Mission sub 3 marathon

04 April,2019 by Jack Vamvas

Mission sub 3:00 marathon (It's not rocket science)

I'm on a mission  to run a sub 3 hr marathon (& beyond). My most recent marathon I hit 3:01:38 - with a significant marathon fade in the last couple of miles.  I was training for London Marathon 2020 in April - but due to Covid-19 - the London marathon is delay to October 2020.

I've been close a few times . Documenting  my marathons below - I've realised  training  consistently is probably the single biggest factor in the steady improvement. I would also include more running, improved nutrition, much less alcohol, and losing 13 kilograms (28 pounds) have all helped 

In all cases , after some tweaks a jump happened. Brighton marathon 2013 was one of those times with the introduction of a weekly MP run increasing every week , as well as the other running.Brighton marathon 2014 - also included more MP work .

Which is why I  introduced marathon paced running again for my  training bloc for Abingdon October 2019 . On Thursdays I was doing  doing a specific MP session , with a regular increase in volume every week. These are hard sessions - I do them on my own on the seafront ,  with a GPS watch . 

The result for Abingdon October was about 3:05 - check details below - about 4 mins slower than PB. I don't think this was a reflection of the training - but about some surges I threw in - at about mile 10 - but by mile 18 was feeling it. Causing me to slow down. A solid run but I was expecting a slightly better result. 

I've tried a few different approaches in attempt to squeeze those extra few minutes out of my body. I'm currently training for London Marathon 2020 , and returned to the approach I've felt has been the most effective. (Details below).   It's super simple - based on consistent mileage , regular but short pace sessions.     Based around a weekly routine of  easy Long Run and Medium Long Run , 3 shorter sessions and the rest easy.  No super - sessions. 

 

Marathons so far .....

Brighton Marathon 2010 - 4:10    - Registered on a whim - 12 weeks training , 3-4 runs a week

Brighton Marathon 2011- 4:05   - Didn't run much after 2010 - 12 weeks training , 3-4 runs a week

Brighton Marathon 2012 - 3:30  - Didn't run much after 2011, but this time followed 16 week programme Frank Horwill - inc weekly MP run. 5 runs a week

Brighton Marathon  2013- 3:28  - approx 40 miles per week - DIY program including weekly Long Run . 5 runs a week

Brighton Marathon  2014- 3:09  - Tried not to get unfit , implemented some MP workouts - good improvement . 6 runs a week

Brighton Marathon 2015 - 3:10 -Similar training to BM 2014 - went out to fast - blew up.

Abingdon Marathon 2015 - 3:06 - Best I've ever felt in a marathon, ran without GPS , I'd decided before the race to just run on feel. Training included 6 Long Runs at 3 hrs with shorter run later in day. Little speedwork

The basic weekly pattern was :

Mon:Easy

Tue:Progressive tempo

Wed: Mid week long run 

Thurs: Run including 10 x 1\1 

Friday:Rasy

Sat:progressive tempo

Sun: Long Run Easy 

 

London Marathon 2016 - 3:05 - Continued fitness, similar training to AM 2015. 

Abingdon Marathon 2016 - 3:12 - Lost some fitness , tried to make up ,went out to fast hit the wall hard at 18 miles. 

London Marathon 2017 - Deferred (injured - Plantar Fascitis\ Shin Splints). Training was going excellently, overdid it , out of action for about 3 months. Even through was excellent leading up to the injury - I switched abruptly to road running from trail -  and body didn't deal with it very well. Lesson learnt: Do not do anything very suddenly , ease you way into it. 

Abingdon Marathon 2017 - 3:18 - Trained cautiously after injuries . Kept hard running to minimum, treated it like a long run. I'd built up to a couple of long runs  in the lead up Gale force winds. 

London Marathon - 2018 - DNF - dropped out at 12 miles. Super Hot. Ill on course. Training was excellent , followed sub3marathoner schedule. 

Abingdon Marathon - 2018 - 3:09   - Marathon fade. Not enough long runs, 6 runs a week Was going for 3.05 - pace felt fast . 

Brighton Marathon - 2019 - 3:01:32 - Felt strong. 7 runs a week, including LR, MLR, 3 sessions a week.

Abingdon Marathon 2019 - 3:05:18 . Mon: Easy Tue: 100 mins including fartlek Wed:Easy Th:120 mins inc MP work Fri:Easy Sat:Easy inc shorter fast e.g Park Run,hill fartlek or FF run Sun:Long Run 

Also including a "down week" every 3-4 weeks , where I drop the volume by 25% for every run 

The weather was perfect , training went well - and was on pace for sub 3 - starting fading from about mile 15 - which suggests maybe went out slightly fast. I thought the series of marathon-specific training (every Thursday ) would help - but not for this cycle. 

I need to decide on any (if any ) adjustments - various suggestions from running friends . I'll jog around for the next couple of weeks and decide. 

One thing noticeable in this last 6 months was the lack of racing shorter distances - apart from a few Park Runs.   There was also much less interval work. 

London Marathon April  October 2020 - In Training Registered for London Marathon 2020 through a good for age (GFA) place.

I was training with increased effort\focus - but with about 9 weeks to go , the London Marathon organisers decided to postpone London Marathon 2020 from April to October due to Covid 19.

I've decided to settle into a regular pattern for the next 10-15 weeks , and then pick up the long runs with about 12 weeks to go

Most - if not all races appear to be cancelled - and the government guidelines are to run solo - practising social distancing

Run long on long run days
Run fast on speed session days
Run easy on easy days
Mon  Easy/relaxed Easy - Very
Tue Hill Session or Track Session 8 x 2' \ 1' or  15' tempo + hills or longer hill circuit
Wed  Long Slow Medium Long Run  - Easy
Thurs track session,short\fast Mona Fartlek or 4 x 5' or 3 x 1 mile or tempo
Fri Easy/relaxed Easy -
Sat  short/fast-constant effort Race\3 x 8 ' \ 2' or 40'-50' tempo or 3 x 5k
Sun  long Slow Very Long Run - Easy - 12 weeks to go last 30' pickup

Author: Jack Vamvas (http://www.dba-ninja.com)


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