 to 15 minute improvement in marathon time year-on-year). It's the speed increases that look scary, rather than mileage, because I read about people plagued with injury once they reach a certain level. So they remain dream goals for the time being.

Anyway, I'm happy now, and I feel very motivated to achieving as much as I can over the coming years. It's having an effect already and I can see myself closing in on previous PB's. I'd love to start clocking up some new PB's this year Mega-plateau be gone!

Thanks to everyone for their comments, as I was struggling with turning my vague idea into an action plan. I still welcome any further comments and advice.
05/08/2012 at 10:07

Progress Update:

I ran the spring marathon in a time of 4:38, which I might have been disappointed with.  However, it was a godawful day weather-wise and around a quarter of participants didn't even bother showing up (Milton Keynes).  

This is where my long-term plan has really helped.  Rather than feel disappointed, I knew that the time wasn't really reflective of where I was with my training, so following recovery I have pushed on towards my next targets.

Getting a sub-4 hour marathon next year means that I must improve my speed and stop plodding along.  So I have been focussed on my speedwork, while increasing my normal base mileage.  My weekly mileage is now closer to forty miles and I will work on maintaining it as much as possible.

Last week I had my first test with a 10k race over reasonably hilly terrain (Luton AC 10k).  My previous PB was 54:51 on a flat course, so I was hoping for closer to 52 minutes on this course, with a view to going sub-50 in my next (flatter) 10k.   However, I'm delighted to have completed the race in 49:50!  The five minute PB represents a whole kilometre improvement .  I'm hoping to get another PB in my next 10k in another month.  I also want to run a 5k parkrun soon to test my speed a bit more.

I've got a ten mile race booked in September, then will run a couple of half- marathons before the end of the year.  I'm booked into the Brighton Marathon for next spring.  Having a longer term outlook to my goals is really helping my motivation and getting new PB's is validation that I am making progress.

Edited: 05/08/2012 at 10:07
citizen 146    pirate
05/08/2012 at 11:33

Tenjiso , re all the excellent advice above, go with that ( pick and choose the bits that are good for you)!

All that I can add is my own experience of doing an ironman this year aged 46. I did 9 months training with no running at all as old knee surgery makes them swell up and I have to stop training. Had only ever run 13 miles twice -under protest!   Despite this I believed that I could do it and on the day I was right, the marathon was 6 hours 26 mins. My one year plan is to do it again next year , a bit faster, but I have a plan and some ambition , and I think that's all we need.....

05/08/2012 at 20:20
Hey Tenjiso,

Great improvement. 54:50 to 49:50 is fabulous. That shows some real effort right there.

Going off to watch Olympics but will post in later.

Since we last talked, ive PBed at every distance. And I really mean every. 5k, 10k, 10 mi, half, 20 mile and marathon.

As a taster, my blog has one update this year, 2nd marathon. First one is above somewhere, 3:48. Have a read of this one.

So reaping the benefits of long term thinking, gym work and aims.
06/08/2012 at 10:20

citizen -  It's good to see that you achieved your goal in spite of the injury problem.  Much of my "yo-yo" training stagnation has been caused by succumbing to illness/injury and not making any significant progress.  The longer-term plan keeps me focussed on continous improvement, regardless of missed/underperformed races.  I'm convinced it is making a diffeerence to my approach.

thundercat - fabulous progress and a great marathon time!  Hopefully I'll also be getting more PB's as the year progresses.  I'm hoping to knock more than ten minutes off my half-marathon PB.  This is because a sub-1:50 will give me confidence that I can achieve a sub-four hour marathon next year.  My new 10k PB is a step in the right direction for sure.

06/08/2012 at 12:51

Tenjiso, there is tons more than just marathon.

sure you can do similar to me but must think long term. I couldn't have done the last year without the previous years build up and so on.

Since I last posted, lots of  changes... different things tried and comfort zone isn't a term I recognise any more.

Mid January, I'd gone to running club 4-5 times but not joined. Joined around then and haven't missed a Tue/Thu since unless away or busy, so thats a weekly speed session & tempo run. Have also gone to the club 11m part trail long run on a Sunday most weeks, if training for a marathon extra miles around that, and also extra miles before the mid week sessions to get 30-40 miles a week. Still only 3 days running a week.

mid Jan, I also started going to a new gym, much tougher, no electrical equipment at all, so no treadmills, rowing machines, cross trainers. Various types of circuits, work you all over - 1 circuit a week. I'm way fitter. The only other class they do is in the weight room, is a Speed/ Strength session, very tough, lots of weighted squats, lunges and all sorts of exercises, supersets. Not huge muscle bound type weights, but what you need for your body.  Coaching is phenomenal, literally premier league standard - because they do coach olympians and other top athletes. 1 of these a week.

These have added a huge amount to my speed & overall fitness, leg strength especially. I achieved my medium / long term sub 3:30 time in 4 months - instead of 12-18.

I still have 2 rest days a week, 3 running, 2 single sessions at the gym. No junk miles.

Since Jan

half marathon, 1:35:30 (4 minutes off time on same course previous year)

20 miler April 28th 2:37 (10 minutes off previous, and this was 750ft hills against previous flat time)

Marathon May 27th, sub 3:30 (20-21 mins)

10k June 12th sub 42 (2:30 minutes off)

10 miles June 19th 68 minutes (-3 minutes faster than expected)

5k June 26th sub 21 (40 seconds off)

Yes, I've been busy! But learnt from all of them. There were some other runs in there. Main thing, build your body up - for me, just running to do this. I knew I had to have some gym work, and have got a nice balance now. Its a different balance from last year though, progression.

I'm planning for sub 3:20-3:15 next spring marathon. Looking at an ultra in Oct/ November this year. Comrades perhaps 2014. Long term plans!

13/08/2012 at 13:05

That's great going Thundercat!  Comrades is a great one to have on the radar.

I ran my first 5K parkrun this week.  My time was 24:24, which is roughly in line with my recent 10k time, and both point towards me being capable of nailing a sub-4 hour marathon next year.  I've got another 10k race, a ten-mile race, and a half-marathon all booked over the next few months to keep the momentum going.

I'm currently running 40 miles per week.  Included in that is a medium-long run (12 miles), plus two harder sessions (tempo/interval/hill).  The rest are recovery sessions.

Edited: 13/08/2012 at 13:07
05/11/2012 at 11:52

Things haven't been going so well since August when I picked up a knee injury.  Training has been a bit erratic, though I have tried to maintain some reasonable mileage.  It hasn't been an easy ride.

Still, I'm happy to report that I achieved a new half-marathon PB yesterday and have finally cracked the two-hour barrier that has eluded me.  I finished in 1:54:58, which was better than I had hoped for given my recent circumstances.  It's less than the sub-1:50 I would have been capable of a few months ago, but I can't be unhappy with 6.5 minutes shaved off my previous best.  I'm still knocking on the door of a four hour marathon next year.

I'm seeing an osteopath next month, and will continue running and building my mileage back up, without pushing the speed too much in the hope that I strengthen my knee without antagonising it.

19/12/2012 at 18:26

My knee problem is basically down to ageing   The good news is that I've been given the all-clear to run and train for a spring marathon.  Just as well, as I continued running around 25 miles a week while waiting to see the osteopath.  I found that running helped, rather than hindered.  So I guess it was a relatively nice problem.

I have confirmed places in both the Brighton Marathon and the VLM in 2013.  My plan is to run Brighton, and defer London to 2014.  I am training with the intention of trying for a sub-4:00 marathon in 2013, though it's fair to say my training has been set back and makes this harder than it might have been.  

I'm currently following the P&D 18 week - up to 55 mile schedule (week two as I write this).  This is a departure from my previous training and favours higher midweek mileage than I'm used to.  I'm already becoming accustomed to this and am enjoying it.

I will run the Silverstone Half-Marathon next March and attempt to crack 1:50.  If I can do that, then a sub 4:00 marathon would be more likely.  I'm taking steps towards the unlikely long-term goal I've set myself 

04/03/2013 at 10:16
Tenjiso wrote (see)

I will run the Silverstone Half-Marathon next March and attempt to crack 1:50.  

I'm still following the P&D program and have been really enjoying it.  Last week I ran my highest mileage week ever (56m), and my longest ever training run (22m).  My mileage totals for January and February have been 193m and 196m respectively.

Yesterday was my targeted half marathon at Silverstone.  This was important to me to check whether I am remotely capable of knocking a huge chunk of my marathon time in April.  As mentioned previously, my target was 1:50 for this race.

I grabbed a pace band before the start of the race, which was just as well as it was a challenge to pace the race when the garmin was registering short on so many miles. The cloudy day probably didn't help, and I guess I didn't stick well enough to the racing line. My worst paced mile was mile five, and I put it down entirely to the garmin clocking up the mile a full thirty-seven seconds ahead of the course marker (no – I didn't stop for a Paula). Mile two was also out by twenty-eight seconds.

I made the time back during the race and at mile ten I was bang-on 1:23:58, which was exact pacing for a 1:50 finish. I found concentrating on pace adjustments hard work at times. In total, the garmin registered a full 0.25 miles further than the race distance. I always concentrated on the current lap pace, but it didn't help that it registered short so often.

I took a Sis Go gel instead of water at 3-4m, and another one at 9-10m. I grabbed a couple of small sips of water somewhere around 7m and 11m. Going by how I felt back at home, I didn't hydrate enough during the race (it took an hour to stop shivering and glug plenty of fluids).

My mile splits (target 8:23 pace), adjusted for garmin cock-ups were:


It's out a few seconds for roundings, and my final chip time was 1:50:04. It is my new PB by 4:54 minutes, and beats last years March half-marathon by 11.5 minutes. I'm even happier that this has been achieved just one week after my longest ever training run (22m) with only a mini-taper!

I am finally making progress and am really glad I started the "five year plan" idea.  It has helped me ride out the not-so-good period and concentrate on chipping away at my targets.

I've got a 20 mile race in a few weeks, but I will be using that as a catered training run rather than actually racing.  I'll race a 5k parkrun as a tune-up during March.  It's now only six weeks to the Brighton Marathon, and my target remains four hours. 

seren nos    pirate
04/03/2013 at 10:24

good time least the focusing on the time calculations made you forget some of the pain 

04/03/2013 at 10:37

That's very true, seren 

04/03/2013 at 10:46

Well done Tenjiso, that's a great time  

04/03/2013 at 10:47

Tenjiso - I like your approach to this and congratulations on your new PB! I admit to having skim read most of this thread but I will go back through as I think I can learn a lot. I've not been able to do any exercise for nearly three years now but I think it is getting close to being able to start training again. I have a few targets in mind but I think as you I need the focus of a long term aspirational goal but I'm not sure what yet. Keep it coming though, it makes for great reading and good luck for Brighton!

04/03/2013 at 10:52

Thanks xine.

Peter - thanks, and good luck with your own planning too.

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