Plan and Marathon finishing time

by Arsénio Reis
(Vila Real, Portugal)

The 100 day plan, adjustments and adding runs.

"Dear Marius,

I'm using you Plan for the Porto marathon in November and I'm enjoying it. Great work. It's a pleasure to run by the plan.
I'm posting some questions. Excuse my ignorance, but I'm really new to running.

Some facts
I'm 42y, MHR 190; 1.80;72kg; start running last Feb; first and only half marathon in May (1:57). I'm on the 3:30 plan and just run the 5k race today. Will run a half-marathon on Oct 5.

1. I ran the 5k always above 185 bpm HR (very hard for me). The time was 22:23, which by the calculator gives a marathon time of 3:48. Can I expect to reach the 3:30 in November?

2. I train by HR, and up to now I've no problem running the sessions and I feel fine. In fact, I think I can train 5 times a week. Should I use the 3:15 plan (even though I will not make the 3:15) to have a 5 sessions plan? How much will I benefit from using the 3:15 plan?

3. On the 5k run, I ran 12,5 track lengths (my first time ever on a track). Is this a 5k race?

4. I have free access to a top notch gymnasium and personal trainer. At this stage, would it be beneficial to go through a personal program for running (plyometrics and other stuff)?

Thanks and congratulations for your work,
Arsénio Reis"

Answer: Hi Arsénio and thanks for your questions.

First of all, congratulations with the improvement since May, your 5k shows you are on the right track.

In your case I would stick to the 3:30 finishing time plan and if you find the half marathon race planned down the schedule to predict your marathon time to a little slower (say 3:45) then you want to pace yourself according to that. This is crucial. You can still improve quite a bit until November.

As for adding runs, instead of switching to the 3:15 plan for that, instead add in the 1-2 very easy runs of 45-60 minutes if you have time (and control over injuries) to do that. That will certainly just be positive, if you like some more mileage and workouts.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "track lengths" - it varies from one track to another in either case. Around it is always 400 meters, a regular track, but the long stretch can vary from one track to the other. Ask one of the local runners there and they may be able to help you out.

As for plyometrics etc, since you are fairly new to running, wait with this until your second marathon. Focus on the 100 day plan for this first one and then consider adding things like that later. They are in either case secondary and not as important as the running itself.

I wish you all the best with your training, Portugal has been one of my favorite countries to train in - so you sure have nice running conditions there.

all the best,

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