RW'S FIRST MARATHON TRAINING PLAN
A ‘sensible’ plan from 1979 would be too much for today’s runner
To mark its 50th anniversary, Runner’s World US looked back through the archives to find the first marathon-training plan RW ever published. It was in the March 1979 issue: A Sensible Schedule for Running Marathons.
The 12-week plan involved running for time at least six days a week. It began by alternating 25- and 50-minute runs, and a 1:10 long run, in week 1, and peaked two weeks before the race with three 40-minute runs, two 1:30 runs and a 2:30 long run.
The kicker? We said, ‘Training pace should be similar to your marathon – but easier, naturally, because you aren't running as far.’ That's fine if you're aiming to complete a marathon by maintaining a comfortable pace, but ‘just finish’ was an uncommon goal in that competitive era. We now know that always running at the same, challenging pace is a recipe for boredom and stagnation at best, and exhaustion and injury at worst. Oops.