Sub 3 - schedules schedules schedules

Hello all,

I've got a place for FLM 2006 and this year, I'm determined to crack 3 hours. At FLM 2005 I clocked 3:00:42 so I've got a pretty good idea that I can shed those extra 43 seconds.

My question is this - what schedules have worked for those of you with sub 3 times?

Last time round, I followed the RW schedule from the magazine and whilst it got me close, I feel that there weren't quite enough miles. I reckon that this is what caused me to slow down in the last two miles of FLM 2005. To combat this, I'm doing my first ever block of base-building - 3 months of high volume (for me!) slow miles, to get me to the start of a focussed marathon schedule.

I've had a look at the Higdon plans, Horwill's "14-day cycles" and the RW sub-3 on this site but I'm not strongly drawn to any of them.

So what has worked for you? Do share!

the bat


  • anyone....someone...
  • "Marathoning from start to finish" on the Serpentine website is what I am using, but with a couple of minor mods.

    Does it work?

    Well I hope to find out this weekend when I run in Cardiff. Tops out at around 75mpw which I think is enough in terms of volume.

    Frank Horwill is just too damned complicated.

    Incidentally I was less than 5 mins behind you in FLM05
  • Cheers DN

    I'll take a look at that bit on the Serpie website - my problem is finding a schedule that incorporates all aspects that I think have worked in the past (threshold runs + hills) but excludes those that send me to the physio (fast speedwork and huge miles)

    Might have to make some mods to a few schedules and bolt them all together.

    Good luck at Cardiff - I hope you beat my FLM time by more than a minute!
  • BF - I followed the sub 3 guide for FLM03 and got a 3:13 - there just wasn't enough training time between me starting running from scratch in winter 2004 and a spring marathon.

    Between then and Berlin (25/09) I think there were 2 factors that lead to me going comfortably sub 3:

    Increased speed over 10k - I put this down to a weekly VO2 track session and very regular track races over the summer. I was able to get sub 37:30 despite 60+ mile weeks.

    Longer long runs. I hit 27 miles once (ran a 10k pb the following day, so couldn't have hurt too much!) and also did a 23 miler in preperation this time. Looking at my training log, only one other run was over 20 miles.

  • A vote for...
    Pfitzinger and Douglas 18-week 70 miles per week schedule (bet you'd never thought I'd say that).

    It's a hard schedule, especially what with the mid-week 15 milers but it certainly paid off, as I knocked nearly 10 min off my previous best.
    I can't say I followed it precisely 'cos I way tri-ing for the first half of it, but made sure that I got the key sessions in and replaced a couple of recovery runs with bike sessions.
  • just checked my log - in 12 weeks before berlin I did 5 20+ mile runs with the longest being a very hilly 23M. However following P+D I also did another 14 runs of half distance or longer, most done at marathon pace. I know this is faster than what the book says but my body just about held together and it worked for me.
  • They reckon if you're 5 longest runs are over 100 miles you're in good shape.

    Also, what worked for me was lots of long mileage weeks, up till around 3wks before the marathon, then a lot of shorter faster stuff and the week before,every run around MP.

    Also ran twice a day a few times.
  • thanks all!

    my hope was to find a schedule that contained threshold and longer interval sessions, ie 1 mile repeats instead of Yasso 800s. Too much short speedy stuff just gets me injure!

    The RW schedule last year which included threshold type runs got me down from 3:13 at FLM03 to 3:00:42 this year but not enough miles to get me to the line at one pace.

    I have to say, 70 miles/week on P&D is a bit scary as I peaked at 47 mpw for FLM05. Perhaps some tinkering and replacing of sessions would be called for.

    Any advice on which ones would be least detrimental to ditch/ shorten?

    cheers, the bat
  • The schedule my coach made me up had loads of long reps eg- 10 miles but with 3 times 2 miles at 10k pace with 2 mins jog recovery between reps, incorporated in the run.

    Very tough, but rewarding.
  • P+D doesn't have any speedwork up until ~7 weeks to go and then it's included within longer runs as your coach suggests hannkies. Reps are between 800m and 1M at 5K pace. Although I've got to admit I did do a few yasso type reps earlier in the build-up to keep some pace for club races.

    As for which bits to pick out from P+D - I think the multiple medium long runs of 13-15M really made a difference as well as running 8-10M club night runs hard with the quick lads.
    70mpw is scary but it is do-able, takes a lot of commitment and time, but it did work.
  • Thanks Toucan - I've certainly got the committment and certainly got the time, it is my injury-prone right leg that is the sticking point!

    I'll take it all on board and get back to you with a sample week for my schedule. Then you can all examine it with a jeweller's eye piece.

    the bat
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