A bit longer than the average plan
This is a request for any experienced runners to point me in the right direction to establish a realistic and achievable running goal in five years.
Background I'm fifty years old and have been running between 600 and 1000 miles per year since 1997, but haven't really pushed the boundaries of what I can achieve in terms of speed. A mistake I repeatedly make is to achieve a running goal, then slacken off (or get ill/injured) and have to repeat earlier training to get back to previous fitness levels. I seem to be targeting the same distance/times that I have already achieved up to five years ago. A mega-plateau!
The Inspiration – number 1 In 2010, Tom Williams took part in Ironman Lanzarote in an attempt to qualify for the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Although he didn't quite achieve this goal, what particularly struck me was that he had been planning his assault on the world championships for five years. It has made me think that even my longest running goals (e.g. running a marathon) are never really very long. I complete a goal (or crash and burn), then slip back while deciding what to do next.
I'm completely convinced that I will perform better if I plan ahead much further, so that each goal becomes another step towards something much loftier. Also, problems such as illness and injury will (hopefully) feel less disastrous over a five year span.
A possible goal? Somehow I seem to keep gravitating back towards the marathon as a goal. I completed one in 2009 in 4:38, and will run another in April with a current target of 4:20-4:30. So I would like to make my “big” goal marathon related. I looked at the London Marathon “Good for Age” categories and found that my target to achieve would be an eye-watering 3:15. This, right now, sounds impossible for me. I had put my idea to the back of my mind, because suddenly it sounded a bit crazy.
The Inspiration – number 2 This week I listened to a marathon talk interview with Bob Groves. He's not an elite. He's pushing fifty years old and has a fair bit in common with me (I ditched alcohol five years ago and lost more than four stone in weight). His target is to achieve a “good for age” qualifying time. I was intrigued to know how he was doing and checked his progress. His marathon times progressed: 2009 = 4:26; 2010 = 3:49; 2011 = 3:30. This suggests that it is indeed possible to knock lumps off the marathon time with the right training and dedication towards the goal.
Help and advice needed I've never considered making a five year fitness plan before, though I do make plans for up to five or six months at a time for running. I'm finding it very difficult to find any information on the subject of making a real long-term running/fitness plan. Everything I search for turns up the usual four month marathon plans at best.
I know this goal is very hard, but there's no point in setting a five year goal that is achievable within a year. On the other hand, there's no point in setting a goal that is truly impossible for all apart from the very gifted. I'm sure some of you guys will have a heap of experience and can offer some advice, or point me in the right direction for further information.
I would like to know what kind of progress is achievable for an average person year-on-year? The progress made by Bob Groves gives me hope, but is this typical, or is he naturally gifted? Is my goal realistic/achievable?
Thanks in advance.
I found this quite interesting - as I am 52 now, returned to running after a 12 year break because of stuff - But just cannot imagine setting such a long term goal -
I have set a 10 month goal and a 22 month goal and have added in a 14 month goal - which are times for 5 miles (35 minutes 8 month goal) the Southend Marathon (Not to disgrace myself 14 month goal and if they run the Southend Marathon (council issues)) and sub 30 minute 5 miles 18 month goal -
I do think though the idea of a long long term goal is a good one BUT agree with Fat Buddha - you need shorter term achievable goals to if nothing else, to measure progress and to keep your interest alive.
Fit-Running-Cat wrote (see)
Sure someone will say you can achieve your goals if you put in 60-70 miles a week or more?
I don't think I have much to add, as I'm relatively new to this running lark. But since that never stops anyone on the internet from having an opinion or two, here's mine:
- good for you to want to stay fit, whatever the goals
- instead of setting a 5 year goal that's written in stone (ie, 3:15), make the goal to do 5 one-year programs that have their own intrinsic goals. You might find that at the end of the 5 years, it's a perfectly sane and sensible thing to run 3:15, but you won't really know until year 4... (those years, of course, can be broken down even further... it's the old, 'eat the elephant one bite at a time' thing)
- prioritise injury prevention, even if it means cutting back on the printed schedule and its underlying goal. You aren't going to beat the yo-yo cycle if you're on the bench half the time
chubby bloke wrote (see)
Fit-Running-Cat wrote (see)Sure someone will say you can achieve your goals if you put in 60-70 miles a week or more? Based on your OP you've been running, on average, between 12 and 20 miles per week. I don't run marathons, because I don't have the time to commit to the 70 mile weeks I feel I should do to run one effectively. I think you would notice a massive improvement by just doubling (slowly over time!) your weekly mileage.
You're telling me to run 60-70 miles chubby bloke? I was actually meaning Tenjiso! or expected someone to say to him to put the miles in.
My 1000 miles was actually 1250, and not all equal months.. slow & steady to a half, bit of a rest, injured in May, then built up steadly for October marathon, getting to 45-50ish mile weeks at peak.
I'm around 25-35 miles weekly now, was fine doing sub 4 on that anyway, plus I cross train a lot. 2 marathons booked this year, so mileage will go higher.
I have a six year plan if thats any help
The target itself is a secret and I dont make concrete plans for anymore than a year ahead. It may be a purely aspirational goal so I train to my current fitness and intermediate goals each year but keep one eye on the final goal when picking the intermediate ones.
I know the sort of shorter distance times I need to run a marathon at my final target pace so I am spending a few years working towards those before going back to the marathon to work on my endurance, but I am sure there are many ways to skin the long term target cat.
I also am not fixed on six years or on the goal, obviously I wantto get there and as quickly as possible, but it takes as long as it will take and I will get bloody fit having a go.
The long term target does keep me going when all else is rubbish - its definitely good training motivation to think of each run as a little + in the "movement towards goal" column.
Sorry I cant be more specific, but I think a longer term plan has to be vague since so much can change year on year with fitness and health and training.
ah, got you now chubby bloke. crossed lines!
Tenjiso, your PB for marathon is 4.38 at moment? 3.15 is a long way off but I guess possible if you really really want it.. and put 5 years of hard effort in. Every year you are looking at knocking off a minute time per mile roughily starting this year?
what is your 10k PB? I'd guess at 50-55 mins based on your half marathon time?
Off the back of the sub 4 marathon marathon, I knocked nearly 4 minutes off my 10k time and 3min30 off my half times... lot of hard effort getting there though, lots of early mornings, 100s of hours in gym.
are you a member of a running club?
I did lots of hills in my training, and lots hard at nearly marathon and half pace, but very little speed stuff, maybe once or twice. I have joined a running club in the last few weeks now and can imagine the differences this will make. Also started at another gym, even harder. More effort.
so a sub 40 minute 10k is a long way off as well.
I did 44.30 end of November, previous PB was 48m but sub 40 seems like light years away for me.. but putting the effort in mileage for marathon helps for the half and 10k I found.. plus hills and intervals like last night (10 x I think 400m part uphill with 400m recovery).
little targets per year are much easier..
so you're really close to a sub 2hr half, then 1.55.. doing these might start getting you to low 50 minutes and eventually sub 50. Ditto the marathon... 4.30 first and then 4.15.
You've got to really really want it and to take the pain of getting there...(click for me last year)
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