From 15 June 2024, the Runner’s World forum will hang up its running shoes for the final time.

While we are saying goodbye to the forum, you can continue to enjoy Runner’s World through our various platforms, each offering a different way to stay connected:

Sign up to the RW newsletter: Read about the latest running trends, gear reviews, expert advice and inspirational stories, delivered straight to your inbox. 

Visit With everything from long reads and training articles to plans and nutrition tips, the content you trust is just a click away. 

Become a subscriber: Get the print magazine for the best in-depth features, expert advice, stunning photography and exclusive content tailored for every level of runner.

Follow us on social media: Follow @RunnersWorldUK on X, Facebook and Instagram for your daily dose of advice, motivation and fun. Keep on running…

The Runner's World team


Moraghan Training - Stevie G

Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

Moraghan case number 3.

To start with, as per the others some stats

Aged - 28
Weight - 11 1/2 stone (don't measure religiously by any means)  73kg
Height - 6'1"
BMI -  21.2 (right in the middle of that's good!)
Weekly mileage - 50 p/w
Runs Per week - 10/11

 Have run since about 21, but originally as an aid to football. 18months ago 99% quit the football to focus on the running, and have done around the 50mile mark since then.

Recent pb of 1hr 19m 21s at Wokingham 5 weeks ago means the below are the current pbs

1/2 Wokingham          Feb 2010    1hr 19m 21s

10m Maidenhead       April 2009   1hr 02m 16s

10k  Hotel Olympia     Feb 2010      37m 03s

5M  Hanney                Oct 2009        29m 38s

5k   Local Series       May 2009      17m 23s

The times of 10m and below should go on the next time out at each attempt at a flat race of those distances, hopefully in line with the 1hr 19.

Shortest term aim is to get the pbs in line with what the Macmillan calculator suggests should be runnable off a 1hr 19 half.

Those being    10m    sub 1hr  , 10k   35:40    5m   2830   5k 1710.

Longer term is to hit more serious times such as 1hr 15 for a half and well sub 35min 10k, and therefore become more of a contender locally, rather than be say top 10 in races with 200-300 odd runners, or generally top 10% of all races entered.

 Training until now has been a rather amateur case of getting 50miles a week in. On looking at the way I construct the 50 it's become very blatant that this isn't getting anywhere near the maximum effect, so am looking to step up a gear and train smarter.

An average week would be

Mon      Lunchtime 4-5miler, usually including hilly woodland, the steepest of which would at most a time of around 31mins for a 4miler. Quickest would be just under 28mins for this session

             Evening     5-6miler. Usually a progression run, using hilly woods for a couple of miles in around 8-9min miling, relaxed effort, then come the flat a bit more effort dipping to around 6:45 a mile, then the last miles at a pace meaning the overall run works out at around 7min miling.

Tue     Lunch    as per Monday 4-5, but always a different route each day

          Evening    currently club hill efforts. This is the nearest I do to a quality session.Usually a 5-6mile overall session, first mile and last mile is a jog to and from the venue, and the remaining miles are an adhoc coach decided upon session of long or short hills, and numerous repeats. The longest session was probably 30 efforts, something like 5 x 80metre steep hill, 4x60metre steep hill, 3x30 etc, and other repeats.




  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

    Wed   Lunch  as per monday 4-5

              Evening run 5-6miles. Not a great deal different to Monday to be honest. Lacking a bit of imagination!

    Thur     Lunch as per Monday 4-5

               Evening  Currently club session number 2. Either another hills efforts session or if one isn't running, a 10miler with the next fastest guys at the club, which isn't unduly fast but is probably about 10miler in around 1hr 15, but is conversational with a few hills. This certainly doesn't tax me bodywise.

    Fri        Lunch as per Monday 4-5

               Evenin   Depending on how much I need to do to hit the 50, can be a relaxed 3-4miler in woodland, or a fast 3miler, with last mile sub 6min miling. Otherwise can be rest

    Sat      Rest

    Sun     If not racing, will be a 4-5miler, again starting slow in woodland and ending faster, probably average of just over 7min miling.

    Am definitely keen to add a decent track session on the Wednesday after I get the Maidenhead 10mile race out of the way on Good friday in preparation for an Inter club 5k series of 5 races May to July.

    Have generally struggled to keep a regular long run in the schedule, and as such basiclaly add them ad hoc when either have a day off, or have a half marathon coming up. Definitely noticed the difference they make in the Wokingham half marathon time.

    Also doing a lot of wood and hill running seems to have helped a lot when I get back on flat roads.

    So far I think I've got to the times I have by default of mileage rather than what I do being particularly special.

    I've had my diet checked by a nutrionist who says it's pretty spot on, have plenty of hunger and definitely just the training that needs a new level. Had a conversation with an older club mate last tuesday at our efforts session, and he was pretty much under the conclusion that for me that was barely an efforts session and I need to start the proper track workouts before it's too late for serious improvement!

    Therefore, over to you sir. Probably plenty to get stuck into there!

    ps how self indulgent.,...spread over 2 long postings....but hopefully not too vague...or if it is maybe that's why it's not good training!

  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Stevie G

    So plenty of distance goals and a 5k series May to July - but it would be good to get some clearer structure to your PB attempts.  There's no clarity in your approach to key races and similarly there is no clarity in your training.  If I were you I'd pick a race at each distance that you want to do well in, space them apart and therefore introduce an element of periodisation about your racing and therefore training.  You can still do the other races (and PB in them) but they are steps on the way to key performances.  A good way is to schedule them in descending order, i.e. HM > 10M > 10k > 5k etc as the progressive nature of the training suits this.

    In my opinion, your training has a lot of routine in it, but very little structure.  There is a huge number of moderate / medium effort sessions with few easy and few very hard.  I think this is ideally designed for plateauing race times.

    The hard sessions you do are hard because you're probably shagged at the end- but lots of short, fast hills isn't doing an awful lot for (dare I say it) any of your target distances.  You also can't just run a mile warm-up, 3 miles of reps, a mile cool down - where's the proper warm-up, where's the volume?

    You're not stretching yourself aerobically in the key LT zones and the time you spend in aerobic zones is way too short.  You need a long run, but we also need to introduce some extended running over longer distances.  I wonder, for example, if you were asked to do a 6 mile run at MP with a 3m w-up and 1 m cool down whether you'd be able to do it?!!

    Frankly, this 2 run a day business is not necessary. 4-5 at lunch and 5-6 in the evening is just too similar for me. If you were just running the evening run I would encourage you to extend that significantly before even adding a morning run.  You've got a good routine going so I wouldn't drop the lunchtime ones, but at least reduce them and extend the evening ones.  I'd rather see 3 at lunch and 6 - 8 in the evening (you can then get into the discussion - is 3m worth it?!).  Or if you are adding a long run and maintaining current mileage you may even have to drop some of these lunch time runs - an add them back in when you bump mileage up.

    First things first.  Let's get a structure together which has hard days and easy days and a long run (at least 12 miles - up to 14 asap) and limit it weekly to 50 miles.  From there we can see what is missing and add it in.  We then need to address your quality workouts, hit the upper aerobic zones for longer durations and make them specific to your next target.  To be honest, I would forget the "proper track workouts" until you get some proper structure in place and are recovering from it.  Your easy paces may need some adjustment once we get the plan in place.

    How does this sound?  Sorry to be so down on your schedule! 

  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    Serious question - are you hungover on saturdays or something?  Only asking so we know whether there is the flexibility to change that rest day to another day!!!
  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

    Fair comments I think, and the positive is that if I'm running the times I currently am on mediocre training, then hopefully should allow plenty of improvement!

    I think I've known for a while that if either a coach or experienced runner looked at my schedule they'd be severly unimpressed. I've also known for a long time that a long run weekly is necessary, but the closest I've been is piling them in when a half comes round.

    No to the hangover! In fact i don't even drink! Therefore, a long run perhaps starting circa 10-12miles could be fitted in on the sat or sun.

    Therefore, maybe a first amendment to the plan would be to limit the lunch run to a 4miler (agreed 3m would be too unworthwhile, but i'd still be loathe to lose these sessions) 5 days a week.Add the long run sat or sun 10-12 at first, building to 14.then maybe 3 runs in the week in the evenings, of decent lengths say 1 6 and 2 8s?

    And these would be the tougher sessions, perhaps mon, tue, and thur , leaving the wed and fri free for the next day which would be either one of these tougher sessions or the 10-12miler.Maybe even some cross training weights, or stationary cycling on the eveningsThen like you say...see how this goes for a few weeks and maybe add another run back into the evenings? 

    How's that for a staple plan? My club start intervals in preparation for the 5k series on 13th April, so that could take care of the Tuesday harder session. Only concern with these sessions as they usually aren’t long enough reps, say 400m or less, but not a good amount say 10-12. Another local club are a better standard and have a couple of 33-34min 10k guys, and their sessions are a lot longer and beneficial.

    Went to my club tonight, and it was a poor affair. Only about 12 runners and luckily at the last minute one of the faster guys turned up. However, he was limping so we only did a 5miler and only in about 38mins, on a muddy in places but flat course.I find the 2 club sessions a week breaks up the schedule through running with people, but if the say Thursday run is meant to be hard , then hard for me will be too hard for the others at my club. Therefore, that gives 2 options, do the session on my own, or maybe involve myself with the other local club and run with their faster guys

  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Okay, these are your training paces:

    Recovery Pace:  7:56 p /mile or slower

    Easy Pace:  7:24 to 7:55 p/mile

    Steady State:  7:24 to 6:30 p/mile

    MP:  6:23 p / mile

    HMP:  5:58 to 6:04 p / mile.

    We'll forget other paces for a while.  This next bit you're not going to like:

    -  None of your easy runs should be faster than 7:24 p / mile, but can be slower if you feel it's necessary.  In fact, I would expect them all to be slower on average and you to be hitting 7:24 sometimes at the end of runs.

    -  I don't really want to hear "I couldn't run it that slowly" because that wouldn't be true.

    -  You must run them no faster than that because we are changing your program and to properly assess the changes we need to nail down the other variables.  They are also the correct paces and yes, I disagree with McMillan's paces for a runner of your standard.

    -  I suspect you will find this a bit frustrating.  If your quality sessions actually left you fatigued because they were long enough you'd be glad of these paces, but because your schedule is essentially a series of medium runs you have been running a lot of them too quickly.

    The only exception being that you can run a bit faster before quality sessions during the latter stages of your warm-up.  Next post will be a suggested structure for next week.

  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭
    Just to check, do you think the Macmillan times are too fast from the 1hr 19 half, or too fast on the training I do?
  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    I want to introduce some low-impact turnover work to maintain speed (that you probably have as a result of the short hill club sessions).  Let's start with using diagonals on a saturday (start with 10 diagonal crosses across the pitch, no straining).

    To keep at around 50 miles next week would look like this:

    M:  a.m. 4m easy; p.m. XT

    T:  a.m. 4m easy; p.m. 8m total including club sessions (if session is shorter make up the 8 in easy running)

    W:  a.m. 4m easy; p.m. XT

    T:  a.m. 4m easy; p.m. 10m light progression run.  Starting at low easy pace progressing to fastest steady state pace with 1m easy at the end (mile splits would be useful).  No straining should feel pretty good at the end.

    F:  OFF

    S:  6m including diagonal session as described

    S:  12m easy

    As we discussed before 2 a days aren't necessary but it's not a bad thing to keep.  From this we can see two obvious areas where mileage additions would make sense.  Monday and wednesday evenings, but not yet - but if you fancy easy stationary cycling on mon and wed evening that would be perfect.  So next week is a realistic test I recommend you do your normal run tomorrow, take friday off and do the diagonals on saturday and a long run of 11 miles on sunday.

    This is a transitional week, moving to where we want to go.  We aren't getting into quality sessions and the dubious benefits of the club runs just yet!

    We will address core work etc, in a couple of weeks.

  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    I think McMillan's recommended easy paces are too fast based on any of your race times.  I think if you are following a proper hard / easy schedule the easy paces he recommends start to interfere with proper recovery and become unrealistic.  I think you were getting away with them because your quality days and normal easy runs were too short.
  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

    Have the Maidenhead 10miler on Friday, and am in Manchester on Saturday! But can perhaps pick the schedule up a day late and do the 6m with the diagonal session on the sunday, and then the 12m on Monday, which will be easier with it being a bank holiday.

     Just to tinker gently.

    Next races are Marlow 5miler and the 5ks May 9th have a few weeks to get bedded in.

    Only slight concern is my mate has changed his programme to a lot of easy running, and has gone a bit downhill race time wise...but I understand that this is a temporary state until the faster sessions kick in.

    Also presume that these paces are for flat running...and I'm not to cheat it by doing steep hills or woodland in the runs, thus guaranteeing to run at slower paces!

  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Sorry - forgot about the 10 miler in my haste.  In that case just pick up the schedule on monday, don't do the diagonals 2 days after Maidenhead.

    You'll be getting a lot more quality in soon enough, don't worry about that side of things. 

    Yes, the paces are for flat running!

    If at the end of a couple of weeks you feel you can do more, then we'll give you more!  You'll need a bit of patience initially, as we are changing things fairly radically.

  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    P.s. Don't do the diagonals in bare feet!
  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

    No worries. After Maidenhead seems the perfect time to change things, and I'll try to largely keep to the schedule, gently supplementing with some stationary cycling if needs be.

    Then like you say the possibility to add more, and start building up the better sessions.

     I'll make sure I hold off doing races until the start of May, tempting as it is to hit some cheap pbs from the Wokingham half time.

  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

    in preparation for some of the slower running ahead...did an 8miler in 59mins dead tonight....

  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    That's the spirit!  Not too awkward I hope...
  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

    it's comfortable staying slower for longer runs, but those 4milers might be a test!

  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Easy enough to make them longer in the near future!

  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

    true say.

    am taking a rest day today....10mile race tomorrow which will take me to 43miles for the day sat as going to man Utd v Chelsea (!) .

    The easy 4miler you said to do on a Monday can be fitted in on Sunday...and then the 12miler that should have been on the sunday, will be run on the Monday! Little tweak down to the circumstances of the week..

    after that will follow the programme!

  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Okay mate.  In the meantime it would be useful to know the volume you do at each pace for your quality sessions, so we can make the training proportionate and progressive.

    The paces of interest would be:

    MP, HMP,Tempo, 10k, 5k, 3k.

    From this we get another way of looking at your quality work "breakdown" up until now.  So if your last 5k pace session was 4 * 1200m and your last tempo run was 4 miles your breakdown would be as follows:

    -  5k pace:  3 miles

    -  Tempo:  4 miles

    This often highlights discrepancies in workload by pace.  If you don't know take a guess or just say you're not sure.  Or provide the actual workouts and we can work it out based on the paces you hit. 

    Typically going forward we will manage your workouts within the pace and distance parameters and progress the workouts by changing rep length and recovery.  Sometimes we may increase volume if performance dictates, but we would be more likely to have a new baseline of current fitness in those circumstances.  Hope this is clear, any questions let me know.

  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

     Will try and break down previous work soon...but just back from the Maidenhead 10miler so thought I'd report back while ultra fresh in my head....

    Mixed feelings....reasonably big pb...down from 1hr 02m 16 now to 1hr 00m 50ish (pending precise chip).

    Slight feelings that I went through 10miles close if not under 1hour at Wokingham half, so maybe should have been nearer or under 1hr, but I suppose you can't measure from 1 race to another always.

     Also, we mentioned the importance of focusing on a particular race, and although I'm not as structured in this as many, my early year Half is always one that stands out as a key race. This 10miler is very much an afterthought,  on my club's schedule as it attracts a lot of my clubmates.

    It's a reasonably flat course, but I don't like the course for a few reasons, 2 u turns, laps of a business park for the first 3miles, windy open stretches, a gravelly mile, and a very high quality field making pacing even tougher!

     To be an anorak..and before I accidentally delete are the splits... shock me a little as at Wokingham I did 10 of the 13miles spot on 6min miling, with 3miles 612 to 615. However, I did get in the slip stream of someone doing the exact pace I wanted for much of that, whereas today it didn't pan out that way, and the guys I ended up with near the end where a little under optimum pace.

     Mile     Pace

    1         5:38         despite trying not to doubt sucked along by quality field

    2        5.59          the right pace

    3        6.22

    4         5:42       3-4 a bit dubious and very possibly one of the miles measured wrongly as didn't feel such a dramatic slowing then quickening..a few runners mentioned the markers at this point

    5       6:21       a fairly exposed part of the course

    6      6:09

    7      6:07

    8     6:08

    9     6:19      the gravelly mile and boxed in a little

    10    6:03   no big upping of pace as I've done at other races as saw the 1hour chance was long gone.

     Wouldn't say I thrashed myself in this race by any means, and was happy to take a good  1 min 20ish pb, but a tougher course in my opinion to keep constant pacing on, such is the change from business park, to exposed fields to rural to footpaths.

    I noted a few I had beaten or been close to at Wokingham managed to beat the 1hour though.

    However, reasonably satisfied, and no aches or knackeredness afterwards...

  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Too soon for me to claim a part in that one I suppose!  image

    Well done on the PB.  Don't read too much into it if you competed well and knocked a chunk off a PB - enjoy it!

  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

    I'll try....I think I had in my mind a 6min mile pace...but when I actually look at Wokingham it was actually 6mins 04 a mile average...and today was 6mins not a great difference!

    Went through 5miles in just under 30 so the 5mile pb of 29:38 is next  up, Marlow on 9th May. Helps that loads from my club and loads from work are doing it too...maximum motivation!

    In one way you've picked me up at the right moment, as 10miles down all my pbs should go next time out! But then perhaps the plateau caused by bad training methods will kick in, and that's when your methods will bear most fruit!

  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

    1:00:48 confirmed

     4miler pootle Sunday

    12miler easy Monday...looking forward to that now

  • Options
    Moraghan what are XT,s as per you have recommended Stevie to do???
  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

    Cross training Sawney Bean...just some stationary cycling or the like...just to keep me occupied as I'm used to running 10 times monday to to suddenly only exercise once a day on the Mon and Wed might rankle me a bit....

    so the XT is a sub..until we know I can handle a bit of a step up in basically we;re staying at 50..but a 12miler has been added on a sunday and a 6 on saturday when often i'd only do a 4 between those 2 days...

  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Spot on Stevie G.

    It would be great to mix some indoor rowing in there with the biking to if you have access.  Do you have a core routine worked out Steve? I have one I can throw your way. 

  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

    I have a home stationary cycle, an abdotrimmer(!), one of those gym balls, and some free weights...which isn't a bad set of home gear I suppose, but no rowing machine...

    I'm sure that little lot can be put to good use though?

    To date I've done small sessions on the weights that an ex showed me, but these generally were shoulders, triceps and chest generally... Good workouts that locate the correct muscles, but I find weights tough as I like to see progress and with the mileage and naturally slim frame muscle doesn't come easily to me.

  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    Okay, no problem.  On the main thread I will start posting some information about non-running workouts etc.
  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

    on the summary coaching thread? No to Manchester tomorrow for the big game v Chelsea, and then  beginning the sessions in earnest!

    Looking forward to it, and hopefully will be fine enough to add either more mileage or quality soon....without getting too impatient before I've even started!

  • Options
    Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭✭

    First official session done, the 4miler that will normally be on a Monday but swapped around this week only so a 4miler today and a 12miler tomorrow, making use of the bank hol, and also swapped due to the 10mile race and long drive to Manchester and back yesterday.

     Therefore, 4miler, flat course, easy pace.

    Easy pace for me should be 7:24 to 7:55. It turned out at 7:18 a mile average, but after always running at a medium to hard pace I need to re adjust to slower sessions!

    Did find myself having to slow it purposely at times, as of course the natural instinct is to go faster.

    Tomorrow's 12miler should be easier to keep slower, as should the 4miler when I've done a longer session the day before!

    However, up and running.

  • Options
    MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    That's not too bad - remember, discipline comes in all shapes and forms!  At some point you'll be at the point where you wish you could run them slower.

    Spreadsheet has been sent.  In the meantime start thinking about 3 measureable and specific goals for the 2010 season.  Any luck with those workout volumes?

Sign In or Register to comment.