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15-Week London Marathon 2016 Training Plan

Monday, January 11th, 2016

The path to London marathon 2016.


Marcothon’s over.

Christmas is a distant memory.

It’s getting cold.

And it’s dawning on you…

That YOU really need to start pounding those pavements…

…training for that goal YOU set last year…

…Doing the London Marathon in 2016

Regretting it?

Fear not my friend.

Help is at hand.

I too have been emerging from my Hogmanay running chrysalis, flapping my wings a bit, realising they’re a bit injured, and trying to crawl back in again.

You’re Not Alone

But there’s only one thing for it, really. Trust me, I know.

Get a plan, teeter on the brink of injury for the next three months, then turn up on 24 April and give it a bit of welly.

In what is THE best running race in the world.

So Here’s my London Marathon 2016 Training Plan

You can download it for free. I hope it helps YOU.

Download This Guy’s Marathon Training Plan

These are The Things I Factored In When Putting it Together (You’ll Have Your Own Foibles…Please Modify Accordingly)

#1: I have a long-standing left Achilles injury. It may lead to me having to reduce my target time/pull out altogether. My programme is low (for my goal) mileage/high intensity.

#2: I am injury-prone (in general). Another reason why my weekly mileage peaks at 61M.

#3: It’s easier training for a marathon with others. But I have a young family too and time with them is paramount. Aside from club runs I tend to head out early in the morning/lunchtime/late at night.

#4: The hardest run of the week is Wednesday lunchtime from early February. This is the one I am dreading.

#5: There are many ways to skin a cat BUT there is no substitute for running at or below Marathon Pace (MP). See Wednesday lunchtime.

#6: Aside from a week off in the new year due to a bust rib, I’ve done a run every day in the lead up to this 15-week block, averaging between 40 and 45 miles a week.

#7: And I’ve been doing more slow/recovery running than usual, to “build a base”.

#8: Life will get in the way of this plan. So will injuries. But I don’t intend to deviate from it too much.

#9: I haven’t included the recoveries (length, whether static or jogged, height gain). Sorry, the plan’s detailed enough as it is. If anyone’s interested, email me.

#10: I’ll be getting a massage every two weeks for the duration of the block.

#11: I have three regular physio appointments booked, for my Achilles. If I get any other niggles, I’ll book more.

#12: Given the fact I don’t have the time to eat like an athlete, I’ve bought myself a Nutribullet. Hopefully this will provide a nutritional shortcut.

#13: I do a short core-conditioning/stretching/rolling programme for 20-30 minutes three nights a week. This is supplemented by an excellent weekly pilates class. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

#14: Mo Farah does 90 per cent of his training off-road. It’s difficult to do this when time is short, nights are long, and you have a day job. But I intend to get as much of my training in on softer surfaces. A realistic target is around 30 per cent.

#15: Daily, I: ice my Achilles; do 20 eccentric heel drops; and have been known to sleep in a foot brace.

#16: I have an understanding wife:O).

#17: I’ve bought the new TomTom Cardio Runner 2 “with tunes”. Running with music is good, occasionally.

#18: I’m only “going long” (20M+) twice in this block. If I didn’t have an Achilles injury/various family-/work commitments I’d be doing five 20+ers.

#19: I’m a great believer in continuous learning/tweaking to get better results. There are two differences I can see in my training for this block compared to previous ones.

  • The Wednesday lunchtime MP session (a variation on the Midweek Long Run I used to do through Kelvingrove and along the canal above Glasgow when training for the VLM 2014). If any Glasgow runners fancy this, message me. Target MP is 6:04 and I’m doing it Clydeside from Pacific Quay.
  • The focus on four blocks (mesocycles as Pfitzinger calls them). This stems from a talk by Robert Hawkins last year. I figure as he trains the two best marathoners in Scotland, there is probably something I can learn from him:O). I’ve completed block one (“Build the Base”, thanks Marcothon). I’m now ready to start on “Get 10K Fit” (note the extra track sessions and races). Then it’s the usual hard slog of in-or-around-MP endurance runs (Robert calls it “Specific Preparation”). Then it’s the “Taper”. I tend to make the taper even harder by fat loading (10 days from two weeks out) and caffeine-fasting (from seven days out). This time round I may even use the Tom Scott Memorial 10-Miler plus add-on run to carb-deplete, supercharging my fat-loading. You can read more about fat-loading here.

Who’s This Plan For?

Every club runner doing a marathon.

It all depends on what your target MP per mile is (and remember to take three seconds off your average pace per mile if you’re trying to hover around a target MP like I do on race day).

And you can just reduce the mileage, put in an extra rest day, cut out a speed session, forget the fat-loading (it is certainly not for everyone).

But the plan’ll probably be best if you’re aiming for a sub-3, particularly sub-2:55 and below.

It’s hard work. There’s a lot of “effort”. And you need to listen to your body (not stick rigidly to a pre-determined plan).

But There is No Better Feeling…

…Than setting yourself a hard-to-achieve goal.

Then going out and seeing all that work pay off.

I’m going to give it all I’ve got: looking forward to getting started.

If you have any questions about the plan or how I approach marathons, please do not hesitate to email me. Or any suggestions for improving my plan? I’m all ears.

Five Other Sub-3 Marathoning Posts

If you’re interested in marathoning, and want to find out how I’ve gone about doing it since starting running three years ago, check out these five posts.

Download That Mara Training Plan