Monday, January 04, 2010

Runners World Smart Coach

Apart from when I ran the London Marathon I have never followed a running schedule. There's an omission but I have always seen a timetable as something that will tie me down and doom me to inevitable failure.

There was one other time I tried a running schedule and that was last summer and soon afterwards I was injured with sciatica and then a broken rib. So with mixed feelings and no experience of choosing race schedules I am going to give the Runners World Smart Coach a try.

Looking at the Runners World website the forum comments on the Smart Coach are very mixed. Certainly those from the earliest days of the smart coach in around 2007 were quite dismissive and pointed out some strange paces and distances to be run just before the race you were planning to do. However more recently comments seem to be more positive and generally are moaning more about the overall look and feel of the Runners World site.  I generally have to agree with the sentiments that the previous version of the Runners World website looked better.

That aside how do you use the on line Runners World Smart Coach? You are asked to fill in some information on a recent race time, a distance you are training for , how hard you want to train and the length of the schedule. Simple and up pops a schedule to follow. I chose to down load mine into Word so I could adapt some of the training to fit around days I know I can't run.

And of course because it is always easier on paper (then doing the actual running) I chose the hard option rather than moderate. The hard option means your mileage increases by about 15% per week though pace only moderately.  The very hard option is also a 15% increase in mileage but your pace also increases dramatically. Whilst I would like my pace to increase dramatically I only really have one pace so this option was a non starter.

To be honest  the moderate option would have been the best seeing a 10% increase in mileage which probably leads to less liklihood of injury.

Any way the combination of  it being anew year, having a race schedule to work to and my renewed interest in keeping a diary on this blog should hopefuly provide the motivation to try and see this schedule through. I fully expect to have to miss some sessions after all it is winter and if injury doesn't get me a cold might.

Based on my last half marathon time which was a 1.45.37 time  much of the pace of my training schedule is set for around 9.09 to 9.20 miling. The tempo runs between 7 and 7.54 miles. The long runs increase from 10 to 14 miles and the number of days running from 5-6 leading to the peak training week being 51 miles.

Being as I haven't run this much in a few years this is going to be a challenge. An 11 week challenge - 77 days but Day 1 as you would expect was reasonable and required a 5 mile run at an easy pace.

The 11 weeks completes for me with a half marathon hopefully the Joe Cox Half Marathon at Stowmarket and I would like to also amend the schedule so as to do a 10k race.


  1. I used the RUnners WOrld Smart Coach last year and it was pretty good. I was training for a half marathon which I did not get to. THings came up. I plan to try that again this year however. As far as the smart coach went for me, I stuck by it, and threw in cross training as well. I never felt any better after the 5th week. I felt 3 times better and confident. My advise, since I have tried it, is for you to give it a try as well. Remember, you can always revise, and just use it for a guideline.

  2. Thanks Kenley much appreciate your thoughts on this as someone with no experience of following schedules. Particular like the idea of boosting my confidence which was shattered when I walked for the first time in a race last year.


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