Talkback: Ask the Expert: Marathon training with coach Steve Smythe

12 messages
23/01/2013 at 19:42


  not a marathon but a half do you think it is possible to do a half on 3 runs a week.

  Sunday run 9/11 miles@ 9 min per mile

  2 runs of 5/7 miles doing steady run (although I'veput mileage I do these 2 runs in km efforts warm up then each km@4 1/2 min effort 1-2 mins rec)

  I also bike to and from work 5 days a week 12 mile each day



24/01/2013 at 20:26

Is interval training the best way to get my speed up? I started running two and a half years ago. My best pace is 9.47 min miles. Time out from March 2012 -June 2012 due to a fractured fibula (tree root whilst running through woods) Had birsitis for around 3 months now but it feels like it is going. I would really love to be able to do an easy run, say 5 to 6 miles at 9min miles. Currently train as follows.

Monday  Rest

Tuesday 5ish miles including hills

Wednesday  3.2 easy @ 10.25

Thursday  30min track session, intervals plus 800m warm up + 800m cool down

Friday  Rest

Saturday  3.2 half uphill half down

Sunday Just got back to 7miles flat and slow. Will be doing up to 10

25/01/2013 at 13:59
I will be 70 when I do VLM this year having only taken up running when I was 62.  As I expect the marathon to take me about 6 and a half hours (I have done 2 previous marathons in that time), how long should my longest runs be?  It seems unrealistic to only be out for 3 hours training when I need to be on my feet for 6 and a half.
25/01/2013 at 16:37
What should be the feeding schedule during the  marathon sub 2:50 marathon run?
26/01/2013 at 23:25
What I've never quite understood, is how you can go from max 20-22 mile runs at 'marathon pace' plus 45 secs to 1 min per mile, to doing 26 miles at a significantly faster pace, having never experienced this in training?  Of course, the atmosphere on the day will push you further, etc, but should you not attempt a 'mock' marathon performance at least once beforehand, even if it takes a fair bit out of you and requires a week or 10 days of rest/light training?
28/01/2013 at 15:24

Hi Steve,

I am running the Barcelona Marathon on the 17th March and then i am down to run the London Marathon (  as long i stay injury free ).

What i would like to know what is the best way to train after the Barcelona marathon leading up to the London Marathon?

I am a experience marathon runner and my PB is 2:38 but i have never done 2 marathons so close together.

30/01/2013 at 15:51
Hi Steve,iam 44 female ,running since three years,i would like to do a spring half marathon . i am doing my slow long running once a week and my best one is 10,33 in 1.45.i also do one sessions of interval running (20 minutes)at 8.45 as sprint.then I do a session with hills included and finally a middle run distance 5 miles at weekly mileage can vary from 15miles to 30 miles depend on time you think can try the half marathon?thanks Conny
30/01/2013 at 17:56

This is my question too!


I experimented today by going bait quicker in LR.  

 Today I did my LR by doing 13 miles with a negative split with second half run at marathon pace (first half about 30-40 secs slower).  

 Is this a good proxy?  Good idea or not advisable? 

30/01/2013 at 17:58

I should say my question is same as Peter Fenns about three up!

22/04/2013 at 19:26

Hello Steve. I'm a 57 year old and I have been running for over 25 years before this was football, in 1991 I did my best London marathon in 2.39.53, half marathons were around 1.17, ten miles in 57 mins (oh those were the day's) my milage was up to 70mile a week then with sessions at Invicta Ek on Tuesday (Speedwork) hills Thursdays with fartlek and LSD also in the mix. I mainly run to keep fit running five times a week long run of 9 miles, some 400 or 800 on grass wednesday's with Heart rate running (150bpm) on other days my mileage is only about 25-28miles per week. My question is why could I run 7min pace easy back then but I now struggle to run 8 min pace now, is it really an age thing? I run on my own and don't race so I'm not really pushing myself against others. My 800's on grass are again Heart rate runs but I do them between 6.30 and 7 min pace this is the target I set myself. Can I get back to 7min miling or under if I raced again.


Regards Roger Hyland.

04/06/2013 at 20:31

hi steve,

i have been running now for about 3 years, i have pb's of 10k 38min, hm 1hr 22min, but when it comes to marathons i can't keep the pace up, 3hrs 15min is my pb, how often would i need to train, as on rest days i bike instead.

i'm running abingdon marathon in october and want to give this one my big shot, with my pb times, would you think there is any chance i could get close to the 3hr mark

thanks steve

09/10/2013 at 16:54

Hi Steve,

I'm a 38 years old male who recently took up running again. I ran quite a lot years ago, stopped for a few years (with the odd run here and there) and am considering running a marathon in april. 

I've been running three to four times a week for 6 weeks now. I've run 10k in 41min and a scratch and 10 miles in 1h 09 min. What time do your think I should aim for in april? And is my frequency ok, or should I run 5 times a week in order to put down a time that's in accordance with my capacities. I've got a good basic fitness: HB in rest @ 44 bpm; strength exercises and stretching on regular basis.

Thanks for your advice.


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