GFA? is it possible for the average person?

Tired of people moaning about the ballot can they do it?

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01/05/2008 at 16:24

I'm not sure that you'll readily find an 80mpw schedule; as sarahbob suggests you can use the RW schedules from this site - although to be sure of GFA I'd be inclined to go for the 3:30 plan rather than the 3:45 plan.
I'm sure you don't need 80mpw, but such a schedule would amost certainly include running 6/7 days per week and "doubles" (eg 5 miles am, 12 miles pm).

01/05/2008 at 16:25
good old OCD, its the sub 3 runners friend you know

A few pages back GFA dates were given - this is taken from LM website -
The closing date for receipt of letters applying for a GFA entry form is Friday 22nd August 2008
01/05/2008 at 16:48

Just a quick contribution to the 80mpw thing... that was more or less my average from last year.

To do so I ran every day of the year, normally twice.  On average it was about 75minutes of running per day for me to achieve that level of .  I had no real down time in that period, running 53 miles for my lowest volume week (before a key track race) and 110 in my toughest week.  It wasn't easy and I strongly suspect that anybody else who could maintain that level of training for a 6 months (let alone 2yrs) would make huge strides towards reaching GFA level.

Here's an example of a typical training week from last year - this is for 10km training rather than marathon.

M: 42mins steady, 45mins steady
T: 34mins steady, 9M inc 4 x mile about 5km pace
W: 47mins steady, 1hr12 steady
T: 36mins steady, pm 7.5M inc 10 x 400m between 1500 and 3000m pace
F: 43mins steady, 47mins steady
S: 14 mile inc hill session
S: 1hr24 slow, 5.5M easy

Consider that the first weekday run will be in my lunch hour and the second session straight after work, I'd normally be home and showered by 6:30pm.

Cheerful Dave    pirate
01/05/2008 at 17:45

80 mpw in 75 minutes per day is just over 6:30 per mile.  As an average for 80 miles, with no rest days all year is pretty quick and I'd say that you have to be very disciplined with warming up, cooling down and stretching AND be naturally resilient to injury to reach that level of intensity.  I'm not saying it can't be done, because obviously it can, but anyone trying to build up to that quantity of fast-paced running needs to be very careful about picking up an injury.

01/05/2008 at 18:12

Dull - are you saying DanA averaged 80mpw for 10 years before breaking 3hrs?  Obviously it is dependent on finding the right course on the right day with the right short term preparation.  You have suggested someone who may be an exception to my assertion.  From what you have posted, he was in sub 3 shape at the time (given his 20m time) but it just didn't come right on the day for some reason.  Just like I was in sub 2.45 shape for Paris but didn't do it because of (I believe) short term preparation and fuelling.

Oh, and I never said it was easy, just doable.

Re. the ASD / OCD point, as BEJ has pointed out, it can be a matter of being focussed and organised.  You don't have to have a diagnosed neurological condition to run 80mpw.  I would guess a lot of people who `can't fit in' the amount of training needed would watch a similar amount of TV to the time it would take to run that amount.

01/05/2008 at 18:31
Maybe - but My Leisure Centre membership only allows Lido access.

Sarahbob (Mrs C) is my hero !
01/05/2008 at 18:33
Still don't see that it needs to be 80 mpw, 5 or 6 runs week would do it, as long as the main sessions are in there.
01/05/2008 at 19:19

TR - are you saying that any man under 40 can run sub 3 off 5 or 6 runs a week, as long as the main sessions are there?

I would disagree with that as I have former clubmates who have done just that and not broken 3 hrs.  I would contend that had they stuck in 80mpw they would have.  In fact when I ran 5 or 6 times per week at 55-60 miles for my first marathon I did 3:14.

Cheerful Dave    pirate
01/05/2008 at 19:54

I don't think its as simple as saying that do 80mpw and you'll crack 3 hours.  It'll help (assuming you build up to it without injury) but its no guarantee.  There are 4 hour marathoners who do big mileage but all at 8 min/mile, and then wonder why 7 min/mile is such a struggle.  Doing big mileage is only worthwhile if there's a balance between quantity & quality.

Personally, 80mpw would bore me rigid.  I'd much rather stick to 40 mpw max and spend any extra time on my bike, but each to their own.

01/05/2008 at 20:31


I agree with 20mins and SarahBob - the RW Sub3:45 schedule was fine for me (3:41:30). I'm built for endurance, not  speed, so did the sub4:00 speedwork, but went out for more on the long runs. The principle of getting your 5 longest runs totalling  100miles gives you extra insurance (and confidence) over the last 6.2 miles. From the previous June until Christmas I was averaging less than one run a week, but I'm sure having a decent base level reduces your risk of injury and makes the building up less painful.

01/05/2008 at 21:05

CD - if there are 4 hr marathon runners doing big miles at 8m/m I would suggest they're training far too fast, as Mpace would be around 9m/m!!

You say mileage is only worthwhile if mixed with `quality'.  I think TR only did 2 `quality' sessions pre 2:52 FLM.

01/05/2008 at 21:32
Chuckle !

2 quality sessions - you cheeky beggar. I count each of my 20s that ended up with 5M or more at MP as quality more than I do the 2 sessions of 800 reps. I was after endurance - I already had enough leg speed.

I guess I am saying that 5 or 6 runs is enough. I reckon that if folks did that for a series of campaigns then that would be enough. But I do accept that some days I do 3 sessions of aerobic work as well as a run, so that covers my recovery runs.

01/05/2008 at 21:37
I would add that I'm probably not an advert for average after all. I was a decent runner as a kid, and have always been fit and sporty.

But I do carry a fair bit of weight as a handicap - although its lean muscle not not as useless as lard, and I didn't see many people of my size and shape at my end of the race at FLM.
02/05/2008 at 07:40

You don;t look as though you're carrying extra weight if thats you in your piccie!

This thread may not have provided a def answer but its certainly motivated my r*nning!

Cheerful Dave    pirate
02/05/2008 at 07:48

OK, 3.5 hours then! 

At the end of the day there's no 'one size fits all' training program, but I wold agree with the general premise that for under 40's a GFA time of 3:00/3:45 is achievable given the right training schedule for that individual and the necessary commitment/desire to see it through.  For many that will mean bigger mileage and I wouldn't criticise anyone for not wanting to spend the time necessary to do that.  It's only running after all.

02/05/2008 at 08:35
That's me a lean and mean 12 stone at 5 ft 10 - not marathon runner build for sure.

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