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The 2022 Sub3 thread

  • 09-01-2022 1:56pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭

    As suggested by a couple of posters, the huge megathreads spanning years can be a bit of a behemoth. Likewise, from reading the logs, there’s a lot of discussion on methodologies and training plans based on a sub3 marathon goal, so I figured a thread in the main forum might be a good place for discussion.

    I'm going to throw my hat firmly into the ring for a spring marathon attempt. Connemara is far from ideal given the nature of the course, but that’s the entry I have.

    Regarding training plans, well I’ve never followed a structured plan, so I’m not going to start now. However, 40-50 miles per week is the minimum requirement. 50-60 would be better, but realistically, it won’t happen, so I’ll focus on quality as opposed to quantity.

    15 weeks out from race day, I’ve just done 16 miles with 9 at PMP. Weekend long runs will be up to 20 miles about 12 weeks out from the race. The 20-21 mile run is my key session, and I’ll work up to 14 PMP miles.

    For the time being, I’ll continue on with the club session on Wednesday, despite it being more 5k/10k based. These track sessions helped me develop the speed for 2:49 a number of years ago, and I’d like a shot at a decent 5k race along the way. Another session I use as a performance indicator is the Yasso 800. In and of itself, running 10x800m at 2:5x a rep has very little to do with the marathon, but it’s a good sharpener and has always been a reliable indicator of how realistic the marathon target is.

    My ‘filler’ days are then made up of a 10-12 mile run on Mondays, and a twice weekly 5 mile run home from school with 500 feet elevation gain. In an ideal world, if I could find the time/motivation, a couple of months of 60+ miles per week of easy base building would do wonders, but it’s not going to happen. My theory is that the past couple of years of averaging 150 miles per month has me in decent shape, and the next two months are for sharpening and focusing.

    Looking forward to sharing war stories here with other posters, and hopefully learning from each other.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Delighted to see this. Thanks for setting it up TPP. I'll just tag a few others who I believe are targeting sub 3 incase they miss this;

    @scotindublin @ThebitterLemon @Unknownability @squinn2912

    In terms of my own plans - I'm planning on a sub 3 attempt in Limerick on May 1st. I've been training shorter distances 5k/5M/10k/HM since 2017 and this will be my first crack at the marathon. My shorter times would suggest sub 3 is very manageable but I've read enough race reports and followed enough training logs on here to know that nothing is guaranteed with the marathon. Hence my relatively "modest" target of sub 3 which may not be so modest come race day.

    I've had a good two years in terms of training and mileage and staying relatively injury free. 2650 miles in 2020, 2800 miles in 2021. Generally I was getting in 52-55 mile weeks last year with 7 days running. Only one race in 2021 - 36.22 in Banna 10k with a tough last few km. I was previously coached by E.coli from these parts so theres a very decent base there.

    We recently had a new arrival so thats three kids under the age of 5. That's probably the biggest challenge as sleep has ben impacted. I am managing to get the runs in though.

    My plan started on Dec 30th. I'm following the Daniels 2Q plan and adjusting up the peak mileage. I'm in the middle of week 2 of the plan with my Q2 session planned for later today (weirdly my week is planned Thursday to Wednesday -so I have one big session on Thursday and one on Monday). As i'm only two weeks into the plan I cant say that much about the sessions to date - one with 7 MP miles, two threshold sessions. Daniels plans all feature a big warmup for these so you're running on already fatigued legs. There's a mix of MP sessions, LT sessions, Some speedwork and vanilla long runs. I still have 16 weeks to race day so all those sessions and long runs are ahead of me.

    What attracted me to the Daniels plan was its flexibility. You have a Q1 and Q2 session & a planned mileage for the week dictated by Daniels. Once you do your two sessions then the filler miles are up to you and how you want to get those in. Right now I'm running 6 days a week. There are some weeks in the plan where I will likely bump this to 7 days but i'll see.

    Thanks again for setting this up TPP. Looking forward to hearing everyone's stories.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos

    Add me to list! Perhaps I'm part of the gang already but one swallow doesn't make a summer. I originally wanted to back up a summer sub3 in 2019 (with Hansons Method) but Injury in 2019, 2020, 2021 put paid to any further effort. 2021 was a focus on 10k. I'd love to have joined my sub3 run buddy when he did back it up at DCM19. He had an awful race though and rued the fact that I wasn't healthy for it.

    The thing about climbing a mountain once is that you know you can get there. It's not as scary a goal. I should have learned, however after stumbling on the descent! It won't be 2022 personally but glad to see this thread and will follow with interest.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Like you suggested there shotgunmcos, the psychological barrier of the first sub3 can be a massive hurdle. Away back in April 2008, I ran 3:00:21 off good mileage, but not smart training, in what was my 5th marathon. I focused too much on the time goal to the point that I detested every second of the one and only Berlin marathon I ran.

    When I got the monkey off my back in 2011, I had a different perspective. I train a lot smarter these days, more sustainable in the long term. I know I won’t challenge my fastest two marathons which were total outliers for me, but 2:56 in 2020 Virtual and 3:00 on a tough course in Monaghan in 2021 prove that, for me, decent times are achievable off modest mileage, over a number of years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 581 ✭✭✭FinnC

    Good times are definitely achievable off modest mileage. It wasn’t until I cut back on mileage and added more cross training that I went sub 3. Focusing on quality over quantity as regards running was the silver bullet that helped me more than anything in going sub 3.

    More mileage is not always better…

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos

    I agree. Like TPP I ran 3:00:21 on my 5th marathon, upped the volume and capitulated at Berlin later than year! I abandoned the sub3 quest for 8 years.

    For the actual sub 3 I picked a plan that suited my history as a time constrained triathlete, cumulative fatigue and focus on race effort/pace over the long run. Off a diet of 50 miles a week, 3x16 and 1x18 mile LRs, I not only went sub 3 but enjoyed the whole event.

    Its mad, the psychological difference between 3:00 and 2:58. Perhaps its just the simple fact that one starts with 3 and the other 2. I do believe that some respond to bigger volume plans and others to a more intensive plan. Both have similar risk of breakdown/overtraining/injury and recovery needs. Overall, regardless of what type of plan suits you/you choose, listening to your body and managing the fatigue is as much if not more important than doing the training. I found the S&C, beside the obvious benefits, gave me an opportunity to move and listen to my body in a way that helped me manage niggle for actual running. If nothing else, 15-20 minutes of yoga has a great way of seeking out and ironing out creases.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,831 ✭✭✭squinn2912

    I’d like to hear more about the yoga please? Did you go to classes etc or a YouTube kinda job? I’ve done 2 years of PT S&C and it’s done me more harm than good, at least I’m in no better condition than I was at the beginning

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,831 ✭✭✭squinn2912

    It’s really exciting to be a part of this group!! Thanks for including me. So some of my background in order to contribute. First sub3 attempt was in 2011 and I was very green. Did all my training without a watch at all and did the marathon with a basic Casio stopwatch. So I worked all

    of the miles out by driving routes and checking the clock. For the sub3 attempt in my 3rd marathon which was my 6th race as an adult (i think) I did all the sums in my head. Got to 20 miles at 6:40s and then crumbled; I hadn’t thought of gels or anything except water. Daft. Went out 28 days later and did a 3:12 at my leisure. In 2012 the first sub3 came. It wasn’t due to great training structure as I spent most of the spring with a physio but the last 6 weeks I got some pretty decent sparring in and did my two halves in 1:32 and 1:27. Somehow. The Lord works in mysterious ways. 2 more sub3s came in 2013, 1 in 2014 and 2016 and then 2:54:59 in 2018 DCM and 2:53:xx adjusted time for Belfast 2019 after the fiasco.

    ive Done 1 5km race since in 17:32 which was july 2019 I think.

    im Very proud of the 7 sub3s and I don’t think the story ends there. They’ve come about in all sorts of ways rather than one consistent approach.

    I’ve been on 30 miles per week the last while so I’m hoping to manage that for the next 3/4 with little real pressure or rigid structure, more how I feel and then hit a 12 week programme and give it a lash.

    sorry if that read more like a log and again it’s great to be involved again. I’ll offer up what learning I’ve done and opinions I’ve made if they’re useful for anyone then great!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,181 ✭✭✭healy1835

    This thread went up during the first lockdown and may have been missed by some. A few great reports in there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,831 ✭✭✭squinn2912

    I’m busy reading through your training log at the moment when I get a minute. Great reading! I’m up almost as far as Rotterdam now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,181 ✭✭✭healy1835

    Jesus, you've reached the nadir of my running journey there! Tough day at the office....great spot though, hope to make it back there one day and do justice to the fast course.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,667 ✭✭✭Cartman78

    I've ambitiously followed this thread but in reality I think 2023 might be a more viable option.

    I still have an entry for DCM from 2019 so will hopefully be togging out for that.

    Literally just back my feet following a ~6 week Covid layoff so not aiming too high right now

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos

    Started with classes as my Mum used to be a Yoga instructor. Can say that when I did Pilates/Yoga I felt bullet proof running. No injuries. But then it may have been down to lots of swimming and cycling too or realistically simply 10 years younger 😏

    I know enough Yoga to do 10-20 minutes of sun salutation type rotations myself. I find it easiest these days to switch on Yoga with Adrienne on Youtube, pull out the mat and follow along. She has a 30 days program started for January. She also has a few runner specific yoga sessions that I have bookmarked.

    Apart from that I have a deck of Yoga cards that I got as a present. Each card has 3 movements and my daughter and I often pick one and do it together.

    Its better than static stretching and more fun too. You can download apps to follow along too that others I know use to good effect.

    Thing is you need to switch off distractions, breathe into the movements to relax the muscles and thats where you get the best stretch

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,007 ✭✭✭Lambay island

    Nervously but optimistically lurking at the happenings over here. Good thread to bring back to life. 👍️

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,426 ✭✭✭scotindublin

    Delighted to see the Sub 3 thread going up and glad to hop aboard the bus.

    Had a solid year mileage wise last year and came in at a shade under 2600 miles, a decent increase on 2020.

    Have a couple of marathons under the belt, 3.46 in 2016 when I was part of the Boards Novice Crew and 3.08 in 2019.

    Chicago in October will be the sub 3 tilt.

    Best of luck to all chasing the goal this year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,831 ✭✭✭squinn2912

    Lads do any of you have a strava link for Limerick or Cork marathons? I wanna take a wee study at the elevation. Waterford either if anyone has it please

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,181 ✭✭✭healy1835

    Here's my own entry into the club from Limerick in '18. Don't think the course has changed since?

    Post edited by healy1835 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,831 ✭✭✭squinn2912

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,181 ✭✭✭healy1835

    Fixed that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 489 ✭✭ClashCityRocker Cork marathon - pretty sure this is still valid

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭AuldManKing

    Great to see this going again.

    Done my 1st sub 3 in San Seb using a makey uppy plan with sessions taken from Steve Way (Bournemouth AC training plan) and some good quality long runs.

    On the day - I could have ran faster than 2.58 - but sub 3 ws the aim and didn't want to screw it up in the last few miles. In my mind theres not much difference in 2.28 and 2.56 (although there is indeed a huge difference in 2.52 and 2.53 😉 but that's another story).

    I do think you need to follow a plan and be clear on the priority of the races you do - which are goal races and which dont really matter - then stick to that.

    Following a plan is important as you get a progression of stimulus, an idea of what happens if you miss sessions (you move on) and you are not caught in limbo (like me) when you've constantly changed the plan! (find a plan and stick to it as much as possible while listening to the body).

    I've followed a Jack Daniels 2 Session plan for a 2.52 in Rotterdam and am following a similar route for Seville in Feb '22.

    I'm thinking of using a different approach for a Marathon later in the year - following Daniels you tend to do a lot of the sessions on your own - I'd like to run with my buddies again - so doing 2 midweek sessions with a weekly long run with company may be the road to go for me.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,181 ✭✭✭healy1835

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    I’ve no recollection of any climbs late in the Cork marathon. I ran 2:58 there back in 2014, there were certainly a few hills, but nothing difficult. It’s a good race, as long as weather isn’t too hot.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,831 ✭✭✭squinn2912

    That working ok? That’s my Belfast 2019 run I found it hilly in not ideal places. Limerick and Cork look no better or am I ravin?

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Limerick isn't the worst route in terms of bad hills - apart from mile 25 where there's a bit of a slog near the GAA grounds. Other than that there are some spots with lumps but nothing I'd consider really bad.....Maybe the drag up into O'Connell avenue being the worst other spot but that's short lived.

  • Registered Users Posts: 489 ✭✭ClashCityRocker

    I think they've changed the course since then, 2014 being the last time i ran it too. It looks like you come on to the Model Farm Road via Farranlea Road now as opposed to from Dennehys Cross which would be somewhat of a climb (especially at that stage of a marathon...)

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    I’ve ran Belfast (3:01), Limerick (3:00) and Cork. I wouldn’t return to Belfast for love nor money for a marathon. Cork and Limerick are similar, not a lot of difficulty, but not flat.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,831 ✭✭✭squinn2912

    Jesus you were desperately unlucky with both of those. When did you do Belfast? They did change the route in 2019 I believe

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Belfast was the year it was long, 2019 I think. Yeah, I’ve also got Monaghan, Paris and Eindhoven in 3:00:xx. I’ve more 3:00 and 3:01s than sub 3.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,831 ✭✭✭squinn2912

    Yea I ran that day too. I was like a bull at the finish line. Absolute mess. Was your adjusted time under the 3 though?

    back to the point I was asking you’re in a good position to give me your insight. For me the hill round 17 and 24 aren’t great in Belfast other than that not bad for hills. How would Cork/Limerick compare with that?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,449 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D