>General Running>Any success training with RW's Smartcoach?
Having 2.5 months left before my A-race for 2013, Virgin London Marathon on April 21, am considering using RW's SmartCoach for these final weeks. Did Palm Beach Marathon in December and Miami Marathon in January as training runs so I have a prelim base laid. As I'm a 54-year-old old-fart, London will be my 22d full marathon (not counting the 26.2 runs at the end of my two Ironman Tris before becoming an ex-triathlete). But I have never really before followed a training plan - have always just made sure each week had a tempo run or speedwork, an escalating weekend long run, and then enough easy runs to get me to the 45 to 60 mile per week range.
Anyone among the RA herd use SmartCoach? Results?
100K or Bust
With that mileage SmartCoach is likely to generate a really weird plan. It seems to work best with runners at 20-30 mpw moving up to the marathon. I'd suggest Pfitzinger, Hudson, or Hanson. There's also a training plan called Running-Wizard that a lot of posters here speak highly of.
2017 Goals: for races not to be exercises in futility
I am a former smartcoach user and think that there are better options out there. I recommend that you take a look at Running Wizard as well. Many of us have had good results with this plan and one of the authors of Running Wizard is a regular contributor here and is very helpful.
201x goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...
I cant really say that RW anything has helped me all that much. If you want a REAL running plan put together by REAL runners and REAL coaches, then go to Running Wizard........You'll be glad you did.....
Hanson is really interesting too.......you might like it.......
Champions are made when no one is watching
I am a current user of a Running Wizard marathon plan, and I echo the endorsements of others based on my limited experience with it so far. It really makes a lot of sense to me. The thing that might be an issue for you is the timing of your race. April 21 is only ~ 10 weeks away. The plan I received is a 24-week plan. The initial aerobic phase is 10 weeks long, and there are 4 more phases after that. I'm not sure if Running Wizard would provide a 10-week version of a marathon plan. Based on what I've learned and read, that does not seem like enough time to fully benefit from this type of training (e.g., significant base-building before "sharpening"), but I may be wrong. (The authors/developers have been extremely helpful and may be able to provide something for your situation, given your existing base, etc. ...)
Take a look at the FAQ for Running Wizard to see some of the variations. 10wk might be short, but I started a 13-wk program (for 10k) a couple years ago - 5 wks endurance, then 2 wks for each of the other phases. Since you've already done a few marathons, you probably wouldn't need as much base.
[Side note: I really liked Running Wizard, but I was using it for faster stuff early season underlying an ultra later in summer - something which it probably wasn't intended for. IOW, it was reducing volume when I normally increase volume. Combined with snow conditions, I decided to revert to my normal training. That said, several of my races and rest-of-life commitments have changed this year, and I'm considering starting another pgm - just haven't figured out which. The pgm had meat to it without being too much and was flexible enough to handle hilly trails, something which most pgms can't handle.]
Good catch. There's a "Plan B" option mentioned in the FAQ that presumes you already have a pretty good base. 12 to 20 week programs that emphasize the later/quicker phases. Probably worth checking out.
I echo everybody else's warnings about Smartcoach. I've never used it, and I've seen some bizarre plans come out of it.
I like Brad Hudson's book Run Faster, which explains how to build your own plan based on your mileage, goals, and strengths and weaknesses. His ideas are heavily influenced by Canova.
PRs: 10 1:12:59 (4/2014) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)
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Well, I'm glad I stumbled on this, I'll give Running Wizard a try.... I will say I must be textbook as Smart Coach got me from about 25MPW to a 4:24 marathon PR... but it's been really cruddy for helping me train at my 40MPW average now... basically seems to spit out one speed work out per week .... and thats about it.
50 Miles - done
41.6 Miles - done
26.2 Miles - done
...now it's time to get faster.
Whew we have established smart coach is whack. It came up with a funny plan for me a couple years ago maxing at 170 miles a week. Who am I, Dopplebock?
It has been tweaked and improved since then, but it can still produce some strange results. Several years ago Amby Burfoot posted a long explanation of who it was intended for on RW in one of the forums. I think it was the 5K, 10K, HM training forum. It works best for runners training at 20-25 mpw and moving up in their racing distance from 5K. It is usually a disaster for anyone running less than 15 mpw or more than 40 mpw.