Five Year Plan - help please



  • Tenjiso, there is tons more than just marathon.

    sure you can do similar to me but must think long term. I couldn't have done the last year without the previous years build up and so on.

    Since I last posted, lots of  changes... different things tried and comfort zone isn't a term I recognise any more. image

    Mid January, I'd gone to running club 4-5 times but not joined. Joined around then and haven't missed a Tue/Thu since unless away or busy, so thats a weekly speed session & tempo run. Have also gone to the club 11m part trail long run on a Sunday most weeks, if training for a marathon extra miles around that, and also extra miles before the mid week sessions to get 30-40 miles a week. Still only 3 days running a week.

    mid Jan, I also started going to a new gym, much tougher, no electrical equipment at all, so no treadmills, rowing machines, cross trainers. Various types of circuits, work you all over - 1 circuit a week. I'm way fitter. The only other class they do is in the weight room, is a Speed/ Strength session, very tough, lots of weighted squats, lunges and all sorts of exercises, supersets. Not huge muscle bound type weights, but what you need for your body.  Coaching is phenomenal, literally premier league standard - because they do coach olympians and other top athletes. 1 of these a week.

    These have added a huge amount to my speed & overall fitness, leg strength especially. I achieved my medium / long term sub 3:30 time in 4 months - instead of 12-18.

    I still have 2 rest days a week, 3 running, 2 single sessions at the gym. No junk miles.

    Since Jan

    half marathon, 1:35:30 (4 minutes off time on same course previous year)

    20 miler April 28th 2:37 (10 minutes off previous, and this was 750ft hills against previous flat time)

    Marathon May 27th, sub 3:30 (20-21 mins)

    10k June 12th sub 42 (2:30 minutes off)

    10 miles June 19th 68 minutes (-3 minutes faster than expected)

    5k June 26th sub 21 (40 seconds off)

    Yes, I've been busy! But learnt from all of them. There were some other runs in there. Main thing, build your body up - for me, just running to do this. I knew I had to have some gym work, and have got a nice balance now. Its a different balance from last year though, progression.

    I'm planning for sub 3:20-3:15 next spring marathon. Looking at an ultra in Oct/ November this year. Comrades perhaps 2014. Long term plans!

  • That's great going Thundercat!  Comrades is a great one to have on the radar.

    I ran my first 5K parkrun this week.  My time was 24:24, which is roughly in line with my recent 10k time, and both point towards me being capable of nailing a sub-4 hour marathon next year.  I've got another 10k race, a ten-mile race, and a half-marathon all booked over the next few months to keep the momentum going.

    I'm currently running 40 miles per week.  Included in that is a medium-long run (12 miles), plus two harder sessions (tempo/interval/hill).  The rest are recovery sessions.

  • Things haven't been going so well since August when I picked up a knee injury.  Training has been a bit erratic, though I have tried to maintain some reasonable mileage.  It hasn't been an easy ride.

    Still, I'm happy to report that I achieved a new half-marathon PB yesterday and have finally cracked the two-hour barrier that has eluded me.  I finished in 1:54:58, which was better than I had hoped for given my recent circumstances.  It's less than the sub-1:50 I would have been capable of a few months ago, but I can't be unhappy with 6.5 minutes shaved off my previous best.  I'm still knocking on the door of a four hour marathon next year.

    I'm seeing an osteopath next month, and will continue running and building my mileage back up, without pushing the speed too much in the hope that I strengthen my knee without antagonising it.

  • My knee problem is basically down to ageing image  The good news is that I've been given the all-clear to run and train for a spring marathon.  Just as well, as I continued running around 25 miles a week while waiting to see the osteopath.  I found that running helped, rather than hindered.  So I guess it was a relatively nice problem.

    I have confirmed places in both the Brighton Marathon and the VLM in 2013.  My plan is to run Brighton, and defer London to 2014.  I am training with the intention of trying for a sub-4:00 marathon in 2013, though it's fair to say my training has been set back and makes this harder than it might have been.  

    I'm currently following the P&D 18 week - up to 55 mile schedule (week two as I write this).  This is a departure from my previous training and favours higher midweek mileage than I'm used to.  I'm already becoming accustomed to this and am enjoying it.

    I will run the Silverstone Half-Marathon next March and attempt to crack 1:50.  If I can do that, then a sub 4:00 marathon would be more likely.  I'm taking steps towards the unlikely long-term goal I've set myself image

  • Tenjiso wrote (see)

    I will run the Silverstone Half-Marathon next March and attempt to crack 1:50.  

    I'm still following the P&D program and have been really enjoying it.  Last week I ran my highest mileage week ever (56m), and my longest ever training run (22m).  My mileage totals for January and February have been 193m and 196m respectively.

    Yesterday was my targeted half marathon at Silverstone.  This was important to me to check whether I am remotely capable of knocking a huge chunk of my marathon time in April.  As mentioned previously, my target was 1:50 for this race.

    I grabbed a pace band before the start of the race, which was just as well as it was a challenge to pace the race when the garmin was registering short on so many miles. The cloudy day probably didn't help, and I guess I didn't stick well enough to the racing line. My worst paced mile was mile five, and I put it down entirely to the garmin clocking up the mile a full thirty-seven seconds ahead of the course marker (no – I didn't stop for a Paula). Mile two was also out by twenty-eight seconds.

    I made the time back during the race and at mile ten I was bang-on 1:23:58, which was exact pacing for a 1:50 finish. I found concentrating on pace adjustments hard work at times. In total, the garmin registered a full 0.25 miles further than the race distance. I always concentrated on the current lap pace, but it didn't help that it registered short so often.

    I took a Sis Go gel instead of water at 3-4m, and another one at 9-10m. I grabbed a couple of small sips of water somewhere around 7m and 11m. Going by how I felt back at home, I didn't hydrate enough during the race (it took an hour to stop shivering and glug plenty of fluids).

    My mile splits (target 8:23 pace), adjusted for garmin cock-ups were:


    It's out a few seconds for roundings, and my final chip time was 1:50:04. It is my new PB by 4:54 minutes, and beats last years March half-marathon by 11.5 minutes. I'm even happier that this has been achieved just one week after my longest ever training run (22m) with only a mini-taper!

    I am finally making progress and am really glad I started the "five year plan" idea.  It has helped me ride out the not-so-good period and concentrate on chipping away at my targets.

    I've got a 20 mile race in a few weeks, but I will be using that as a catered training run rather than actually racing.  I'll race a 5k parkrun as a tune-up during March.  It's now only six weeks to the Brighton Marathon, and my target remains four hours. 

  • good time least the focusing on the time calculations made you forget some of the pain image

  • That's very true, seren image

  • Well done Tenjiso, that's a great time image 

  • Tenjiso - I like your approach to this and congratulations on your new PB! I admit to having skim read most of this thread but I will go back through as I think I can learn a lot. I've not been able to do any exercise for nearly three years now but I think it is getting close to being able to start training again. I have a few targets in mind but I think as you I need the focus of a long term aspirational goal but I'm not sure what yet. Keep it coming though, it makes for great reading and good luck for Brighton!

  • Thanks xine.

    Peter - thanks, and good luck with your own planning too.

  • Well done - its all coming together now Tenjiso - 

  • Thanks Grendel.  It feels like I'm on the right path now.

  • As part of my taper, I raced a 5k parkrun this morning.  My PB was 24:24 and I wanted to break 24 minutes today to get all my "ducks in a row" before the big one in a fortnight.  I'm pleased to say I finished in 23:32 and exceeded my own expectations.

    So to summarise my PB's to date:

    5k:    23:32

    10k:  49:50 (Gun time 49:55)

    Half-Marathon: 1:50:04

    Marathon: 4:38:23

    They are quite nicely lined up, I think.  All with the exception of the marathon!  I have two weeks remaining of the taper, then I get a chance to rectify that situation.  If nothing else, I want a big PB.  The closer I get to four hours, the broader my smile will be (once I've recovered!).

    Regardless of the result on the day, I'll continue training towards my long term goals.  Five weeks of gradual recovery build up, then speed work to try to improve 5k and 10k times in the summer.  Half marathon(s) in the Autumn before starting the marathon process again.

    I'm really enjoying this whole process.

  • I successfully completed the Brighton Marathon this weekend.

    My preparation during the taper was as good as I could have hoped for, and for the first time I consciously did carbohydrate loading in the three days prior to the race. There is room for improvement, and I did struggle to eat well while away from home in particular. Hence I topped up with foods that were probably less than ideal, but it's made me realise the importance of planning and practising nutrition for future marathons. Still, I was aiming at 600-750g of carbs per day and consumed 622, 804 and 629 respectively according to the best information I had available.

    I made a fairly detailed check list to eliminate too much thinking in the nervous hours leading up to the race. I wanted to remain in control of everything that I could control. It did ensure that I didn't forget anything vital.

    On Friday I arrived in Brighton with my family. We went to the Expo where I picked up my race number (with integrated timing chip) and kit bag. The water pouches were available to try out before the race, so I could have a bit of practice. I also grabbed a pace band for a 4:00 marathon, since my dream goal was sub-4:00. My strategy was simply to run at 9:09 pace from the outset and see how well things progressed with even pacing. After the Expo we took a walk along the sea front to the pier. It was very windy, which was a concern because the forecast for Sunday was also for high winds. After taking the kids to the amusements, we walked back to the hotel.

    If I made one mistake in all of my marathon preparation it was walking too far on the Friday before the race. I had planned a couple of miles jog on the Saturday, but shelved it in order to recover! I spent the day resting and concentrating on my food and hydration. The general consensus for race day weather was 50-60F, feeling like 44-57F with 18mph winds gusting to 32mph and no rain. I went to bed early, but quality sleep was at a premium.

    On race morning I got up just before 5:45am, drank some water then had cereal and milk for breakfast, plus a banana. I had a cup of tea, which is routine for me. I had decided not to try anything new regarding caffeine intake. I sipped a lucozade sport drink over the next hour. I stopped drinking anything from 7:15am, occasionally rinsing my mouth with water if it felt a little dry due to nerves.

    I visited the toilet and had a poo at 5:45am, 6:30am, 7:20am and 7:50am!!! Record breaking bowel movements! I took two imodium at 7:10am after the first two visits. My kit was already laid out and it didn't take long to get ready and lube my nips, pits, thighs, toes and tackle. This paragraph contains too much info I know, but you are past it now.

    The hotel was well positioned opposite the race start on Preston Park. I headed over to the baggage lorries just after 8:00am. It began raining (very light), so I kept my running cap and gloves rather than hand them in. It wasn't very cold, so I simply wore T-Shirt and shorts with a disposable plastic raincoat to keep comfortable up to the race start. I only needed to visit the urinals once, and my tummy was settled (apart from some butterflies).

    My designated red corral was for runners aiming for 3:15 to 4:00, so I took up position at the back of this pack. I consumed my first SiS Go gel (22g carbs) at 8:50am and ditched my plastic raincoat just before the start. We were off on time.


  • The first mile was around Preston Park and up an incline. It was a crowded start, but the pace generally was not too bad. I clocked 9:16 at the first mile marker and at 5KM my average pace was 9:12. Not too shabby.

    Ignoring the first water station, I waited and took a SiS gel at 4m. We continued through town and turned left along the seafront (Marine Parade) at about five miles, heading towards Rottingdean. There were a number of inclines along this part of the route, but nothing too taxing. The official 10km chip time was 57:04 (9:11 pace). My “mile” split at the 7m marker was 8:38, but I knew it was most likely an incorrect marker. I concentrated on maintaining pace according to my garmin. Just past this point I overtook a girl who had a 4:30 pace group sign on her back! She was in for a world of pain.

    I had another SiS gel at 8m as we worked our way up the incline to the top of Greenways. I spoke to a guy at 9m who admitted he had started too fast for his target ten minute miling. He told me he had made the same mistake in the past! We've probably all done it, but it's foolish mistake to make the same mistake repeatedly.

    I felt very comfortable when we headed back down Marine Drive, but I was aware that we had some wind assistance at this point. The ten mile marker was well out of position. I thought I had missed it, but clocked 11:25 as I passed it. Order was restored when I only clocked 7:01 at the eleven mile point. It was still a relief to know that I hadn't screwed up on the previous stretch. I grabbed a water pouch at 12m and slowly consumed a ZipVit gel with water (51g carbs).

    It gives me some satisfaction to have greatly improved my concentration and pacing during the last twelve months of training. I passed halfway just inside my two hour target with a time of 1:59:47. Nonetheless, I had a suspicion that I wasn't feeling quite as comfortable as would be required to maintain the pace until the end. I wasn't feeling bad, but neither was I feeling like I was cruising.

    Just past halfway and I passed by the elite front runners. They, of course, were heading back the other way towards the finish line and looking amazing! We speculated that they could be on for sub 2:10. I was surprised how someone running at their speed could have time to acknowledge our cheers as they ran past. This was a very pleasant part of the race with great crowd support and a wonderful race atmosphere.

    At 14m we turned up Grand Avenue and then along New Church Road for a four mile out-and-back through Hove. In spite of really good crowds lining the streets, this was my least favourite part of the race. Seeing the faster runners returning down the other side I kept expecting the turning point to come any moment, but the road seemed to go on forever! I completely missed the 15m marker, and hit the garmin lap button at an arbitrary point to maintain count. I knew I was still on for four hours, though, because I found myself running just behind one of the four hour pacers. I passed the 16m mark in 2:26:14 (avg. 9:08 pace) to confirm this.

    Quite what happened between miles 16 and 17, I'm not even sure. I felt my quads tightening and was aware that I was drifting off pace as I saw the four hour pacer moving ahead. The mile seemed to go on for an eternity and I clocked a split of 9:55. The garmin had been registering an average pace of 9:14, so it was a bit of a shock to be so far out. I hoped it was another badly placed marker, but my following mile was 9:27 pace, so I had to accept that I was slowing in spite of my efforts.


  • I knew that a bad patch would come and took the advice to accept it and concentrate on moving forwards. I told myself repeatedly “it will pass!”. The demon was sitting on my shoulder telling me a walk break would be okay, but I was determined to keep running. At 18m I was still only fifty seconds behind my target, so I still had hope to pull it back. My next mile split was no better at 9:39, making my overall average pace 9:14.

    We entered the Power Station section, which is notorious. I was now struggling and concentrating on moving forward as fast as I could. Although I was slowing, I didn't think this section was that bad in itself. The lack of significant crowd support really made no difference to me whatsoever having done so many solo runs in training. In fact, it was nice to be able to hear the sound of the waves. The worst thing that happened was scuffing my foot on a speed hump and triggering off knee pain that would last for the remainder of the race. Again though, I've trained through worse pain.

    I took another SiS gel at 21m, and this time it made me feel sick. I've never taken this many gels before, so I never knew how well I would get on until I tried. I had intended to take one more before the end of the race, but I just couldn't face another! In hindsight, I probably should have tried, but that's easy to say now. The sickness feeling didn't last for too long, but it was unpleasant.

    Turning back along Basin Road we were running into the headwind. It didn't feel too bad though, and I was actually quite grateful for the cooling effect. This was aided by running under one of the showers. Unfortunately my pace was fading relentlessly. 9:56 and 10:17 for miles 22 and 23 respectively.

    The crowds lined both sides of the final few miles along the sea front. Much as I would have liked to wave and smile on my way to the finish I actually had to zone out for a while in order to keep moving. Even though it wasn't huge, I guess maybe the headwind didn't help as my splits got worse in spite of the flat profile. Mile 24 was my worst in 10:53. I resolved to at least improve on that and not resort to walking. The water pouches worked well as frequent portable showers as I started to feel the effects of the rise in temperature. There were a fair number of walk-runners, but I've been there before and know it is agony to start that in the last few miles! Mile 25 was a slight improvement in 10:42, then I maintained around 10:30 pace to the finish.

    I'm happy to say I now have a shiny new PB of 4:09:29. This beats my previous best by 28:54, and makes every step of the training through the winter months worthwhile. It is equivalent to beating myself by three miles! I have been training towards this moment for twelve months and this is the cherry on the icing on the cake. I am so enthusiastic about the P&D training methods and recommend that anybody should give them a go if they can afford the required investment of time.

    As you might expect, given the title of this thread, this is not the end. As planned, I have deferred my VLM place to 2014 so I already have my next marathon to focus on! I will spend the summer months working on my 10k race times in an effort to go sub-46. I intend to maintain a reasonable mileage base throughout the year and will target some half-marathons in the Autumn. If all goes well, I'll be training for a marathon target of 3:45 for next year. I see no sense in settling for a simple goal of sub-4. It'll take forever to reach 3:15 if I accept a ten minute improvement at this stage image

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭
    Tenjiso wrote (see)

    I visited the toilet and had a poo at 5:45am, 6:30am, 7:20am and 7:50am!!! Record breaking bowel movements! I took two imodium at 7:10am after the first two visits. My kit was already laid out and it didn't take long to get ready and lube my nips, pits, thighs, toes and tackle. This paragraph contains too much info I know, but you are past it now.


    Haha, loved this paragraph! Sort of.

    Actually that is useful about the gels, too, as I've practised taking them, but not in huge quantities.

  • literatin wrote (see)
    Tenjiso wrote (see)

    I visited the toilet and had a poo at 5:45am, 6:30am, 7:20am and 7:50am!!! Record breaking bowel movements! I took two imodium at 7:10am after the first two visits. My kit was already laid out and it didn't take long to get ready and lube my nips, pits, thighs, toes and tackle. This paragraph contains too much info I know, but you are past it now.


    Haha, loved this paragraph! Sort of.

    Actually that is useful about the gels, too, as I've practised taking them, but not in huge quantities.

    Yes I like that bit as well.  Did you have a dictaphone with you to make notes all the way round?  Great account of your day.

  • Thanks Lit/JF50

    I'm thinking next year I might swap out a gel or two for some isotonic drink.  My problem this year was that I couldn't find Gatorade in any shops, so I didn't practice with it.

    The pre-race notes were easy due to my checklist.  The in-race notes are indelibly etched into my soul image  

  • Awesome report Ten, I love that you beat yourself by 3 miles!

  • Nice report Ten - Great effort and much in your report for me to remind myself of when running on Sunday!!

  • No PainNo Pain ✭✭✭
    Ten that's not only a great race report but a great PB well done mate.
  • Thanks guys, and good luck for the VLM!

  • Tenjiso - fantastic improvement... thats shows major progress, nearly 30 minutes off !

    Plenty of detail in that report... poo and lube? very graphic. image

    I've got VLM on Sunday, target you may recognise.

  • Hi Tenjiso

    Just wanted to pop in and say congrats on your shiny new PB - richly deserved.

    This thread is brilliant - it's great to see someone setting ambitious (but still realistic) targets which can be achieved with commitment and hard work. Thanks so much for continuing to update us with your progress.....I've no doubt you'll achieve your goals.

  • Cat - thanks, and good luck in the VLM! Hope you make your target - sub-4:00 I assume image

    Tiny - thanks for popping in. I've learned a lot in this process so far, yet still have much more to learn.  The real hard work is just beginning, but for now I'm happy to have stepped off from my  plateau at last!

  • Hi Tenjiso,

    I've seen this thread for the first time and think its great!  My long term goal is to qualify for Boston, for which I need a marathon time of 3:35.  My current best (set 2011 in Berlin) is 4:33.

    I started training properly and set this goal at the start of this year, and the timeframe is before my 30th Birthday in Summer 2016.  My next marathon is in MAy, and I'm aiming for sub 4:15.  I got a 3 minute half marathon pb last month and have been following Hal Higdon's intermediate 1 training plan, along with the strength and core exercises in P&D.

    I think the long term plan is certainly helping me to keep going when I have been ill or unable to train- If I miss my goal by a minute or two, i still have time to make it up and adjust, and if it turns out my best marathon time before my 30th birthday is only 3:45- -as others have said, this is still a huge achievement, and would get me a VLM good for age image 

  • Hi Angela - having the long term goal certainly helps to ride through the setbacks.  Missing a goal or a race doesn't feel so bad, because the training is still in the bank towards the "ultimate" prize.

    I wish I still had my 30th birthday to look forward to, though image Not to mention 40th... 50th... arg!

  • Congratulations Tenjiso on a fine performance and a thoroughly deserved new PB! I shall continue to follow your progress with interest and in particular your "in-depth" reports!

  • Ten great report...3:15 is on, it took me 3 years to hit my marathon target so you are on the right track
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