I have been training for the last 8 months in preparation for the London Marathon in April. Between July and December 2012 I did between 100 and 150 miles each month with an average pace accross all runs of around 7:25 per mile. Within that stretch of training I did the Birmingham half marathon in October in 87 minutes (I tapered properly for it and felt good on the day).
Since the start of the year I have upped the distances I have been doing and have done just under 180 miles for both Jan and Feb (daily breakdown is here: http://screencast.com/t/xvHGhi9lAw2W - I have done 3 half marathons and 3 long runs close to 20 miles within that training) and intend to do 200+ in March (with at least 4 20+ mile runs included and then taper at the start of April).
To try and gauge my progress I did the Silverstone Half today. I did it in 88 minutes which is slower than I was hoping for by a couple of minutes but the run today took me to 50 miles in total over the last 6 days so I would be really grateful if anyone could help me answer a couple of questions please:
I wouldn't worry about yesterday's HM time too much, as you hadn't tapered. You'd have probably knocked a couple of minutes off, which would have you at almost exactly 3hr marathon pace, according to the RW racetime predictor.
Looking at your training history, it's dedicated for sure. I think that there is not enough variation in your pace. Almost all your runs are done in a fairly tight band of about paces. I think some of your shorter runs should be faster, and some of your longer runs should be slower. (although the graph is perhaps hiding some interval training, where average pace wouldn't show it up).
I can see your long runs are beginning to build up. They need to be a focus during March. They should also be slower IMO. As painfully slow as it seems, try 8:45 or preferably 9 minute miles for the LSRs. That should be the session that concentrates on building your aerobic capability (your other sessions can deal with speed and LT etc). And by keeping it slow, you can get more "quality" out of your quality midweek sessions.
IMO, you have every chance of hitting 3 hrs in London. But have a think about the comments I make... and hopefully others will also give opinions. Good luck.
Thank you very much for the feedback and the advice.
In terms of variation, I do try and do interval training in some of my 8 mile runs to help with basic speed but have a heel injury that tends to flare up when I go too fast so I do not do enough of those types of runs.
For the long runs I have been doing between 7:30 and 8 minute mile pace depending on how I feel on the day but think you make a good point on taking it slower so will do that - it is just hard to go too slow How many long runs would you recommend before London, is 4/5 about right?
I have actually done London twice before (I did just over 3:30 last year) but never really put in the proper training for it - mainly due to injury (I had two bad breaks of my leg in 2008 and have been on the long road to recovery ever since). I feel like I could do one long run a week at around 8 min miles without being too tired but I will take your advice and slow them down.
It seems that I should be close to the 3 hour mark but a lot will have to go right for me to do it in the next 6 weeks and on the day!
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