Sub 3:15 (good for age) - Advice

I am a runner - just back from a long term injury (Achilles) - I will be running the Edinburgh marathon next year and at 49 I've one ambition - to run under 3:15 (good for age)

I only took up running a few years ago and my first marathon was 3:18 - since then I've run 3:16 twice and a 3:14 (but it was in Manchester and the course was re-measured and found to be short so the time was voided)

Each time I've trained using the Hal Higdon training plan but each time - I've found the last 6 miles very difficult and have lost time badly to schedule - i know im easily capable of low 3 hours but i just cant seem to put it all together.

I am particularly confused by the part of the plans that all seem to advocate that the long run should be slow and steady - how do you then prepare to run a fast time on the day.

I have a completely blank slate to start training and im willing to follow any best advice

I have time and I have have my own treadmill in the house so can follow whatever is best to get me to my goal

What is the current best advice


  • I have run my best marathon times off a steady diet of as many easy miles as I can manage. My long run pace is usually around a minute a mile slower than marathon pace. If you are fading in the last six miles then either you haven't run enough long runs in training and are lacking in endurance or your pacing is off and you are starting too fast - you can't bank time in a marathon.
    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • senidMsenidM ✭✭✭
    Couple of things stand out

    "I am particularly confused by the part of the plans that all seem to advocate that the long run should be slow and steady - how do you then prepare to run a fast time on the day."

    LSRs are to give you stamina, not pace - if you run them at Marathon pace you'll just have run your marathon early and blow up in the real thing. You can run anything up to a half at pace and will have little effect on stamina but will prepare you to run faster than you need in the marathon!

    Second, almost certainly you are starting too fast. If you run with a pacer as in the London, then you will probably find they are far too slow over the 1st 10 miles or so but then pass you easily in the last 10. Pacing is very important and its not the 1st 6 that matter, as you have found out, its the last 6. 

    Hope that helps a bit, but we all have our own ideas on how best to run a Marathon, you just have to find a plan that suits you.
  • If you're 50 when the marathon is - then you've only 3.20 to get....

    If you struggle in the last few miles then you just need to get used to running long.  More miles ! 

    Running the long runs too fast is the biggest mistake marathoners make. 
    How can you do your long runs at or near race pace when you have tired legs from all of the training ? 

    You do your shorter runs faster than MP. So you know you have the speed.

    Come race day you have fresh legs - you can really push on.

    If you do your long run at race pace then you'll have tired yourself out for two or three weeks even. 
  • Grant, it's the old puzzle that you see people pondering but it really is quite simple. Run a minimum of 80% of your mileage slowly....and by slowly I mean 8 mins/mile + and preferably 9 mins+.

    But why? Well, the bulk mileage is there to teach your body how to utilise fat as a preferred fuel source, preserving the more scarce carbohydrates until later in the race. 

    So if you run a 10 mile loop at 8:30/mile one day and on another occassion you run it at 8:15/mile is the latter run 'better'? No, it isn't! 8:45/mile would be better because you're shifting further into fat burning conditioning.

    So slow down to speed up.

    Also make sure you're doing enough mileage. You can get away with running marathons on lower mileage but yo run one feeling strong throughout you need to be thinking of averaging at least 65-70mpw for the 10 weeks prior to tapering.

    To answer your final question about how do you know that the speed is there if you're doing so much slow running, the answer at a variety of distances. Ideally get a parkrun in each week plus another race of some description between 10k to 20 miles. The races will keep your leg turnover going faster than you need during the marathon.
  • Richard  2Richard 2 ✭✭✭
    OK how about doing your long runs slow, but then trying the last quarter/5 miles at race pace? that way you'll get your body used to the stress, not to mention the mental toughness to dig in 

    just a thought
  • Yep, that's fine. However you will find that kind of thing so much more difficult mentally in training than in a race. Save all your efforts for races, make training an enjoyable relaxed activity. Train don't strain.
Sign In or Register to comment.