Smartcoach seems very well but makes no allowance for age.  I am 65 and train harder than the 'hard' schedule for a 51m 10K but cannot manage to beat 54m presumably an age problem? I also include some long (26m plus) walks in my schedule for stamina and pleasure and occassional half marathon races but still my target eludes me.  Any ideas?


  • Mick6Mick6 ✭✭✭

    I am a male 61 year old runner and must agree that training for people in our age group is and should be different.
    It sounds like you have been following a strong programme but have plateau'd and cannot break through.
    I run a 1:40:10 for the half, a 46:02 for the 10k and 21:40 for the 5k.
    The strongest difference I have found is that it takes longer for my body to react to change. I also have to avoid injury at all costs as I lose speed and conditioning very fast if laid up, so I just cannot take risks.
    So in summary slow to gain and fast to lose.
    So how should you change your program, take longer at each stage, more time to build endurance, more time doing hills, more time doing temp before adding intervals. Back off quickly if things start to hurt and then try again later to build up. You could just try extend the time scale on SmartCoach.
    See if you can connect up with other over 60 runners virtually or actually it helps, we all seem to respond the same way to training. I would recommend Johnny J over 60s thread, lots of good folks there that can hep.
    Happy to help in more detail if I can.
    Good luck

  • I am also a bit baffled by the SmartCoach in that the only way I can see to input your "aspiration" is to make a statement abpit how hard you want to train.  My honest answer to that question would be to say, "I'd like to train as hard as is necessary to achieve my goal".

    But there does not seem to be any place in the SmartCoach to indicate your goal.  For example, I ran my first marathon a few months ago in 3:39.  For my next marathon, I'd like to think I can go for a 3:20, given what I now know about running at that distance.  But there's no indication that I can see from the tool about what impact the training will have on me, so I can't decide whether I want to train moderately, hard or whatever.... 

    Seems a bit illogical to me, but I'd be happy for someone to improve my understanding!  Thanks, Richard

  • I can't find an answer to this anywhere - I've put in my current "race" time (estimated - haven't raced for a long while) and what I'm aiming for and when, and I have a schedule - but it doesn't tell me what time that schedule should get me round in?

    I would so like to break 2 hours for a half marathon (would be a couple on minutes off my previous PB) but I can't see anywhere that takes this into account on Smartcoach.  Would I be better off following a "normal" schedule (only thing is the race I'm looking at is 7 weeks away which is a bit short for most standard schedules -  I am currently running about 16 miles a week, which an average long run of 7 miles.  I also run with a running club once a week as well, so I'm not starting from scratch.)

  • SmartCoach is a great training tool and aid. It could be made even better with some adjustments, for example, inclusion of parameters for age and target time, would be a good start.
  • Peter Stimpson 2 wrote (see)
    SmartCoach is a great training tool and aid. It could be made even better with some adjustments, for example, inclusion of parameters for age and target time, would be a good start.
    That's what we need ! image
  • I'd like to see target times in SmartCoach too. Hopefully someone from RW will notice this thread if we keep bumping it up to the top of the page.

    Colin, what do you mean exactly when you say you train "harder than the hard schedule". More mpw? More speedwork? Faster easy pace?

    I'll second MickC: come and see us on JJ's over 60s thread... 

  • It would also be useful to be able to change the "day of week of race day" in the final week. Defaulting to Sunday is a good guess, but not always right.

    Also, in a perfect world, the ouput would be formatted such that copying and pasting into Excel would be straightforward. I find the mix of imperial and metric measurements awkward at times and I could then use Excel to change units to my taste.

  • If you use the version on the US site, all the ouput is the same but you do get an option of a printer friendly version.
  • I totally agree.  The smart coach gives great guidance, but it doesnt allow you to specify your target time... a clear end target would make training much easier!
  • Doesn't sound very smart to increase your warm up and cool down distance JUST to achieve a weekly mileage target, unless this has another benefit that wasn't mentioned...
  • We all seem to agree Smartcoach suggests good schedules but does not take account anybody's age or target time .

    Can someone from RW respond to this please ?

  • Just thought I'd bounce this one. I particularly agree about target time - for the schedule I'm looking at, if I ran a marathon at the same pace as the last long run, it would be dead on 4 hours - so is that the target? Or would the training mean I should be upping the pace for the race - if so, how much?
  • Hi, have a similar problem,but with age, so have googled   running+adjustment+for+age

    and found an American web site with age adjusted male and female tables, and they are brilliant.

     I use this site and printed out the table for my age, because I am always last and will always be last but wanted to see where I would be against my team mates if I was their age. Hope this helps you or someone else. Cathy

  • Hi.  Commenting on thee points in this thread. 

    I use the .com version of SmartCoach rather than the version.  They produce the same result but the .com site prints out properly.  Can't understand why they should be different but they are!

    To train to an aspired time I enter that time as my 'current race time'.  I've not run a marathon, but doing that works successfully for me on 10ks and half marathons and has got me inside my target time every time (so I keep getting PBs!!).  I guess if you are to do that it's important to be realistic with your target time and to follow the schedule, but it works well for me.

    Regarding age, I am 57 and only started running again 18 months or so ago after a 30 year lay off.  I train on the SmartCoach 'hard' schedule, and haven't found it gives me any problems because of my age so long as I listen to my body and target my time sensibly.  It's been difficult to learn to take the odd rest from the schedule for a few days and not feel I'm letting myself down when my body says so, but in doing so I've not had any injuries to worry about (the odd twinge of course) and, as I've already said, I'm currently enjoying running PBs!



  • raylellis That's a good idea about training to an inspired time, I tried that and it gives me more realistic training times.

    I'll be starting this after Christmas ready for FLM - I've knocked 20 minutes off my marathon pb, which I think will not be too hard on me! I am also of 'a certain age'.

  • Hi I have difficulty to improve.

    i have never run before, however I walked (10km 40:46 20km 95 and 50km 3:58) 18 years ago

    Recently I run marathon in 3:24 meaning slower than I used to walk. Recently i walk 10km under 47min.

     I am 49 years old. In my opinion there is no problem with any programm as they do not improve our muscles.

    I think  we need combination of targerted weight training and specific running to improve speed.

    I have found that my speed range have been dramaticaly reduced.

    I can run 5min a 1km pace almost forever, and founding 4:40 pace is very hard to sustain even for 2km.

    Simply just running afert 45 vill get you fit but very slow.

    I have started running hills and short intervals. Instead 12km steady I run 30sec fartlek.

    I have noticed my speed slowly improving.

    Happy running

  • I think smart coach would be improved if you could tailor a programme to get you to your target time. Its not clear whether putting in a recent race time produes a programme to improve that time or by how much. I wish someone from runners world would explain how we can get a programme to achieve a particular target

  • I agree with all the comments re target times. Please Smart Coach take note.  I am also particularly interested in the running adjustment for age US. website. .I shall certainly look that up as I am 66 and this year will have been runnng for 20 years and beleive me it doesn't get any easier just slower !
  • What is the point in this smart coach if it doesn't state the eventual aim !! 

    I've run a 3:10 , 3:08 and a 3:01 marathon and I'd like to run sub 3 . How do I set it up to do that ? 

  • I have a wild suggestion. How about you convert your current pb to an age-adjusted equivalent with the aid of an online calculator, then choose an aspirational time a bit faster than that and choose a program to match, but then convert the new aspirational time back to your age adjusted time and adjust your target times in the program accordingly.

    Worked eg using age-graded WAVAcalc at runbayou:

    • present age: 55
    • present marathon pb: 3:36:09
    • age weighted equivalent = 3:09:25

    So I decide to set a target of 3:05-equivalent for my next marathon. The age weight applied to Open class for a 55-yo shown in the calculator is 0.8763 so I apply this factor to the 3:05 (185 minutes):

    • 185/0.8763 = about 3:31

    the same result can by found by typing 3:31:00 or another number into the Time field and watching the open-age-equivalent field. So for my next marathon I am aiming to hit 3:31 by following a 3:05 program, but in training I would adjust any target times down to about 88% as fast. Makes sense?

  • Its more than 4 years since my last post in this thread, since when I have run around 8 half marathons a year, the London Marathon, and a variety of other races at 10k, 10 mile and 15 mile distances.

    In all that time I have followed the recommendation I made in November 2008.  I use my aspired time as the 'Recent Race Time' and it has given me a good plan to work to.  Its what i am currently using in training for the London Marathon again in April and the 2 Half Marathons between now and then.

    Frankly I don't think age makes any difference with the training as you are working to a time. I still score new PBs every so often, and certainly can't run any faster than 7:10 pace even downhill, but that's my age and it doesn't affect the legitimacy of the SmartCoach training plans so long as, as I said last time, you listen to your body.

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