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Training Plans and Finish Times (Read 150 times)


Bad Ass

    I follow some plan because I like the structure.  I ran low miles for Berlin (mainly because the asthma never let me run more prior to the training program) and PRd.  I ran high miles without a plan before Disney and I ran the same time as Berlin.  I did speedwork for Berlin but I have concentrated on easy runs since then.  Same result.

     

    So, it looks like the plan might not be the deciding factor.  I agree with George in that what you do before the plan is started is as important (if not more) than the plan.  You have a great base.  I don't think doing HIgdon v. Pfitz or whatever will make a difference, so long as you do your work for the marathon.

    Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

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    "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

    Just B.S.


      The term "training plan" is ambiguous and means different things to different people.  Some people's plans boil down to "run lots, mostly easy, sometimes fast".  Others have, shall we say, significantly more detail.

       

      So it is a strangely hard to answer question.  Really comes down to the person.

       

      (and honestly, "did it make a difference" is also kind of a loaded question.)

      It's such an experiment of one that it's really hard to say, IMO. I agree with SRL that "plan" can mean vastly different

      things to each person. Even if you are following a canned plan.

       

      Age, genetics, prior years of running,  propensity to injury, climate, mental toughness..........so many more factors

      than just mileage

       

      My personal plan has always been to run 4 days/week and I didn't change that when i started running full

      marathons. I have a lot of other interests and hobbies and I'm not willing to take more time away from them to run

      more.

       

      I have been running and training for 1/2 marathons with my own plans (or non-plans as it may be) pretty much

      continuously since my first half in 2003 and have  run about 100 races since then. Generally  I take Nov/Dec as

      "much lower mileage/run  when I want and how fast I want" breaks from training to get my body ready for the next

      cycle.

       

      I also cycle up to 100mpw spring/summer/fall.  So I would say I had a much better base than most for a first

      marathon. Which for me was in 2010 at age 48 (4:39 with a gain of 1,800 feet) after already running 16 halfs. I ran

      that on about a 38mpw average.

       

      I topped out my training for #5 with a one peak week of 42 miles.  I run more fast miles than I'm "supposed" to, I

      run my LSD runs faster than I'm "supposed" to, I run less miles than most people think are necessary for a full but

      what I do works for me and I'm happy with it.  Likely I am able to run a great percentage of faster mile because

      I'm not running high mileage.

       

      I never ran with a Garmin or other timing device for 10 years  until training for my first full and I think running by

      "effort" for so many years as opposed to by the clock helped me to develop a very good sense of self pacing.

       

      I have followed pretty much the same self-designed "plan" for all 5 of my marathons without increase in mileage

      of more than a few miles/week and  ran  my most recent (Sept 2012) in 4:20 in pouring rain on a hilly course, a

      7 minute PR with a 3:14 positive split and never felt like I was pushing myself  until the last 2 miles.

       

      I knoww 100%  the only thing that is different for me over my 5 marathons is that I focused much more on

      speedwork and faster running than I ever had in the past. Prior to that my consistent 1/2 marathon time was

      2:10-2:13 and I was happy just to go out and run easy, not breathe hard, not push myself, finish happy and get

      my medal.

       

      When I decided to start running fulls I did track work and tempo runs for the first time at age 47 no less .  Over the

      last 2 years I have broken all my PR's many times over and in 2012 set all new  PR's at age 50. And that was

      after having surgery in Feb 2012 and not running for 6 weeks.

       

      So in answer to your question that "if anyone have a specific improvement" that they can attribute to a specific

      training plan I would  100% attribute my speed gains to the track and tempo/pace runs and increasing those

      paces as I made gains because nothing else has changed for me in the 2 years since I have been running full

      marathons. That and the willingness to "feel the pain" during shorter races and track training, which I never allowed

      myself to do in the past

       

      Having said that, some people may respond better to more miles, some to more rest, some to more x-training,

      some to more speed, some to a  combination. It is frustrating that training for a marathon takes so much time

      that experimenting can be either a great success or a terrible failure.

       

      I probably could run more miles, add a 5th day of running, follow a very specific plan and see bigger improvements

      but I'm happy with what I'm doing and the times I run for the effort I am willing to put in. Plus I'm scared to change

      too  much and totally bomb at a full after spending 16 weeks training, especially now that I'm 51 and my window for

      getting better, staying injur free and running fulls maybe be closing quickly.


      The Chairman

        George basically circles it back to my inherent internal crisis - after a point does it really matter?  I've run high mileage, although my speedwork is admittedly flightly, for a very very long time.  OTOH, the girl who has run with me for years but barely runs beyond our long runs that she frequently bails on, ran a 3:52 in her first marathon on very little training this weekend.  If you went based purely on the miles - and even on the speedwork since she had never heard of such things before we started training together - one would have given me the advantage.  Yet, she  ran a spectacular race far beyond anything I could aspire to.  When someone succeeds or fails to succeed, is it training or is it something else?

         

        And this is not to dis my friend so much to wallow in my own mediocrity...

        Could be attitude, too.

        cmb4314


          I like to have a plan.  Whether at some point I feel confident enough to completely make my own plan or not, we shall see, but I like to feel like there is a purpose to each run.  Maybe it's the scientist in me.

           

          I am training for my third marathon right now, and have done increasingly difficult programs each time.  First time, I did Higdon Novice 1, which barely got me through the race.  Second time, I modified a Glover plan, which really meant that I just ran more miles (averaged in the low 40s) and did some speedwork.  This time, I'm following Pfitz 18/55.

           

          Unless I go out too fast and completely blow up, I expect a PR this time.  But then again, my overall fitness also points to a PR - my HM PR before my last marathon was 1:55, and now it's 1:50.  So how much of it will be the plan?  I have no idea.

           

          Will some people who are crappily trained but have more natural ability go out there and smoke me?  Most definitely.

          My wildly inconsistent PRs:

          5k: 24:36 (10/20/12)  

          10k: 52:01 (4/28/12)  

          HM: 1:50:09 (10/27/12)

          Marathon: 4:19:11 (10/2/2011) 


          Trail Monster

            I don't have a 'plan'. In fact I only ever know my next 7 days of workouts. My coach sends me a week's worth of training. I complete (or try to) the workouts and then send her back the results and a little synopsis of how I felt, etc. She bases the next 7 days of training on that and the cycle repeats. I think having goals that adhere to SMART (specific, measurable, achievable/reasonable, time specific) is necessary but so is flexibility. On that note I expect a pretty huge PR at Shamrock because my training 'plan' is specifically tailored to my needs and abilities where a canned plan would not be.

            2013 races:

            3/17 Shamrock Marathon

            4/20 North Coast 24 Hour

            7/27 Burning RIver 100M

            8/24 Baker 50M

            10/5 Oil Creek (distance to be determined)

             

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            crazyrunninglady


            Warrior Princess

              Could be attitude, too.

               

              I'd pretend my feeling were hurt but Christian has pretty much told me I'd run faster if only I believed that I could.

              MJ5


              Chief Unicorn Officer

                Well, another thing that sort of ties into attitude is, if you're following a plan, do you just log the miles?  Do you push yourself to become better?  Do you legitimately pick the right tempo pace, or right interval pace, and stick to doing those harder workouts like a plan calls for?  It's not just what's written in a certain plan, but how it's executed, and how HONESTLY it's executed that can make a difference.

                 

                Edited to add "you" is used figuratively.  Smile

                Mile 5:49 - 5K 19:58 - 10K 43:06 - HM 1:36:54


                The Chairman

                   

                  I'd pretend my feeling were hurt but Christian has pretty much told me I'd run faster if only I believed that I could.

                   

                  In my experience, someone that expects to succeed (or at least doesn't expect to fail) has a much better chance of training and racing well. The one trait you find in most long time runners that race well consistently is that they expect to run well, and they are able to quickly forget a bad race or workout, dismiss it as a fluke, and move on without letting it affect their confidence to run well in the future. And this doesn't only hold true for runners. Getting over failure is important for an athlete in any sport.


                  Trail Monster

                    Well, another thing that sort of ties into attitude is, if you're following a plan, do you just log the miles?  Do you push yourself to become better?  Do you legitimately pick the right tempo pace, or right interval pace, and stick to doing those harder workouts like a plan calls for?  It's not just what's written in a certain plan, but how it's executed, and how HONESTLY it's executed that can make a difference.

                     

                    Edited to add "you" is used figuratively.  Smile

                     

                    Good points. I have been trying to work out the proper paces for my workouts since I don't have any good race times to put into the calculators. My coach has been giving me small goals by increasing the pace by 10 or 15 seconds per mile from the same workout in weeks prior. The first tempo run and intervals were extremely scary and I almost decided to not even try the prescribed pace but surprised myself by completing them as RX'ed.

                    2013 races:

                    3/17 Shamrock Marathon

                    4/20 North Coast 24 Hour

                    7/27 Burning RIver 100M

                    8/24 Baker 50M

                    10/5 Oil Creek (distance to be determined)

                     

                    My Blog

                     

                    Brands I Heart:

                    FitFluential

                    INKnBURN

                    Altra Zero Drop

                    Better I Leave


                      I have this theory - supported by the results of some friends - that perhaps training plans do not make much of a difference.  The runner you are and will be is possibly already set.  I am curious to hear from anyone who has a specific improvement they attirubute to a specific training plan.

                      Good thread and feedback. I've been giving this very concept a lot of thought lately as I am taking my running more seriously. Prior to my bicep tear I was first and foremost a lifter who incorporated running to maintain cardiovascular fitness as an aside. When I couldn't lift anymore, I took up running more and more. I still didn't follow a "plan"...I just ran more, and more frequently. The idea of the runner I am as being set....well, I know I won't ever see some of the times I see a lot of you folks set. That doesn't mean I'm not a goal setter. I've set my goal at 1000 miles for the year and I'm still on track for that. I set a goal for a sub 2 hour HM and I know I can hit that this year. Long term, I'd like to see myself hitting (and maintaining) a pace of 8:00...That seems a ways off right now, but I "think" I can do it.

                       

                      Should I follow a plan to hit those goals? I dunno...I meant it in the other thread about Forrest Gump...Maybe I'll just run. **grin**


                      Muddling through

                        I have this theory - supported by the results of some friends - that perhaps training plans do not make much of a difference.  The runner you are and will be is possibly already set.  I am curious to hear from anyone who has a specific improvement they attirubute to a specific training plan.

                        Application to marathoning may vary, but you may be interested in this case in general. Years ago when I first started coaching I had a senior on the team who for 3 1/2 years had consistently chased and lost to at least one runner at every other school in the conference. When I took over his training his senior year in track I had some problems getting him to accept my methods, but he finally did. He went undefeated in conference at 880 yd to 2-miles, twice setting school records in the 2-mile and just missing the record for the mile.

                         

                        Second case: Some years later at another school, the head girls track coach, assistant coach, and I were training for a marathon. The assistant coach was big on lots of long slow distance. The head coach decided to follow my approach instead with intervals and more steady state type runs of intermediate distance. He beat the LSD coach handily (3:40 to 3:55) despite this being his first marathon while the LSD coach had several under his belt.

                        2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race

                          I think there are a number of things involved here.

                           

                          Assuming a person leaves a sedentary lifestyle, it probably doesn't matter a whole lot what they do for the first year.  They'll get faster just because , when they started, they couldn't run more than half a mile.  By the time someone has been running a year, they should be running 5-6 miles fairly easily.

                           

                          After that though, you need to be doing consistent speed work if you are going to get much faster.  Does it matter what speed work you are doing?  Probably not as long as you are doing a variety of speed work.  You should be doing lactate threshold workouts and VO2max workouts and 2+ hour long runs.  Keep doing those and keep your mileage fairly high and, again, you'll keep improving for another year or two.  After that, things get difficult.

                           

                          That's when you need to start doing assessments after goal races.  You need to start focusing your training on specific weaknesses and you need more than just what a canned plan will offer.

                           

                          (BTW, when I see someone improve by 45 minutes or an hour in the marathon, it only means they were in fairly lousy shape when they ran the first one and I say that as someone who has improved by over an hour in the half marathon).

                           

                          (BTW #2, you aren't going to hit your potential if you are running less than 2,500 miles per year).

                           

                          So, I don't think it much matters what you do for the first year as long as you keep increasing your mileage.  Then, I don't think it much matters for the next couple of years as long as you continue working on increasing your mileage and as long as you are consistently doing speed work.  After that, I think it matters but I think you need to be doing stuff directed at your weaknesses rather than flopping around with a canned plan.

                          Short term goal: 17:59 5K

                          Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

                          Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

                             

                            In my experience, someone that expects to succeed (or at least doesn't expect to fail) has a much better chance of training and racing well. The one trait you find in most long time runners that race well consistently is that they expect to run well, and they are able to quickly forget a bad race or workout, dismiss it as a fluke, and move on without letting it affect their confidence to run well in the future. And this doesn't only hold true for runners. Getting over failure is important for an athlete in any sport.

                             

                            Agreed.  I would add that you have to be willing to risk failure.  Sometimes, you go for it and it doesn't work.

                            Short term goal: 17:59 5K

                            Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

                            Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

                            happylily


                              Lara, while I doubt that it would have made much of a difference if your friends had followed different plans, I think that they did well because they followed one (even if you say your GF sort of followed one. Maybe she actually did more hard workouts, rather than less. Which is what I always seem to end up doing myself. Then I say: "I sort of followed a plan..."). You admit yourself that you have never actually done your training based on a plan. Why not? Why don't you try it? I'm pretty sure that you would obtain the same marathon result as your less experienced friend had in her first. It would be worth a try.

                              PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

                                      Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013

                              4 years racing, 15 marathons, 15 BQs     


                              "Journey" hater


                                (BTW #2, you aren't going to hit your potential if you are running less than 2,500 miles per year).

                                 

                                 

                                I tend to agree with most of what you wrote and am a more miles = more better person, but I am curious about this comment. I don't agree that this can be put out there as fact for every runner without a lot more information about that runner.

                                 

                                I do think focusing on one's weaknesses is good advice for those a few years into it. I'll also add to scrape's comment in that the beginner runners I've coached who do well and keep running as part of their lives typically have the best attitudes and are confident they will succeed. The mental part of running is very powerful.

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