I just completed my 3rd marathon last week and my times have got progressively and drastically worse (3:46 3:57 4:17), despite training well for this 3rd one.
From my view the only weaknesses in my training this time around was the quality and quantity of my long runs. As a guide I ran a 1:31 half marathon pb 4 weeks before my 4:17 marathon, and felt like I could have gone faster.
I've signed up for my next marathon on June 23rd to try and turn around this downward trend and I want to get as many long runs in as possible during this time.
I've set myself a target of 3:45, so I don't think speed work is too important in the next 6 weeks.
Bearing all of this in mind; could I shape my training plan around 2 long runs a week and only gentle recovery runs in between?
I don't know about 2 long runs, you don't get that in many schedules. Ideally you'd have one long run of 17-24 miles, one mid length run of 10-15 miles, and a tempo/intervals/speed session...and just have easy runs inbetween. What you could do though is add more marathon pace miles to your long and mid length runs.
I do 2 long runs a week in my marathon training the main one at 20-26M and the other 16-18M. But it will have little impact on your June marathon, the last 6 weeks are about sharpening and speed, endurance is built over a longer timeframe, sorry.
What speed are you running your long runs? The thinking behind one long run per week (and not every week) in most plans is that you need to give your body time to recover. If you are running them too fast, adding a second long run will just compound the error.
Also, endurance is a slow building process so I'm not sure of the benefit of doing twice as much endurance work, as it won't halve the time to build your endurance base.
Your marathon pace does seem to be way off your HM PB. How did your races go? Did you slow significantly in the second half, what was your target pace at the start of the race?
My last training plan didn't include any mid-length runs, it was either 5-8 miles or 16-22 miles. It sounds like I might get away with putting a 13-16 mile run in mid-week, to accompany a 17-24 mile sunday run.
Choisty, I appreciate it isn't going to solve all of my problems, but I want to do as much as I can to improve my time even slightly.
Stutyr, my long runs are all quite slow, usually 9-10min miles.The second half of my marathons was always slower than the first, and my target time has always been 3:30 based on a previous half pb of 1:39 and my first half for marathons has always been around the 1:45 mark. Last weekend was uncomfortably hot, but really it wasn't even the hottest day this year.
with a HM time of 1:31 you should have a marathon time much quicker than you have - suggesting a lack of endurance.
Endurance is a slow process to build on - I would suggest an autumn marathon to aim for your target.
Getting all the stars aligned for race day is not all in your control - June 23rd could be a really hot day. Targeting Autumn would be a better bet. Cooler weather, fully recovered, and a chance to gain the training effect from the recommendations of a long run plus midweek medium long run give you more potential
I am considering a late autumn marathon to try and aim for the 3:30 that I think I should be capable of, I just wanted a race sooner than that to try and regain some confidence and stop my motivation fading between now and then.
Because my 3:46 time was only a year ago I don't think I could have lost that much endurance ability, especially because I have been training over winter, so my target for June is to get back to 3:46, or a few minutes under and I will try to pace myself on this basis. As I see it i'm just recovering my endurance ability during this time and then looking for improvements through until October.
Tony - in one or two of your long runs before your June race run progressively quicker...so you are running at marathon pace for the last 3rd of the run. You need to train your body to run this pace when tired. Don't overdo it though...still need 2 or 3 weeks taper...
If you have just run a mara I would not go anywhere near a 24m LSR in the spring/summer weather. You also need to get some speed into your legs.
Try this: run a parkrun hard on a Saturday and then run up to 16m easy on Sunday for 10m and progessive (faster finish). If you can find a canal tow path or other off road (not hilly) route so much the better. This will mimic running on tired legs without the volume which IMHO is killing you.
If anything, my guess is you are doing too much, too fast.
Look for a 10k or HM to get a good LT workout in before your race but no later than 6 wks out.....
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