VLM is my 2nd marathon and only 7 weeks away now!
I have decided to try for sub 3, but for me this will need a lot of work.
last few weeks have been 60 - 70 mile weeks with long runs 20 - 22 miles-pace 7:40 ish on the long runs
I mainly run trail or fell and on hilly routes- so find it difficult to run either an easy recovery run or the other extreme a fast fartlek or threshold as speeds suffer with the hills.
Looking at plans such as P&D I can tick off the long runs but find it difficult to allocate the other runs for example the last four days have been;
22 miles pace 7:42m/m 1300 foot climb--LSR
7 miles pace 8:20 m/m 1500 foot climb--???
9 miles pace 8.00 m/m 1300 foot climb-???
9 miles pace 7:14 m/m 400 foot climb-???
Apart from the LSR do these look like sensible sessions to achieve my goal?
I'd have concerns about that. Not an expert on converting hill running to flat running times. I can only go off my own limited experience... and I'm assuming you don't have heart rate readings for these. But observations as follows.
I agree run 1 will do for your LSR, although it's probably at the very fastest end of what it should be.. and I'd like to see that some of your runs are slower. Run 2, 3 and 4 look roughly like LT equivalents... and to be honest, they all look a bit similar in intensity. Not enough variation. Not enough miles that build simple slow steady endurance. But then again, not enough speed either.
And I'm absolutely with Millsy on doing some flat tarmac running. You must have already built great strength, and your physiological system will be well tuned in some areas.. but you might be lacking some elements.
I think you simply HAVE to get in a couple of weekly runs on the flat tarmac, because for a 3hr time, you're legs are going to have to carry you at about 6:50 pace for 3 hours. Consistently. Now SURELY you have to be doing some of your weekly mileage at a faster pace than that. I know that all 4 of those uphill-but-slower runs are just as knackering as much faster flat tempo runs, but it's simply not the same. You need to practice turning your legs over WAY quicker than you're doing.
Your training will have done you a lot of good... but I think you've got to change quite radically in the next month if you're thinking of a 3hr flat tarmac marathon (but I await advice from people with greater expertise).
I would do the following:
Very best of luck. I'd be interested to hear what you think of the above, and interested in your progress.
I wouldn't worry. With all that strength behind you, if you have any element of speed, it'll be enough to take on the relative flats of London.
Beware though. At London if you do not start within 15 yards of the overhead gantry, it won't matter what you want to run. You'll have so many 12 minute milers who have lied their way into the front 'pens' you'll waste 2 minutes per mile trying to get past them.
I speak from experience.(3:01 after a 8:45 first mile).
OK, I've done them in the 2:40's but even so..
Keep going. Add in some tarmac miles gradually over the remaining weeks to harden the lower legs a little. Wait till race day to see the result, or test yourself at a HM.
For adding in a bit of tarmac miles I would do a few at MP just to get accustomed to the pace.
Plenty have run decent marathons off slow/steady running only. 60 - 70 miles off road is great mileage. No, it is not the most specific of training, but it will work for some.
Some very knowledgable posters give the appearance of being more relaxed than me. One very good runner thinks you have nothing to worry about. And maybe the detail I went into in my post makes it look negative.
I remain firmly of the view that you've done masses of hard work, and that you deserve a great marathon time... and I'm quite sure you could go out tomorrow and crack out a blooming good marathon.
But to run sub-3 hours based on the information you've given? I think it's verging on the fanciful to think you could do that based solely on your current programme. 3:10 is much much more likely to be the limit.
But you're nearly there. I think you should invest in making those urgent changes, pretty much as I suggested. You've realisitcally only got 4, maybe 5 weeks.
Get in the Marathon-Pace runs. Get in the flat LT runs... NOT so much because you need LT training (you've got that)... but because you need to get some decent miles in when your legs are moving, on the flat, at a pace faster than target MP. Pretty much the same with the couple of VO2 runs that P&D would have you do.... Get some speed in your legs. Oh.... and make sure you have some truly aerobic low heart rate runs too.
After all the hilly training, you'll obviously find running on the flat 'a piece of cake'... but if you want to run to the optimum, you need to use your powers efficiently. And that takes a bit of practice.
what are you basing sub 3 hours on? Obviously your training paces are there, though i could hit those in training and I wont be getting sub 3.
Do you have a recent race time to back up your ability??
Thanks everyone for the advice, especially NN for your time - and AR have seen what a good runner you are from mixed training.
I have not been near a internet connection so unable to answer earlier.
Just got in from another sameish run- this one 8 miles 1200+ gain and 8:00 pace, that's 55 in last 5 days with 14 planned tomorrow.
My marathon last year was the whitepeak - trail marathon fairly hilly but not too bad, very steep decent over last few miles- very painful- managed 3:12 so got a GFA and that was off similar training but less volume and to be honest more speed work on Tarmac.
My basis for sub 3 aim (delusional it may be) is my volume of training, I have run a few intervals on flattish ground and got faster plus found it easier than last year- hit 4:5x pace for a section although only for 30 seconds . - but mainly how I feel on and after a 20+ mile run at 7:4x pace.
picking up on the starting position point how far back from the line is the furthest away GFA pen?
2 other marathons planned this year Whitepeak again and Snowdonia - my training seems better matched to them but no chance of sub 3 on either
I can not remember having to input a predicted time-just got the GFA time verified, guess there is a limited number of GFA anyway and if just behind elite but in front of everyone else should not be too bad??
Going to heed the above advice and do this weeks main run which is normally my LSR on tarmac and at a quicker pace, Which of the following would be the best session to do (try).
15 mile with the final 12 at MP (6:50 m/m) OR
HM time trail with aim to average 6:30 m/m ish
For me, as an indicator of fitness I'd use the HM but in an organised event, and not as a solo time trial (I don't think I would get a decent time without the addition of safety pins and a number!). But ......
The 15 with 12 @MP would be a better training session, and one that is not too likely to negatively impact on the following weeks training. Given the time constraints, I'd say you are best off with running consistently over the remaining weeks, and introducing some road and MP miles such as the session you outlined. 13M @ HM on my own would be a killer for me. I think 7M @ HM pace is the furthest I did outside a race
Yes. Thanks AR that makes sense mp run it is then
Ok so I expected to have decided if I was going to be aiming for sub 3:00 after todays run, Either it would go to plan and I would go for it or I would drop behind the splits needed and work towards another GFA instead.
I managed the splits BUT it felt bloody difficult!!
15.3 miles AV pace 6:54 middle 12 miles= (first 6 elevation gain 600 foot, similar loss on final 6) 6:56, 6:43, 7:08, 6:58, 6:57, 6:49 -- 6:44, 6:55, 6:32, 6:32, 6:39, 6:40
Now I am pleased I did the run and met the target I gave myself but hoped it would feel a bit easier than it did-especially the down hill sections was looking forward to making up quite a bit of pace on them but was only 10 secs or so faster than av pace.
More unsure than ever now what to do- In a nutshell did 60% of marathon miles today at just sub 3:00 pace- fairly hilly route and after a lot of 60+ mileage weeks so would another few weeks of training then a good taper give me the extra 40% at the same pace???
I agree with Millsy. You've thought about it, you've worked boody hard, and you clearly have the potential. Have you got a pre-London half marathon race booked? They are almost always in the schedules, and at about 5 or 6 weeks out are a perfect guide for the Big Day. No, not a trail version. That's not the point.
The risk factors are from calf cramps (typically), wearing different shoes to normal trail types, and repetitive hammering in the same footfall pattern. The other risk I almost always blew was doing too much on the Saturday. Taking the family, and having a family day out: result being tired legs before the off.
At registration you can often blag your way into them giving you a higher pen number if training has been great. I wouldn't expect more than Pen 3 though. Sometimes it's your day, sometimes it's not. I have had a couple of great rivals in the quest for a sub 3, one came close 10 times then quit (pb3:01), the other is still trying (pb3:03). I got lucky and turned a 3:06 pb into 2:59. Whatever you do, keep the handbrake on in the first 6 miles. You probably run trails by perceived effort, but the roads need a religious observance of the clock. For 6:52 target miles if you dip into 6:45s you are asking for trouble.I found a pre-marathon long run classic was to do a flat 7 mile loop x3 times, aiming to keep the pace constant, say mara pace plus 30 seconds. You get the feel of the easy bit, testing bit, and gruelling bit without killing yourself completely. Save that for once you've tapered.Good luck
great advice Blisters - thanks-Thant 21 mile at 7:20 will be a tester I am sure but will give it a go, I don't have a HM before VLM - have only ever ran 1 marathon and 1 HM to date- was lucky enough to get GFA time in the marathon but I am wrong side of 40 so the GFA time for that was more forgiving than for the younger guys.
If I am to go for a sub 3:00 I think I better try 1 or 2 sessions a week away from the fells and trails.
In the next 4 weeks before I start to taper I will try to keep trail/fell runs to 4 per week which will include my LSR-so that will give me 2 sessions per week for speed work-BUT i am a bit lost with that, what would be the best sessions to do and at what pace??
Thanks Millsy could I do say 10 miles --2 easy 6@ 6:50 then 2 at what ever feels ok and count it as a speed session.
I do have a mental problem ......
I mean I do have a problem of running my last few miles of any fast run easier than the rest as I fell I may get use to easing off at the end??
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