Sub 3 hour training - the last 8 weeks ( by tom_craggs)
Copy of a great post by tom_craggs from Sub 3 thread - with permission.
11:23pm, 24 Feb 2015
Obviously everyone is different but here are a few things common to a few of our guys over the next 8 weeks...
* Hills beginning to phase out now...the first 6-8 weeks would have included minimum 1 session a week of continuous hills (or Kenyan hills).
* replaced by a mid week longer run to include big blocks of running economy (threshold) work. 75 minutes to include 3 x 10 minutes @ threshold (3 mins easy run recovery), 90 minutes to include 3 x 3km @ threshold, 90 minutes including 4 x 10 minutes @ threshold, 90 minutes as a progression of 30 mins easy, 30 steady (a little slower than MP), 30 mins @ threshold are a few examples building up to a key mid week progression run of 25km (5km easy, 5km MP, 5km easy, 5km threshold, 2km hard, 3km easy)
* Still including classic threshold session (or cruise intervals) if the runner does not have a big base of these e.g. 45-60 mins including 5 x 6 mins @ 3-4 word answer pace (60-75 sec rec), 6 x 6 mins, 3 x 10 mins building up to do these as runs like 45 mins with final 25 @ threshold, 40 mins 'out and back' - run 20 out at steady effort, turn and try to get back 2-3 mins quicker, 60 minutes with final 20-30 At threshold pace.
* Shorter sessions testing running economy over decent volume e.g. 60 minutes as 10 x 3 minutes MP, 3 minutes threshold...
* Long runs now including blocks of marathon pace towards the end of the run. 2hr 30 mins, final 30 @ MP, 2.45 final 60 @ MP, 3 hours final 60 @ MP (if you are around 3 hour pace, if you are 2.45 or closer this will be too long).
* Couple of tough progressive long runs (best done with others if you can) so a key long run 4 weeks or so out - 35km as 10km easy, 10km MP, 5km easy, 5km threshold, 2km hard, 3km easy.
* Half marathon at PB pace but also consider HM at MP run as 20-30 mins easy + HM @ MP + 20-30 mins easy
* Volume is still important, so mileage is up through this phase but this totally depends on the runner what this might be...but plenty of pre breakfast easy running to stimulate fat metabolisation.
* Most of the runners we have under 3 hours will be doing double days once or twice a week, some under 2.30 will be doing more than this but we do have a few pretty quick folks only running 5 times week mixing with XT
* Track sessions are not essential but if you are doing them then the focus in the next few weeks would be on Vo2 max development i.e. 1200s, mile reps etc. A typical session would be 5 mins @ threshold + 4-5 x (1200m + 400m) - 1200s at 5-10km effort, 400s fast all from 60s recovery. As we get closer to the marathon 5 weeks or so out focus starts to be on running threshold and MP on more fatigued legs. So stuff like 3 x (5 mins @ threshold + 4 x 400m hard) + 20-30 mins @ MP - in a session like this we'd have descending recoveries between the 400s to really get the lactate levels high so recoveries 45 sec, 30 sec, 15 sec between 400s.
* Sharpening sessions in race weeks when the volume of training has been high i.e. 4 x 400m @ 5km + 2km @ threshold + 4 x 400m @ 5km
If folks are doing big volume them strides would be included after a few of the runs to keep a bit of leg speed.
It's how you piece these ideas together around your current fitness though and there are some runners I coach that would be doing very different training to any of the above given their goals, background and running history and personal strengths and weaknesses.
* Key things to remember are that the marathon is an aerobic event so easy and steady running is still vital. Running economy/threshold work is vital for me (I know some coaches do less of this and have good success) so at least twice a week I'd include runs with threshold blocks in.
* Remember there are thousands of ways you can successfully train for a marathon, these are just a few of the ideas that work well with some of our runners.
* Focus on your 'non running' life as well - focus on getting an extra 30 mins sleep a night if you can, it will make a difference. Fuel your training well with small, regular meals and snacks. If your training increases your focus on recovery, stretching and S&C should also build up.
* Cut back week every 3-4 weeks (so maybe one between now and taper on goal HM week?
* Watch over tapering, for me 2 week taper - KEEP THE FREQUENCY of your runs, but reduce the volume and SOME of the intensity, particularly the bigger blocks of threshold, but keep some leg sharpening work in the taper.
* Write down a few of your best sessions so you can look back at them during your taper
* Don't get too stressed about your exact pace - try to get a sense or feel of what marathon effort is, and threshold effort is.