Sub 3

For anyone trying to crack the 3 in any marathon anywhere in the world

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01/05/2013 at 08:01

Bloody hell, wasn't quite expecting that many responses.  This is a fast paced thread to say the least - appropriate given it's aim I guess

Thanks to all those who took time out to provide advice, i've taken a great deal of encouragement from it and it's helped focus the mind.  One aspect i'd not considered is the idea of training runs greater than the marathon distance.  A lot of conventional wisdom seems to say that because of the glycogen deficit involved, it would do more harm than good.  That's one thing i've found about running in the last few years, for every theory there's a counter theory.


01/05/2013 at 08:33

Hello all - sorry to interrupt...been lurking for a while but now have a question for you lot...

For last two marathons I have followed the P&D 18/70 schedule which has worked for me pretty well, have PB'd both times and at VLM got 2hr50. I have just signed up for an autumn marathon and am not sure whether to stick with P&D, go with something else like Daniels or First, or just make up my own. JUst wondering what you lot do? Do you follow any schedule religiously or do you just make up your own based on 2 or 3 key sessions a week?

P&D is great in that you just follow the daily guide, but the main factor for me is the time needed for all the mid week mileage...

01/05/2013 at 08:49

Padams - Amazing 5K and some sterling training.

welcome to SB and RP..

Rather inpressive debut by Jonny and a good marathon from TB in what sounds like awful conditions. 

CW - Injured or a niggle?

PI man - that article is off it's rocker.

Not much running from me, but a load of eating and drinking, probably get back to it next week once the legs feel fresh.



01/05/2013 at 09:09

Dan - I'm really not enjoying this but seeing as I'm now doing requests. One of the most coveted men in the UK and some bloke from a popular beat combo.

 I think you've got a point LD.  In future I'm just gonna sit on the train and make up some stories about celebs.  Probably not gonna post my picture of me and the guy in the gold lame.  Not the Pope the other one ;o)

Did consider a razor blade when Dids took me down a couple of weeks ago but on the basis we've proved he makes things up I reckon we could find him popping at out Westminster station at 10:45-ish if we could get access to the CCTV.  Bloody charlatan.

As(ton) you were.

01/05/2013 at 10:19
Strangely Brown wrote (see)
  One aspect i'd not considered is the idea of training runs greater than the marathon distance.  

I have a friend in the 'real' world (no offence Charlie!) who this worked for too - training for ultras got his marathon time down from 3:30 to 2:57, but it's not something most people do. Probably not a good idea to consider until you have at least another marathon campaign under your belt.

01/05/2013 at 10:21

Pi Man - I've had a proper read through the article now. This will be a bit wordy......

A lot of it is written with people slower than here in mind (I'm assuming that her reference to 45mins @ 10k pace is for somebody with a 10k of ~60mins). Additionally, her idea of the long tempo is frankly ( ) Horwill-ian in nature. It then becomes a bit of a hotch-potch when she also throws Lydiard in there too.

As for her take on Lydiard, well there are issues with that. There are two possibilities on her (mis)representation of the base phase. It is either down to the fact that she is referencing one of the later, watered down, books (as she lists) and/or she is referring to the different base schedule used for women - I suspect it's solely the former. Additionally, she also omits references to the daily jog, as well as warm-ups and cool-downs when adding up the total time.

For reference, the original base phase looks like this:
Mon: 10m @ 1/2 effort
Tues: 15m @ 1/4 effort
Wed: 12m fartlek
Thurs: 18m @ 1/4 effort
Fri: 10m @ 3/4 effort
Sat: 15m @ 1/4 effort
Sun: 22m @ 1/4 effort

For Mon, Wed and Fri you could stick another 3m wu and 3m cd on there, making those runs 16, 18 and 16 respectively. 1/4 effort is roughly current MP + 60s, 1/2 effort is roughly current MP + 20-30s, 3/4 effort is roughly current MP and the fartlek typically consisted of efforts of 20secs - 3mins, with shorter efforts being, effectively, strides, and longer ones not being at more than LT.

The daily jog could be up to 8m for the first 6 days, which makes the total weekly mileage up to 168m (or around 19 hours). A lot of his guys didn't do all that, but some were known to knock in week after week of 150m+.

As you can see though, Lydiard never proposed the concept of running faster than cMP during the base phase, so her comments are completely at odds with that.

The other issue with this being 13 years old is that a lot of things have moved on since then. The idea of volume to increase mitochondrial activity for example. It is still correct, however, whereas Lydiard thought there was the potential for this process to be never ending it is now pretty much understood that it is a finite process, and thereafter, long 'slow' runs have to be replaced by something else to ensure a stimulus to improvement is maintained.

For me, I have found that extending the 10m @ 1/2 effort runs out in distance gives me a much better result than doing the 10m @ 3/4 runs, but that's just bringing us back to the n=1.

Edited: 01/05/2013 at 10:23
01/05/2013 at 10:26

This is some thread!! Clearly ive not had a spare fortnight to read it all but just wanted to ask about a realistic conversion for someone who has only ever ran upto a 1/2m. I recently ran 1:26 and, although when i started had no real ambition to run a full now really wished i had kept on going!! I've now decided i'd like to concentrate my efforts in to running a full - probably Spring of next year and would really like to get close to or sub 3hrs. Is this a realistic target assuming i put in the work based on a 1:26?.

01/05/2013 at 10:33

jd11: Welcome - with a 1:26 half now sub 3 is very realistic next spring. To be in sub-3 shape for a first marathon you probably want your half time to be around 1:21-22, sub 3 is doable on 1:23-1:24 but for a first marathon you should allow a little more wiggle room.

01/05/2013 at 10:50

cheers piscator - i figured i was a little slow just yet. I had originally intended to spend the summer / autumn concentrating on getting my 5 & 10k times down to something reasonable(well for me anyway) but im no considering going all out and just concentrating on a spring 2014 marathon. Is there realistically anything that can start 12mths or so out that will help?

01/05/2013 at 10:56

JD11: I ran a 1.32 Half in March this year, (Had a bit left in the tank, but was worn out enough to be pleased with the time) and ran a 2.53 marathon at my first attempt at the distance on a pretty hard course at Sunderland, just 2 days ago, so yeah I'd say it's very possible mate!

01/05/2013 at 11:20

Wow - lots of new members in the last couple of days. Welcome all! I still feel like a newbie myself after only 4 months though. I guess I will know when I've made the transition to old hand: when I start dishing out the advice instead of listening to it!


01/05/2013 at 11:44

Welcome jd11.  I think it's a little far out to be thinking about the training looking too marathon specific. Having said that I think it's reasonable to concentrate on 5k/10k training whilst incorporating the odd additional element, which can get your schedule looking a little more like a marathon plan, e.g. general increase in mileage; the occasional longer LR (I'll do 15/16 as standard over the summer, but put in an easy 18 or even 20 every few weeks); longer tempo efforts (10 miles @ MP or quicker, as referenced above). This will help with the endurance end of your 5k/10k fitness anyway, and help transition to proper marathon training later in the year.  Maybe target an Autumn half?

Padams - Nice! I've got 50 hours in mind as a rough target for monthly training over the foreseeable future. 70 would do me in, although maybe easier with a higher proportion of cycling I suppose.

CRaB - Come on fella, who the hell is that?  Is this the new VLM definition of "celebrity", where you only actually know who the person is if you want TV on a Saturday evening?  You wanna get with the real pop stars!


Cheerful Dave    pirate
01/05/2013 at 11:55

Is that a pic of Rory Bremner doing an impression of you PP, or the other way round?

Welcome to newcomers, especially clubmate mark, even if he is trying to get one over another mate of mine.  That's one helluva conversion Oliver!

01/05/2013 at 11:59

JD11 - one of my customers this week just ran a 2.56 off a 1.26 half.  So it's possibly, but more of an outlier than a guarantee.

Phil - can't believe you don't recognise CRAB's best mate.  Bet he was heartbroken when they split up.

For today's celebrity story, there's the time that I went on a quiz show in 1995 called Quiz Night.  Was a pub quiz format, and to keep it authentic looking they served us beer throughout the show & the day's filming. We were students so got a bit carried away and got lashed with the host - one Stuart Hall.  As it was filmed at Granada studios we were having lunch with Ken Barlow (didn't know who he was, and asked him which quiz team he was on!).

Bearing in mind recent events, I was perhaps lucky to escape with my innocence intact.  Allegedly.

01/05/2013 at 12:09

cheers Phil - that makes sense. Ive been increaing my miles since the start of the year and am currently sitting at around 40pw with a decent mix of easy, tempo, efforts as well as a 12-13mile long run. Ive a 1/2 planned for Redcar in the autumn so will maybe look to really focus on the spring after that.

01/05/2013 at 12:24

JD - as PP says, I would start to increase your weekly long run to 16-18M. It might seem a bit pointless now, but you want to get to the point where an easy 18M feels like no effort. Eventually you want 20M+ at an easy pace to feel like no effort, but that can wait until later.

PP - sorry, I know who Crab's mate is but not the guys in your pic! Re. the 70 hours, it does sound like a lot, but I'll probably do around 25 hours in 5 days in Majorca, and got the Tour of Wessex at the end of the month which will be at least 12 hours in 2 days, so that's half of it in 7 days! I guess I'll do less running than I have for the last few months (will probably be about 10 hours swimming, 45 cycling and 15 running).

01/05/2013 at 12:25

SL -- "Injured or a niggle?" -- well I don't know really, I suppose there's a continuum there. It felt quite messed up after I jogged home yesterday, but fine after some ibuprofen and massage. There's still a tender spot on the shin today (haven't run, but did a little extra on the bike on the way to work). I'll be cautious though there is a village race I wanted to do at the weekend. No idea where it came from -- maybe from my first cocky commute of 7m/M last Friday.

CRAB is suspiciously practised at those self + celeb portraits!

MrB -- ahh, I thought you'd done a second marathon this weekend just gone... but very nicely done in the one!

01/05/2013 at 12:54

Cheerful Dave: I know thanks mate, I really surprised myself! I only started training in November, then seriously in February, my first half in the Marathon was 1.26, which is obviously a half PB, and first 10k in 41.06, I've not raced a standalone 10k yet this year, so at the moment all my PB's bar 5k were run on Sunday haha!

Thanks for the welcome, I'm entering London next year as a GFA place, and would like to go near 2.45, which I think should be possible on a flatter course, and more structured training! I'm also racing Chester in October, with a friend of mine, just for more marathon experience, and a PB would be nice!

01/05/2013 at 13:08

April stats:

Miles: 252

Races: 1

PBs: 1 (5K)

Hours spent queuing to meet Disney characters: 3

Far, far, far too much to read back on, but a storming marathon debut from jonny, and a really good run from TB too.

Biggest shocker of the last few days is how much CRAB looks like a younger Alan Sugar.  Now all I can think about is Lord Sugar crouched behind some beach huts in Bournemouth, trousers round his ankles, yelling gruff East End obscenities, flanked as always by Margaret and Nick.  And just when I'm trying to eat my lunch as well.

Welcome to all of the new people.  I am impressed as always at how well some people convert from half to full, and it makes me determined to address my own poor conversion.

01/05/2013 at 13:11

Here's one for the celebrity collection. Lord D's hero, Scott Overall, looking rather uncomfortable as he poses at Old Deer Park ParkRun. I wanted a publicity photo for Hadrian's Wall that me and some mates are running in June for the Hadrian's Wall. Oh, and I'd just beaten him at 5k, so he was a little peeved.   Little did I know that a few weeks later, he'd struggle to get round 26.2m. It must be tough being an elite. I can't even claim to have been ill and passed on some lurgy to him. She's a cruel mistress, Mara Thon.


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