Adjust or stick to plan?

8 weeks in to training for Yorkshire with a training run at Loch Ness 2 weeks before which will be slow. Been improving PB at 5K and 10K by 1.50 and 4.38 respectively. 10K is now 42.47 which suggests (in some places)a sub 3.30 marathon. I've been training for sub 3.45 because at the start of the year my post injury weight and fitness was good enough for this only. Do I stuck to original plan or adjust? My head says stick to plan and look at 2015 improvement but my heart says adjust and maximise.

Can anyone tell me to follow head or heart?


  • Luckily there are finishing times in between 3:30 and 3:45, so a compromise would be possible.

  • Stick to training plan, why change something that appears to be working. Consistency is best. Obviously going well and take a view after your main race and adjust then. Better to be under-trained and make the start line than to be over-trained, injured and absent. Do not increase quality and volume together as a revised plan would surely do, not worth the risk of missing the race.

    To help make your mind up go with two and then four miles towards the end of your next 18-20 mile long runs targeting 8 minute mile pace for 3:30 and see how you feel. If you have to stop to recover the pace is probably too challenging and go with 8:20 pace the next week. You have time and only you will know best. Good luck with your training and I hope you enjoy your marathons.

  • Train and race as you were planning to. If you've got much left in the tank at 20+ miles then push on a bit. Your improvements have come off your current training and you'll still likely improve further.

  • Are you following a published training plan?  Running a slow marathon 3 weeks out to prepare for your A race is a risky proposal (if you are really a beginner as your profile says you are).

  • Like the answer literatin. I know what you mean but these 15 minute chunks probably come from the plans. I've read what Goalpost and iower have said and I think they've just confirmed to stick to plan and potentially try out 3:30 pace at the back of a long run and use that to gauge it. It's so tempting but as Goalpost says getting there is more important and I agree completely. Head is going to win this one but I'll test the pace and I'll store your 20+ suggestion iower. Thanks for the help and encouragement. 

  • Sorry FerrousFerret just caught your post after I replied. I've run 3 marathon and numerous half marathons,10K's etc., so not as inexperienced as I was. I know what you mean about the timings. The plan for the first marathon is to do 20 mile long run at a really slow pace and then potentially adopt a run/walk or jog for the last 10K taking it really easy. Going to get out next day if only for a couple of miles. The focus is on marathon number 2. The first really is a long run. Plenty do a 20 mile race before marathon so hoped if I could control the rest it wouldn't be too bad. Do you agree or still think it's risky?

  • I personally dislike plans that are labelled with arbitrary finishing times (and have specific paces for each run in them). The amount of mileage and type of training you can do is much more about your running experience and not about your time goal.

    For example, when I ran my first half marathon I think I was using a plan that called itself 'sub 1:50' but that had no relevance to the time I ran in the end - I just got lucky as a totally clueless beginner because I'd chosen a plan where the paces were described in terms of effort, so I instinctively trained at my own level. The plan was right for me because the frequency of runs and level of mileage matched what I could handle.

    So even if you stick with a plan that's called sub-3:45, that doesn't mean you can't end up running sub-3:30.

  • PS: x-post - I personally would not do a marathon as a training run for a marathon. If you are doing it primarily for that reason it seems like an unnecessary risk. If you are doing it because you really really want to do that specific race, then go for it but be careful.

  • I agree. I'm using a 3:45 plan but really using more as a rough mileage indicator and long run gauge. I'm running off feel and if I feel great I run faster and if I'm fatigued or have a niggle I have a slower run. Maybe thats the actual answer, run on feel and forget target paces the same for the race as the training. Can keep an eye on it but put more focus on effort levels.

  • It's the race I want to do and the training run thing is just my way of saying I have to slow down. I want number 2 and I'd rather DNF than ruin that. I'm planning to be very careful after talking to people who have done similar and some have blown number 2 because they went out far to strong in number 1.I'm waiting to talk to someone who's done the Brathay 10 in 10 and although they're better than me it's all relative so hopefuly their advice will be useful over such an intense event. Thanks for the comments, taking them all in.

  • Stuart,

    your plan for Loch Ness sounds sensible, run walk is a very good way of reducing fatigue/muscle soreness.  I've only done one 'marathon as a training run', but even at 30 mins outside of PB pace I was feeling a bit battered for the following week.

  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭

    you can't really link the miles clocked up with the goal time like that. I mean sure most 2:45 marathoners will be running more training miles than a 4:00 person, but you could follow the '3:45 plan' and find you do a 3:30 while another might follow the same plan but be dead on his feet ar 20 miles and limping home in 4:30. I read Steve Way did minimal training for his first marathon yet wasn't far off going sub 3.

    Youve had your eyes on the prize so far - dont fuck it up right at the end.

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