RW Forum Six – Sub 4 Running Rachel with Cheerful Dave

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23/12/2012 at 21:11

Searching desperately for a marathon training plan that doesn't go above 6 miles mid week. Seems somewhat futile...may have to adapt the last one I followed...will post it (in adapted form!) in a bit.

23/12/2012 at 21:39's my suggested plan. However, I realise that I would have to start this tomorrow to fit in 18 weeks! Realistically that just may not happen, in which case I could start at week 2.....What to you think Dave? What needs changing? Where do I add speed etc. etc.......

 Oh....That failed to work! Anyone know how to paste a table here without it going heywire?

Edited: 23/12/2012 at 21:43
Cheerful Dave    pirate
24/12/2012 at 08:09

Pasting here never seems to work properly, it'll probably need to be posted in another way.  Email it to me anyway, we'll think of something!

24/12/2012 at 11:09

Rachel - congratulations on getting picked, and I'm sure Cheerful Dave will be a great mentor....just don't let him talk you into doing a triathlon or he'll have you doing an IM before you know it

Your PBs definitely suggest a sub 4 is on the cards.  I wouldn't worry too much about not being able to fit in more than 6 miles for your weekday runs - I am similar in that I have limited time during the week, have to run in  my lunch break and so rarely do more than 6.  Make sure not to skip the quality sessions in that case - intervals and faster paced tempo runs - you can do them in a relatively short time, but they will make such a difference to being able to sustain the marathon pace come race day. And none of that talk about age not being on your's just a number (I'm setting PBs in my mid-40s BTW and think I can still get quicker for a few years yet!). Above all, enjoy the experience

24/12/2012 at 11:26

Thanks for the encouragement Frree(mers) how many days do you run mid week?

24/12/2012 at 12:40
I usually run 3-4 days in the week plus both days at the weekend. I work at home on Fridays so can generally get a slightly longer one in then but even then not more than 8 miles. The others are 5 or 6. Saturday is usually a very easy 6 or 7, or I might do my local Parkrun for a bit of speed work. Then I do my long run on Sunday.
Cheerful Dave    pirate
24/12/2012 at 13:50

Rachel, thanks for the plan.  Here's the first 4 weeks, which start this week if week 18 is Manchester:

WEEK   MON    TUE    WED   THUR   FRI    SAT    SUN    Total

1                Off       3             4              4           Off        10           3              24

2                 Off       3         4          4           Off     10       3         24

3                Off       4         4          4           Off     12       3         27

4                Off       4         4          4           Off     15       3         30

My first comment is to ask if there's any flexibility in running Monday instead of Tuesday, otherwise you're running 3 weekdays in a row.  Moving it would mean long run saturday, short recovery sunday, run Monday but I think you'd get more out of your week that way, especially on your 'shorter' long runs later in the schedule.  Always good to have some flexibility.

You're also ramping up your midweek mileage from week 1, but you may find that doing (say) 5 miles at a time isn't a problem given this isn't your first marathon and depending on what you've been doing lately.  You want some variety in those too: I'd make one of them (Monday/Tuesday) a brisk tempo run, an interval session on Wednesday (say 1 mile warm up, 6x0.5 mile with 2 minutes rest, mile cool down for 5 miles total) and make the third a steady run at something around 8:30 to 9 min/mile (although you may be slower in early weeks).

Long runs ramp up nicely I think.  Don't worry about pace during them at this stage, slower is better at this stage because the easiest way to get injured is to combine increased mileage with trying to run fast.

Cheerful Dave    pirate
24/12/2012 at 13:54

Mind you, that's the first marathon plan I've seen that schedules the first running day on Christmas Day - that's commitment for you (or just unfortunate planning!).

24/12/2012 at 14:15

Woooohooooo go RunningRachel!

24/12/2012 at 15:53

Free(mers)- that's impressive running! What's your marathon PB?

Hi Jess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


1) I may NOT run don't be too impressed!

2) Although I could theoretically run Monday instead of Tuesday, logistically it would be tricky as Monday is sorting the children out for the week day- uniform etc. etc. BUT can certainly do Monday next week, Mayvbe that could be flexible?

3) I am more than happy to not ramp up the midweek miles so quickly. Would you suggest running 3 mid week days but less distance at first? Or cut down to two days? I am currently running Tuesday Thursday.....

4) I really struggled with pace for my long runs last time. I find I "naturally" run at faster than a nine minute mile pace, but should I make myself do long runs slower? If so, how much slower?

Thanks again! And Merry Christmas!!!  

Cheerful Dave    pirate
24/12/2012 at 17:37
It's not worth turning your life inside out to get a run on a particular day, so don't worry if tuesdays work best for you. But if you can switch around now and again it wouldn't be a bad thing.

On midweek miles, i meant that you'd probably have no problem going straight to 5 miles, but you'll know best how you feel with that.

The point about long run pace is that it should feel easy right now, if you're finding that you're working hard at the end then you're probably starting off too fast. At the end of the day 9 minute mile pace is just an arbitrary number at this stage based on your 4 hour target. Nearer the time we'll have a better idea of what sort of marathon time you're capable of. As a starting ppint though, try running nice and easy but 'blind' on your run next saturday (i.e. don't look at your pace during the run) and let us know how it goes. You're looking for a consistent run, it'll give us a better idea of training paces.

Merry Christmas to you too!
25/12/2012 at 19:51
Cheerful Dave wrote (see)

....the easiest way to get injured is to combine increased mileage with trying to run fast.

That right there is the biggest lesson I've learned this year!  The hard way, unfortunately.


26/12/2012 at 08:53

Tenjiso, I don't know about you, but I struggle with the running slowly thing, plus it just takes sooo long!!!

That said , I've been for a 4 mile "plod" today. Think I will start the plan proper on week 2- if that's ok with you Dave? 

Cheerful Dave    pirate
26/12/2012 at 18:09
Rachel, that would be fine - as said before, you're not starting from scratch.

A question in the meantime. What motivated you to start running, to run marathons and continue running? To get fit, raise money for charity, because you love te challenge, or because you like lycra?
26/12/2012 at 19:03

RR - I've been very poor at sticking to the slower running outside and have tended to do them on a treadmill (so I set the speed and just go into a trance ).  However, having realised how important it is to be refreshed for the quality sessions, I'm now making a real effort to control my pace at the slow end.  I keep reminding myself how tough the next session will be if I'm not recovered.

It's kind-of an early New Year's Resolution 

26/12/2012 at 19:42

Good resolution Tenjiso, think I need to make a similar one!


I started running in `2003 when the first Great Manchester run took place. A friend told me she was doing it, and I thought it would be a good challenge. I finished it that year in 57 minutes and LOVED the feeling as I crossed the line. I remember the next day sat on the sofa, with legs seizing up, feeling like I 'd run a marathon!! I took a break from running till the following January, when I started again to train for the next Manchester Run. The pattern continued for a number of years, and each time I got incrementally faster. It was only in 2009 that I decided to run a bit more consistently and log my miles on line. I really wanted to do a 10K in under 50 mins, but despite several attempts I never quite made it. 

At the end of 2011 I decided to enter the Stockport 10 mile race and subsequently upped my miles. I was surprised that I quite enjoyed running further. In 2012, I decided to aim to run 1000 miles. Quite a big challenge as the furthest I had done in a year before was 680 miles. But upping my mileage and running consistently brought added bonuses and saw my PBs tumble, including the Great Manchester run in 48:04! Wooo hoo!!! My 4 miler today took me over 1200 miles for 2012!

So now I run for many reasons- for "me-time", to de-stress and to maintain my weight and the marathon is just an amazing challenge! I love to run!

27/12/2012 at 10:02

Another 4 miler this morning at 8.40 mm pace. I'm really enjoying the easy pace this week. Should make the most of it I guess.....

Edited: 27/12/2012 at 10:03
Cheerful Dave    pirate
27/12/2012 at 19:56

Good stuff Rachel.  It'll get harder in the weeks to come, but get used to how the 'easy' pace feels - on marathon day that's how you want to be feeling after 4 miles, and more.  Problem is, it's to easy to think that you want to make the most of feeling so good and push on a bit, but you'll reap the benefits towards the end if you can avoid that.

28/12/2012 at 00:07
Dave/Rachel - My target time for Manchester is sub 4:00 hours and I am running 'easy' at 10:00 mpm (see the spoons and carterusm forum 6 thread). It's interesting to see such a big difference between our pace. Are all your easy runs going to be run at this pace ?
Cheerful Dave    pirate
28/12/2012 at 08:51

That's a good question.  At this stage we're really just finding out what Rachel's paces are.  Her 4 hour target is a bit arbitrary based on her first marathon where she finished in 4:04 having set out trying to maintain 8:20 pace.  That would indicate that the pace she could actually maintain evenly throughout is probably a bit quicker than 9 m/m (to put it in perspective, I can't race 5k at 40s/mile quicker than my marathon pace, let alone anything longer).  She also did a 10 mile race recently that she 'jogged' (her words!) in 90 minutes. 

The long runs are where pace management really counts at this stage - if the shorter runs are quicker then that's not really a problem, especially if Rachel still describes them as 'easy'.  We'll revise her target nearer the time based on how her training has gone: setting the target based on the training, not the other way round which given she's only done one marathon is sensible.

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