RW Forum Six – Sub 2.50 Kier with Parkrunfan

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05/01/2013 at 09:06

PRF, after being woken 9 times by my 2 youngest, I wonder how realistic I am actually being with this 8 week plan, and how much I am throwing these sessions down without thinking properly about the other things happening in my life.

Thanks to everyone for your comments. The general opinions seems to be that I am doing too much weeks 7 - 4, so I will review these first and put down an 'essential' session plan, and consider what I posted on the previous page the 'supplementary if feeling great plan. 

Should be able to get out for a muddy 1hr later. 

Cheerful Dave    pirate
05/01/2013 at 11:15

Keir, you could look at your plan as being the optimum you'd do if everything else allowed, but recognise that it's not all going to fall apart if you miss a session or two.  Sometimes the best training you can do is rest.

05/01/2013 at 20:39

Cheers CD. Having read back Morgahan's suggestion of ordering sessions in regard to priority is a good one. In the past I have got tired running 'inbetween' sessions which has meant I have missed the main workout. 

8 enjoyable easy miles in the trail shoes over the Downs today. Doing something a bit flatter tomorrow. But due to dodgy knee, I think I'll give the bike a bit of a rest. 

06/01/2013 at 13:11

Keir - Nice to see the 20 miler under your belt. How did it feel? Obviously you felt tired afterwards but while you were running it did it feel like a natural pace as opposed to pushed along?

Going back to the schedule,

Week 7 - You were asking about the advantages/disadvantages to doing the MLR am or pm. In terms of the benefits of the sessions I dont think it makes any difference at all, I just find that it takes a little longer on early am runs to get into a comfortable flow, maybe 1.5 miles instead of 1 mile. So just do whatever fits best with your schedule.

In terms of the HM, I tend to agree with you that long warm downs are a bit of an own goal. What would a long warm down be trying to achieve? What would it simulate? If 20 miles in total was to include a HM far better to get the steady miles in before the race.

If it was me, for the same total mileage I'd have 4 mile w/u, HM, 1 mile w/d rather than 2 m w/u, HM, 3m w/d. In fact you probably wouldnt find me doing the w/d at all but that is just me and doesnt mean it is right.

Week 6 - No problems with a 15 MLR after a 10 mile progressive but again it should be a case of concentrating on feeling as comfortable as possible in the MLR, focussing on running techniques and race day mental preparation.

Week 5 - The 26.2 should really be PMP +90-120, but definitely no quicker. Going quicker can only be detrimental.


CD is right about seeing your outline as an optimal schedule that you almost certainly wont do as planned, hence the joker idea. On any particular day, when it arrives, just ask yourself the question....what is the best thing that I can do today that will add to my marathon campaign? The answer could be completely different to what you have in your plan.

As an example, before VLM I had an outline plan to do a 26 mile LSR one Sunday about 4 weeks out. On the Thursday evening before I went out for a 18 mile MLR and just thought this feels good I may as well carry on and get the 26 done. On the Sunday I may not have felt as enthusiastic so often it is a case of going along with what the body fancies doing and being as flexible as you can with the various sessions.

YD - Good analysis on week 7 but that combination of 23 miles faster than MP, consisting of a 10 mile progressive + HM race in a week of 60+ miles is exactly what the week looked like when we had that little jaunt from Newcastle to Sth Shields. I absolutely relished that week as you know.


After yesterday's parkrun + Yorkshire XC combo I'm expecting today's LSR to be even more gentle than usual.....

Edited: 06/01/2013 at 13:15
06/01/2013 at 13:54

An interesting discussion topic in relation to robustness:

A friend who pretty much ran the same VLM and Chester times as myself, ie we were within 47 secs at VLM and about a minute at Chester is probably going to be somewhere in the vicinity of going sub 2:50 at this year's VLM, so very relevant to this thread.

However, his approach couldnt be more removed from what people consider to be 'correct' training.

When he ran 2:56 at Chester, it was a mere 7 days after breaking 2:50 with a 2:49:38, at Berlin.

This morning he has again run a 2:56 marathon. So obviously the last week would have been some sort of taper right? Erm, no........he ran a 3:06 marathon on Tuesday and , wait for it, a 2:58 marathon YESTERDAY!

Now obviously people's initial reactions to this will be along the lines of 'yes but just think how much quicker he would be if he followed a conventional approach' and there may well be plenty truth in that.

But it still begs the question about why there is so much fixed thinking about what constitutes 'correct' training, eg why is running a slow 26 miler 4 weeks out seen as something radical by many?

Edited: 06/01/2013 at 13:56
06/01/2013 at 15:46

I think our friend Njord should develop his own Asics app based on the above plan and try and market it.

Now they WOULD make interesting Asics threads...

06/01/2013 at 15:56
Not sure how to quote when posting from a phone, but I think you are wrong PRF. Most people's responses would be WTF!

How was your pr and XC wkend special? I guess it shows the level of Ykshire running when an Olympic bronze medalist 'only' gets a bronze at county level!
06/01/2013 at 16:08

Keir - Indeed, my response was 'utterly bonkers'

We'll try to get him to post on here and see what his thoughts are...

In terms of the XC, it is just a good hard graft session for me. I dont aim to be anywhere near being fit at this stage so just get stuck in and look forward to the later benefits.

And yes, he may be a world champion but he hasnt managed to win this race in the last 2 years, 2nd last year and 3rd this....although it did take an Olympic Gold medallist to beat him last year to be fair.

It is always an eye opener to see the level of runners at the start discussing at what point they are going to get lapped. Most of us did!


BR - Interesting idea! Feet up and rest the day before a marathon? Nope, run another hard marathon to warm up........

06/01/2013 at 18:49

Njord is properly bonkers, though...  In sub-3 thread lingo, menthol.

Nice training, Keir.

And now I shall re-lurk.

06/01/2013 at 20:33

PRF - Fridays 20miler felt very comfortable up to 12miles, when my legs started to feel a little stiff, reminding me they've had a few long weeks recently. Only felt a bit forced over the final few miles, but then I was pace chasing. 


15m this morning in just under 2 hours. Flat along the foggy seafront. First 7.5m @ 8.12m/m - 130bpm ave (69%) Return 7.5m @ 7.22m/m - 141bpm (79%). Nice to stretch out the legs a little on the homeward journey. 

06/01/2013 at 21:09

PRF - Thanks for the wk 7 - 5 comments. Perhaps I 'shouldn't' be racing the HM (like I 'shouldn't be running a Ultra, so many LSRs etc) but if the day is fast and I have the form, I won't be able to resist going for a pb attempt. The boost I will get from this far outweighs the negatves from a few extra recovery days / missed sessions the following week. However you and BR are right in that sticking a few extra miles on the end doesn't mean I can tick off 'two training session boxes'. I think I will w/u properly and also loosen up with a small w/d but take out the LSR plan and accept 15/16 rather than 18 for the day.

That wk 5 26.2m really will feel slow, but that's fine. I will make sure I am careful with fueling before / during and after. 

06/01/2013 at 21:28

What a good thread with some respectful, open-minded discussions that acknowledge there few universal truths in running!

As parkrunfan and Barnsley Runner both know, I often like to ask runners if they would carry on running if they could never race again.  It's surprising how many competitive men (it's usually the men!) are incredibly race results-driven.

I just like to run.  And drink.  And running allows me to drink more.  Last year I ran over 4000 miles (mostly slow, including several 5 or 6 hour 'sight-seeing' runs), and many would say a 2hr49 marathon is poor return for that kind of training load for a 41 year old man.  But I'm not bothered.  Running is recreation, a passion I'm lucky enough to share with my partner and I rarely structure my training or racing to optimise my running times.

Except sometimes I do.  I want to run well at VLM this year, so I'm about to drop my mileage down to ~70mpw, adding some 90 minute progressive treadmill sessions (starting at MP+30s and finishing at 5K pace to combine marathon pace, threshold pace, and VO2 max in one delightful session), and will start racing hard in club road races (5 to 6 miles). Normal social running will probably resume in May.

I think my training and racing plays to my strengths ('robustness' ), rather than my weakness (speed) which optimises my total enjoyment rather than my race times.  I'm happy with that.

Edited: 06/01/2013 at 21:30
06/01/2013 at 21:30

Weekly Summary

A pretty good week. The highest weekly mileage (74miles) I have run for 18 months and one of my highest ever, yet I finished today feeling stronger and healthier than I did at the start of the week. Although it has helped to be off work for the week. 

Monday - 8m easy - off road - 1hr 5min
Tuesday - 15m w/ 80min @ 80% max HR - hard but managable
Wednesday - 40m ride (probably the highest HR reached all week on a few occassions)
Thursday - 7.5m recovery - 1hr 5min
Friday - 20m LSR - 2hr 35min - comfortable with a bit of a faster finish
Satuday - 8m easy - off road - 1hr 10min
Sunday - 15m (70% and 74% (typo in post above)) Pleased to be holding mid 7.20s in under 75% bpm.

I did have rest / spin on the turbo down on my original plan, but I will be replacing these with 5m easy (70% bpm) most Monday mornings instead.

06/01/2013 at 22:17

Crackers might cover it, but then I read Njords’ explanation on his approach to running and it kinda made sense, then I read the bit about that treadmill session and thought crackers again…… 

parkrunfan wrote (see)

YD - Good analysis on week 7 but that combination of 23 miles faster than MP, consisting of a 10 mile progressive + HM race in a week of 60+ miles is exactly what the week looked like when we had that little jaunt from Newcastle to Sth Shields. I absolutely relished that week as you know.

I think the appropriate phrase is ‘horses for courses’prf, I wouldn’t attempt it knowing my legs. I checked your blog to see what you were doing in the week leading up to and including the GNR, and yes, you did the 10 mile progressive, but you also had two rest days and ran 58 miles that week. I think Keir is/was proposing a much more full-on week than that. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter what you did before GNR or what I would do, it’s all just opinions. We have no idea how Keir is going to react or feel or whatever, the only person with half a chance of doing that is Keir, you said it best here:


parkrunfan wrote (see)

Keir is still a relatively newbie in marathon terms and at a similar stage to where I am in my comeback phase.

As such, you find that you have to build the mileage up from campaign to campaign. It is always going to be a trade off between total mileage for the campaign and including a sufficient quantity of marathon specific quality work.

If you go for too much mileage too quickly it can compromise the ultimate performance by limiting the speed endurance stuff.

I went for a 75-80mpw average for Amsterdam and ended up with a below par 3:04 and then ran 2:55 at Chester off 58 mpw. That doesnt mean that 75-80mpw was 'wrong', it was just too early in my comeback to maintain that level in a balanced structure.

But I now feel able to handle more mileage while maintaining a balanced level of faster stuff and I suspect that is going to be the same for Keir.

Too much VO2 work will probably push things the other way and lead to difficulty in maintaining, let alone increasing, mileage in comparison to previous campaigns, especially Abingdon.

Overall mileage/Speed endurance/Vo2 work volumes are all variables in a balanced mixture, but the balance has to be felt for rather than scientifically calculated. That is why this is endless fun

A real good week Keir, baking a very nice cake it would seem . What's the plan next week?

20 miles for me this morning at 7:54/m, hard work on tired legs. A good week containing two strong tempo runs,  and a weekly total of 63.41miles (my highest ever – though put in the shade by Keir).
Two faster than MP tempos with high mileage is tough on the legs, I will mix it up a bit next week to try and balance it out a bit.

Edited: 06/01/2013 at 22:20
07/01/2013 at 10:24

I loved reading you reasons for running Njord. Some of us run to think, others run to drink! It sounds like you truely love running for the sake of running. Not many people have to reduce their mileage in order to run a good marathon! I started cycling as a nipper and running more recently in order to get outside and enjoy the countryside along with some physical activity. But the competitive element has taken over. When I  stop racing I will keep running (and cycling) but certainly not to the same amount as I do at the moment.

But I'm with YD regarding that treadmill session. 


Plan for this week is:

Mon 5m easy

Tue 8m inc strides (probably will try to do all strides uphill for form / strength)

Wed 14m inc 4m @ 85% max (the start of the MP effort stuff)

Thur 5m easy

Fri 11m MLR

Sat 8m off road

Sun - off road muddy duathlon - 2m road run / 9m slog on the bike / 4.5m muddy run.

So effectively a bit of a cut back week with some MP and VO2 max (duathlon) bits in there.

07/01/2013 at 10:30


Njord - Glad you think being called bonkers is respectful

Thanks for posting. As you know I am of a similar mind to yourself in terms of the reasons for running. When we discussed this on MG I posted something like this for the relative motivations:

50% Being generally fit as opposed to the alternative/sense of well being.
35% Camaraderie of other runners.
10% Racing
5% Race Results

You are unlikely to find me going on about a disappointing result after any race, even when I get beaten by YD!

It really is time that races started providing Starapromen at drinks stations, then you could indulge in both passions simultaneously

I like this:

Njord wrote (see)

I think my training and racing plays to my strengths ('robustness' ), rather than my weakness (speed) which optimises my total enjoyment rather than my race times.  I'm happy with that.

Its a pity we wont be having a battle along the Embankment and down Birdcage Walk this year, now that you're taking VLM seriously...  but of course 'first home gets the beers in' rules apply.


Keir - I like yesterday's run, getting into the routine of progressive runs without breaking anything.

Theres nothing wrong with the HM developing into a PB attempt but it should be broken into thirds with the 1st third being comfortable, the 2nd third pushed along and a final 3rd kitchen sink job. This should equate to roughly even pacing but the biggest mistake you see in HMs is how much energy is wasted in the 1st third with pushing too hard and needlessly surging due to feeling good. Your Hadd based approach should stand you in good stead in terms of keeping the initial stages smooth and controlled.

Your weekly summary comments are exactly what we want to hear at this stage, ie responding positively to mileage towards the top end of what you have ever done.

It looks like it was a week a bit light on sub 3:10 marathons but apart from that it looks good.


YD - You're well on your way to being a mileage monster now, it becomes addictive you know.

My run yesterday - 8.5 miles @ 9:47/mile. Well, theres no point in peaking too early...

Edited: 07/01/2013 at 10:34
07/01/2013 at 11:40
parkrunfan wrote (see)

YD - You're well on your way to being a mileage monster now, it becomes addictive you know.

I know prf, the mind and heart have been willing but the legs have not. It seems they are slowly coming round to my way of thinking

Not sure if you saw my post on the other thread but I can run the Thirsk 10 now, so that’s two smackdowns lined up, or three if you want to count Brass Monkey, so plenty of opportunity for me to give you something not to go on about

Keir – looks like a nice varied week, quite similar to the week I have planned with the exception of the duathlon. I am liking the idea of doing the strides up hill.

07/01/2013 at 21:17

Come on then YD. Spill the beans. Let's see your plan.

Talking of plans, OS and RS78 have been a bit quiet with their training plan for sub 2.50. And as you are not updating your blog at the moment, what is your typical week looking like PRF?

The up hill strides I read about a while ago, but Badbark (from sub 3.15 but who lurks here) reminded me of them. I think he had a link to an article about their benefits. 

07/01/2013 at 21:55

As requested.

For context last week was –
Mon rest
Tues  13.3m with 45 minutes alternating 5min segments at MP (6:25-30ish)and HMP (6:06-6:11ish)
Wed  4.81m @ 8:13/m some off road
Thurs 8.34m @ 7:39/m + strides
Fri AM 4.32m very slow off road / PM 9.13m with 4.5m tempo at 6:00/m
Sat 3.51m @ 8:28/m
Sun 20m @ 7:54/m
Total 63:41m

This week’s plan
Mon  rest
Tues  AM: 4 or 5 miles easy  / PM: 10k tempo at target HM pace (6:05/m) about 10 miles total
Wed  4 or 5 miles easy
Thurs  13-14 miles MLR easy
Friday  4 or 5 miles easy
Saturday  7-8 miles easy
Sunday  16miles with 6m@MP
Total should be in the 60 mile ballpark. I will do a set of strides in that lot and some strength/core  work on top.

Edited: 07/01/2013 at 21:57
07/01/2013 at 22:46

YD - BM, Dewsbury, Thirsk + no doubt a Hull parkrun....could be interesting.

Keir - I dont actually consider myself to be in training yet but will be starting blogging from next week, ie the last 14 weeks.

But there is no plan except the range of sessions that I have outlined for yourself which I will pick and choose from on an ongoing basis according to what I fancy doing and what feels most appropriate at the time.

To give some idea of what my non-training is like, the last 14 days have been:

25/12 Dewsbury parkrun 21:48 (7:02)
26/12 10.0 Miles easy @ 9:36/mile (with BR and Hilly)
27/12 15.0 miles @ 8:20
28/12 10.0 Miles @ 8:45
29/12 Dewsbury parkrun 19:51 (6:23)
30/12 12.0 Miles incl Ward Green 6 (6:33)
31/12 Rest
1/1 Southampton parkrun 19:13 (6:13)
1/1 Netley Abbey parkrun 20:48 (6:42)
2/1 Rest Day
3/1 Rest Day
4/1 10.0 Miles easy @ 9:38
5/1 Dewsbury parkrun 20:36 (6:31)
5/1 Yorkshire XC Champs (7:04)
6/1 8.5 Miles (9:47)
7/1 10.0 Miles (8:53)

So just a relaxed bunch of varied runs to keep things ticking over and to add to the variation we have a 3,000m track race on Wednesday evening.

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