Friday 23 October 2009


I asked Younger Legs masters coach Pete Magill why he thought my race performances were going backwards this summer, his answer not only told me why I was getting slower but how to get faster again!
Pete says; 3 hard workouts a week is absolutely insane for someone our age (I'm 48 too). I wouldn't last a month doing that. And I doubt you'd see any improvement, even in the first weeks. One hard workout, one long easy-paced run, and one less-hard workout combined with as much volume as your legs can comfortably handle is the best plan for our age. Also, we don't respond well to the excessively long tempo or the tempo runs tagged onto the end (or in the middle of) our long runs the way some younger athletes do.

One of my masters athletes who I'm currently training for the marathon called me before his half-Marathon 2 weeks ago. He was panicked because his friends told him I hadn't been training him hard enough - not enough distance and not enough long tempo, etc. I calmed him down. And he ended up running his half-marathon PR ... by 11 minutes.
Be smart. Be sensible. And good luck!!! Pete

Straight away I thought to my training for the London marathon at the start of the year.
My training in Jan and Feb was not going well, I was doing 3 hard sessions a week, at the start of March two of my friends told my they were following a Runners World training programme, THEY SEEMED TO BE RUNNING WELL SO i THOUGHT I'D GIVE IT A TRY, THE PROGRAMME WAS JUST LIKE PETE RECOMMENDS,
After 3 weeks I ran a 20 mile race and flew round running 2.05, only a few seconds off my 2004 p.b. I kept getting stronger right through April and had a very good London running just a minute and a few seconds off my time of 10 years ago.
I checked through my old training logs and found a period at the end of 2007 when I was running really well, 58.30 in a 10 mile race on a cold Nov day, a p.b. in a 8.5 hill race and lots of high placings in trail races. Again the training I had been doing had just two hard days a week and followed Pete's recommendations! This period of good running came to an end when I increased my training to 3 hard days!
So there you have it, Pete is right, I have the proof right here in my training logs!
I'm going to follow Pete's plan up to Christmas and see how it goes.
If you read in this blog that I've increased to 3 hard runs a week please remind me I'm training to go slow!


bricey said...

3 'tough' sessions a week rather than 3 'hard' sessions sounds about right to me... but, I like to take it easy!! :)

I'm planning on sticking to the runners world 10-mile programme for the next couple of months so hopefully I'll also see some good returns!!



Ewen said...

I'll remind you Rick!

So if there's a race, that would be one hard/tough session and a race?