Significant Race Time Improvements

I want to set myself some autumn running targets but want to be reasonably realistic about it. Can you post what are the most significant improvements you have made over, say, a 6-12 month period and how you acheived it.



  • I added a steady 5 mile run on every day that i was only planning another easy run at night and my 5k went from 16:04 to 15:42, my 1500m time from 4:09 to 4:04 and my 3,000m steeplechase from 10:08 to 9:32.

    I also did a 10k on a difficult course where i thought id not have a chance in the world of getting a pb, and i did. Knocked about 10 seconds of down to 33:08.

    Generally i felt alot better during my evening run after doing the miles earlier in the day to loosen up. This was however after a few weeks adjustment. Lust be careful not to up your training too much too soon.
  • Very hard to say Multi - much easier to improve from a slower time than it is for an established runner to cut time.

    I've not done anything massive. But then again, my training hasn't increased either - so you won't really get one without the other.

    Failing that - try a shortcut in the local 10k ?
  • I went from a 38 min 10k in Aug 2001 to a 35:41 10k in Jan 2002.

    Main difference was upping mileage from mid 40s to 70+, by adding in doubles and easy runs on rest days.
  • Pammie*Pammie* ✭✭✭
    BR - at what point in your mileage did you start the doubles
  • I went from 38.09 for 10K to 34.36 in just under a year, but the first was relatively early after I'd started running again after a long, long break. During the next year it was just a question of training reasonably regularly, building up to 30+ miles per week. Like BR, it's covering the miles, week in week out, that I think played the biggest part in the improvement, but also doing long intervals (i.e. 6x1K, 5x2K, etc) along with some slightly quicker stuff towards the latter part.
  • I ran 64min for 10M at last year's Folkestone 10. Hoping to run 54 something this year.
    How? Miles - lots of them...
  • More miles has seen me improve times over all distances and move up a level.
  • My half mara time went from 1.59 last September to 1.47:47 in March. The only difference to my running is that I have been doing more milage and due to marathon training a longer run at the weekend.
  • Once 50mpw seemed good, I started adding in a few doubles to make 70+
  • I took my 10K PB from 35:25 to 33:34 in less than a year, more miles basically.
    4min off my 10M PB in about 6 weeks!

    It's all about consistency of training, it might be running 20-30mpw or 50-70mpw but doing either each week will pay big rewards to newly inspired runners :-)
  • MinksMinks ✭✭✭
    I've just cut my half marathon time from 1:46:14 on a flat course in September, to 1:43:36 on a slightly more undulating course last Sunday.

    This improvement is completely down to increased mileage - I've gone from a regular 30 miles per week to about 45 a week at the height of marathon training, averaging between 35 and 40 for most of the 18-week schedule. No speedwork, and I didn't even taper for Sunday.

    After a month of lower mileage to recover from FLM, I'm seriously considering introducing doubles some days to get me up to 50-60 miles a week. From my own experience and the experiences of others on here, I think higher mileage is the way to go - within the limitations of your own lifestyle and time commitments.
  • AardvarkAardvark ✭✭✭
    Half-marathon PB went from 90:31 in September 03 to 83:26 in March 04. Weekly mileage increased from 35 to 70+.

    There seems to be a theme developing on this thread... ;o)
  • I think also, a big pattern which appears to be developing is doubling up on your runs!

    Once I started doing this a few years back now, I improved big-time, I think mileage to a degree is important to build a solid base of stamia, but then to get the ultimate speed, you have to drop the miles once again and add a little more intensity.

    But for sure once you can consistently run 50+ miles per week then your times will improve.
  • question for Barnsleyrunner, did I read somewhere on here that your 1st ever 10k was about 53 mins?. If so, how have you improved by 20 mins?
  • as with everyone else - increased milage and number of sessions (went from 4 to 6), plus more focused speed work (twice a week including a track session)... the result, 8 mins off my half marathon time (1:32 -> 1:24)!
  • Thanks, folks!! I'm totally amazed at how folk can go from 'damn fast' to 'phuqqing fast' in such a short space of time!! Very inspirational!

    Would you mind expanding upon the doubling up concept? What would a typical a.m. and p.m. session be, say, following a hard track/hill evening session the night before?

    I appreciate that everyone is different and we all have to listen to our bodies but I just wanna hear the experiences of others.

    Thanks in advance.
  • Multi, just boinged a thread for you it should be at the top of the training forum title is something like a "follow up to barnsleysrunner rankings with a twist."
  • Nice one, Ed!! Guess I should also read the training threads a bit more often as well!!

  • skoyd - Barnsley 10k 1999 - 53:18. The main steps were...

    1. Kept running 3 times per week through the winter, then clocked a 42 min 10k

    2. Joined a running club and ran 4-5 times per week, clocked 39:07 in Barnsley 10k 2000.

    3. Ran 6 times per week, got injured, came back and ran 36:04 Barnsley 10k 2001 (having started doubles a month beforehand.

    4. Worked my nuts off for another 18 months to bring it under 34 mins. High mileage. Structured sessions.
  • It all depends on where you are with your running (ie how much training you have done before). I went from 1:48 to 1:26 in the 1/2 marathon in 4 months by starting to run 5 times a week and making sure I did a long run every weekend, building to 18 miles (in prep for a marathon). But my 1:48 was off only 3 weeks training, hence the huge jump in times when I started running regularly.

    More recently I went from 3:10 to 2:50 in the marathon by getting consistent mileage in of 50 - 60 miles a week for 4 months, with a long run every weekend and a medium long run mid-week.

    So for me the buzzword is consistency. Keep putting in the miles and you'll see results. How quickly you improve will depend on how much running you've done in the past - if very little you will see rapid improvements; if lots then you'll have to be satisfied with smaller advances (although they can be just as satisfying).
  • In 1985 I ran 1:28 half, 62.30 10M and 37.30 10k. A year later I was down to 1.18, 54.40 and 33.59. It took me a further seven years to get down to 1.11.13, 52.03 and 31.36 - all within a few weeks of each other in 1993. I stayed quite close to that level till 1998.

    Increased mileage was the biggest single factor for the initial improvements, then consistency and speedwork - and remaining injury-free, which I don't seem to be able to do anymore :(

  • even for track races liike 1500m and 3000m, soed high mileage help you?
  • rb2 - it depends what you mean by high mileage, but generally the more the better - as long as the miles are kept steady. A week before running my 10mile PB I ran a 3000m in 8.50, not far off my best of 8.40 and this was in the middle of a period of running around 70mpw. A friend of mine averaged 90mpw throughout the winter before running a 2.23 marathon and that same summer clocked 3.59 for 1500m, just a couple of seconds off his best set several years before so clearly the mileage didn't hinder his track speed much.

    I know another guy who ran 1.51 for 800m and 3.45 for 1500m off 70-80 mpw. Another lad I know ran 3.44 for 1500m when he was 18. He was an incredible talent but barely used to run 20mpw. As he moved into the senior ranks he struggled to make an impact, partly IMO because he didn't have a strong aerobic background and couldn't get his head round the idea that he might have to up his mileage. Instead he tried to do his speed sessions even faster and kept getting injured. It's a shame as he was a really nice lad but he doesn't run anymore and he's still only in his mid 20s.

    Anyway, an adult who starts running can often experience huge improvements in times in the first couple of years and then the law of diminishing returns kicks in. As a young lad you're less likely to take massive chunks off your PBs. Just keep training consistent and if you want to build up the miles do it very slowly.
  • I was one of those runners who didn't believe the information about HRMs and more consistent training, until I got an HRM and ran 5 or 6 times a week.

    These factors alone have enabled me to drop my 10k PB time by over a minute and helped me to enjoy my training a lot more (giving me lots of statistics to discuss).

    Listening to certain people who advise me to do more mileage and/or doubles have also helped me to improve my times.

    How the hell did I manage a sub-40min 10K PB on 3 times a week? This was also probably the reason why I messed up my marathon debut as I upped my training runs to 5 or 6 times a week without a suitable training base.
  • I recently took just over a minute off my half marathon time, even though I significantly slowed down in the last two miles.
  • MULTI:

    My typical training after a hard session the day before ie Track speedwork or Hill reps would be:-

    AM: 5-6mile easy pace PM: 6-8mile easy.

    I still double up, but run at a very easy pace, the morning run is used to flush the lactic build up from your legs and also to loosen things up. The evening run pretty much the same, just something gentle to not push things too much, allows the body a little recovery time.

    Well thats my view anyway :)
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