London Marathon Training- here we go!

My 20 week Marathon Training started a coupl of weeks ago with a 6 mile run at 7min/mile pace. I found this run really hard, mainly due to a busy weekend of cycling and running and playing with my 2 boys!! 

Thankfully I was back on track for the remainder of the week’s training and felt much better by Tuesday.








6miles   @ 7min/mile

3×1   mile efforts @5:48/mile

5.5miles   @ 7min/mile

9miles   @ 7:11/mile

4.5miles@   7min/mile

Running   Rest – 16miles cycling

2miles@7.5min/mile   – race 10miles @ 6:15/mile – 2miles @ 8min/mile


In terms of marathon training, the 10 mile race on Sunday was a little too hard too soon but it definitely gave me confidence that I can run fast and maintain a good speed. My race pacing was not the best, I completed my first mile in 5:55 which is way too quick for me. I always start quite quick but need to learn to hold back and run more evenly. My miles ended ranged from 5:55 to 6:19, giving me an average of 6:15/mile. I’m really pleased with that, as I was planning to make 6:15/mile over a longer distance my New Years Resolution for 2014!! I may have to reconsider my NYR!


The race took place in Peterborough, 2 laps of a 5 mile flat course through a housing estate and woods. I was behind the leading lady in the first mile and much too close to her for my ability. I knew I was going too fast as she can run under 6min/mile over long distances (and I really can’t!!!!!). I tried not to panic when I saw 5:55/mile on my watch and focussed instead on keeping a good pace and not worrying that my fast 1st mile might affect me later in the race. I ran with a small group of men and we maintained around 6:15/mile for the first lap. I knew I was second lady for the first 5 miles but it wasn’t until I hit a bend and saw the 3rd lady just behind me that I realised how close I was to 3rd position. I decided at 5miles that I would start to make the next few miles count. I didn’t want to waste the speed from the first few miles by letting her overtake me 3 miles from the end! And I wanted to avoid the gut wrenching sprint finish. So I upped my pace and gradually pushed away from her. The next time I hit the bend, where I had previously seen her she was no longer there. At that point I knew I had run a good race, I had speeded up in the second half and avoided the sprint finish, I knuckled down in the last half a mile and got my time to 62:39 which was around 4mins quicker than last year.


My thought process throughout the race was, relax, you’re second, keep up the cadence and enjoy. I had my imaginary friend next to me and thought about what I would say to motivate her (its crazy but it helps keep me motivated!!).


A great race and a great confidence booster for my winter marathon training. My week ahead is as follows:-













8/9   hills @ 5/10k pace


Running   Rest – 16miles cycle

8miles   – 5miles cross country race with 3miles warm up/cool down


I have found the found article on Advanced Progressive Fast-Finish Long Run and will try and incorporate it into my training as I get nearer to the Marathon to try and teach my legs to keep up a good pace throughout the whole race.


Advanced Progressive Fast-Finish Long Run

The fast-finish long run is a great weapon to have in your marathon toolbox. However, if you’ve been training a long time and need that extra push, you need to increase the stimulus and take this long run to the next level.

That’s where the progressive long run comes in. For this example, we’ll use a distance of 22 miles.

  • The 22-mile progressive,      fast-finish long run starts with 3 miles at an easy pace. This gets your      body warmed up and your blood pumping.
  • From miles 4 through 12 (8      miles) you’ll target a pace that is 5 percent slower than goal marathon      pace. For those of you who struggle with math like I do, that’s about 15      seconds slower than goal marathon pace. Not quite hard, but still      challenging.
  • Miles 12 to 18 should be run      at marathon pace. Not only is this good practice to help you lock onto      marathon pace as your legs are getting tired, but you’re starting to teach      your body to burn fat as your glycogen stores deplete and you have to      continue to run at a moderate effort.
  • Now comes the hard part.      Miles 18 to 22 (4 miles) should be run at 3 to 5 percent faster than      marathon pace. Three percent is about 10 seconds per mile faster than goal      pace, which will be very difficult. Again, you’ll be low on glycogen and      training yourself to mentally and physically push when you’re tired.
  • Finish off the run with 10      minutes of easy jogging to let the blood flush out of your system and act      as a light cool down.

More: What’s the Best Pace for Long Runs

Teach Your Body To Use Fat as a Fuel Source

One of the most important determinants of marathon success is how efficiently your body can use fat as a fuel source as opposed to carbohydrates.

Since your body can only store about two hours worth of glycogen when running at marathon pace, the more readily you can burn fat at marathon pace, the longer your glycogen stores will last—providing crucial energy for the last 10K of the race.

When running slow and easy, your body can use fat as its primary fuel source. However, the faster you try to run, the more you rely on glycogen. Luckily, this can also be trained and improved with the right mix of workouts.

Here is a marathon-specific long run that will teach you to do just that.

Surge Long Run For Beginners

The surge long run injects a series of short, 60-second to 2-minute surges into your long run to help burn through your available glycogen. By surging repeatedly, your muscles scream for glycogen and begin to run low quickly. When this happens, your body has to learn to conserve the remaining glycogen and become more efficient at burning fat.

An example long run surge workout might be: 16-mile long run with 6 x 90 second surges at 5K pace and five minutes at a normal, easy pace between surges. Start the surges at mile 11.

Surges should begin about two-thirds of the way through the intended long run distance and end when you’ve completed 75 to 90 percent of the run.

The length of the surge itself, the pace, the rest in-between the interval, and the starting point of the surge during the run are all variables that you can adjust to make the workout harder or easier.

Typically, I start most runners out with 4 x 1 minute surges with five minutes normal pace (normal being your average long run pace) between each. For more seasoned runners you may progress to six 2-minute surges with 3 to 4 minutes at an easy pace.

More: 7 Running Experts on Effective Long-Run Training

Surges With a Twist

Sure the surge long runs are great, but to make this even more marathon specific, we can incorporate some of the principles we know about lactate clearance to not only train the body to clear and reconvert lactate quickly, but to also trigger high levels of glycogen depletion and further improve your ability to burn fat as a fuel source at marathon pace.

Like the regular surge long run, the workout is structured around a series of 60- to 90-second surges. However, instead of running easy between the surges, you will run marathon pace as your “rest”. The surges should be between 10K and half marathon pace and the “rest” will be 4 to 5 minutes, depending on your ability level.

An example workout would be: 22-mile long run with 8 x 90 second surges at 10K pace with four minutes at marathon pace between, starting at mile 10. Finish the run at an easy pace.

Surging at 10K pace will burn through more glycogen than running at a moderate, marathon-paced effort. As you slow back down to marathon pace, your body realizes it must conserve glycogen for these 60 to 90 second bursts. At this point, your body will attempt to use fat as a primary fuel source.

More: 2 Workouts to Make Marathon Pace Feel Easier

How Often Should You Do These Long Runs?

I don’t recommend doing these harder long runs every week. That would be too taxing on the body. I advocate including these hard long runs every other week, with a shorter run in between, starting about 12 weeks out from your race.

Implement these marathon-specific long runs into your training plan and I guarantee you’ll bust through that plateau.

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