Running a 2:37 marathon on 60 miles per week

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Running a 2:37 marathon on 60 miles per week

I caught up with an old friend of mine, Gareth, in Costa today by chance and we talked about - would you believe it? - running! The conversation at one point was about marathons and did I still fancy having a go at a fast one.

It's 8 years since the PB in Amsterdam - I spent a few since trying to break it but frustratingly without success despite being in form. But that's the marathon for you.

Anyway, it got me thinking about Toronto in October and whether I could bring myself to do it all again and really go for it. So I thought I'd dig out my training 'plan' and see what kind of work I'd have to do. So here's the thing. The mileage was ridiculously small! -far less than I remembered - over 14 weeks.

For context I'd planned on racing London but due to a massive cold, jogged round instead and went for a fast one in Edinburgh that May, running a 2:48 thanks to an horrendous headwind which blew me to a complete standstill on the prom. I didn't do a huge amount before starting this build-up.

I counted 3 miles of cycling (all of which was flat out) as 1 mile equivalent of running and did the same for walks over 3 miles. I've coloured the harder runs and races in orange and the longer runs in blue. All the hard efforts are (for me) very hard.

I've always maintained you can train well with a couple of hard efforts and along run/race per week.  Much more and I think injury risk increases rapidly.  On the other hand I'm wondering what a few extra miles would have achieved.

What do you think?  Would be very interested in your comments.

14th July2Cycle to/from Slough stn. Start of Ams 14-wk schedule
15th July25.5Cycle to/from work. Evening FRS route. 105 s/ups
16th July29Evening gym inc 6x1M at 11mph, 11.1, 11.2, 11, 11, 11.1 3mins jog recovery
17th July5.5FRS recovery route pretty brisk. 105 s/ups
18th July25.5Gym session 3M at 10.7mph, 2x2mins at 12mph with 1min 6mph recovery. Too tired and hot to do a proper session
19th JulyNewcastle
20th July14Northumberland Coastal Run. 14M of multi-terrain. 24th in 1:25:00
21st July5.5recovery run pretty brisk pace. 105 s/ups; 50 p/ups
22nd July210Cycle to/from Slough. Evening FRS Datchet, Windsor loop in c.1:04 tired
23rd July25Evening gym session inc. 1M @11mph; 1M @ 11.1; 1M @ 11Too hot in there and v tired
24th July75.2Morning run, Taplow, Dorney Common steady. Walk to Windsor. Afternoon gym session inc. 4M at 10.7mph
25th July23Cycle to/from Slough. Evening rubbish run FRS back short along EW rd. Too muggy, no energy at all.
26th July19Walk to/from Windsor. Short hills session only 12 reps v warm and stomach feeling rough
27th July17.5Abortive long run far too hot. Walk to Dorney lake and back
28th July117Evening run home along canal/Slough/FRS. 1Hr 55 ish. Shoes basically shot!
29th July2Cycle to/from Slough
30th July27.5Evening gym session inc 2M @11mph; 2M @ 11.1mph; 1M @ 11.2mphCould have continued but short of time.
31st July27Gym 7M rising to 10.5mph by 0.1mph every quarter mile
1st Aug25.5Cycle to/from Slough. Evening FRS recovery run bit crappy.
2nd Aug8.5Datchet route with some additions to keep fartlek on track. 6x2mins fast, 1 min jog; 6x1min fast, 1min jog.
3rd Aug9.6Packington / Ravenstone route (long) back via direct rd to Packington
4th Aug6.56.5Cycle to/from Slough. 5.5M in the gym rising 0.1mph each 0.25miles to 10.3mph. Evening FRS recovery route, steady.
5th Aug261M warm up then 5M at 10.7mph
6th Aug216Cycle to/from Slough. Run home via the A4. Pretty slow and boring run home.. slow mainly due to road junctions
7th Aug1Work drink. Walk to Slough station
8th Aug2Cycle to/from Slough
9th Aug7.5Datchet route steady pace.
10th Aug11.3Not much energy at the start - Thames path, Maidenhead Rd, down to marina, lap of Dorney Lake.
11th Aug29Gym session inc. 6x1M in 11mph, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, 11, 11
12th Aug25.5Cycle to/from Slough. Evening FRS route steady pace.. v tired but ok run
13th Aug2
14th Aug20Dorney common, A4, GU Canal to Ealing. 2Hrs 17. Solid run!
15th Aug26.3Cycle to Slough. Dorney common, A4 to Slough station to pick up bike- largely brisk pace. Cycle home.
16th Aug7.5FRS Datchet steady pace
17th Aug13Dedworth route inc 6x2min hills. Missed Burnham race as fighting a cold.
18th Aug27.5FRS Datchet route steady pace
19th Aug
20th AugFighting off a cold
21st Aug2
22nd Aug27.5FRS Datchet route pretty brisk
23rd Aug4Sheringham. FRS Eton route before leaving
24th Aug6Out to West Runton then another mile uphill into the woodland area and back
25th Aug20Out along the Mundesley coast road to 8 mile point plus another 13.5 mins then return. 2:17ish. Not bad. Did it despite being tired and not up for it
26th Aug
27th Aug27.5Cycle to/from Slough. Evening FRS route brisk in parts.
28th Aug291M w/up then 8M at 10.7mph. Good!
29th Aug26Cycle to/from Slough. Gym session 6M on the treadmill inc pace 0.1 mph/0.25M up to 10.3mph
30th Aug5.5FRS recovery route - very hot day
31st Aug4Pissed it down all day. Only managed 4 - what a waste
1st Sep210.3Gym session 7M repeats 4x1M at 11.1mph, 11.2, 11.3, 11.4 1x2M at 11mph, 1M at 11.2
2nd Sep26.3Cycle to/from Slough. Gym session gradually increasing treadmill pace up to 11mph
3rd Sep27.5Cycle to/from Slough. Evening Datchet inc. 9x2mins fast, 1 min jog recovery
4th Sep2RestCycle to/from Slough
5th Sep6.4Route around Ashby, Willesley and back under M42
6th SepRest
7th Sep23.5Thames path to School Lane Little Marlow and back. 2:37. Great. Felt fine the whole way. Use caffeine gel - good!
8th Sep25.5Cycle to/from Slough. Evening gym easy 5.5M
9th Sep2Cycle to/from Slough
10th SepG11Run to/from gym w/up then 1x3M(!) @ 11.1mph, 6min jog; 1M @ 11.2; 1M @ 11.3; 1M @ 11-11.3. Good!
11th Sep2Cycle to/from Slough
12th Sep2
13th Sep4FRS/Eton 4 miler - no time for more
14th Sep14Bristol Half Marathon 1:20 and bits. Pretty rubbish. Felt sluggish from the off and walked loads.
15th Sep27.5Walked at least 6 miles round Bristol. Evening FRS Datchet run steady pace - legs sore
16th Sep25.5Cycle to/from Slough. Lunchtime 5.5m on treadmill slow rising to 10.1mph
17th Sep7.56Morning recovery route, steady pace. Cycle to/from Slough station. Evening Windsor route with 8x2mins fast, 60s jog recovery
18th Sep6.5Gym - w/up then 2x2M in 11.1mph & 11.2 with 5 mins jog recovery. 1M @ 11.3mph. Knee sore and t/mill struggling so called it a day
19th Sep244M FRS/Eton run.. then cycle to the company bash and back. Company night out
20th Sep17.5FRS Datchet route steady pace.
21st Sep22.5Datchet to Thames Path to 10-mile bridge then 14mins further running. Back short way through Datchet. Good!
22nd Sep25.5Cycling as usual. Gym treadmill slow to a bit faster. Pretty sore.
23rd Sep28Gym 4 miles at 10.7mph then 1M @ 11.2mph, 3 min jog rec. 1M @ 11.3mph.
24th Sep27.5Datchet route decent pace for the mostpart. Need a massage!
25th Sep25.5Cycling. Recovery route in reverse but rubbish run - very tired.
26th Sep29Evening Gym session 9M inc 6x1M with 3min jog recovery at 11.1;11.2;11;11.1;11.2;11
27th Sep5.5Recovery route. No energy - probably all the sweets to blame!
28th Sep14Macclesfield Half - 1:16:50 6th place overall, 2nd AG. Good time - had some left and 3 big hills.
29th Sep2Massage 8pm
30th Sep26Cycling as usual. Gym treadmill slow to up to 11mph
1st Oct26Gym session with 5M tempo at 10.7mph
2nd Oct26Cycling.. Gym session slow to 10.4 mph rising 0.1mph per quarter mile
3rd Oct26Gym session with 5M tempo at 10.7mph
4th Oct17.5Walk to/from Windsor. Evening FRS Datchet steady pace with some brisk
5th Oct18.5Datchet, Thames path to 10-mile point then back shorter way into Windsor. Sub 2 hrs - prob 1:56 without pauses
6th Oct2Jarred R knee yesterday and it's sore today. Cycling only
7th Oct22.5Cycle to Slough. Gym session but utter rubbish - 2.5M! Total collapse in energy and nearly fell off the treadmill!
8th Oct26Gym - 1M w/up then 4x1M in 11.1; 11.2; 11.3; 11 with 3mins jog recovery. Felt v strong.
9th Oct25.5FRS Recovery run steady pace. Cycled to/from Slough
10th Oct27.8Cycle to Slough. Datchet route with 8x1min fast; 1min jog recovery
11th Oct1Walk into town and back
12th Oct6.224.2Legoland 10K 1:05  - super slow running with Suzanne. Run home from Legoland.
13th Oct2Cycling to/from Slough
14th Oct24Cycling to/from Slough. Gym session 1M w/up then 4x3mins at 11.1mph with 1min jog recovery
15th Oct2Cycling to/from Slough
16th Oct23Cycling to/from Slough. Evening easy run to cash machine in Eton and back
17th Oct1Walking to hotel from central station
18th Oct1Easy route close to hotel.
19th Oct127Amsterdam Marathon 2:37:41 - PB. 51st/c.6000 - 1st M40 and won 250 euros!!

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Hard to call, I ran my best marathon during a 19 week block avg 100 miles but I was training for the 100km.

People are different and need different training. I run better as the miles go up.

Got nothing after 110 mind you
I think I ran more miles the previous year for Berlin and ran my half PB on the way. I'll dig that cycle out too for comparison.
Since running lots of ultras, the marathon distance has become far less significant - ie nothing to fear and where your head's at is so significant, I'd like to see how that would impact performance