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London Marathon 2014 Training Plan

I ran a nice half marathon in the SUN shine this morning - yes, SUN! Wow, that was a real treat after the last few weeks/months!

I ran a decent pace, not fast but not slow, running an average of 8:16 min/miles, which equates to a full marathon time of 3:37, which is a good solid time. (this link should take you to my run on Strava - sorry if you can’t see it, maybe only people who are registered on Strava can see it???)

My prep for London Marathon 2014 is going well. I am experimenting with LOW-volume training, favouring cross-training and a general ‘quality over quantity’ approach to my preparation for a good run in London on April 13th, because I believe most endurance athletes over train and arrive at the START line in a depleted state, which is obviously going to deliver a sub-optimal performance on race day.  Half mara feb 14

So I am training for LM14 based on 2 runs per week, just 11 weeks total prep, and the last week will be ALL taper (taper = read “rest”). So yes, I am basically planning to run twice weekly for 10 weeks, a total of JUST 20 training runs, to prep for a solid sub-4-hour marathon. Remember, I’m 43 years of age, I spent 20 years overweight, smoking, and not doing much exercise, I am not a club runner and I have not run much in the last 2 years since I had knee surgery. So a sub-4 will be a good performance.

I am keeping extensive notes myself, and after the event, when I have shown one way or the other how it worked out, I will write up a short e-book for anyone interested explaining how I designed my training plan and fuelling and how it all worked out on the big day.

I’m just running twice each week - once for speed, once for stamina, that’s it. My training only exceeds 20 miles total per week for the peak 3 weeks of training respectively 5, 4 and 3 weeks out, and then the event week itself. If you Google search for recommended marathon training plans for running sub-4 or sub-3:30 marathons, the typical plan has athletes out running 40 or 50 miles per week and more, every week for months prior to the event.

I think a lot (not all - high mileage suits some people) of athletes exhaust their reserves with these high demand training plans, and then they don’t taper enough at the end (they think they will ‘lose’ their fitness, so they train right up to 4 days out) and they may feel OK, but I think they stand on the start line partly-exhausted.

I’ve put in some of my best ever paced runs and hard bike rides on FRESH legs, legs that have tapered for a fortnight or done virtually no running for 8 to 10 days before a big event.

[As an aside, I ran my first marathon (Barcelona 2010) after 12 weeks OFF training - because I fractured my tibia and it was still healing - and I just had 1 run, a 5-miler 5 days before the event, and that was it, I showed up and ran it, and still nailed it in sub-4:30! So fresh legs can be good!]

So I have a theory that most athletes over train in prep, and don’t cross train enough, and they don’t taper enough - and regular followers of this page will know I also favour low-carb fuelling too. I will press on with this plan to LM14 in April, and then let you all know how it goes on the day!


You regular runners - any thoughts on this?
What distances are you running every week?
Do you “season” on and off?
Do you cross train regularly to avoid muscular imbalances and reduce likelihood of injuries?

If you are interested, here is my previous post on fuel for endurance sport:

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Emma stoney #

    Sounds interesting. I also am training for London. I ran the Lochaber marathon last spring and having trained very hard (at least 4 runs if not 5 a week) I nailed my sub 3.30 (3.22) but admittedly felt tired and actually quite fed up with running! This time around I am mixing my training up with a long ride on my road bike each week and some swimming. This leaves time for 3 runs. 1 tempo, 1 interval and one long run. I hope to break 3.15 this time. We will see what this different approach to training brings! I would be interested to hear how you fuel for your long runs and what you intend to use on race day (gels etc)

    February 16, 2022
    • Hey Emma!
      Good to hear from you. 3.22 is great, well done. My PB is 3:14, that was in Copenhagen in 2011, and I felt great! But I am 3 years older now, and post-knee-surgery, so happy to run about 3:40 to 3:50 in London, and enjoy the ‘spectacle’ and scenery of our glorious capital.
      Bike is great cross-training, well done you!

      Here is my thoughts on fuel -
      So I don’t use gels at all…might carry 1 or an alternative ‘snack’ for long runs, if I think it’s going over 5 hours, but otherwise I just run on fat reserves.
      What do you think?

      February 16, 2022
  2. iv really enjoyed your posts! id love it if you followed my running journey

    February 16, 2022
    • Hi run100run - thanks, I just checked out your site…nice! I tried to follow it and WP reported an error…I will try again later.
      Great job, keep on running!

      February 17, 2022

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