I've run 3 marathons and hand full of 5Ks and one half marathon. I take the full marathons more seriously.
Anyway, I hurt myself last Jan (2011) and was off running till late May. I didn't want to hurt myself so I took it really easy. Here's my schedule from early June (2011) till the Houston marathon (Jan 9 2012):
(**Note**: a row with a date has what I was supposed to do for that week. The next row has any deviations, or notes on how I feel. If there is nothing under the entry assume I did exactly what it said.)
Basically I ran a 5K in early May and plugged my time into RW's smart coach (I was scared of hurting myself) and stuck religiously to the plan. I stuck with that plan for a few months then ran 10K on the track and used that time or my official marathon training plan, again on RW SmartCoach. On both of these plans, Sunday is a long day and Thursday alternates between speed work (usually 4x1600) and tempo run (usually 5-9 miles). After the 10K, RW had me up my easy pace to 8min/mile. Then on Thanksgiving (Nov 24) I ran a 5K. I had no idea how fast to go, as I rarely run shorter races. I ended up with 18:26. This is very fast for me, before this my fastest was 20:20. I again upped my speed.
[Websites](http://www.runbayou.com/jackd.htm) will say that an 18:26 signifies a 2:58:high marathon, so I figured I could be good for a 3:05 with even pacing. I got up to 49 miles for my longest week in training. I ran Houston on Jan 9. I did the first 18-20 miles with near perfect pacing for a 3:05 then crashed hard and came in at 3:17:xx. Still a PR, but I feel I should've been able to do better judging from my 5K and later half marathon.
I slacked on my running, but stayed around 36mpw. A few weeks later I ran the Austin half marathon. I was very nervous, as this was my first real half marathon (I'd done the distance in training many times, of course) and the fastest I'd ever run the distance was in 1:32:31 (first half of Houston), and I'd been *slacking* for the last month. I ended up with 1:27:47 and I felt like I could've easily knocked it down to a 1:26:xx if I hadn't had beginner's fear. I honestly was a little terrified when I realized that I'd done the middle 6-8 miles or so at about a 6:33 pace. On a flat course I think I could have at least gotten down to low 1:25.
A couple weeks later I ran a 5k (slacking more than before my half marathon) and came in at 18:36. Not as good as my 18:26, but this one was basically uphill for the first half, so I figure it was a harder effort.
Anyway, I want to get my marathon time down, but I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Any ideas? I'm willing to answer any questions you may have that I haven't answered.
I don't do gels or GUs (lazy, I tried a couple times, but forgot to buy more). I'm willing to try. I've been told this is my problem. I've also been told I run my non-tempo, non-speed days too slow. If anyone has any insights I'm all ears and am very thankful. I'm gonna try again for < 3:05 at Houston in January.
Pacing written in minutes/mile where it is ambiguous. My speed day alternates between speedwork and tempo runs.
Easy: ~ 8:30-8:17
Tempo: 5m @ ~ 7:05
Speedwork: 3x1600 @ 6:20-6:30
Late September: 10K track in 41:42
Tempo: 5 miles @ 6:52-6:59
Speedwork: 4x1600 @ ~6:25
Thanksgiving (Nov 24): 5K in 18:26
Tempo: 5-9 miles @ 6:20-7
Speedwork: 4x1600 @ 5:56-6:00
Jan 9: Marathon 3:17:xx
Very little real training...
Feb: Half Marathon 1:27:47
March: 5K 18:36
5K = 18:26
1/2 = 1:27:47; very hilly AND could've got 1:26:xx
Full = 3:17:xx, what gives?
It looks like you peaked at 49 mpw. That is absolutely nothing when it comes to training for a marathon. To take a marathon seriously you got to be almost doubling that mileage. But don't just go up there and jack up the mileage you have to slowly build it over years and increase the intensity of your training. Work on your aerobic fitness through high mileage and threshold work as those are most likely your biggest weaknesses. Good luck and remember the only secret is hard work.
|not an expert but|
Too me it seem like you did mostly a very nice 10K training from October to January. Mile repeats @6:00 is 5K/10K peaking training. I think that also shows from your 5K time and even your halfmarathon time which was good. The tempo's where also hard 10K training pace (though 7:00/mile is a nice marathon workout. I personally would in the last 10 weeks run up to an hour tempo in Marathon pace, alternating with 5-6 Mile repeats at Halfmarathon pace. Your "speedworkout" should be only strides after some 10k pace repeats. I wouldn't up the pace on easy runs either, unless they come naturally. Looks to me you are on getting your fitness right, just need to get the marathon specific training in place next time and you will run 3:05.
Careful with calculators. I could take a year off of running, get up one morning, line up for a 5k and run a 18:26. But I could certainly not do the same for a sub3 Marathon.
What these calculators say is that if you ran a 18:26 over a 5k and you have the same talent for a Marathon, then your potential with optimal training for should be right around 2:58. 50mpw sounds a tad low to unlock that potential.
I would agree that you need more miles to build up more of an endurance base. Your 5k/10k times are great and your training of 50mpw for those distances seem fine. But I don't think some of these calculators are worth anything. I was never into believing that you had to log 20+ milers in order to run a half-way decent marathon. I always felt that if you trained harder/at a faster pace, that would help you for your marathon. I would relook at your longer workout pacing myself.
|low mileage man|
Don't listen to these guys. 100mpw for a 3:10 marathoner?? WTF are they even talking about? I broke 3:00 for the first time on an average of 30mpw and no higher than 40 in my life.
Higher mileage will help. Long runs with the last half at mp will help. Longer tempos will help.
And definitely figure out the hydration and fueling. This is very important for a marathon. Sounds like you may have just run out of fuel with 6 miles to go.
You should be aiming for 50-60mpw. You definitely are not running too slowly on your recovery days, you might even need to run slower to get your mileage up.
I would recommend training with Gus. You might also experiment with what you eat the walk before your race.
I had a similar thing, 3:08 full from a 1:26 half, whereas most calculators were easily predicting sub 3:05. I also was on pace up to 20 miles. I peaked at 60 but probably averaged 50MPW.
I got two helpful responses in the marathon training thread which both said what people here have said: "more miles". I was probably in the same mindset as you with regards to my half time, thinking that I just needed to turn up and run the predicted times, but I guess the marathon doesn't work that way :)
|low mileage man|
I actually agree. I was lucky to do OK off of low mileage, but got much better when I got smart and upped the volume drastically.
What I was getting at, though, was that telling a 3:10 marathoner doing 50mpw to double his mileage is not only dangerous but simply unnecessary. Even for someone with little talent or natural speed, you can definitely get under 3 on 50 mpw. If you can't, I'll show you how.
I would say, for a male runner under 40, these mileage totals should be enough for these goals if planned properly.
3:00 - 50mpw
2:50 - 60 mpw
2:40 - 70 mpw
2:30 - 80 mpw
2:20 - 90 mpw
2:15 - 100+ mpw
Older guys are going to need more because they need to lean more on strength and less on speed, but for most everyone if you're not hitting these times on these miles, something's wrong. (Severe lack of talent, or simply little quality in all those miles.)
For quite a few people the "something wrong" is being too heavy.
I have done the first three each with less MPW than what you indicated above but I would not have been able to run sub2:30 on 80 MPW. There is simply a threshold at some point (and this point is different for everyone) where the curve gets really steep. For me that was right around 2:35.