Gratton's Hard Marathon Training Schedules

Ready to train seven days a week for a marathon? 1983 London Marathon winner Mike Gratton shows you how


Posted: 3 January 2006

1983 London Marathon winner Mike Gratton has been voluntarily advising runners live on our forums since 2004. This marathon training programme forms the core of his advice for anyone seeking to run seven days a week. It's suitable for men and women and was developed from his 1983 programme.

Welcome to Hard Training. You don't have to be fast to benefit from it, just committed, and moderately experienced. If you have questions about what you read below, the Hard Training forum is the place to look. I can't promise to help, but I'll do my best. The forum has the unique quality of being able to give mutual support from others who are following the training and suffering the same levels of tiredness in the early stages – and then, magically, witnessing the improvement in the final phase.

The principle is simple: after a period of base training that builds the endurance background required to run a marathon, there follows a period of consolidating the mileage and gradually introducing faster running and speed endurance work. The final stage has a change in emphasis towards faster running at speeds much quicker than marathon pace, which will bring you to a fitness peak in late April for the Flora London Marathon (or other marathon if you're not doing FLM).

This turns on its head the accepted system of starting a marathon build-up from a low mileage base and building up the long runs and total miles between Christmas and the race – usually about 12 to 16 weeks. This is fine for relative beginners and in the early years of running. But once you have run a few marathons or have a number of years of background it is crazy to constantly go back to the beginning and try to build up endurance in just 12 to 16 weeks again. The biggest improvements come when you build the endurance and maintain it out of season then use progressive speedwork to come to a peak.

The athletes I have coached have made their first big improvement when they have moved on to seven-days-a-week training; the second big improvement comes when they move on to twice a day. Firstly you must be ready to run seven days a week, in other words don’t jump straight in from a base of three or four days a week. Secondly, if you have established seven-days-a-week running, don’t move to 14 sessions per week overnight. All new training loads have to be gradually introduced so that the body can adapt to the new level of effort.

The concerns expressed by most people who start on this system are about losing leg speed. My own experience, and that of those who followed the training in 2004, is that you do not lose leg speed – it comes back quickly enough once 10K pace training is introduced – and most of the feeling of loss of speed is in fact due to your body adapting to the increased training load (mileage).

The schedule is not rocket science – there are no ‘magic’ sessions that suddenly make you a faster runner. Its success is in following a systematic build-up and in straightforward hard work. The marathon is an endurance event that requires a long, steady build-up starting as early as possible.

The early stages require a lot of mindless running of steady miles. It needs to be this way, but there is no harm in running a few races to keep short-term interest. However, it is important not to taper for every race, as you will never fully develop the base you need. In the early stages, you need to get used to training through your races. You have a ready-made excuse, for yourself or anyone questioning your performances: you’re training for London. Looking back through my 1983 diary, between getting the Commonwealth Games bronze medal in October 1982 and winning London in April 1983 I had a number of relative disasters – finishing fifth in the Kent Cross-Country Championships, a long way down on the winner was one – but every now and again a good result in a cross-country relay or 10-mile road race would indicate all was okay. By March, results will start to come – in January 1983 I ran 48:32 for 10 miles on a flat course; by March I posted 47:11 on a hilly course.

For interest, my training notes leading up to winning London in April 1983 are published on www.209events.com.

TRAINING NOTES

For those running once a day, the session that should be dropped is in brackets.

Most of the training is expressed as time rather than distance – this is to accommodate slower runners who may not be able to run 20 miles in under 2 hrs 30 mins. Time on feet has been shown to be the best way of judging the level of training that prevents runners from overtraining – which would be the case for slower runners if the schedule suggested running 20 to 22 miles every Sunday and 15 miles midweek.

There is no reason at all why slower runners can’t follow the seven-day-a-week schedules, and running for time rather than distance keeps the duration of sessions at a level that enables recovery. But for quicker runners, if the time allocated is two hours this means a long run of 18-20 miles. An easy run listed as 30 to 40 minutes implies a distance of around 5 miles.

Don’t get paranoid about the distance run, however – endurance is not an exact science and everyone will handle mileage differently. The most important thing is the cumulative effect of all of your training and not whether you manage to run 20 to 22 miles every Sunday.

I have expressed effort in two ways: a) percentage of maximum heart rate, and b) actual running speed. Steady runs will be at around 70-75 per cent effort and you will find that your steady pace will improve over the weeks. When running speeds are indicated, eg marathon pace, half-marathon pace, 10K pace, etc, you should use your projected pace – if your current PB for the marathon is 3:00 and you are aiming at 2:50, you should train at 2:50 pace.

There is often confusion over the words 'threshold' and 'tempo' running. Here, 'threshold' running is equal to the speed you can maintain for one hour of exercise. For some, that will be around half-marathon pace, for others it may be closer to 10-mile pace or even 10K pace. 'Tempo' I use more loosely. It may have a target speed attached to it, or it may be simply a faster run typical of most club runs through the winter. There’s a lot to be said for being non-specific and just going hell for leather around town with the pack – it is the way a lot of our best known athletes developed through clubs like Gateshead, Tipton, Coventry and my own club Invicta. Be careful, though, that every night isn’t a club night!

(Sessions to drop on once-a-day training level)

THE PROGRAMME

WEEK ONE
Sunday am 2 hrs steady (70% max HR)
Monday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Tuesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Wednesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Thursday am (30-40 mins easy), pm < 40 mins fartlek – completely free/go as you feel
Friday am (30-40 mins easy), pm <1hr steady
Saturday am XC Race or 40 mins Tempo run (< marathon pace)

WEEK TWO
Sunday am 2 hrs steady (70% max HR)
Monday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Tuesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Wednesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Thursday am (30-40 mins easy), pm < 40 mins fartlek – completely free/go as you feel
Friday am (30-40 mins easy), pm <1hr steady
Saturday am XC Race or 40 mins Tempo run (< marathon pace)

WEEK THREE
Sunday am 2 hrs steady (70% max HR), pm (30 mins easy)
Monday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Tuesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm <1 hr fartlek – go as you please
Wednesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Thursday am (30-40 mins), pm 1 hr steady
Friday am (30 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Saturday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 40 mins Tempo Run (< marathon pace)

WEEK FOUR
Sunday 2 hrs steady (70% may HR), pm (30-40 mins easy)
Monday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Tuesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm < 1 hr fartlek – 10-12 efforts between 1 min and 5 mins.
Wednesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Thursday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Friday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Saturday am (30-40 mins easy), pm XC Race or 40 mins Temp run (marathon < half-marathon pace).

WEEK FIVE
Sunday am 2 hrs steady (70% max HR), pm (30 to 40 mins easy)
Monday am (30-40 mins easy), 1 hr steady
Tuesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr fartlek – 12 to 15 efforts varying between 1 min and 5 mins
Wednesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Thursday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Friday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Saturday am 1 hr steady, pm 30 mins hill circuit (continuous run on 1km circuit with approx 500m shallow uphill, 500m downhill)

WEEK SIX
Sunday am 2 hrs steady (70% max HR), pm (30 to 40 mins easy)
Monday am (30-40 mins easy), 1 hr steady
Tuesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr fartlek – 12 to 15 efforts varying between 1 min and 5 mins
Wednesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Thursday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Friday am (30-40 mins easy), pm rest or 30 mins easy
Saturday am (1 hr steady), pm 30 mins hill circuit (continuous run on 1km circuit with approx 500m shallow uphill, 500m downhill)

WEEK SEVEN
Sunday am 2 hrs steady (70% max HR), pm (30 to 40 mins easy)
Monday am (30-40 mins easy), 1 hr steady
Tuesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr fartlek – 12 to 15 efforts varying between 1 min and 5 mins
Wednesday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Thursday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Friday am (30-40 mins easy), pm 1 hr steady
Saturday am 2 hr steady (70% MAX hr), pm 30 mins hill circuit (continuous run on 1km circuit with approx 500m shallow uphill, 500m downhill)

WEEK EIGHT
Sunday am 1 hr steady
Mon am (30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr steady
Tues am (30-50 mins), pm Tempo Run – 40 mins @ half marathon pace, 10 mins warm up/10 mins cool off jogs.
Wed am (30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr steady.
Thu am (30-40 mins), pm 30 mins hill circuits – 10 mins warm up/cool down jog
Fri am (30-40 min) pm 1 hr steady
Sat am 45 mins fartlek (aim at approx 12 efforts between 45 sec and 4 mins) pm (30-40 mins easy)

WEEK NINE
Sun am 2hrs 30mins steady, pm (30-40 mins easy)
Mon (am 30-40 mins steady), pm 40 mins Tempo Run (85% MaxHR – 15 min warm-up & cool-down)
Tue (am 30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr steady
Wed (am 30-40 mins steady), pm 1hr 30 mins steady.
Thu (am 30-40 mins steady), pm 40 mins hill circuits – 10 mins warm-up/cool down.
Fri (am 30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr steady.
Sat am (30-40 mins steady), pm 40 min at projected marathon pace (10 mins warm-up/cool down), or, eg, County Cross-Country.

WEEK TEN
Sun am 2hrs 30 mins steady, pm (30-40 mins easy), or 15 miles steady, rising to fast.
Mon am (30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr steady
Tue am (30-40 mins steady), pm 30 mins Tempo run (85% MaxHR – 15 mins warm-up/cool down).
Wed am (30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr 30 mins steady, or 1 hr steady.
Thu am (30-40 mins steady), Hill session – 10 x 2 mins up moderately steep hill (not too steep as it alters your leg action) with jog back recovery, or 45 mins fartlek.
Fri am (30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr steady, or rest.
Sat am (30-40 mins steady), pm < 1 hr steady.

WEEK ELEVEN
Sun am: 2 to 2 .30 steady, pm (30 mins easy)
Mon am (30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr steady
Tue am (30-40 mins steady), pm 30 mins Tempo run (85% MaxHR – 15 mins warm up/cool down)
Wed am (30-40 mins steady) pm 1 hr 30 mins steady.
Thu am (30-40 mins steady), pm 12 x 2 mins up moderately steep hill, jog back recovery - long warm up/down.
Fri am (30-40 min steady), pm <1 hr easy.
Sat am (30-40 mins steady), pm < 1 hr steady.

WEEK TWELVE
Sun am: 2 to 2 .30 steady, pm (30 mins easy)
Mon am (30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr steady
Tue am (30-40 mins steady), pm 30 mins Tempo run (85% MaxHR – 15 mins warm up/cool down)
Wed am (30-40 mins steady) pm 1 hr 30 mins steady.
Thu am (30-40 mins steady), pm 14 x 2 mins up moderately steep hill, jog back recovery - long warm up/down.
Fri am (30-40 min steady), pm < 1 hr easy.
Sat am (30-40 mins steady), pm < 1 hr steady. (eg Area XC Champs)

WEEK THIRTEEN
Sun am: 2 to 2 .30 steady, pm (30 mins easy)
Mon am (30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr including 30 mins Tempo Run (Marathon speed).
Tue am (30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr fartlek – 15 efforts of around 400mts.
Wed am (30-40 mins steady) pm 1 hr 30 mins steady.
Thu am (30-40 mins steady), pm 15 x 2 mins up moderately steep hill, jog back recovery - long warm up/down.
Fri am (30-40 min steady), pm <1 hr easy.
Sat am (30-40 mins steady), pm < 1 hr steady.

WEEK FOURTEEN
Sun am 2 hrs steady.
Mon am (30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr steady.
Tue am (30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr steady.
Wed am (30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr seady.
Thu am (30-40 mins), pm 45min<1 hr fartlek – 10-15 efforts between 1 & 2 mins.
Fri am (30-40 mins), pm (30-40 mins steady)
Sat <1hr steady.

WEEK FIFTEEN
Sun am <2hrs 30 mins (if not racing), pm (30-40 min easy)
Mon am (30-40 mins easy), pm <1 hr steady.
Tue am (30-40 mins steady), pm <1hr Tempo run (marathon pace Wed am (30-40 mins steady), pm <1hr 30 mins steady.
Thu am (30-40 mins steady), pm <1hr Fartlek (15 to 20 efforts between 1 min & 2 mins duration).
Fri am (30-40 mins steady), pm 1 hr steady.
Sat am Hill circuits 6 to 8 x 1km, hill length approx 4 mins duration & hold rhythm on the downhill section, pm 45 mins easy.

WEEK SIXTEEN
Sun am 2hrs 30mn<3hrs, pm (30 mins easy).
Mon am (30-40 mins easy), pm <75 mins steady.
Tue am (30-40 mins), pm < Tempo
Wed am (30-40 mins), pm <90 mins steady
Thu am (30-40 mins, pm <75 mins steady.
Fri am (30-40 mins), pm <1 hr steady
Sat am (30-40 mins), pm <1hr steady (Possible half-marathon race )

WEEK SEVENTEEN
Sun am <2 hrs 30 min, pm (30 mins easy)
Mon am (30-40 mins easy), <1 hr Tempo run
Tue am (30-40 Mins steady), pm warm up – 15 to 20 x 400m @ 10km pace, 100m jog recovery.
Wed am (30-40 mins steady), pm <90 mins steady.
Thu am (30-40 mins steady), pm <1 hr steady
Fri am (30-40 mins steady), pm <1 hr steady
Sat am warm up, 6 x 1000m at 10km pace, 2 mins recovery, warm down, pm (30-40 min easy).

WEEK EIGHTEEN
Sun am 2hrs steady, pm rest
Mon am rest (or 30-40 mins easy), pm <1hr tempo.
Tue am rest (or 30-40 mins steady), pm warm up, <20 x 200m at 5km pace, 100m jog rec., long cool down.
Wed am rest (or 30-40 mins steady), pm 90 mins steady.
Thu am rest (or 30-40 mins steady), pm <1 hr steady.
Fri am rest (or 30-40 mins steady), pm <1 hr steady.
Sat am <30 mins, pm 6 x 1km at 10km pace, 2 mins jog recovery.

WEEK NINETEEN
Sun am <2hrs 30 mins, pm (30-40 mins easy)
Mon am (30-40 mins), pm < 1 hr tempo run
Tue am (30-40 mins), pm warm-up, <20 x 400m/100m jog recovery, cool down.
Wed am (30-40 mins), pm < 1 hr steady to fast, but not as much as threshold level.
Thu am (30-40 mins), pm warm-up, 8 x 1000m, 2 mins rec., cool down
Fri am (30-40 mins), pm <1 hr steady
Sat am 8 miles, alternating miles at marathon pace & steady pace – approx. 40-sec differential in pace. (Possible half-marathon race).

WEEK TWENTY
Sun am 30km, first 10km easy, next 10km quicker, last 10km at marathon pace, pm rest.
Mon (am 30 mins steady), pm 1 hr good pace (up to Marathon pace but cooling off for the last 10 mins).
Tue (am 30 mins steady), pm 12 x 400m, 3km pace, 2 mins recovery.
Wed 90 mins steady.
Thu (am 30 mins steady), pm 5 x 1km, 5km pace, 2 mins recovery.
Fri 2 x 45 mins steady.
Sat (am 30 mins steady), pm 8 miles alternating miles at half-marathon and marathon pace.

WEEK TWENTY-ONE
Sun 20 miles pushing last 5 miles at marathon pace. pm rest.
Mon 10 miles steady.
Tue am (30-40 mins easy), pm 12 x 400 at 5km pace, 2 min recovery.
Wed am (30-40 min easy), 15 miles steady.
Thu am (30-40 mins easy), 5 x 1km at 5km pace, 3 mins recovery.
Fri am (30-40 min easy), pm <1 hr steady.
Sat 8 miles alternating miles at marathon pace & half-marathon pace.

WEEK TWENTY-TWO
Sun am 20/22 miles, pm rest
Mon am (30 mins easy), pm 45 mins steady
Tue am (30 mins easy), pm 12 x 400 @ 3km pace, 200 jog rec.
Wed am (30 mins easy), pm 10 miles – picking up pace.
Thu am (30 mins easy), pm 8 x 1km @ 10km pace, 2 mins recovery.
Fri am (30 mins easy), pm 10 miles steady.
Sat am (30 mins easy), pm 10 miles steady.

WEEK TWENTY-THREE
Sun am 20 miles, pm rest (or 10km race)
Mon am (30 mins easy), pm 10 miles steady
Tue am (30 mins easy), pm 10 x 400 @ mile speed, 200 jog rec.
Wed am (30 mins easy), 10 miles steady
Thu am rest, pm Marathon pace fartlek run – hold efforts of up to 5 mins at marathon pace, interspersed with recovery at steady pace (relaxed fartlek style <10 miles)
Fri am rest, pm 45 mins steady
Sat Short race or threshold run <40 mins

WEEK TWENTY-FOUR
Sun <12 miles steady
Mon <10 miles steady
Tue 10 x 200m hard strides in racing flats, 200 jog rec.
Wed <45 mins steady
Thu <45 mins steady – start carbo loading with pm meal.
Fri Rest or 20 mins easy – highest carbo intake on this day, high water intake
Sat 20 mins easy – reduce food intake after 6pm, high water intake

WEEK TWENTY-FIVE
Sun Marathon – the big day.


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Discuss this article

Since June this year, 1983 London marathon winner Mike Gratton has been coaching three forum readers, live on the forum for everyone to share. (They had marathon goals of four hours and 3:15, and we called the threads Hard Training).

The threads have been among our most popular, and some of our more experienced readers have asked for some help in the build-up to the Flora London Marathon.

On this new thread, Mike is obliging with training schedules for robust, serious runners who want to train near their limits. He'll post schedules each week, and answer questions where he can (but don't be offended if he can't reply to them all; he's generously volunteering his time).

Mike offers up two levels here; the first is aimed at regular daily runners who don’t want to start afresh each new season, and the second is a glimpse at what is needed to excel at the highest level – in fact, it is Mike’s actual training plan leading to his victory in 1983.

The Hard Training plans do not work on the basis of ability level, more a desire to do more than the normal in order to make improvement. There are no specific speeds set: the long runs are based on time on your feet, and the speedwork is based on relative speeds at various distances – you need to make the adjustments yourself.

Mike’s elite schedule is based on the specific distances and times he did, based on years of elite preparation (he was already a London Marathon third-placer and Commonwealth Games bronze medalist from the year before).

These are no easy options, and only very regular runners should attempt the schedule. Most days offer two runs; if you're not ready for 14 runs a week, start out with seven, and add extra runs gradually over the months. If time doesn’t permit that, simply stay at seven runs, choosing the key session each day.

Here goes!

Week 1 – December 5 to 11:

---------------
Hard training:
---------------
Sunday: am - 2 hrs steady (70% max HR), pm 30 to 40 mins easy
Monday: am – 30-40 mins easy, 1 hr steady
Tuesday: am 30-40 mins easy, pm 1 hr fartlek – 12 to 15 efforts varying between 1 min and 5 mins
Wednesday: am 30-40 mins easy, pm 1 hr steady
Thursday: am 30-40 mins easy, pm 1 hr steady
Friday: am 30-40 mins easy, pm rest or 30 mins easy
Saturday: am 1 hr steady, pm 40 mins hill circuit (continuous run on 1km circuit with approx 500m shallow uphill, 500m downhill)

----------------------
Mike’s elite training:
----------------------
Sunday: am 22 miles steady, pm 6 miles easy
Monday: am 5 miles steady, pm 8 miles group fartlek
Tuesday: am 5 miles steady, pm 8 miles Canterbury loop with club (5:45 miling)
Wednesday: am 5 miles steady, pm 13 miles steady
Thursday: am 5 miles steady, pm 10 miles steady
Friday: am 5 miles steady, pm 5 miles steady
Saturday: 11 miles steady cross country, pm 6 miles easy


(There's more about Mike and some of his key answers from the original Hard Training threads here.)

Posted: 04/12/2004 at 12:27

I had pleasure in being handed Mike's 7- to 14- times a week schedule (link above) at Club La Santa in September, and having looked at various other marathon schedules, this is the one I'm going to be following.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 15:02

I wish!!! but I will be following with interest and will try and adopt some of the ideas that come up!!
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 15:37

MG, can you explain the thinking behind the second run on a Sunday after the long run? Is this not the most crucial time for recovery? What benefits would it bring apart from more miles in the bank?
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 15:50

MG, would it be okay to do 30-40 easy x-training instead of the running on some days?
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 16:23

Wow Mike, I can see why you'd need to be very serious to follow the schedule. I will follow and adapt where necessary.

I note in your elite schedule there is no easy/recovery running. How did you manage to keep the speeds up without any kind of rest?
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 16:45

How can I lose 30 years very quickly?
JJ
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 17:01

Believe it or not BR, the second run on Sunday is a recovery run, at this level of training, and with sufficient background, active recovery is essential to get the miles in.....obviously this is deliberately set to the highest level of achiever and should be watered down depending on the individual background. Hopefully the schedule will give some structure to the training of people who dip into it.

The schedules are not plucked out of the air, but in various forms have evolved from the training of a lot of good club runners in the golden mid-80's period where the target was to get close to, or under 2.20 for men and sub 2.50 for women - the depth was fantastic because a lot of good club runners were motivated to pile on the training. In my own Club Len Slater ran a couple of 2.21 marathons and was only ranked 6th in the club. He was a 51 min 10 mile runner and once a week ran 15 miles each way to/from work and did his long runs with the rest of us. Possibly in the climate now he might have only aspired to run a 2.30 as I think people rise to the standards set around them.

I think there has been a bit of damping down of training schedules since then - rightly so with so many new people coming into the sport now, but it might be that it has reduced the ambitions of the commited runner. I hope this thread will lift the level a bit for those ready to move on in the sport.

Posted: 04/12/2004 at 17:17

Ditto. My old bones won't take twice-a-day running any more. That's why I do tri - I CAN manage to do two sports per day.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 17:19


Jane, at this level training is very specific to the demands of the event, but it would be acceptable to substitute some sessions for gym work or even some bike work if the amount of running seems too much to handle. It hasn't been put in the elite schedule but I did regular weight training and circuit training on top of the running.

Hilly, as with the answer to BR's question....to get to the quantity of miles required there is a lot of active rest. One of the things about achieving at the highest levels is the ability to absorb training, which depends on a combination of good conditioning and reasonable biomechanics and running efficiency. There are lots of very talented runners out there with better 10km speed than I had but didn't often convert to good marathon runners because they broke down physically from the demands of the training. As Sean mentioned in the intro I had already been 3rd in LM and bronze medallist in the Commonwealth Games the year before so I was ready to accept the training having had so much background conditioning going into it.

It's worth noting that the Commonwealth Games were in the October and I had reached 140 mile weeks leading up to that, so by early November I was already comfortably handling this mileage.

Nice to hear from you Susie.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 17:20

Can't turn the clock back JJ and Ironwolf, but I hope the idea behind this motivates you to do just a bit more.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 17:22

Thanks Mike. My coach does not like me doing doubles on a Sunday but that's because the last time I did them for a spell I teetered on the edge of injury and illness for a week.

Your comments on the decline in standards are very interesting - you reckon that it is a vicious circle - the fewer decent runners, the lower the overall aspirations, thus even fewer 2:20 runners?

Was the 140mpw at the time you were still teaching or were you a full time athlete by then? Did you gradually up the milege over the previous few years to the point you could manage 140?


Posted: 04/12/2004 at 18:10

I was still teaching, but I did it through the summer hols - which fell at just the right time for the CW games which were in Brisbane at the beginning of the Aussie summer. I did my first 100 mile week at 18 yrs of age, but became more consistant at 100mile plus only when I started to look at marathons - I guess when I was around 23 to 24 yrs old. In 82 I averaged 113 miles per week for 52 weeks of th year - max 140, minimum around 30 in the week after LM and CWG.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 19:09

Mike, how did you feel when running that amount-tired, bone tired, hold your eyes open with matchsticks tired?:o)


Do you think women can abzorb as much training as men?
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 19:23

It's not the only reason for the decline BR, but if you look at the targets people aim at they tend to be things time getting the championship start qualifiying times. I think the smaller base of senoir runners in clubs also contributes and the times required to win local road races. Runners in a strong club tend to get drawn along by being part of a good training group, and if you can win most 10kms in 30 to 31 mins, there is little incentive to try to run 28 mins - with the obvious knock on.

I also think that that there has been a diminishing insentive to put in the hard work. In the old days of the British Board you would be rewarded by getting a trip abroad for doing well in the better UK road races, I got my first trip from finishing 2nd to Eamonn Martin in a ding dong battle in the Rochester 5 miles, we both got picked for a 10km road race in Barcelona. Most of those trips have now dried up because the races now recruit through the agents, so up and coming British runners have to join the queue for a trip behind all the Kenyans, North Africans, and a few Italians, Spanish and Portuguese runners. It's the way of the commercial world, so not sure what can be done about it.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 19:24

I just didn't feel that tired Hilly, at least not that I can remember - my family may disagree of course.

I think women can absorb more that men as they tend to be relatively speaking at the endurance side. I think that for most women it is the more powerful type speed training that is more difficult. I trained with Sarah Rowell (2nd in LM and ran 2.30 at LA Olympics) and she definitely did mote training than me. If we did hill circuits she would lap us men - she was slower on the up, but just kept going on the down, she had such a good aerobic capacity she seemed to not need a recovery.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 19:29

I meant absorb!:o)

I dislike speed work although I agree it's needed. It's my belief that one is more likely to suffer injury from fast running than doing lots of steady miles.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 19:37

And I would agree with you.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 19:40

Thanks Mike, I do go out and train twice a day on two days a week, but on one day I do an easy gym session (keeping HR low) and a steady run pm with a fast last mile. On the other day I do a steady run am and then take out a group of beginners pm and run max of 30 mins with walking breaks. I guess its okay to try to juggle the runs around a bit but any tips on what not to juggle about, ie what runs not to do back to back. At present I will stick to the one run per day for the rest of the week, but how do you fit in racing?
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 19:55

Hilly wrote

" I dislike speed work although I agree it's needed. It's my belief that one is more likely to suffer injury from fast running than doing lots of steady miles."

Are you by any chance related to the hilly who used to post on RW Forum who tried to run eyeballs out 3 times per week?:)
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 20:12

My twin and I have different ideas these days BR!:o)
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 20:22

Sean - it's a great idea to have the ability to interact with MG in the build up to FLM.

Will you be printing his advice in the mag as well as one thing I think it has lacked in the last few years is anything below the sub 3hrs programme.

Maybe this links to trying to raise standards as MG referred to earlier? If your wider readership can see what it takes to maximise your potential maybe some will take up the challenge and improve the standard of British distanc running.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 21:07

A question I posed on Hilly's thread, how many runners, in actual numbers, do you think there are in Britain, now, running over 100 miles a week ? I'm a member of a long established club, that, I understand had a substantial group of guys running that sort of mileage in the 80s. Now there are only perhaps 3 or 4 of us that even run more than 60 mpw.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 21:15

Partly in answer to my own question, partly in response to Mike's comment about the rewards of international competition for winning top races, my impression is that there are a lot more serious, ie training twice a day, triathletes around. Are the 70s.80s runners successors more turning to tiathlons because that is where they find a culture of harder training ? Or does the incentive of winning a British vest (even if in 5-yr age categories) give impetus to improve ? Could the standard of club marathon running be improved by sending teams of 3 or 4 of each age-group to compete in a European marathon against similar squads from other countries ? (Even if the athletes have to pay for it themselves, as happens in the triathlon world)

(sorry to be diverging from the actual training thread; but already done a cross-country race, plus long warm up and down, and 5 ml run in afternoon, and its not time to go out tomorrow yet:-))
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 21:44

I'm reading this and drooling. Feeling real withdrawl symptoms from running but got to do what the doctor orders.

BR - what do you think your average mileage will be in the build up to London?

Mike - I agree with all you say about the declining standards in UK road races, but I'm not sure what the solution is. At 24 I think I was one of the very youngest at the AAAs start last year, and no one younger than me ran faster than my 2:33 last year. People who I came through the age groups with who are still in the sport don't seem to have moved onto the marathon.

I know Bud worked hard last year to try and get together a squad, with the idea of getting some sub 2:20 times, and took a team to the Reims half marathon in the autumn I'm sure more representative trips like this are part of the answer.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 21:46

Tigger's mate - or is it that your average kenyan / ethiopean doesn't have a bike - meaning that it is much easier to be at competitive at international level.

I'd say there are probably less than 300 runners in the uk who regularly run 100 mile weeks, and the same number again who occasionally do, but average closer to the 80s. Just a wild guess though!
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 21:52

Mike - I plan to run as many miles as I can whilst doing what I need to do quality wise and staying illness and injury free. I'm one of your category who occasionally run 100 mile weeks (about 6 or 7 this year) and will average just under 80 for the year (including tapering and recovering from 2 marathons).

Boy, I wish I'd started in my mid-20s.

That's another question I'd like to ask here...

How much difference is there between taking up running in your late 20s rather than your mid to late teens? Would it be the same difference between a 30 year old and a 40 year old?
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 22:09

I think provided you do the right things it's as much to do with how long you've been running as how old you are (within reason)

I don't think Martin Rees or Keith Anderson would have run the times they did as vets if they had been at the top of the sport since their late teens. My bigger worry is that talented juniors never take the step up to the marathon until it's too late. The mentality at the moment for many seems to be to wait until the mid 30s before trying the marathon, which would be a real pity if this is your strongest natural event.

Of course I'm not suggesting that Mo / Thommo should be made to run a marathon now, and they are doing well as very young seniors after success through the age groups.

There just seem to be alot of guys in their mid 20s to early 30s who turn out a quick 10k - half marathon once a year, but may never try their best event until they are almost worn out from 20 years of hard training, and doing it as an after thought.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 22:18

BR

I certainly want to write up summaries of what Mike's saying on these threads, as we go along.

We turned some of the early conversations with Mike on the thread about Tracey Morris into some fascinating Q&As about hard running.

We'd also like to put together a 'lessons leant' article based on what Mike, Dawn, Hilly and Awww Spud have discovered over the last five months on the original Hard Training coaching threads - I just need to find a little time to coordinate it.

All this will definitely appear here on the website; nothing is set in stone for the magazine...
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 22:33

Go on Sean - you know it makes sense - one less page of recipes and one more of MG's training advice:)

MikeB - based on what you've said I wonder how John Mayock will fair in his marathon debut in April? He clocked 64:30 at GNR the day after racing the 1 mile race up there.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 22:39

MikeB, aren't those guys who turn out a quick 10k once a year footballers, gym enthusiasts or the like, with loads of talent, but who can run fast over short distances on very little training ?
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 22:44

TMR - in the case of my clubmate who is a 1500m specialist, he knocks out a couple of 31 min 10ks at this time of year as part of his base training!
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 22:47

BR, wish I'd started in my early 30s rather than mid.

Mike, I'd be interested to know if you think these schedules would be suitable(perhaps with some adapting), or too hard for a vet.
Now 42,having run for the last 7 years, ran London 04 in 2.33 and am aiming to have a stab at sub 2.30 next year. Current 1/2 time is 71/72m
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 22:53

BR, I agree with you about less recipes, more training, but I expect the mag. has commercial constraints to think about. cf the sad demise of the original version of British Runner, which apparently failed because the target market wasn't big enough. Which figures from MikeB's guess that there may only be a few hundred folks doing such training. At least we have the internet, which a few years ago wouldn't have been poss.

Rundown, I also wish I'd run in my 20s, and seriously in my 30s, but as a W50, my belief is that I need to do the same miles and intensity of training as a young guy aiming at low 2:30s needs to do, as it gives the same figures on the age-graded rankings, as my target 3:15. Only the paces are adjusted accordingly - which happens naturally is I work to HR %s. Last spring averaging 75mpw, and a few weeks averaging 90mpw was no problem, so on with 100....
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 23:05

TMR - no. I doubt many footballers, gym enthusiasts or the like can run sub 31 for 10k. These are serious athletes.

My point was that of the 30 british guys to have run under 66:40 for the half so far this year only half of them had a crack at the marathon, and of the 30 to go sub 30:10 for 10k I think only 6 completed a marathon.

Of the top 100 ranked marathon runners this year only 30 were under the age of 30.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 23:12

what am i doing reading this



good luck guys
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 23:22

I'm reading it too hippo - how the other half lives, eh.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 23:23

maybe not




maybe we can follow the principles and get beter
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 23:25

BR - 2:11 is within his capability if he trains right I think.
TMR - I think that your running 90 miles a week is probably harder etc than me doing it because the intensity is still the same, but the duration is longer.
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 23:26

Why is that then MikeB? Has the marathon become a less attractive distance because you get only 2 decent stabs at it per year? Do these guys fear the distance, or doing the mileage needed for the distance?

Is there a culture amongst your contemporaries that the marathon is for people in their 30s and older?
Posted: 04/12/2004 at 23:27

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