7 weeks before my marathon, how to increase speed

Hi I have been running for 6 or 7 months now am male age 37, and am  doing my first half after a 3 yr break from running. Gave up smoking last April and took up exercise, biked the summer and then took up running. For the last couple of months have increased my milage to about 80 miles a week, doing double runs a day and long runs at the weekend. I have good natural speed and average 7 min miles for nearly all my runs. Here is an example of my long run on Saturday 15:36 miles 1hr46m15s 6:55 avg. Here are the splits 6.19  6.28  6.39  6.40  7.14  6.55  6.41  7.09  7.12  7.11  6.58  6.45  7.14  7.51  6.45  6.28. How with 7 weeks till the half can I improve further. I set myself a target of below 1:30 but now think with a better aproach than just milage I might be able to do maybe 1:25. Thanks 


  • You've got some great pace there. How hard are you pushing yourself on training runs? Really you should be 60-90 seconds per mile slower than race pace for your long run (even more depending on what training plan you're on), but at the pace you're going a 13.1 mile training run will only take you 1:31.

    If, as I suspect, you're doing your long run at race pace then back it off for the rest of the seven weeks. Then when you get to race day your legs will feel fantastic and you easily be able to knock 10-20 seconds per mile off your current training pace (which would equate to a 1:26-1:28 HM).

  • I'm not following a race plan I just usually run to work in the morning 5 miles and a longer run home 11 miles undulating. You can tell the hills by the drop in pace, and at 13.1 I was at 1:30:24. I run hard but not so that I can't do the same the next day. My best avg over 11 miles so far is 6:48. I do xtrain as well I swim a few times a week and cycle for an hour indoors once a week. My legs are fine no niggles really, and after a long run I go for a bath and a sleep so am well rested. I suppose I have become addicted to exercise, not really had a day of from doing something in months. I think my body has adapted to the work I just want to get faster.
  • It sounds as though from this, and the other thread you had, that you are a bit of a one pace runner. I think benefit would come from some variety, and some quality over quantity - 80 mpw seems excessive for 1:25 - 1:30.  Personally I would slow your long run right down, slow most of your other runs right down and midweek include a tempo session and/or an interval session. Put your hard efforts into these. You are doing far more mileage than I would ever consider, and you are training for a shorter distance. I think I would have burn't out by now!

  • "not really had a day of from doing something in months. I think my body has adapted to the work I just want to get faster"

    sounds like an injury waiting to happen image

  • I have an ultra marathon 40 miler in July, that's why the 80 miles a week. And you might be right about being a one pace runner. I am relatively new to training so will make mistakes. I just find running slow hard to do and just running how I feel easier. Maybe I should be quicker for doing the millage I do but I have not had a race yet, so maybe can push harder then. Has for injury fingers crossed I will be ok , but when I start the training for the ultra I will have to increase the millage and drop the pace.
  • I read back my first thread from this time last year. I hadn't done any running in 25 years and found the whole thing of slowing down quite bizarre and questioned what pace I should be running at. I have taken on the advise for training and have improved steadily. Likewise there are one or two on RW that tend to run in 'one gear' who have achieved a lot. However I think the majority of posters will be telling you to slow down on the majority of runs and put the real efforts into the speed work sessions.

    The slow stuff helped me build a decent aerobic base. That will serve you well in Ultras. It helped me to a sub3 hr marathon, sub 1:22 half by combining with some tempo runs midweek.

    It would be interesting to know your heart rate on your reguar 7 min/m runs along with your max HR to see how hard you are working
  • Good point on the heart rate, maybe on my next long run will take my heart rate monitor. I did wear one, months ago and for the first mile it was about 180 then settled out at about 160. Resting heartbeats around 45.
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