FP's stupidly short marathon prep

OK, so a promised, here it is and I need your help. SITREP:

Signed up for a marathon at Eton Dorney (flat) on Nov 22nd (8 wks). Currently I’m overweight at 87.5kgs, lost some top end but there is an engine in there somewhere.

Back in Feb I was approx 44 min 10km shape and training (on track) for a 3.45 Newport Marathon (Garmin predictor has me at 3.26 but that’s BS). As usual, I seem to be ‘in-between sizes’ when it comes to ability. I’ve found some plans for 3.45 and 4.00 but could do with your help please.

My basic plan was a speed session, a hill repeat and a long run as the main pillar. When looking at these plans, I find some of them complicated (like 10 min warm up, tempo for 4mins, 2min rest, x 6, then tempo and standing rest etc). Not complicated but ‘bitty’, especially when considering a lot of my road rounds have multiple sidestreets and it’s not always easy to find a good stretch.

I’m trying to decide whether to pick a 4.00 plan and exceed it (if I can ) or go for a stretch goal of a 3.45 plan straight off? Some of them are in miles as well which is annoying AF.

I’ve pasted them here if you would be kind enough to look. I kind of like the London Improver but not sure. I don’t want to run more than 4 times per week ideally but don’t mins adding volume here and there if needed. (obviously counting back 8wks for each plan)

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Sub 4 appeals to me, adjust the pace if your getting near the 3:45

4 runs a week, and love the core stuff anyway…!

Whatever you go for … good luck

Not looked at the plans yet (apologies), but I would drop the speed session and focus on long runs with marathon pace sections (increasing lengths as you progress). If you can try and support the long run with a medium length run mid week then all the better.

Everyone is different and I’m sure people will disagree but speed work isn’t necessary for a marathon and has a higher risk of injury…for me at least.

Good luck. :muscle::crossed_fingers:

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Thanks both, keep 'em coming. I’ve given myself the rest of the day to come up with a plan.

There are a million plans, with a million differing opinions all backed up with evidence… of some sort.

When faced with a choice like this listen to your heart … what do you fancy ?

But make sure your head keeps it in check!

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my gut instinct says go for the 3:45 - keep consistent training - on the day see how you feel, start at 3:45 but be willing to forgo a little pace if it is feeling hard. Just because it is flat, does not make it easy - no easy on the downhills and using the same muscles all the time.

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Very good point. Well, I think because of my liking for trails, I tend to be more of a volume guy with fartlek efforts and elevation but my version of volume isn’t much. (I consider anything over over 70km p/w pretty bloody hard).

Having said that, I have definitely felt the benefit of speed efforts in the past but the intervals have nearly always been on the treadmill at my old work. I think this has what has helped me with my 10km times. But I find that hard to do on the road unless it’s a race.

I think with work, the easiest thing for me to do is run 4 x per week, do some volume and I have a 6km road circuit from my door which works well if I want to go hard for a session. (currently looking at 4.59 pace at my last effort), these aren’t flat out but I know about it!

For me, I think that will work because I know that I can take full advantage of a ‘window’ without having to think too hard hard about mental gymnastics on my watch.

Also, running with Little One and Mrs FP on the run/walk, also adds some volume that doesn’t fatigue me but holds me back.

Maybe I will look at the plans, add the volume up and then work out how that volume would work best for me?

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What’s the event.

Might give me some motivation



c’mon down (or up in my case)

I like to make a lot of my training effort and/or HR based as it self adjusts for things like hills, wind and terrain. I use Jack Daniels 2Q plan to success which has set paces for Easy (E), Marathon Pace §, Threshold (T), Interval (I) and Repetition ®. The pace is taken from you current performance (can estimate from pretty much any distance) but unless running on a track for intervals (which I havnt all year I do the following:

E is Z2 HR (I use a classic 5 zone model but ive had lactate test so I know where my turn point and threshold is)
M and T are Z3 and Z4 but also what I term comfortably to pushing quick. It can be hard to keep in Z3 running fast down hill and Z4 can be difficult to hit earlier on in run so depending on how im feeling sometimes it more upper Z3 than Z4
I is basically just run hard. If I was on a track id go for a pace but a lot of my running is on undulating surfaces that aren’t always nice smooth road so I basically just do 1 km efforts (and when I have to do Mile intervals I hate myself)
R is basically just about fast leg turn over so its just like hard 400 m reps

I find this works well for me so you could adapt this approach in to any program eg VO2 max efforts are similar to I, Threshold is typically around 10k-HM pace (at our speeds anyway, this works less well for untrained people) and MP and Easy are self explanatory.

Ultimately the best training plan is the one you can stick to. I dont think there’s any magic training plan and whatever you can complete without getting injured or being overtrained will pretty much get you within a few percent of any other training plan that does the same:)


OK, did some number crunching, converting the miles to kms and also guesstimating what the volume of the hard efforts would be. So it looks like this:

Runners World 3.45 plan (5 runs be easily can be made 4)
Total volume: 464kms
Biggest week: 83kms. (this week)

London Improver. (I think 3.45)
Total Volume: 348
Biggest week: 62km

Coach World sub 4.00
Total Volume: 326km
Biggest week: 60km

Will ponder on this

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Thanks mate, will have a look. :+1:

Whats your avg weekly kms running for the last six weeks?

If its ‘not much’ Id do tempo at most instead of speed. Build up volume using ‘easy’ as your guide, nosebreathin runs. See what pace those easy runs are at, then assess for a target pace.

approx 45km but a lot of that is vert, so time on feet on the high side, rather than distance. Already thinking that one of the 6km sessions (probably Wed) will fit nicely with tempo.

I already know what my easy pace is (5.40 -5.45km). My target pace is 5.25 ish

As I said, I have a good idea from training earlier in the year, targeting 5.15/km,. it’s assessing the gap lost between now and then.


Don’t overthink it!

Run more (volume through frequency). Mostly easy, with a sprinkle of speed work.
Eat less, lose weight.

You might surprise yourself!


Cheers mate. It’s just occurred to me that since my back ops, I’ve haven’t done a std stand alone marathon.

Done 2 x Wales Marathon as part of Tenby LCW. (5.15 and 4.24)

And last year a trail marathon with 800mtr vert in 4.11.

I’ll be most surprised if the race actually goes ahead. :laughing:

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I’m debating one on Sunday :see_no_evil:
Zero prep…depends who wants to ride and on what day???

Oh brilliant, here’s me stressing about 8wks prep, you’ll rock up next Sunday and knock out a sub 3.00!


In a nutshell

There’s the plan !

Full marathon …?

In a week…? On the back of … SFA ish running…?!

Really ?

Good man.

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