sub 3:30 Training advice

Hi guys

I am hoping for a sub 3:30 this year...3:29:59 would do !

I am not sure if I am running enough miles though at present. I am currently running 30 a week and my longest is currently 8 (twice a week).

What do you think ? obviously I am increasing my long run gradually and from now will add a mile a week.

Also from experience I find that two 20 milers is sufficent (along with 3/4 18 miles runs)how many 20 milers do other sub 3:30 hopefulls suggest

In the past I think I have suffered around this time of years by panicking and running 15 milers and peaking to soon


  • Sounds to me like your plans are bang on target. Depends on doing all the other aspects of training (tempo runs, some speed sessions, easy recovery runs) as recommended in the usual schedules. Your point about building up slowly is absolutely correct.

    Your totals for long runs are similar to mine. I feel its about right - more is risking injury or burn-out.

    I've been looking at the RW marathon schedules. The 'ultimate' schedule can be accessed by non-subscribers at the moment, starting from the links on the home page. The 'ultimate' 3.15 gives little or no rest, and both it and the basic schedule seem to build up the long runs too quickly for my liking.

    Anybody else have any views on the schedules?
  • Gary,

    I'd say that you're mileage at the moment is fine. You really do still have plenty of time until the Marathon, so don't panic, keep doing what you're doing - sensibly and gradually adding mileage. And our 3:30 schedules start in the next issue of RW.

    Rob RW
  • GuyGuy ✭✭✭
    It seems to me your current mileage is fine. My target is 3:15, and at the moment I am doing around 30-35 miles a week, with a longest run of 10, aiming to get up to around 15/16 by the end of the month.

    I normally try to do 4 or 5 20 milers; the first one at a very easy pace (anything from 2:45 up to 3:00), the second one a bit faster, and then a couple of 20 mile races at marathon pace.

    The only problem with that strategy this year was that having done a couple of 20 mile races at 7:15 min/mile pace, I decided that 3:30 was too conservative a target, and spent most of the first half of the marathon ahead of the 3:15 pace group. I ended up walking large parts of the last 10 miles, and finished in 3:38. I think the lesson is to let your 20 milers give you confidence, not over-confidence. Next year I am not going to make the same mistake.
  • Hi I have managed to break 3 hours in my last 2 FLM.The key to run 3:30 or sub 3 is the long run, you cannot do enough. I would sugest the longest should be at least 24 miles and do at least 4/5 and about 4/5 20 milers...good luck
  • Top advice arvinder. 4/5 runs between 20 and 24 miles.
  • All your advice to date is correct but the
    important factor is what you are capable of
    doing yourself in training 4/5 20mls + 4 34 mls is brilliant if your body can take it. I
    can only manage 2 x 18 and 2 x 20 before the
    run and I have managed sub 3.30 with this

    Best of Luck
  • Most marathon schedules (even sub-3 hr target) do not suggest going over 20 m for your longest run, unless you are a very experienced, or elite runner. Some people are lucky enough to be able to take longer training runs without causing damage, but for most of us mere mortals, any longer would risk injury and fatigue, and cause the same kind of strain on the immune system as the marathon itself. Many marathon runners are very susceptible to illness following the race. You don't want that to disrupt your training.

    So, my advice is be very cautious about following the suggestions for longer runs. Great if you are sure you can take it - it will help your performance. But if in doubt follow the published schedules. And I wouldn't risk a 20m at race pace, 15-16 would be my limit.

    Much better to be slightly under-trained, than to be slightly over-trained and not able to start at all (as the club coach keeps saying).
  • I'm also targetting sub 3:30 and am up to 30 miles this week including a slow long un of 12 miles. I'm going to do 31 next week including a 13 which would seem to be ideal to start the RW sub 3:30 15 week programme on Monday 30th December.
    I read a while ago in RW that one coach advised that ideally your 5 longest runs should add up to 100 miles. For instance, a 22, 3 20's and an 18, which is pretty much what I do. I would find it hard to do more long ones than that personally.
  • Gary,
    Yes the long run is very important, but I dont think you need longer runs than say 20 miles.You must balance the risk of injury with benefits of the long run.Before the last FLM I ran 7-8 long runs of between 16 & 20 miles & got a time of 2:45.
  • Again the answer lies with the individual. Some people can train more with no added risk of injury.

    I'm a regular long run runner. I do 15 mile runs most weeks and have already run 2 18 mile runs in the last 6 weeks. This is part of my normal training. My actual marathon training doesn't start until after Christmas and I will go straight in to doing 18 and 20 mile runs.

    As already mentioned it's what your body is used to and knowing when to back off and give yourself a rest.

    I'm going to have a very easy week next week, then start the heavy stuff.

    I think as long as you've run at least 2x18 and 2x20 and a couple of 15mile runs coupled with speed training then there should not be a problem.

    Good luck all!
  • This is a big debate. I have the privelage to have run under 2.10 mins, but seldom did more than 2 to 2 hrs 10 mins in a single run.

    For me that was a 20 to 22 mile run, but for others a 20 mile run could take 3 to 4 hrs, which is a very long time on your feet. My advice is to concentrate on time on your feet rather than distance - regular 2 to 2hrs 30 mins is better than occasional very long runs.

    Time is always short when preparing for a marathon - but aim long term, it takes 4 to 5 years of running regular long runs before you will reach your peak.

    Good luck to all.

    Mike Gratton
    1983 London Winner.
  • Time on my feet is where I need advice.  I'm aiming for 3.30 in Rotterdam in April. My pb is 3.38 Edinburgh 2yrs ago and havent run one since then although I have set some shorter pb's in the meantime including a 1.37half last october..  I have currently done 2 x 18, 1 x 19, 1 x 20 and plan a 22 and 2 more 18"s in the next 3 weeks.  My 20, run comfortably slowly ot saturday took 2h49min and I felt already fully recovered yesterday.  Is this long enough on my feet or should I run over the 3hrs, but more slowly ???  My weekly mileage peaked at 60m last week and will drop to 50 for the next 2 weeks, then taper.

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