Choosing between the Marathon Programs

by Tuomas

Should one pick the program based on heart rate or speed ?

"I'm a bit older runner (40) and started practicing 3 years ago. Now I want to make sure to run sub 3 hours next summer and am thinking whether to choose the 3:00 or the 2:45 programme.

Practicing 6 times a week sounds OK to me. My heart rates in the lower speeds (efforts 1-2) would speak in favor of the 2:45 programme. I can maintain running 4:00 / km at heart rate below 160 for a quite long time (my max heart rate is 190, min heart rate 38). However, running at the speeds of efforts 3-5 in the 2:45 programme is a bit too much for me for any longer times.

Yet I'm afraid that the 3:00 programme is a bit light for me. My target is sub 3 hours not sub 2:45 but I want to be sure I practice hard enough.

In such cases, do you recommend doing the harder (in my case the 2:45) programme maybe based on heart rates and not speeds as I thought, or the lighter (in my case the 3:00) programme, maybe more based on speeds? "

Answer:Hi Tuomas and thanks for the excellent question, that probably applies to many other users as well.

In the cases where you have the choice between heart rate or running by times, meaning - that you are comfortable with both options, I suggest to go by heart rate. This is much more accurate. In that case, it sounds like the 2:45 plan is the way to go - especially as 6 times a week "sounds right to you" and that the lower zones hit the heart rate you point out. Having said that, remember that the plans are parallell planned so you can also go abit back and forth between the 3:00 and 2:45, to test both out.

On the way, do monitor your running times and the races in there will give you clear indicators. But like I've pointed out in previous answers, it is good to either stick to heart rate or times as the "ground" measurement - not going back and forth. It will be inaccurate, as the running times calculated are mostly averages, and not individualized.

Extra point : for the more advanced runners, and those doing the 100 day plan the second time, you may be able to figure out the exact correlation between heart rate and time and switch back + forth between these. But this takes experience and usually a round of testing out the system once first :)

I wish you all the best,


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Picking the marathon schedule

by Kreso
(Zagreb, Croatia)

What plans to choose in the 100 day marathon plan.

"Hello Marius
I ran 3:46 (my 22nd) hot marathon in October 2009 with little milage, should I start the plan for 3:30 or 3:15h marathon? My PB are: 5k - 20:40 , Hm - 1:34 Marathon 3:40. I can run 5 times a week. Seems to me my body responds very well with LT and speed training, much better than high milage. What do you suggest for weekly milage for 3:30 or 3:15 plan, what is optimal for you? Only 2 hard and 2 easy workout per week?
best regards, Kreso"

Answer: Hi Kreso, when picking the schedule when I look at your half marathon times it would be wise for you to go with the 3:15 plan - especially as you want to run 5 times weekly. If you feel this is too hard on the way, then you can just switch to the 3:30 plan on the way. This is a general rule, as the plans are parallell planned you can always switch back and forth between them if you feel one is too hard/too easy on the way.

As for mileage, you canadd in there some extra easy runs if you like (making it 5 or 6 runs total) but the plans are already pretty much consisting of all you need in terms of both easy and hard workouts.

Either way I suggest you do not add any hard workouts though, you'll see the ones I've planned will be plenty enough !

Wish you all the best,

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