My revised training schedule; advice?

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  randys 14 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #1496


    I’ve been evaluating my training schedule and deciding how to adjust it for a fall race.

    Overall I think the last plan was good; I am pleased with the results: a 9 minute PB and BQ last Sunday.

    Before I began my last schedule I incorporated suggestions given by several posters at this site. I am posting the revised schedule and again seeking advice for improvements.

    When reviewing how I changed it 6 months ago the 2 most significant changes were: The addition of a mid-week medium long run and the shortening by 2 weeks along with shifting of the anaerobic segment of the schedule closer to race week.

    In building on that I decided to add to the medium long run portion (adding mileage to Saturday’s former 9 mile run) and increase my training paces across the board.

    Last weekend I finished, in poor weather conditions but feeling very strong, in 3:29. My goal for this fall will be 3:20-3:25.

    My new schedule (begins 19 weeks out) will be as follows:

    Mon: 5 Easy (8:30)

    Tue: 6 Tempo (7:15)

    Wed: 11 Medium Long/Easy (8:30)

    Thu: 6 Tempo/Hills/Int/Repeats (varies, see below)

    Fri: 5 Easy (8:30)

    Sat: 13 Medium Long/MP (7:30 – 8:30)

    Sun: xx Long Run (8:00, 16-24 miles, see below)

    For the next 3 weeks I will continue to build mileage, with easy runs, to bring myself back to pre-race levels in the mid 60’s. (with a weekly long run of 16)

    Once mileage is back to the mid 60’s I will add a Tues and Thurs tempo, with the rest of the weekly mileage all aerobic until 19 weeks out from the race.

    Then I will modify the training according to this schedule:

    Long Run will follow this pattern:


    That is the same long run mileage as last time, the pace will vary; starting slow and picking up towards the end. The goal will be to average near 8:00 for the overall long run. I averaged 8:15 in the long runs leading to the last marathon and easily ran that race at a 7:58 average pace.

    Thursdays run will also vary; starting with 5 weeks of tempo runs, then 6 weeks of hills, 3 weeks of intervals (1600m @ 7:00) and 3 weeks of repeats (800m @ 6:30). During the 6 weeks of intervals and repeats I do the workout twice a week during most weeks (substituting for Tuesday’s tempo run).

    This is followed by a 2 week taper. Mileage will drop a little (more in the second week) but almost all the mileage during the taper will be at marathon pace or better.

    I know the biggest criticism of this schedule will be the concentration of mileage over the weekend. I know this is a problem but I have no choice and have lived with it for the past 2 years.

    It’s tough for me to get in more mileage during the week because my work schedule is unpredictable. When I can I change the schedule by switching Wed and Sat. This may happen 1 out of every 3 weeks.

    Since the results last time were very positive I made few changes. Adding only another 5 miles a week (most to Saturday) and upping the pace around 10-15 seconds a mile. Any other suggestions?


  • #14494


    First, that long run pace still seems pretty hot to me. If you can handle 24 miles in the middle of training at 8:00 pace without throwing the rest of your training off, I would expect you to be capable of much faster than 3:20 for a post-taper marathon. However, there is always the person out there who is the exception and you know yourself better than anyone else knows you.

    Second, I still think 17 weeks of structured and scheduled intensity is a lot, even if the first 6 weeks are just tempo runs twice a week. I would personally go with a schedule that makes those first 6 weeks at the very least very unstructured. Personally, I’d go with the idea of going hard when I feel good. At the very least, I’d make these workouts tempo runs or fartleks on unmeasured courses so I am not trying to keep track of paces. I would not make these workouts real stressful, I would want to finish them feeling like I had a lot left in the tank.

    I would also personally keep the tempo runs in those final 6 weeks. I’d do intervals once a week and a tempo run on the other day, then reps once a week and a tempo run on the other day.

  • #14495


    Your suggestion is exactly what I was looking for. I was leaning that way but needed to hear it from an independant party.

    It was your suggestion 6 months ago to cut back to 6 weeks and shift the start of the intervals and reps closer to the race that prompted me to make those changes.

    At that time I was worried that only 6 workouts wouldn’t be enough so I dropped some tempo runs to do two a week. I didn’t do it every week; I think 4 out of 6 weeks I did.

    But I was dragging my butt those weeks. It was too tough doing 2 a week. I recover well from long, mp and tempo runs but intervals and repeats are much harder on me. I will follow your suggestion; and continue doing tempo runs on Tuesday.

    I also gave the wrong impression of the tempo runs I am doing in the early weeks. I should have said that Tues and Thurs are ‘harder’ workouts but not structured tempo runs. They become more structured as the race approaches; in the last 8 weeks.

    Before the last 8 weeks I run easy on Mon, Wed and Fri and run based on how well I feel on Tue and Thurs. As often as not, I run most or at least some of those at tempo pace, maybe even faster, depending on how I feel that day but pace is not important.

    As far as pace on long runs. My average pace on long runs last time was 8:15 which allowed me to race at 7:58 with ease. I know that 3:20 to 3:25 is probably conservative, especially if I average 8:00 on long runs heading into the next race. I was planning on adjusting my goal later in the cycle depedning on how I respond to training.

    The 8:00 pace is only 15 seconds faster then it was over the last 6 months and I don’t run long runs at that pace until the last 6-8 long runs. The rest will be between 8:15-8:30 pace.

    The things that worked best for me leading into my best and easiest race:

    1. Mileage – Mid 60’s worked well, I am staying in that range, added only 5

    2. Medium Long runs – Added 1 mile to Wed, changed Sat from 9 mile mp to 14 mile medium long/with some mp milage at end.

    3. Reducing the amount of intervals and repeats, and starting them later in the cycle. I will cut back even more; ending with only 6 of these workouts.

    4. Long runs at closer to marathon pace (on average). I did most long runs by starting off well off mp (30-45 seconds slower) but ending at or even faster than mp (often as much as 30 seconds faster). This caused average pace for long runs to drop to within 15 seconds of race pace. I am keeping this unchanged simply because I have never run a marathon prior to last week feeling as strong over the last 10k. Usually I weaken, pain levels go way up and pace slows, this time I was getting faster with every passing mile, and felt little or no distress. I credit the long runs with this; its exactly how I felt while running long training runs.

    These factors made the largest impact on my last race so I wanted to either continue or even emphasize them this time around.

    The ‘wildcard’ will be the change in the course. Long Island was almost completly flat; while Mystic will be hilly. I plan on running several of the long runs this summer with a friend from New Jersey; who runs in a very hilly park to be better prepared for race conditions.


  • #14496


    First off, I do like the idea of waiting on a specific goal. Setting a specific goal right now is kind of like trying to predict who will win the World Series right now when you would lose nothing by waiting until you know the two teams that will be in the World Series.

    I would be cautious about how much cutting of the workouts you’re doing. I wouldn’t automatically fall into the “fewer is better” mentality just because fewer worked this last time. The key is to find the optimal amount that will give you the most improvement while not taking too much away from other areas of improvement. One thing I would say. As the number of rep workouts decreases, the importance of strides increases. Don’t be afraid to throw strides into the mix.

    You mention the hills on this course. Knowing that, I would say try to hit hills on a regular basis. I like to work at least one decent hill into every day of running. It doesn’t even matter how I run it. Sometimes, I will go up the hills at a slower pace than walking pace. The key, though, is to run on them a lot. Eventually, they will become easy if you get on them enough.

  • #14497


    Cutting back to 1 interval workout each week is based on how tough it was recovering from running 2 a week last time. Two interval workouts, 2 days apart, are more than I should do. When combined with a tempo run 2 days before I feel much stronger the rest of the week.

    In my area running hills on a more regular basis would require me begin or end the run on the treadmill.

    In addition to the 6 week section where I will focus on hills workouts (and do them on the treadmill), and the 2 or 3 long runs in Jersey, the only other ‘hill’ I run over is a small bridge crossing a canal (which I pass over twice on the out-and-back, or more if I do multiple loops.

    Its not much of a hill; I hardly notice it. I quess it rises about 20-25 feet in about 50 yards. Compared to the rest of the routes near my house this is a mountain.

    Of course starting or ending a run (or doing the whole thing) on the treadmill (in air conditioning) may look more attractive when its in the 90’s come Jul and Aug. Or on those week nights when I get stuck at work late and run after 10 at night.

    Thanks for the advice; I will do my best tofollow the advice and increase the amount of hill training.


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