Train Smarter Not Longer

So it’s London Marathon ballot results week again and as usual a lot of commiserations mags have been hitting doorsteps.




All week i’ve been reading a lot of posts on social media about how unfair the system is. Whether that is true or not is above both my pay grade and level of intelligence, however talking to a friend who was unsuccessful I mentioned that he try for a good for age time, He replied

We can’t all train as much as you!

This got me thinking, do people think that to achieve a goal such as good for age that they have to train twice a day 7 days a week?

Now don’t get me wrong im not for one moment suggesting that everyone is capable of hitting a good for age time,there are factors that could and do stop people hitting them but MOST runners could if they trained smarter!

I know some runners that train far more than most (one has hit 2500 miles this year already!) yet have had no real progress at any distance they have raced.

While I get not everyone runs for times, i also get that deep down if someone said they could take 5 mins of your PB you would take it (I know i would!) .

The problem with some runners is that they train at the same pace all the time,train too much or simply hit too many marathons a year and don’t recover enough between efforts and as such stay in the spiral of not hitting their target, so they train more,don’t recover and so on goes the struggle.

Back to my mate’s comment………..I very rarely train more than 5 days a week and when i ran my sub three marathon it was based on an average of 30 miles a week over 15 weeks,I got ill and had to be really smart with my training .(I had been running for a few years and it wasn’t my first marathon).

What training should look like

  • Long runs should be EASY!!! 60 seconds per mile slower than Marathon pace is a good starting point.
  • speed sessions UNDER marathon pace, ( 5 mile repeats 30 seconds quicker than MP with two minutes recovery is a great session) As is getting down to your local parkrun and having a good old blowout!
  • Marathon paced tempo runs, should be in your arsenal get used to running that pace and make it feel comfy!,a good start is 4 miles at goal marathon pace in the middle of a 6 mile steady run.
  • Recovery runs, these should be easy as well, a run where you are panting and struggling to talk is not a recovery session! On a Recovery run you can hold a full conversation.


A normal week for someone who runs five days should look a little like this

One long run

Two specific sessions (Tempo run,hills,track workout etc)

Two easy recovery runs

Your aim should always to be nice and fresh hitting the two sessions a week rather than hitting every run at the same pace,If you don’t you are not really going to improve or recover enough on any run. More does not always equal better!

It may take you 12 whole months to get closer to your GFA time but stop looking at them as impossible targets,train smarter and make then an achievable Target!


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