Have ran 3 marathons previously and have followed either a mix and match of the RW schedules or for the last one the P&D 50-70mi schedule. For next marathon I was thinking of using Furman FIRST just as takes up less time as life already pretty full at moment. Still looks a tough schedule with 3 hard sessions a week and 2 xtrain workouts.....and I don't know which way to go yet. Thinking either P&D 50mi schedule (probably tweaking the long runs on the weekend so longer); or FIRST.
My last marathon I came in just under 3 hours...so obviously want to better that next time. Which schedules you think better for your sub 3's? I guess this throws up the debate of the benefits or not of junk miles....
Any advice on picking a schedule much appreciated.
Seems like a bit of a no-brainer to me. If you've only got time for five sessions a week, 3 quality runs plus 2 easy runs has to trump 3 quality runs plus 2 non-running sessions. I'm x-training my arse off at the moment and I'm sure it helps, but that's on top of 6/7 runs per week. I don't consider any of those junk miles.
but I guess the argument for FIRST would be less chance of injury.
Just finished reading the book about the above and it seems to have worked for alot of people...even the sceptics...
15West, very similar to you, I used something close to the P&D 50 - 70 schedule - slightly altered and some milage chopped out. I achieved my goal of Sub3 at the weekend, but it very nearly didn't happen due to injury late in training. I am seriously thinking about Furman FIRST, but on the understanding that I will loose some training specificity as PhilPub mentioned.
My main reason for cutting some milage is to try and minimise the risk of injury. On reflection, I am pretty sure all injuries I had came from interval sessions or HM races - so Furman probably won't help here. My concern about Furman is that all 3 running sessions are intense - much more than P&D. E.g. the Long Run is done at MP+30s. I also don't like the thought of all training runs being intense - I enjoy the odd recovery run and easy run. I also think there is a lot of benefit to the midweek medium LR.
So I will probably end up rehashing some plans - maybe use P&D 50. I will be reducing some of the mileage for sure, and substituting this with rowing on a 1:1 basis. Certainly there is no harm in trying a mix over the next month or two before the next marathon plan starts.
Furman FIRST seems like a big leap of faith after a P&D schedule brought success.
I've done marathons off 3 runs/week and some off 6 running days/week and the ones with more miles hurt much less and were a bit quicker. You can blag 1/2 mara's off low miles (did one myself last week off LT 100M/month for the last few months - but with bike and swim) but marathons need impact miles. Low mileage quads hurt a lot on marathon day and how fats you have run reps counts for nothing when your legs are packing in at 1/2 way.
I dont buy the run less to avoid injury either, especially if the lower amount of runs are all hard. If you run slowly most of the time and save the fast running for when its really needed (which isnt very often in a marathon schedule) then you can get a lot of miles in and remain injury free. Build frequency, then miles, and then pace (if you must).
If P&D / high mileage got you the improvements you've seen so far then I'd stick with them. I can't see that the P&D 50 mile plan with (going from memory) 3 hard/ 2 easy runs carries that much more risk of injury than FIRST with 3 hard runs and 2 cross training sessions.
I've just started a FIRST 5km plan. By the end of it I will truly have learnt how to breathe through my arse, as I can't get enough oxygen through my mouth.
The paces are brutal, whichever way you slice it (5k/10k/hm/mara). The pain is the same, it's the duration that changes.
That said, there is minimal danger of injury whilst swimming/rowing/gym cycling. Go for it.
For me the paces ("paces are brutal") is the thing that strikes fear into me. For P&D I went along well on the 50-70plan. Late on, overcooking an interval session did for me (although no doubt cumulative effect of mileage contributed). Scraped through with my race time in the end.
It was reducing the risk of injury that first attracted me to FIRST, but then I read the book and looked at the paces. For example, 800m repeats were about 20s quicker than I ran them for my latest marathon based on a sub 3hr marathon.
FIRST expects you to use your 5k time (or provides a trial track session to run) to set your training paces. For me, that would actually put me as a 3.08 marathon time as I'm all endurance and no speed. Even there I would currently struggle to hit the track session times. Progressing on the FIRST training times should only be made after you are comfortably hitting the LR, Tempo, and Interval session times. I think I may end up in no mans land on that basis.
Also-ran - I am thinking same as you...might go for P&D 50 during week mixed with one of the higher mileage P&D ones for the long run. Been reading more about FIRST on net and sounds like mainly targetted at multi-sport people like triathletes....and agree with Gaz - the 3 hard sessions a week may actually make injury risk higher.
Trouble is I've ordered the book now!
I'm the same AS, I struggle with the P&D paces let alone anything faster.
For me you need a long run, then a medium long run, then something like an MP run, the a couple of easy aerobic runs, in that order. If you can only run 3 x week then do the first 3, ideally do all 5. No need for faster than MP running in my book. You can make some of the long runs progressive, but for me marathon training is about saving energy for race day not expending too much of it in training and being flat on marathon day.
PnD have a long run a Weds medium run and a Friday medium run for a reason.
Also-ran wrote (see)
For me the paces ("paces are brutal") is the thing that strikes fear into me. For P&D I went along well on the 50-70plan. Late on, overcooking an interval session did for me (although no doubt cumulative effect of mileage contributed). Scraped through with my race time in the end. It was reducing the risk of injury that first attracted me to FIRST, but then I read the book and looked at the paces. For example, 800m repeats were about 20s quicker than I ran them for my latest marathon based on a sub 3hr marathon. FIRST expects you to use your 5k time (or provides a trial track session to run) to set your training paces. For me, that would actually put me as a 3.08 marathon time as I'm all endurance and no speed. Even there I would currently struggle to hit the track session times. Progressing on the FIRST training times should only be made after you are comfortably hitting the LR, Tempo, and Interval session times. I think I may end up in no mans land on that basis.
It does also say that the 5km time may not be the best predictor of your marathon time, though the training paces are based on the 5km time. My predicted mara time (based on Feb12 HM) is 3:26, whereas based on my 5km time is ~3:15.
Yesterday was a long run - 10km at 4:33/km. Today was a track session, supposedly 5 x 800 @ 3:00, but did 5 x 500 @ 1:50 with the club (paced based on FIRST 400m & 600m paces). I wouldn't normally train like that on consecutive days, but sometimes the week ends up like that.
15West - FIRST is often used by triathletes, but I wouldn't be able to do 3 decent bike sessions on top of a longer (10km) FIRST plan. To be honest most of the swim/bike elements of FIRST are there to keep the body relatively active without high-impact effort.
Anecdotally, I trained for about 9 months using something close/similar to the FIRST programme (sprint/tempo or hills/long run - none of them slow). My Xtraining included swimming, biking and heavy weights sessions. Progress was awesome. Much better than when I first stated out and was only doing slower runs and building mileage.
I then started reading on here that 'Miles Build Champions'. I tried to increase the slow/junk miles (whatever you want to call them) very slowly. All that happend is over a period of 2 weeks, I felt battered, and by week 4-5 of this, my shins and calves went into meltdown and my interval sessions became painfully hard work as I was not properly recovered. On a couple of occasions during this period I had to stop my intervals and walk home due to cramp and shin pain.
I am now trying running without either extreme: 4 days a week, 6-8 miles, 7:00-7:30miles (for me this is aroudn 160HR, so quick but not quite quick enough to be called a "quality" session). No intervals/sprint/tempo work, but equally, no junk miles. Will report back with the results.
This way, I will have tried:
3 quality runs only - f**king awesome (25-30mpw)
Junk miles only - crap (50mpw)
Junk miles and 3 quality runs - total meltdown (40-50mpw)
Comofrtably hard miles only - currently testing (35-40mpw)
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