Marathon Schedules

Just took a quick look at the RW sub 3.15 schedule. Can any sub 3.15ers give an opinion on whether this is any good.

Basically it has you running 6 days a week but a lot of it is 4-7 miles run at easy pace. My instincts are that it could make the sessions more demanding and chuck in another rest day or two to balance that out?


  • popsider-I tend to agree with you and would combine 2 days runs for a longer or more challenging run and take an extra rest day or an active rest day (swimming)
  • I'm interested in all these training schedules. Recent e-mail in RW said he coudn't run >2 days consecutive as got injured. I tend to agree but then I'm 41 and an over-pronator and run sub 1h 45m for a 1/2 marathon. How then do I train for a marathon seeing I want to do better than last time? do I do an extra x-training day and split the total weekly milage into 3 parts eg Total 40m is done as 10m,10m and 20m.
  • Greetings,
    well I can almost hear some of the forumites wincing as I get on my soap box once again, but I think it is possible (if you want/have to train this way) to get good results off 3 runs per week.

    (stepping off soap box)

  • Last year I did 3hr 12min at London this was running 45-55 miles per week
    started training in November
    with a Long run of 2hrs 45 in early march building up from 1hr 30 at 7.30-8.00min mile pace
    2 mid week runs of 8 - 10 mile at 7-7.30 mile pace
    one hill session of 6-10 hills
    two runs 4 -6 miles fartlek
    also ran a 20 mile road race in this period of 2hr 30min
    before this my best London time was 3hr 16min
    ran 1st half in 1hr35 2nd in 1hr37
    hope this helps
  • Popsider-
    I too would love to break 3-15.
    Pan-man schedule seems pretty good to me.
    I guess secret is QUALITY sessions rather than junk miles. I guess this is how 3 runs could do it if they were says one long - one longish and one hills !
    Good luck anyway
  • I have run several sub 3:15 marathons, and I think there are three key sessions each week:

    - the long run, obviously. But it's best not to run this too slowly: 30 or 40 seconds slower than target pace is about right. Aim to get at least five or six runs done of 20+ miles. Of these, a couple close to 24 miles would be good;

    - the mid-week semi-long run at target marathon pace: in the early days of the build-up this might be 8/9 miles, then increase it gradually until you get to 13 to 15 miles. This session teaches your body to run for sustained periods at target pace, and helps with pace judgement;

    - a faster session: could be a tempo run, or long intervals (1000m or mile reps). Or a hill session would fall into this category.

    Anything else can be easy. 45 - 55 miles per week should be sufficient.

    Good luck
  • Thanks donutto - that seems to make sense to me - it's got the time on your feet in the long run - it has the marathon pace over a sustained distance and speed work.
  • Mind if I gatecrash your question Popsider? I've just got a club place and am hoping to run 3.45 (or a few secs under to make sure I get good-for-age place next time!).

    I was re-reading last year's RW schedules last night and have concerns. Compared with the Hal Higdon Intermediate II schedule there is a LOT of speedwork in all the schedules; in effect 4 hard sessions a week incl the long runs. Hal Higdon has similar mileage, but only one marathon paced run a week, the rest slower.

    I have a sneaking feeling I won't be able to do all the speedwork and the long runs in the RW schedules. Was thinking of maybe forgetting the short intervals and swapping one steady paced run for a tempo run at 1/2m pace on the Hal Higdon schedules. I already run a lot on the hills anyway.

    What really are the benefits of say 400 m intervals and hill sessions for a marathon on the flat? I can see there's an overall benefit to speed but important are these considering the increased likelihood of injury/and the effort needed to do these sessions?
  • Interesting question Laura L. I confess I have not studied the RW schedules, but I think you're right to question the value of short intervals (eg, 400m reps). There is a considerable evidence that the key to improvement in distance running is to increase one's lactate threshold - ie, the speed at which you can run without flooding your muscles with lactic acid. The way to do this is to train close to threshold speed - eg, tempo runs, long intervals. Short reps (such as 400m) are of less value. Not so sure about hill sessions: long, sustained hill efforts are probably worthwhile, whereas shorter hill sprints won't be so beneficial.

    But as you suggest: the real key to success is sustaining your training over a long period. Pulling a muscle because of too much intense speedwork is a real risk.
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