Thursday, May 20, 2010



Three ways to help you PB/PR your next marathon!

After weeks of reading and thinking about how I'm going to PB my next marathon I've distilled it into and come up with an analogy using Rock, Scissors and Paper.

ROCK: No rock is not dead! And in order to run a fast/faster marathon I'm going to have to get use to the pounding that comes with running such a distance at speed. That means increased mileage and a session of downhill running once a week. Starting with 10x1K efforts running 10 to 20 seconds faster than what I expect to run in my goal marathon for the first 8 weeks of my marathon training plan. The downhill running in the last 4 weeks should consist of 400m efforts X 8 done twice a week. As for the mileage it should exceed that of your previous marathon but remain at a level that won't hobble you. This is something I'm getting the idea of how to do but only after 4 years of trial and error.

SCISSORS: sharpening these babies means running lesser distances such as 3K, 5K, and 10K at times below what you expect to run them in your marathon. I wouldn't be too anal about getting them exactly under what McMillan says they should be. I think it's better to run these trials on up and down courses getting within a few minutes of the time you want. I'm going to run one 10KTT a week for the 1st 6 weeks of my 12 week marathon plan, three 5KTT in the following weeks 7 to 9 and three 3KTTs in the remaining three weeks. I don't believe a half marathon needs to be done at race pace or faster, although a successful one it will give you confidence, for mine, it is just too draining to do while doing high mileage marathon training and it will leave you weak at the start of your race.

PAPER: Write it down. Everything that gets recorded gets focus and in turn changes. I don't mean your day to day training, although you will have to get this down, but I mean you will have to write down what you're eating as well as your weight and body fat percentage. If you're not dropping a half percentage point of body fat a week or a half to 1 kilogram a week, in the 12 week training phase, then change your diet to more fresh fruit and vegetables and less of anything that comes prepacked. Don't give up beer or wine, I tried this and believe, it led to my last Achilles strain. Well I can't be sure but basically I was tense and more of a pain to be around than normal but now a few reds a night and I'm lose and ready mentally to hit the road the next morning.


  1. I like it, especially the downhills. But 10 x 1k? I think that is much more likely to lead to achilles problems than alcohol abstinence. Might be ok if you are really accustomed to downhill running, but it seems like an awful lot of strain on the achilles. I am wary because I once developed an achilles problem from doing too much downhill training, too suddenly.

  2. I like the drinking beer and wine option and think running on rolling terrain is a good way to develope good all rounder muscle balance.
    My own feeling with downhill intervals is if you build up slowly your be a stronger runner in the end.

  3. p.s. I kind of like the Italian marathon training method of starting with 5k training moving through 10k and 1/2 training before final marathon work.think it can work better than old school methods.
    see Doc Rosa article;

  4. Tension in calves = Achilles tendinitis;

    Not drinking wine = tension;

    Therefore, not drinking wine = Achilles tendinitis.

    That's some logic for you!

  5. Those who enjoy a glass or two of wine with their dinner or a brandy before bed are much healthier than others, a study has found;

  6. Get the alcohol balance just right Scott... too much and you'll get IRON. That's when the missus hit's you over the head with the frying pan.

    As for me, running sans arm-warmers, I prefer the BOULDER, KNIFE, CARDBOARD plan.

  7. If anyone can stick to this approach to training for a PB it's you.

    I look forward to reading about your progress and borrowing (read stealing) from your program.

    All the best,