Very interesting Moraghan. I do agree that a gradual build up is essential, I have done this and stayed injury free (touches something made of wood). For a lot of us though the aim is not to race rather to get round in a time good for us. Yes a lot of training schedules out there aren't ideal but for a lot of people their chosen event is a once in a lifetime event and is still to be applauded.
I did VLM following a beginners marathon program (not beginner runner!) and got round ok. I did enjoy it but felt I could have done a lot better so have Dublin soon and have followed more or less as you advise but I don't think I'll ever plan to "race" in races I enter.
JeremyG wrote (see)
For a lot of us though the aim is not to race rather to get round in a time good for us.
I must admit I don't see the difference. Effectively all any of us are doing in this sport is racing against ourselves and the clock. If you prepare for a race properly and try your guts out on the day you've raced'your race' however you look at it.
Unless of course you mean participating in a race which of course is something different all together.
Everyone has different motivations to run of course none of which are really any more superior to any other.
This is really interesting.....
Can I check I understand by applying to me?
I'm interested in basing my training on 10m races (which means I can do the occasional 10k and 1/2 marathon). Therefore, this would imply my total mileage should be a minimum of around 38m a week?
Given that I'm currently only doing approx 25-27 miles, my focus should currently be on increasing my mileage until it looks something like:
Long run: 12m
Easy 1: 6m
Easy 2: 6m
Midweek Long: 8m
Easy 3: 6m
Once I'm at this level, and have done 4 weeks constant, then I can start introducing some "quality"
That looks like a nice plan. The only change I'd make would be to add in strides 2 - 3 times a week.
However, if you are already operating at 25 - 27 miles per week there are a couple of options:
1) Drop all existing quality which will enable a more rapid increase in mileage (with strides).
2) Keep existing quality as long as it's proportionate (and you are physically well) and ramp up a little more slowly.
Also, don't feel restricted to 5 times a week. If you want to do 6 you could probably build up slightly quicker. If you changed Easy 3 to two 3 milers on separate days you'd probably feel less fatigued.
A very good quality workout to keep whilst building easy mileage is a multi-pace fartlek.
There is currently no quality in my training, as I'm building back up after a summer break. As a result it's all easy running. Also, at the moment my three easy runs of 6m are being done as 2*3m runs - in that I run as part of my trip to work. Does this matter?
Thanks again for posting this......
Hi Moraghan, just a quick one and thinking specifically about the HM training you've mentioned - my quality mid-week sessions currently consist of :
1, 2mile easy with 3mile hill fartlek and 1 mile cool down
2, 2 mile easy with 5 mile tempo run and 1 mile cool down
Is this sensible for quality HM sessions? My other mileage is about on a par or slightly more than what you've detailed in your opening post...
Thanks for the advice and info. I'm one of the runners that falls into the camp you've described - too much too soon! Joined a jogging group in 2007 and did a 5k that year, followed 6 months later by a half marathon. I did my first marathon in 2008 and have done another 3 marathons this year, with the occasional half and 10k thrown in. Having got a marathon PB of 3:59:04 at Lochaber this year, and with PBs of 1:47:12 for the half and 46:37 for 10k, I had decided that my focus should now be on shorter distances and trying to build up some speed before I attempt another marathon. Training, as you've said, takes up so much time when the miles are slower, and there's no way I can run the mileage suggested at present with the speed I go at!
Currently I'm also studying part-time and working full-time, so I've got quite a constraint on my time and am having to prioritise. My current week is:
7-8 miles @ around half marathon pace (7:50-8:00 min mile);Spin class5-6 miles variable (tempo or easy) - aim to go to club reps but never make it due to timing!10 mile long run (slow & steady)Gym
I have cut back the mileage quite a bit from marathon training when I was running less than you would advise, but around 45 miles a week at peak. Is this a sufficient way to maintain things - not convinced I've got the time to try to get much better this year! I'm 37, female, and never going to be a super speedy runner! Thanks!
I like reading your posts. You are clearly knowledgeable about running. In a slightly disconcerting way you remind me of myself when I was younger.
My approach to running has mellowed quite a lot over the years though. I used to read all the physiology and training books and spend a lot of time thinking (possibly obsessing) about my training. Now, I just have a vague plan of what I am going to do for the next couple of days, and sometimes this can change. I think this is partly because I feel I have got to the stage where training principles have become more instinctive, but I think it is mostly because I can't really be arsed spending much brain space about whether my tempo runs should be 10 seconds quicker per mile or my rests on mile reps should be 3 minutes or 4 minutes, or whether my easy pace was slow enough. I still enjoy running and racing as much as I used to and I can train very hard when required, so it's not a case of losing motivation, but I prefer to be more casual in my approach.
I think that a good proportion of people on here may also take a slightly more laissez faire atitude to running. It is an outlet from our normal duties in life, and who's to say that a person who likes running marathons can't do it on say 30 miles per week if that's all they want to commit on a weekly basis.
Davies1927 - looks fine to me. Keep the tempo based work interesting and challenging but using different paces, sometimes in the same session.
Clag - that would certainly maintain things, although if that was the real goal I'd probably swap the quantity of quality mileage with easy stuff. I'd also swap the spinning for easy running, but you may have other reasons for doing that.
Twatt - good post. I'm not too anal about paces for my own running, although probably far too anal with its planning. As you say, each to his own and your assessment of some people's motivations covers a far greater range of runners than I can realistically expect my post to strike a chord with. I'm sure you'll agree that the longer someone's been running the more they can take liberties with any of running's established 'rules' anyway.
Thanks for posting this Moraghan. Sound advice as always.
I'll admit to being one of those people who started running with the marathon as my aim, and over the years I've retained my fascination with the distance. However, I wish I'd approached it more cautiously. After starting out on a sub-4 I should have spent the next few years getting faster, not getting injured and slowing down which is what happened.
I know that a lot of people read these posts and think 'well I'm doing 3 days a week with a 20 miler at the end and I'm doing fine', but trust me - it'll wear you down eventually. 6 months ago I'd just run my 7th mara on 30 miles a week over 3-4 days, and came on here for advice on training for my next one. I took Moraghan's advice to increase my mileage throughout the week, not just on long runs. As it stands, 50 miles a week over 6 days now feels natural, and I've raced one PB after another since June (5k to half mara) - and aiming to break 3:45 for the marathon next week.
I always used to think that I couldn't maintain my marathon training all year round as it's be too exhausting, but looking back I was pushing my body for a few months at a time without giving myself the chance to build a decent fitness base. Once this mara's over I'm planning to maintain my weekly mileage at around 50, but concentrate on shorter distances over the next few months by reducing the long runs and adding some doubles a couple of days a week. In other words, adapt the content of the schedule rather than the quantity.
Twatt wrote (see)
This is true Twatt, but the danger is where people convince themselves that this is adequate training for racing the distance, i.e. pushing themselves. I know that a lot of people just like to complete the distance at whatever pace and do it quite comfortably, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that - but that's a very different kettle of bollocks.
Again there will be people who look at this and say 'nonsense, I ran X time on minimal training and did great' - yes, people do that. But in doing so they do risk getting injured or exhausted, and if they don't then it's probably a sign that they could be running faster!
Or that they are in fact Spiderman, which would be pretty cool.
Excellent thread Moraghan and great advice as usual. Sorry to impose but I have to ask a question about myself.
I started running in February 2009 at the age of 39 and like a lot of people kept increasing my race distance from a 10k (42:30) then a half marathon (1:37) and finally a marathon in October 2009. I only ran 3 times a week then (FIRST programme) and hit the wall badly and finish in 3:48 while on course for 3:30 at the 20 mile mark.
After this I changed my training and began a base building programme of slow running six times a week over the winter. I then used a P&D 55 mile schedule and by March I had ran a 1:32 half marathon and then two sub 3:30 marathons in May 28 days apart. Since then I have run another hillier half marathon in 1:32 and only last month ran a 10k in 38:21 despite not targetting the distance specifically.
From looking at my performances and the McMillan calculator it appears that I am much better the shorter the distance. A 38:21 10k suggests a marathon time of around 3 hours while I am only targeting sub 3:15 in Dublin which would still be a 12 minute PB.
One important point I haven’t mentioned is that before I took up running I had been rowing 5 x 5k a week on a Concept 2 rowing machine including intervals and tempo sessions lasting about 20 minutes. So do you think it possible that I have already ‘served my time’ at the lesser distances due to the rowing and developed a good aerobic base? Might I be someone who should continue to specifically train for the longer distance and my shorter distance times will also continue to improve? I would like to continue running races from 5k to marathon distance.
A typical training week for me in preparation for a marathon would be -
Tue – 11 to 15 miles majority at MP
Wed – 5 miles easy
Thur – 6 miles including either 800m or 1 mile intervals or a tempo session
Fri – Rest
Sat – 18 to 22 miles easy with some MP miles near the end
Sun – 6 miles easy including 10 x strides
Madame O - good points there, thanks.
Malc5 - it would be okay, but there are certainly more HM specific sessions (longer and wider range of paces) that you could be doing that would stand you in better stead.
Badbark - I'd say it's probably close to impossible to convert short distance times to marathons using that absolutely horrible FIRST schedule. Poor conversion is typical of that sort of schedule and is also typical of newcomers to the sport. It may also be simply due to the fact you are physiologically suited to the shorter distances but let's assume it isn't.
I'm tempted to say the non-running aerobic base will serve you well, but it doesn't actually seem to have done that good a job in terms of extending your speed through fatigue! So much of safe running progression is acclimatising the connective tissues and developing good neuromuscular function that can only be done through running. No doubt you can skip the body weight issues that hold so many runners back though.
I'd say with your suggested sensible schedule (lots of P & D there I see!) like you have you'll continue improve at all distances no matter which you concentrate on. Does your non-running base mean you can 'jump ahead' and reach your potential in the most effective manner as suggested on this thread - probably not.
So I guess your future long term goals would be the things to consider when deciding your short term approach.
Yet another lurker coming out of the closet and another of Moraghans "bad runners".
After a couple of years of running and about 15 10ks and Halfs and 1 marathon under my belt and not really making the gains I wanted to I've decided to finally buck up, get my finger out and start to train properly.
I sat down and looked at this years traing log while nursing my aching calves and just laughed.
What the hell was I thinking, theres just no way on gods earth I was going to break that elusive 1:45 half or 45min 10k on a paultry 25 - 30 miles a week. Oh I did try to increase the mileage, and managed if for about 2 weeks. Why was this you ask ? Well I was going too bloody fast and wiping myself out. So made it to 40 1 week and then droped back to 10-15 for another 2 and then the cycle of increasing mileage started all over again and me wondering "Hey whats going on ? I feel alright doing the work but after a couple of weeks Im knackered " The answer would be in that nearly all my runs where quality and very little was easy running.
So after the fits of laughter stopped I slapped myself an started from scratch with only easy mileage and its going pretty well.
Ive read lots of the fantastic advise from Moraghan and the other contribuors on these forums and just like to say thank you for imparting your pearls of wisdom, its made my running a lot more enjoyable and threads like these are like gold mines for us "bad runners"
Just got a little question about core work, How much should you be doing and when would you fit it into your schedule ? Im currently running 5 days a week, Friday + Saturday off, LSR on Sunday, will hopefully be making Saturday into another short easy run also. Currently on 30 mpw and heading up to 50 gradually.
Again many thanks Moraghan and others for your help
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