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 Marathon Training, World's Best Female Marathon Runners
Tony Wilson
Posted: Jul 17 2011, 02:31 PM


Group: Admin
Posts: 305
Member No.: 1
Joined: 20-July 05

Check here
Womens Marathon Training
for the complete article (includes data missing below)

An examination of the some of the world's best female marathon runners' - Lorraine Moller, Grete Waitz, Joan Benoit, Rosa Mota, Uta Pippig, Ingrid Kristiansen, Priscilla Welch, Sonia O'Sullivan and Linda Somers Smith - base training (see outlines below) provides insight into how one may develop a sensible training plan for the marathon.
Common patterns within their training plans
- all included some type of tempo run / fartlek
- all included a weekly very long run (exception Rosa who did a faster 90 min run). so a constant menu of medium distance runs to make up the miles was was not standard.
- all included a weekly medium long run
- all included a repetition session (usually one) - Priscilla added hers in a later training phase
- long repetitions (miles / 1kms) seemed to be preferred to short repeats
- there was a lack of the super session normally associated with track runners. training was controlled
- a few included weekly strides (Uta, Ingrid, Priscilla, Sonia)
- the top woman did a little less volume than the top men. 100 - 110 miles was about the average a couple did more and a couple did fewer
- the vast majority or training runs were a 40 to 60 mins. most of Joan's 6-13 miles runs were likely 10 miles if you do the maths.
- they all doubled many times (exception Linda (49 years of age)) as a preference to long single daily long runs
- according to "Running With Legends", Lorraine (though influenced by Lydiard) did not do the classic Lydiard 100 mile plan
- apart from tempo runs, few runs were under 10 km
- the older runners who have been in the sport for many years got by with less training (Linda, Lorraine)
- there was a lack of designated hill sessions (no doubt covered in hilly runs)
- former track runners were more inclined to include track sessions and easy recovery days, and do less total mileage under 100 miles (Lorraine, Grete (according to "Lore of Running"), Sonia, Linda)
- those who only specialised in the marathon (eg Rosa, Joan, Uta) ran more miles (around 120) and had more focus on overall faster steady longer running. Uta and Ingrid used more of a hard/easy approach.
- some cross training (Ingrid with CC skiing), Lorraine. Priscilla (swimming / water running) and Linda (cycling)

Sources of the training plans are from an excellent book - Running With Legends by Michael Sandrock, Irish Runner Magazine (Sonia O'Sullivan) and runningtimes.com (Linda Somers Smith).

Below are the training plans of the stars followed by generic training plans incorporating the ideas within this article.

  A standard weekly training plan incorporating training ideas of these elite athletes may look something like this.
  am pm
Mon 10 km easy 14 km easy
Tues 10 km easy Reps (eg 5 x 1 mile (rec 2 mins) or 12 x 400 (rec 60 sec)) 14 km total
Wed 10 km easy 14 km easy (including strides)
Thur 23 km good pace  
Fri 10 km easy 10 km easy

Warm up, hard effort (5 to 12 km) (eg hilly run or tempo run or 2 x 15 mins) or race, warm down
16 km total

Sun 28-32 km easy  
A plan, with the same principles, for a serious club runner who may only be be able to run 100 km (60 miles) per week may be
Mon 12 km easy
Tues Reps (eg 5 x 1000 (90 sec) or 8 x 400 (60 sec)), 12 km total distance
Wed 15 km easy (including strides)
Thur 18 km good pace
Fri 10 km easy
Sat Hilly or Tempo Run (30 mins) 12 km total distance
Sun 20-25 km easy
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