A ‘sen­si­ble’ plan from 1979 would be too much for to­day’s run­ner

Runner's World (UK) - - Coach / Training -

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.

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