I’ll put my cards on the table first, I don’t fully buy into the more is always better mileage view – train slow = race slow doesn’t it + why have the added injury risk? I also have a vague and (lofty) ambition to get close to a 3 hour marathon by the end of 2012. So with that in mind what’s the lowest weekly mileage anyone has run to get a sub 3hour marathon (or convince me why I have to run 100mpw to get there)?
As background I have a good base coming off a year of Half Iron Man training and 2 marathons this year, while for the early part of 2012 I am focussing more on speedwork as the 40min 10k barrier is teasing me. In reality from where I am now then I could realistically get up to 60-70mpw by the end of 2012 without injury.
Popsider – I’ve only done two marathons in my life! The first was 2 weeks after the Half Ironman, on a trail route in the middle of summer, 4:13:10, walking parts of it. The second was a road race, where my aim was to finish without walking - 3:44:15, first half 1:40:00, second half 2:04:00ish. PBs are 1:29:25 for the half and 40:03 for 10k. 15:07 for 4k. All off 30mpw max, with additional cross-training.
Obviously I need to improve and particularly the endurance side (the second marathon splits paint the picture at the moment). What I was hoping to get a view on was if it’s 50, 70, 90 or whatever that’s the consensus for getting sub 3 and therefore where I should aim to get to. (I’m going to switch almost entirely to running next year.) If it’s really high mileage then I will move targets and ambitions back.
I was pretty close to sub-3 (3:04) with a max weekly mileage of 54, but I was well within 40 minutes for 10k at the time. Over the course of a year and following the introduction of regular interval work + more base mileage, my second marathon training went up to 67mpw max (typically ~55-65 mpw over the final few weeks not including cut-back weeks) and got me 2:44. (10k time would've been down to 35-36mins by this time.) There was very little else going on other than the odd spinning class, so it's not like I had an enormous amount of cross-training substituted for running although I did have a good base from previous cycling/gym etc.
If your PBs suggest that you are under-performing at the longer distances then there's not much substitute for big mileage IMO but I don't think 90 - 100 mpw is necessary. In fact to get up to that sort of level you'd need to be looking at regular doubles, but as long as you're running 5/6 days a week and getting in the key sessions - LR, mid-week longish run, maybe one other quality (tempo/long intervals...) plus easy/recovery runs, this will likely take you into the realms of 55 - 70mpw.
Also FWIW I think you'd need to be getting the 10k time down to 37-38 mins, which in itself probably suggests more overall mileage.
Thanks Phil – I know I’m off the mark in all respects at the moment and particularly the conversion to long runs. It’s an odd situation really as I have been running casually for years, but only competitively this year (when all the PB’s were set), and even then I haven’t focussed solely on running. That’s why I am comparatively poor on the marathon PB and not really sure where I’ll end up. The training you suggest is more or less what I was thinking of (didn't plan a mid week long run), but didn’t really know if the mileage was sensible (simply can’t see how/ why anybody would do 100 miles a week) and it is re-assuring that you don’t think doubles are needed so often, since that wouldn’t go down very well at home!
(I am softening/ converting to the big mileage view, given how often it comes up as the key).
I probably should have emphasised the point that if I'd stuck with a maximum of 55 - 60mpw for my second marathon I'm pretty sure the cumulative benefit would have seen me through sub-3 comfortably. (Not that I'm making excuses but the 3:04 was the warmest London marathon on record and I was pretty much there anyway. Honest!) My typical schedule for the first marathon looked a bit like this:
Mon - x-training (spinning class)Tue - easy (max 5M)Wed - longish run (max 12M)Thu - easy (max 5M)Fri - restSat - tempo or MP run (max 10M)Sun - LR (max 22M)
It may be you can manage something similar, or that you need to keep gradually adding more to get closer to 60M or beyond (e.g. an additional easy run instead of x-training or just more easy miles). But I agree with Mr Viper about not increasing overall volume too soon.
I was in a similar situation this time last year. In 2010 I ran VLM in 3:04.xx off of an average of 31mpw and a maximum week of 39 miles. I was running most of my runs between 6.40-7.30 pace with no proper speed/tempo sessions.
This time last year I was mentored as one of the RW Thread 6. The first thing I was told was to do all "easy" runs at a pace around MP+60s or slower. I found it incredibly difficult to adjust to the drop in pace. However, with a bit of perserverance I managed it and it allowed me to increase my weekly mileage.
In 2011 I managed an average of 51mpw and a maximum of 59miles and ran 2:58.34. Running slower on the "easy" runs helped to improve my endurance as it meant I could run more miles. Speed will come in the latter stages of training when you do the "proper" speedwork.
Phil - That makes a lot of sense. I will use something like that after the 10k and see what happens. (I'll have about 10 months before the 'A' race marathon, so should be able to get to those volumes). Thanks.
what mileage were people doing before the 12 week build up though?
even with a cycling commute 2.44 off 18.5 miles per week seems unfeasible
I agree with Gobi, mileage is a personal thing, I have run sub 3 off 80-90 a week and just over off 110 a week and 50-60. So I hope I have found a sweet spot for me. For Rob, he needs to get the pace first as the 10k & half times really need to be 37 and 80mins respectively and the keys to that are speed and speed ensurance so reps and tempo runs.
Most of all good luck and enjoy
Some helpful comments in there, although not really one size fits all - thanks. I don’t think it will hurt to experiment with higher mileage and see what happens.
As a result, I think I’m actually going to drop the February 10k attempt now and get straight on the ‘Phil’ type training, targeting 10ks in late summer/ early autumn as speed tune ups for the marathon attempts. Probably gives a better chance of improving the 10k and marathon, although it requires patience – which I’m not always that good at!
For me 6 days of training has actually meant - 3 days running and 3 days cross training. The long "endurance" sessions have either been 6-8 hours on the bike (mainly road biking), 8-10 hour hill walking or fell runs of about 4-5 hours.
Last year I managed to wobble round London Marathon in a PB of 3:09:51 and my longest road run was a 10 miler. The is qualified by lots of longer trail / fell runs (longest being a 20 mile trail run).
I fully accept that to gain another 10 minutes is a big step and will require more road and more fast miles.
Interesting thread this one !
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