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Stockholm Syndrome wrote (see)
For my next marathon, Rome in March 2014, I am thinking about following the full program. But I have also get hold of the Shades marathon program which seems a bit less demanding than First. I shall compare them soon and maybe I mix them and make up my own three days a week program. If you want to find out about Shades there is a long thread in the Training forum. PM the user "Shades" to get the program.
For my next marathon, Rome in March 2014, I am thinking about following the full program. But I have also get hold of the Shades marathon program which seems a bit less demanding than First. I shall compare them soon and maybe I mix them and make up my own three days a week program.
I was also going to suggest this. http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/training/shades-marathon-training/72631.html here is the thread link. I've used Shades's plan to get me through my first 7 marathons and it worked for me. I only added in the additional run when I had the time but found that it really did make a difference
And here is another 3 days a week programme:
I have just made up my own 3 day programme for Rome. It consist of the distance runs from Hal linked above, the tempo runs from Furman/FIRST and the long runs from Shades. I will start it on monday the 18th and see how it works out. As I have only done 2 runs a week before I expect some sort of improvement...
It still requires activity on 5 of 7 days though, similar to FIRST.
What are Shades' LSR paces like?
Iron5 - this is taken from the plan:
6 Training pace is important, if you need to know the exact paces you should be training at, please complete the attached and I will provide your training paces for each type of run. Many runners train too fast, particularly on the long runs, this can lead to injury and you will not peak for your marathon race at the right time.
Print out the spreadsheet and the recommended paces are on the footnote, but for those. of you that don't print your schedule, they are:-
MP = Marathon pace
Recovery = MP less 90 secs to 2 mins per mile
Long = MP less 30 secs to 90 secs per mile
Easy = MP less 30 secs to 60 secs per mile
Tempo = 1 mile easy warm up then however far the run is @ 10k to Half M pace, followed by a 1 mile easy warm down
Fartlek = 1 mile easy warm up then however far the run is as Fartlek, follwoed by a 1 mile easy warm down
For any of those with questions - i do recommend asking Shades. She's really friendly and helpful!
Miggito that was a nice summary.
A couple of years ago I was curious so I set out to do the first interval session I would do on the plan. 3 x 1 mile @7:40 with 1 min recovery. I thought it sounded a bit tough but you don't know until you try...
Did a mile in 7:40
Waited a minute
picked up my Hal Higdon marathon book....
FWIW I think you can do a marathon on 3 runs a week - off the top of my head, long run (durrr), then the two others would be...
a midweek midlong run which goes up to 10 or 12 miles, done at marathon pace every other week (say),and a 30-50 minute run which (when you're not doing the MP run) could be hills or tempo or fartlek or intervals (or not, if you're knackered).
Not optimal but it would do.
The FIRST thing actually seems pretty hard because you're doing intense work 3 times a week and then have to faff with swimming pools /bikes/ whatever for the crosstraining too ... so when people say they followed it and did well, I do believe them!
I followed this roughly for my first marathon and thought it was great so it's interesting to hear other people's experiences. I found three runs a week ideal as I do other sports so I didn't have to cut back on them as much as I would have to fit in some of the other plans because they counted as cross training.
For my next marathon I think I'll do this but spread out over more than 16 weeks to make sure I get all the runs in as I didn't feel I had enough time to recover between sessions - it'll be spread over about 22 weeks if I start this weekend but I know I'll be missing a week in January. I'll be doing more cross training than it says as I found after that last marathon that my upper body strength was rubbish as I'd neglected it too much. Not good as my friend wants us to do Tough Mudder!
I used this program for my first marathon - and came in at 3.17 (vs target time of 3.15), so yes it can work.
My 2 bob's worth:
As others have mentioned - this is not a 3 x a week training plan. It is 3 runs a week - the 2 x cross training sessions are as important. I used to do Spinning as one of those, and then mixed up my other session depending on what took my fancy at the gym
IMHO - this is not a good program if you get injured easily. The run paces are hard, really hard. So I would not recommend those without a good fitness base do this.
Interestingly - unlike others on here, I really enjoyed the plan and did not find it ruined my love of running. I loved the structure, the times that had to be hit etc, and the absence of junk / recovery runs which bore me...horses for courses though.
Over the last few years though - like others on here - I have adjusted my training program to what suits me and my body best.
Good to know it worked for a marathon Rat as I've only used it for a half but will probably go with it for a marathon attempt in the new year. Completely agree with everything you said about it, especially the paces, structure.and the target times, not to mention recalibrating those times after a successful prep race. Still using the times as a benchmark for my training now even though "official" marathon training hasn't begun yet. Like you, recognise that it's not everyone's cup of tea, though.