Speedwork While Marathon Training

18 messages
23/10/2012 at 13:51
I've recently started to focus on increasing my mileage so I have a solid base to start a marathon programme in January. I'm a sub-19 5k, sub-40 10k runner at present but improving all the time. I've started doing a weekly interval session with a club at my local track which I'm really enjoying and seeing results from.   I realise the step up from shorter distances to 26.2 is a big one (aiming for sub3hr) which is why I'm focussing my efforts on aerobic pace running and working my way up to a 40mile week before I start the marathon training. schedule. I guess my question really is, will the interval work hinder my progress building an aerobic base? I've read a little on periodisation and a little on the Lydiard approach (old school I know) and they all seem to say build a base before the speed work, but I'm already doing the speed work. Does that mean my base is already sufficient to continue speed work or is it going to be detrimental to my marathon training?
cougie    pirate
23/10/2012 at 15:29

I'd have thought you had a pretty good base already to go sub 40 for a 10k ?

I cant see any problems with doing one speed session a week as well as the steadier slower miles ?

23/10/2012 at 15:59

I guess running a sub40 10k would indicate I have some aerobic strength but nowhere near enough for a sub 3hour marathon. I didn't realise all the snippets of advice I've read where people are encouraged to focus on improving aerobic endurance before speed work was just aimed at complete newbies.

Are my Tuesday track interval sessions going to impact negatively on my aerobic endurance building or is it simply just negative because it's one less day dedicated to running slow and steady?

mcs
23/10/2012 at 16:28

NO there is massive evidence that speedwork helps endurance. There are some runners who have raced marathons and gone sub three by only running up to 16 miles long runs.  There was an article in RW last year about this method of training. Two brothers have trained pros with this method. Guess you need to get on it now if you want to go sub three thirty let alone sub three for next year. Slow and steady is for beginners and intermediates if you want to get in the sub three group go on that thread and have a read.

23/10/2012 at 17:15

Aaargh!  Just lost the lengthy reply I typed...

Brief summary: periodisation does tend to require a reduction in speedwork in the base training phase to focus on endurance; for some runners this will mean only including 10-12 sets of strides in 1 or 2 runs a week (Pfitzinger & Douglas favour this approach, IIRC); for others it will mean keeping an interval session each week (Charlie Spedding reports this was what he did). P&D then introduce tempo work (half marathon and marathon pace running) and leave the pure V02 max work until nearer the big day.

23/10/2012 at 17:25

Is periodisation neccessary? Is it more beneficial than encorporaring aerobic running and long runs into a more varied routine including intervals and races?

23/10/2012 at 17:32

What Jools said. I largely based my last marathon plan on the P&D schedules and the initial period of running ("Mesocycle 1"  of the 18 week plan)  is building the endurance base. It includes a little threshold running. The first VO2 max session comes in 8 weeks before race day.

Check out the Sub 3:15 thread  - a couple of guys ran their first marathon sucessfully and both followed P&D pretty much to the letter.

Prior to the plan, good base building is needed. VO2 max work now will be wasted unless you are going to be using it in some shorter races.

23/10/2012 at 18:24

Ship-star: I periodisation is not absolutely necessary, but to get the very best adaptation to marathon running  its beneficial. Take Mesocyle 1 of P&D's 50-70 mile pw plan. During the first few weeks of this endurance phase, you are developing a weekend long run, and a midweek medium long run, plus a threhold run, along with a bit of easy running, a few strides and some recovery running.  A heavy VO2 session during those initial weeks could really impact on your ability to handle the long stuff and develop that endurance base that you so need late into a marathon race.

You can of course train more generally, including long runs, easy runs, tempo, VO2 etc in your plan. You may enjoy the training more, but not necessarily achieve the very best time. I did my first marathon with a mixture of runs. It went well, I enjoyed the training, and may have run quicker - but who cares! 

23/10/2012 at 19:13

yes it will damage it because u will be workng anaerobically which is of no use to marathon runners. u can interval train whilst working aerobically but there is little point. aerobic and anaerobic base training is completly different so no research can suggest anaerobic training can help a marathon, other than anaerobic training gives u obvious health benefits but so does aerobic training.

23/10/2012 at 19:19

the only reason people have managed to run quick marathons on only 16 mile lsr is they are healthier for it. what i mean is one person who run 25 mile lsr will prob be doing more harm than good so their body is unhealthy so on race day they perform poorly. A 16 mile lsr runner has had more time to rest and their body better prepared for the day, ie they're healthier so run a better race. Its about finding your balance which is different for everyone and requires some trail and error, nobody can tell you how many miles to run either as they are not u. But speedwork is a waste of time and will also unnessecarily stress your body- effecting your lsr.

cougie    pirate
24/10/2012 at 10:16
I don't agree. I ran longer this year than previously - with a gentle 30 3 weeks before. I also did speed work. And I pb'd.

It's true you can tire yourself out if you run too long too fast too close to the race,
but it's silly to say that you'll be faster if you only run up to 16 than say 20.

And speed work doesn't have to be anaerobic. I don't think 100m sprints are ideal but half and mile repeats are useful.
24/10/2012 at 13:01

ever thought your training before was probably poor so it was easy for you to pb...? you wont like to admit that but I bet you its correct.

im not saying you will be faster running 16 but for some people reducing mileage in whatever form can ensure the body it healthier producing better race results.

i already stated speedwork doesnt need to be anaerobic, however if its aerobic its of no benefit to a run ran at the optimum aerobic threshold for that person.

 

so to summarise, anaerobic speed work is pointless and even counter productive for marathons due to the stress it causes on the body over a long term and aerobic speed work is virtually pointless.

cougie    pirate
24/10/2012 at 13:29

I think all of my training is poor compared to some peoples.

A long run of 16 miles though is too short to prepare you for a marathon.

If you train well - running over 20 won't take it out of you and prepare yourself for the race.

I dont think I've seen anyone advising anaerobic work for marathons, but I'm sure theres a plan that has it - theres so many out there.  I'd definitely disagree on the aerobic speed work though - I can look back at marathons where I've the same amount of miles in the legs  but some with speedwork and some without, and see that it helps me. 

24/10/2012 at 18:22

you cant compare yourself to other people because you're completely different to any other person so what works for you might not work for them etc.

I am unsure you have a good understanding of what training well is... running over 20 can take it out of you if you have lots of other stresses in life like work, lack of good enough nutrition. In addition I have a friend who only ever ran 10 miles when marathon training he ran a 3.32 - his approach was if he could run 10 he could run 20 and the last 6 were all in the mind. He couldnt not manage further miles in training due to other stresses without being unhealthy.

I could put money on the fact that it was not speedwork that allowed you to go faste, more than likely better diet and the quality of your rest.

any exercise that does not work the body at the max aerobic threshold ie speedwork is worthless when compared to building an aerobic base by training constantly at the max aerobic threshold.

if you do anaerobic training too get ready for the symptoms of overtraining. I know Ive been there.

24/10/2012 at 20:36

Avit - I'm ignoring the example you used about your friend ("you cant compare yourself to other people because you're completely different to any other person so what works for you might not work for them etc ")

What I don't quite get from your post is what your approach to marathon training is - you seem to have discounted all runnining paces other than training at the max aerobic threshold. I'd be interested to know what the recommendation are / where the ideas come from (I'm currently 'shopping around' for a new approach - new ideas welcomed)

24/10/2012 at 23:59
Also-ran wrote (see)

Avit - I'm ignoring the example you used about your friend ("you cant compare yourself to other people because you're completely different to any other person so what works for you might not work for them etc ")

What I don't quite get from your post is what your approach to marathon training is - you seem to have discounted all runnining paces other than training at the max aerobic threshold. I'd be interested to know what the recommendation are / where the ideas come from (I'm currently 'shopping around' for a new approach - new ideas welcomed)

im not suggesting you compare yourself to him I was merely showing that you need not run large distances to achieve best potential.

Well you need to ask yourself the question of what do you need to complete a marathon? You need endurance not speed and endurance comes from the ability to work aerobically for a long time. So why would you train any other way it is counter productive.

Im not a believer in following this years training guide from Running magazines that states to be the next big thing, although I do think certain training plans are a good guide/insight into how much you should do, if you are a beginner and have no idea. But I do strongly advise every runner reads the work of Dr Maffetone and read his book The Big Book of endurance training. He has his own formula but I dont know how accurate it is. Either way he provides so much information about training I cant begin to explain and he also proves how training at your aerobic threshold is the best way to run marathons etc. Many people are reluctant to  follow his methods because they think they have found their own thing that 'works'.

You'd be dumb not to read it though!

cougie    pirate
25/10/2012 at 01:01
Sorry Avit - how many marathons have you run ?
25/10/2012 at 08:23

I'm under the impression speedwork (fartlek, intervals, tempo) is part of The Maffetone Method for marathon running. Dr. M suggests periodization like the tradition of Lydiard Training. You have an aerobic base phase, anaerobic, and racing (Racing and anaerobic can be combined). Is this not the case? I have read 'reviews' from marathon runners who followed the plan. Have you any comparisons to HADD .

I agree that the aerobic phase is all about running at a specific heart rate range (suggesion is age based as 180-age). But there is more to Maffetone than that.


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