RW Forum Six – Sub 2.50 Kier with Parkrunfan

81 to 100 of 985 messages
24/12/2012 at 15:55

When I started to put together a plan I was looking into Canova’s approach. The first version of the plan was put together with the help of a chap from the sub 3 thread. In fairness it was quite ambitious, since then I have amended the plan quite a bit and it has deviated quite a bit from what Canova has his athletes doing. However, the core principle is the same, or is at least my interpretation of it. The principle being; firstly work on aerobic conditioning (threshold) then move into an aerobic extension period (endurance – long run above 20 miles increase MLR as well) and then into a specific Marathon phase (MP in long runs, long runs at a bit slower than MP)

As far as I see it, the idea is simple, I am looking to increase the volume as I go along, the quality sessions get longer and slower with more specific Marathon sessions appearing, finishing with a few long runs with big chunks at MP. Hopefully, the aerobic conditioning phase will see me make some decent fitness gains, the specific period is about converting those gains upwards.  

A link to my plan  –

(Google changed the dates to American!!!)

I haven’t listed each and every run, just the quality runs, MLR and LSR. The rest of the week will be made up of as many easy miles as I can fit in without getting injured.
The earlier LSRs will be on hilly routes and some off road to build strength. Later on the long runs will be on flat routes as my Marathon is flat and I want to prepare my legs for the relentless pounding of a long flat road race.
On the plan where the session is non-specific, say 4 x 1m, or 4m tempo, just assume I will run a pace appropriate to the session. So 10k tempo will be run at or just a tad slower than HMP, 4m tempo at threshold, 4 x 1m @ 10k pace and so on.
MP is down as 6:29/m i.e 2:50 Marathon pace, but early on I will run to effort, I also wear a HR monitor so can keep an eye on that. I will though be stricter and will run to pace closer to M day.
I fully expect the plan to change plenty over the next few weeks, be interested to get some feedback.

Sorry for the me, me, me posts, I will have a proper read back and will get onto the debates.

24/12/2012 at 16:07

Cheerful Dave - Very observant. I did, of course, mean 12 weeks out to 4 weeks out.

Theres certainly plenty quality posting already from people who have been there and done it so we should all pick up the odd idea as this develops over the next few weeks..

Keir - I was actually looking at the weeks that you labelled 12 down to 5. There are certainly plenty runs in the 14-20 mile range to back up the 20+ efforts but again I would put up for discussion the balance between the two.

This isnt to say that we are talking rights and wrongs in any of this, we are more tinkering around at the edges.

On a very basic level, training for a marathon is about running plenty miles and running some of them a bit quicker. Everything else is mere detail.

But then when we start adding detail, we can home in on this 8 week period as being the powerhouse/engine of the marathon prep. Everything before is just about getting strong enough to tackle the 8 weeks with enthusiasm and the 4 weeks after is getting ready for race day.

1. Yes, the 14-15 MLRs would be ideal for the progressive 10 milers. I always have 4 miles warm up anyway so it usually makes for a 14 mile session.

2. In week 4 (that is 4 weeks out from VLM day) you have scheduled:

Weds: 14 MLR
Sat: 21 miles with 14@PMP

Because this is 4 weeks out it is the ideal time to get an aerobic 26 miler in, something which has worked for both of us in the past and highly recommended by Charlie Spedding. The benefits seem to peak 2-3 weeks after and then gradually drift away so although running 26 miles so close to a marathon may seem risky, experience suggests otherwise. Of course, it needs to be gentle.

So, would it be feasible to turn the Weds run into the PMP session or a progressive 10 miler and then convert the Saturday run into an aerobic 26 miler?

It is only a suggestion because as mentioned above, BR ran a strong marathon off a longest run of 18.6 miles.

3. The intervals question is interesting because you could have a very successful marathon campaign without undertaking any interval sessions at all as long as you are regularly working the upper aerobic system. I didnt run any interval sessions at all in the lead up to Chester but still got my best HM for years bagged in the build up at 1:18:41. I did, however, race a lot and did plenty progressive stuff.

They seem like a default 'Go To' type session that gets included because, well, plans have interval sessions dont they? But is it better to kill two birds with one stone and build the hard efforts into longer runs/races and dispense with interval sessions altogether during this crucial 8 week period?


Now theres a question that will divide opinions..........


Edited: 24/12/2012 at 16:10
24/12/2012 at 16:15
Great stuff already Keir. Good to see some familiar names chipping in on here

As some know I'm somewhat stuck on a 2.59 plateau with a frankly poor conversion from a 1.20.20 half. I get online coaching from Moraghan (good to see you posting again btw!) and am carrying on with that though not running a marathon til oct 2013

Very interested to see your marathon career laid out there BR and your change in philosophy away from a target race pace to a more "let's run against the field and see what comes out" approach. The complete opposite of the traditional "run your own race" maxim

My first mara was 3.04 and my most recent 2.59. I sometimes feel the biggest factor against me is my willingness to really put my balls out there on the big day....Like CD I'm sure I sometimes talk myself out of a better performance

Will be fascinating to see what prf can squeeze out if you Keir!

I too do very few build up races - find they take too much out if me.

Those proper fast finish long runs look frankly terrifying prf. How many of those type of sessions would you propose for a campaign??

I work fairly long hours and have a number if other outside bits going on too - like most of us. Agree heartily with you Keir that the routines and a fairly prescribed - if busy - schedule are vital to keep things on track
24/12/2012 at 16:33

I'd like to pick up on a couple of observations from TR and PRF here re. racing.

Traditional `old school' running seemed to have runners racing a HM 3-4 weeks out `so they knew what time to go for in the marathon'.  Now as many of us have very variable conversion rates, this seems flawed.  For example, in this household, even after a year of specific Hadd-type aerobic threshold activity, my best conversion was 73:40 to 2:42, so double plus over 14 mins.  Whereas my other half managed an 84:14 / 2:56 conversion, so double plus less than 8 mins.  We both trained smart and executed those marathons to the best of our abilties.  It just so happens that my LT is better than hers, but her aerobic endurance is better than mine.

Therefore if we remove the `so I know what MP to run' from the rationale, the only other remaining reasons for racing a HM are to get as fast a time as possible or because it is a club / county / vets' championship event.  Then it becomes a question of balances between what you will get out of racing the HM as opposed to the missed training time tapering then recovering from the race (up to 2 weeks in my experience).

A 10 mile race takes about half the recovery time, I have found.  If 20 miles is the halfway point in the marathon, 10 miles is the halfway point in a HM in terms of damage you can do.  In retrospect you can race a fantastic HM off a block of training, or a decent marathon.  If you try and do both, you're running the risk of compromising the latter.

However, if the HM is a controlled effort, then it has its uses.  I have used them in the past as MP runs, and found it far easier to run comfortably in a race at sub maximal effort than to run up and down the trans-pennine trail with the same effect.  But as I alluded to earlier, that does become more expensive these days.

As to substituting sessions for races, I know PRF has done this very successfully in the summer, when you have a greater variety on offer.  If Keir has limited weekend time I think he'd get more bang for his buck focussing on volume in winter.

24/12/2012 at 16:38

A further thought on this relates back to the point about Hilly and myself.  HM is my best distance so I can really go to the well and hurt myself.  Other runners who may not be as strong over HM may incur less damage.  E.g. I would have expected Hilly at her peak to have been able to run a 1:22 HM, so when she did a 1:26, 1:25 and 1:24 within two months before her 2:56, she recovered reasonably quickly due to having an excellent base and not quite hitting that peak.

24/12/2012 at 16:41

Fraser - I would say, ideally, 2 or 3 of those during the 8 week period.

But variations can be employed to fit in with whatever else is planned, eg for a HM race I might do a reasonable warm up before the race and then run the race with only one aim, to run the last 5K as strongly as possible, which would mean an 18:xx usually.

This, in total, amounts to a reasonably similar session to the fast finishing 22 miler but with the fast finish coming off a stronger earlier pace,

Edited: 24/12/2012 at 16:46
24/12/2012 at 17:03

To twist the debate about a bit, in light of Keir’s excellent conversion from shorter distances up, wouldn’t he get more benefit from working on his 10k through to HM speed? Whilst maintaining a long run and medium long run more in line with a Marathon schedule? Basically working on his weaknesses. I am not necessarily advocating running fast 400s, but 1k, 1m, 2k repeats at 5k and 10k pace, shorter more aggressive progressive runs (5 – 6m), shorter threshold sessions and the like. Or at least for a portion of the campaign.

24/12/2012 at 17:09

A very interesting thread full of discussion.  One thing is for certain reading shows there is no one way to train for a marathon to produce the goods.  I'm a bit of a fraud posting on here as I'm not looking to run anywhere near the times people have on here as their goals, but I follow the same training principles and am looking to try and hit sub 3 again.  I'm not sure if it's now possible, I think I'll need a lot of discipline and a change to my lifestyle along with losing a stone in weight, but hopefully if things go right that's my goal.

I also think doing longer races in the build-up to a marathon can be detrimental to the marathon.  I would say that I had got myself into sub 3 shape a few times in the last few years, but each time raced longer races including 4 x 20 miles on consecutive weekends one year and then faded out to 3:08-3:10 on the marathon.  Therefore this time there will be no longer races apart from a HM in January, which is far enough out to have no lasting effect.  If I hit 2.59.59 or quicker I'll retire from the marathon

Edited: 24/12/2012 at 17:11
24/12/2012 at 17:22

Bath half on March 3rd  is 7 weeks out from London so I'll have a long clear run of long runs leading into the race this time. Have always done a half 4 weeks approx before a marathon in the past.

24/12/2012 at 17:53

It's moving along nicely on here now, but its getting a bit complicated for me. I'm off.

Edited: 24/12/2012 at 17:54
24/12/2012 at 18:02
TR - get yourself over to the Carterusm and spoons thread. I can assure you we are discussing things at a very simple level
24/12/2012 at 18:04

YD - I would think that Keir has fairly standard conversion times.  Therefore I would be looking at periodisation working on the different elements in turn.

TR - see you at the Red Lion

24/12/2012 at 20:18

Should be interesting to follow this. Best of luck with your respective campaigns folks. Keir's finest hour taking the silver medal at the World Orpington Marathon Championships of the World...


24/12/2012 at 20:27

Some really interesting reading already on previous campaigns and training styles.

My schedule last year was made up from previous experience but mainly consisted of:

January - Base building.  Mainly slow and easy apart from a couple of shorter runs which were no faster than 6.50 pace (PMP in January).  214 miles in total.

February/early March - Mainly consisting of 1xinterval session (6x500m, 5x1000m, 6x1000m all around 6.00 pace except for fast last rep), 1 x progressive or tempo run (7-10m in total) & 1x long run (inc some MP miles). Other runs were short and slow.

Late March/April - More MP specific mileage within long runs and pushing progressive & tempo runs harder.   Also increased Intervals to 5 or 6x1m, but with pace no quicker than 5.50 pace apart from last rep.  PMP now looking around 6.30ish.  Long runs eaither finished fast or had good chunks of MP or HMP miles contained within them.

VLM - 2.49.44 when aiming for 2.50.

Main focus of training last year was not to burn out too early as I have done in previous years hence I kept mileage down to average 49mpw with a max of 58mpw.  I concentrated on alot of MP or slightly quicker miles without going all out.

Not so sure about 2013 as work commitments over the last 5 weeks have meant only 10 runs.  Minimum target is to keep GFA (3.10) but would like to break 3hrs for a 3rd year.  All depends on the amount of running I can fit in, but I may become a bit of an experiment on what can be done on minimal training.


24/12/2012 at 23:20
Race Jase wrote (see)

Should be interesting to follow this. Best of luck with your respective campaigns folks. Keir's finest hour taking the silver medal at the World Orpington Marathon Championships of the World...


Definately room for improvement on the shorts - a decent aerodyamic pair could save minutes off the VLM2013 time

Edited: 24/12/2012 at 23:23
25/12/2012 at 11:46

Unfortunately I forgot to ask Santa for some nice red Speedos SBD.

Merry Christmas everyone. 

26/12/2012 at 08:11
RJ - thanks for sharing that vid again. Keir makes it look so easy....

Fraser - I'm sure you'll be brave enough to get your balls out this year and nail the marathon time you're chasing.

Great thread folks. So much to read - it could be made into a book in April.
26/12/2012 at 08:43

Hope everyone had a good day yesterday! Unlucky on the speedos Keir

Barnsley Runner wrote (see)

YD - I would think that Keir has fairly standard conversion times.  Therefore I would be looking at periodisation working on the different elements in turn.

I disagree BR. When Keir ran his 2:54, his HM PB was 83:58. Even if this was a compromised half in the build-up to his full Marathon, it still represents a very decent conversion IMO.
The two most common Half Marathon to Marathon predictors are 2xHM time+10 mins and the more conservative 2xHM+10%. Those calculations would have predicted a 2:58 or 3:04 respectively for Keir at Abingdon at that time. Conventional wisdom on the Sub 3 thread is that an 83 HM is generally needed to convert to sub 3 (outliers such as Hilly obviously exist). So with that in mind I think Keir converts very well from half to full Marathon.  He has since improved his half time down by 1:20 or so, even with that improvement the 2xHM+10mins predicts a 2:53:20 Marathon.  So a good converter IMO, 5 seconds per mile over HM could pay off quite nicely over the full distance.

Keir – I have to say, prf’S 10mile progressive runs are excellent sessions, I have used them to good effect to get me in shape for shorter races in the past + they are very enjoyable sessions to do IMO.  Working through the gears is certainly good mental prep for race day, it also probably has a similar physiological effect to racing at an even pace as well. Don’t get in the habit of racing thesessions though or turning them into time trials though, that’s a sure fire way to burn out.

– your plan looks solid enough, you mentioned introducing some MP work into the mix as part of the midweek ML are you planning on doing any at the end of long runs?
Reason I ask, is that as first timer I think this is the part of training I will find the toughest. It’s not something I have done much of, and when I have I have done it, I found it tough to do.

PMJ – I know few who have run the Newcastle Town Moor Marathon, including my long run buddy who won it this year. A low 2:5x time would win it most years, not sure if the BMAF champ thing will up the quality of the field though.
As for your approach and adapting P&D. I sometimes wonder if I would be best off doing similar as this is my first time at a Marathon. What do you think is good and bad about the P&D schedules? I often hear people say its light on long runs.

26/12/2012 at 09:02

YD - semantically speaking I would maintain that Keir's times are within a normal range.  In that I mean there are no glaring standout times that have not been converted across other distances - e.g. no 16.xx 5k or 35.xx 10k in there.  Yes his HM to Marathon is on the very good side of a normal range (x2 + 6.5 mins) but as he has since moved those shorter distance times down further in the past year, I would not think that this would be a particular area to work on.  He has created that potential for further marathon improvement, as you say so I would be looking to work at paces across the board as his times point to no particular area of weakness.

26/12/2012 at 09:10

Put another way, Keir's HM pace at Folkestone was 6:25 and his pace at Abingdon was 6:39, pretty much bang on the Horwill / Hadd rule of thumb that if you double the race distance, look to add on 16 secs per mile. Yes, a couple of seconds inside so a slightly stronger marathon, but nothing excpetional which would have me asking questions about particular areas of weakness.

81 to 100 of 985 messages
Previously bookmarked threads are now visible in "Followed Threads". You can also manage notifications on these threads from the "Forum Settings" section of your profile settings page to prevent being sent an email when a reply is made.
Forum Jump  

RW Forums