* Please note that the time trial is self timed so you will need a watch or phone with a timer to track your progress over the weeks. We will shout out your time as you cross the finish so if you don't have a watch all is not lost.
Originally published in The Trotter February 2013
To demonstrate that, having taken plenty of advice, we all still need to navigate our own pathways through training for distance, veteran runner Noel gives us the benefit of his experience.What follows is a description of the sort of preparation I did when I was aiming to compete in a marathon (or further); that is, to improve my PB or set a particular time, as opposed to running for the satisfaction of completing the course.
Weekly total mileage:
I found that I needed to have a daily average roughly one third of the distance that I wanted to compete over and hold that average for 4 to 5 weeks. So for a marathon approx. 27 miles, one third is 9 miles so my weekly total needed to be 63 miles (7 x 9).
I would run the following:
I would make up the rest of the weekly mileage with steady 8 to 1 0 mile runs (30 to 60 secs slower than race pace) often with other people.
Finally, I would always try to have a rest day each week although that might be doing core strengthening in the gym instead. This was often Friday and would be followed by the time-trial on Saturday, long run on Sunday and 1 0 miles with my club on Monday.
A typical 8-week preparation for competing would consist of 5 weeks using this pattern, having built up the mileage in the previous 4 weeks if I was a long way below 60 miles per week. I once peaked at over 1 00 miles in one week, 4 weeks before the competition. The final 4 weeks should be tapering, for example 50, 40, 30 and 20 miles per week with very light sessions in the week prior to competition. I kept the quality sessions in all the way through with the final time trail 8 days before and the final intervals 3 or 4 days before.
Once you get to a certain level of fitness, 90% of success in long distance running is about the mental preparation.