The Road to Paris - On a Plateau - Asics Target 26.2 Training

The highs, lows (and everything in between) of my 16 week Paris Marathon training plan.

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18/12/2012 at 22:42

Hi Barry........thanks for your congratulations............this is the first time I have had the target of 3:30. Previously it was under 4 hrs, then under 3:45 and then I have struggled to get under 3:45 again.

It might be a big ask to knock 15 minutes off my PB, but I think I'm a much more experienced runner than when I achieved my PB. When I achieved my PB, I ran the first half in 1:45, very comfortably, but the second half in 1:59. My endurance is better, but more importantly, I've improved my energy intake during the race and before the race. When I obtained my PB, I only had half a pack of glucose tablets during the race, plus the water and energy drink at aid stations along the way. I now use gels and have bettered my energy loading techniques before the race. 

This is also one area of my training I'd like to learn more about as well.

18/12/2012 at 23:01

Malcs.........thanks for all your questions so far. Again, good luck with the Forum 6. I really am enjoying this side of the challenge and conversing with fellow runners. Please keep them coming!

Haha.......running at 9:30 was difficult. When I passed people in the street, I wanted to stop and explain to them that I have to run at this speed and I can actually run much quicker. It's a strange feeling running that slowly. I know now that I'll appreciate this speed after a high mileage weekend, but it's difficult to stick to. What are your first impressions of my training plan?

As for the alcohol ban..........although I'd think it would be beneficial to do this, I'm only human. It doesn't help that I'm British and love drinking real ale. So to answer your question, no I won't be giving it up.

At the same time, I won't be over indulging either (not that I can anyway - I'm not called 2 pint Ady for nothing!). There won't be any binge-drinking, power-drinking, turbo shandys, Jager Bombs, festive cocktails or torpedoing acts (a popular student activity that involves the use of a straw when downing their alcoholic bottles!).

BUT..........if I've had a stressful day at work, had an excellent training run, or just want Mrs. Shady Ady to feel all romantic, then the odd glass of beer or wine will certainly be enjoyed. {Mrs. Shady Ady, if you are reading this, I was only joking in the last sentence ). I don't expect this to happen more than once a week though (I'm talking about the alcohol drinking here, not the comment about feeling all romantic )

18/12/2012 at 23:11

Day 3 of sub 3:30 Asics Target 26.2 training tomorrow - 5 miles on a hilly course. This might prove difficult as my work is located in a flat part of the world. There is one small hill nearby that I will use and see how I cope running 5 miles up and down it  It might get slightly tedious?

Target is 5 miles at 8 min/mile.

I will update my forum page with a link to this run, plus lowdowns on this and my first 2 training days. Night all 

19/12/2012 at 00:11
Im liking your programme...think I might have to follow it!
19/12/2012 at 00:16

Thanks Ady. 

First impression of the plan was surprise to be honest - like some others have commented, mileage seems quite low and you only have one 20 mile LSR. Did you slip Sam some of that real ale of yours? 

However, given that I am in the same boat as you (trying to get out of a rut) I'm not sure I'm qualified to comment really. 

Maybe you have the endurance and what you need is speed? I can't remember what your HM time is?

Any signs of Mrs Shady getting the bug yet?

Good luck with the hill(s)

Edited: 19/12/2012 at 00:16
19/12/2012 at 09:18

Morning Ady! - Good luck with your hill running! Hill - singular! I've got 6 miles at 9:30 pace today so not going to be able to fit that into my lunch hour!

Cheerful Dave    pirate
19/12/2012 at 10:20

I'd be the last person to suggest you need huge mileage to run a decent marathon, but this does seem light on the long runs.  I certainly wouldn't like to be on the start line with only one 20 miler under my belt.  Given his experience there's scope for ramping up the long run a bit sooner, surely?

I don't understand the 4 week taper.  Taper from what, exactly?

It'd be interesting to hear the coaches views on the plan, what the thinking was, for Ady's benefit if nothing else because unanswered questions are just going to sow doubt in Ady's mind which is the last thing he needs.

19/12/2012 at 11:49

The emperor's new clothes aren't working.....

I'd hate to think this was put together with the main concern being to get as close to the Asics plan as possible rather than giving the athlete his best chance. The Asics plans are hands down the worst I've ever seen and that's going some considering some of the utter dross out there.

The low mileage forces so many compromises in everything else it might just about pass as a substandard 10k plan for slackers with one novelty extra long run. 

CD - good point on the 4 week taper.

Edited: 19/12/2012 at 11:50
19/12/2012 at 13:32

Hello all.

Long post coming, so you might want to go and put the kettle on
You'll be pleased to hear that after some discussion with the various powers that be (and of course, Ady himself,) that I've now revised the training plan. A tool like MyAsics can only go on the information you tell it - so, in this case, Ady's recent half marathon and 10k times, his age and no. of days a week he can train. It then bases the paces and volume on this information. What a tool like this can't do is bear in mind, say, that Adys PBs are considerably faster than his current ability - or that he is willing and able to train 5 days a week, or that he's already been running 25-30 miles a week for the last few weeks - and that's where a coach can come in handy  I can factor all this information in to make a more tailored programme. Ady is keen to be pushed, and there's no better scenario than being pushed by your plan but under constant guidance so that the feedback he gives as the plan progresses can be used to make adjustments.

The plan in its entirety should never really have been posted on here to be honest - because if a plan is viewed as a 'fait accompli' from the outset then you might as well be tearing it out of a magazine, rather than working with a coach. With my one-to-one clients, I only ever give 4 weeks out at a time so that they have to give me feedback before I adjust (if necessary) and give them the next 4 weeks. This project is slightly different but in future, I only plan to issue 4 weeks at a time on the forum. 

A quick word regarding the taper. It isn't really a 4 week taper - it's just that I've placed the peak long run 4 weeks out instead of 3 weeks out. In my experience, this works much better. I don't believe that placing a very long run 3 weeks out from race day gives enough recovery time to perform well on the day and I've been using this strategy with great success (eg. people trying to break 3.30 achieving 3.09 and 3.12 - and on lower mileage and fewer monster runs). There is no need to be doing 18 and 20 mile runs week in and week out to achieve a good marathon time. It's not as if the body 'forgets' if you downscale mileage for a week, honest!

So in a separate post (so easier to find after all my waffling!), I'll include the revised first 4 weeks of the plan and some words of explanation.

19/12/2012 at 13:34

Training schedule – Adrian
Ady’s target of running a sub 3.30 marathon is currently a big ask. All his recent times – from 5km to half marathon - suggest he is in shape to run somewhere between 3.36 and 3.43.  A sub 3.30 marathon is 8-minute mile pace – faster than Ady’s current HALF marathon pace, so he’s got his work very much cut out for him. I’ve therefore based the programme initially on the best case scenario predicted by recently achieved races – 3.36 - but given that he is already running 25-30 miles a week, I’ve upped the mileage from the plan generated by My Asics, and broadened (and slightly adjusted) the pace guidelines (see below - Asics terminology used, with my own descriptor in brackets afterwards). I’ve also changed some of the Jogs to Comfortable runs and some of the Comfortable runs to Steady-paced ones to add more variety. And finally I’ve added in some hill work and ‘faster than tempo’ interval work to help improve Ady’s speed.

PACE GUIDELINES
Jog (Recovery) = 9.30 to 10.15 mins per mile

Comfortable (Easy) = 8.30-9.20

Steady = 8-8.30

Fast (Tempo) = 7.30-7.50 (Or for intervals 7.20-7.30)

Speedwork 6.15-7 per mile, depending on distance

Week 1 w/c 17th December
Monday 4 mile JOG
Tuesday 5 mile COMFORTABLE
Wednesday Rest or non impact cross training
Thursday 5 mile STEADY on hilly route
Friday Rest
Saturday 12 MILES COMFORTABLE
Sunday Rest or non impact cross training
MILEAGE 26

Week 2 w/c 24th December (May need to jiggle for Christmas week!)
Monday 4 MILE COMFORTABLE
Tuesday 6 MILE BUILD UP (From 8.30 up to 7.40)
Wednesday REST or non impact cross training
Thursday 3 x 1 mile at 7.20-7.30 pace with 2.5 minute recovery plus 1 mile w-up/c-down (5 miles)
Friday REST
Saturday 100-110 MINS OFF-ROAD – PACE SHOULD FEEL COMFORTABLE BUT TERRAIN WILL MAKE SLOWER THAN equivalent ON ROAD
Sunday 3 MILE JOG
MILEAGE 29

Week 3 w/c 31st December
Monday 5 miles FAST (Suggest structuring this as 1 mile easy, 3 miles FAST, 1 mile easy)
Tuesday REST (HANGOVER ACCEPTABLE!)
Wednesday 5 Mile COMFORTABLE
Thursday Intervals: 1.5 MILE COMFORTABLE then 3 x acceleration strides then 8 x 400m (or 90 seconds) at 6.20-6.40 pace with 2 min jogs in between each. 1.5 MILE COMFORTABLE (4 MILES)
Friday REST or non impact cross training
Saturday 14 MILES: 10 COMFORTABLE, 4 STEADY
Sunday 3 MILE JOG
MILEAGE 31

Week 4 w/c 7th JanuaryMonday REST

Tuesday 4 x 1 mile at 7.20-7.30 pace with 2.5 minute recovery plus 1 mile w-up/c-down (6 miles)
Wednesday 3 MILE JOG
Thursday 5 MILE STEADY ON HILLY ROUTE (OR CAN DO AS HILL REPS AT ‘FAST’ EFFORT LEVEL)
Friday REST OR LOW IMPACT CROSS TRAINING
Saturday PARKRUN (PLUS W-UP/C-DOWN)
Sunday 5 MILES COMFORTABLE
MILEAGE 24

PACES MAY NOW BE ADJUSTED DEPENDING ON FEEDBACK AND RACE RESULT

seren nos    pirate
19/12/2012 at 13:36

So Sam.....why have the Team picked the schedules when they are so restricted.eg only train 2,3,4 days a week..

Does this mean that as the rest of us haven't got coaches we can't follow the training schedules with the chosen ones this year.....as this one is being changed significantly from the set ones

19/12/2012 at 13:49

Hi Seren - since you're fairly experienced and running a solid mileage already, you'd probably be best sticking closer to Ady's adapted plan with its additional volume (in terms of both frequency, distance and intensity) rather than what the Asics tool originally generated. And I will now be here regularly (on the thread) to answer questions etc, so you can treat me as a virtual coach 

seren nos    pirate
19/12/2012 at 13:53

I'm still trying to find which of the 5 is closer to my aims at the moment.....but I just can't suss out the asics plans at all.it seems such a change from previous ways.......even thinking that its a good idea to train on just 2 days......

Do you know hwere and when these plans have been tested or have they just been made up for this competition

19/12/2012 at 13:58

No I don't know the answer to that - but they were definitely not made up for this project - they have been online some time. It's a tool Asics has developed and they report great success with it. I suspect it may be quite influenced by Japanese approach, though can't say for sure (but for eg. the very long runs at almost MP are quite a Japanese thing). I agree it's very different from the typical Western approach and I guess in some ways, my adaptations have brought it more in line with what we consider a typical approach. That said, I am very much a less is more fan - I don't believe very high mileage is necessary or desirable in nearly all cases in recreational runners.

seren nos    pirate
19/12/2012 at 14:01

will be interesting to see if Steve adapts them as much................I can't see why we are using the plans with the Japenese approach if they are then changed for all 5 to bear the more western approach.......Why not just use a more western type plan......seems a messy and untidy as well as confusing approach...

19/12/2012 at 14:17

Isn't Japanese approach meant to be very much 'high volume'? That's one thing these schedules are not...

19/12/2012 at 14:29
SamMurphyRuns wrote (see)

 That said, I am very much a less is more fan - I don't believe very high mileage is necessary or desirable in nearly all cases in recreational runners.

What would you call a high mileage?  I run around 50 mpw, perhaps peaking at 60 during marathon training and this enabled me to knock 8 minutes off my marathon PB to bring it down to 3:20.   In fact all my times have reduced dramatically since upping my mileage a bit (and also doing more specific training).  I am aiming for 3:15 in April and wouldn't feel I could attempt this on any less mileage and definitely not with so few long runs, even though I consider endurance to be my strength.   Less for me would mean more weight too!

seren nos    pirate
19/12/2012 at 14:34

For the guy who was wanting to run 2:20 in the voting..........the schedules didn't have a week of 40 or over..........I really can't believe that anyone can get sub 2:20 on less than 40 miles a week...........

Unless someone is injury prone.then I'm not sure how running such low mileage helps..........but i am willing to watch and learn......just not sure that i am willing to put faith ionit and go with it myself this year.........

just fel it is misleading to say that the 5 will be following the asics plan if they are then all changed significantly

19/12/2012 at 14:37

I would call 50-60 pretty high Minni. All my most recent marathons have been sub 3.30 (last 3 sub 3.23) and I have never run that sort of distance. Some people are fine on it, of course, but the majority, in my experience, get injured. In my view the best mileage is the least you can get away with whilst still making gains. The gains you get beyond around 40 miles a week are much smaller than those you get when going from, say, 30 to 40 mpw. 

I would say the 2 big factors in the improvement most of my clients gain are: better quality (ie progressive pacing and marathon pace) long runs (not every long run of course) and the inclusion of speedwork. Most people I've worked with who are experienced marathoners have dropped mileage. I know Rosie was doing less than she'd been previously doing mileage wise when I coached her in the last 262 Project, and she managed to break 3.30 after 16 previous attempts.

19/12/2012 at 14:41

Hi Sam, it was nice to meet you at bootcamp. I enjoyed the session you led on the track and it has definitely made me pay more attention to the pace I'm running some of the runs at. I feel like the day gave me a good boost and I'm glad to have taken part in the process.

I understand where Minni is coming from. I have tried running marathons on less mileage due to time constraints and can seem to do so unless I try to run faster. That is, I can run ok for a 3:45 on 25-30 miles per week but I really feel I need more miles in the legs for a faster effort. I take your point about recreational runners and less being more, but at the faster end (unless youth is on your side) I feel it would bite me hard in the last 6 - even harder than normal.

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