London Marathon 2017 training — ‘Fundamental’ phase summary

The ‘Fundamental’ phase of my training plan is roughly analogous to a conventional ‘Base’ training period, but deviates in that it also includes fast running and the long runs are quicker than the usual ‘long slow run’. You can see the plan for the Fundamental phase in another post.

This phase covered the eight weeks from 23 to 16 weeks before race day, and more or less went to plan.

Long runs

I built up to the point where I was able to run for three hours at a pace quicker than 80% off marathon pace (MP). I did this twice, managing around 23 miles at 8'/mile. I also went for an ‘off-plan’ over-distance long run on the Friday before Christmas, by running the length of the Isle of Wight. This was roughly equivalent to a 4:40' off-road marathon with a decent amount of climbing.

It would have been nice to get a third three hour run in, but I’m still pleased with how my long runs went as this is more volume, at a higher pace, than I have managed in other marathon build ups.

Hill sprints

I’ve struggled to get these in. They’re important, as they’re fantastic strength sessions, but for whatever reason I find them difficult to schedule in. I’ve been trying to do them in the evening, but may have to get up a bit earlier one morning and do them then. If there were some hills near the office in Portsmouth then it would be easy, but there aren’t.


Other than a dip in the last two weeks of the phase (thanks to Christmas and New Year, plus having to ease back after banging my knee during the Abominable Snowman), my mileage was pretty good. As always, it could be higher, but I don’t want to risk over-training or injury.

Southampton AC Tuesday night track sessions

I only managed to get to three of the seven sessions during this period, which is rubbish.

Southampton AC Thursday night hill sessions

I got to three of these sessions and they went well.


The Hampshire Cross Country League race in Popham was a good, hard run, but showed my lack of fitness.

In comparison, I felt a lot stronger three weeks later, and was able to maintain a hard effort at the Abominable Snowman.


I managed one squats strength session a week for the first six weeks. I was unable to get to the gym when I was off work, but had planned to de-emphasise the heavy lifting by this point anyway.

I also managed to get a bodyweight, core session in (done at home) once a week. This was good, but twice a week would be better.


I’m still too heavy, so have given up chocolate.


I didn’t quite achieve everything I wanted, but I didn’t do too badly. I’m pleased with my aerobic strength, but it is definitely time to shift to some proper lactate/aerobic threshold work.

Hopefully I can get over this bruised knee (why does there have to be an injury every time I train for a marathon?!) quickly, without too much disruption.

Here is how the number of runs, minutes spent training, miles run, weekly averages, and average pace for the past eight weeks look compared to the same period in the build up to my two previous marathons:

London 2017

  • 44 runs, 2,653'30 / 314.35 mi.
  • Averaging 5.5 runs, 331'45 / 39.29 mi.
  • Pace 8'27/mi.

Sevilla 2015 (2:59')

  • 41 runs, 2,170'30 / 251.35 mi.
  • Averaging 5.1 runs, 271'15 / 31.42 mi.
  • Pace 8'38/mi.

London 2013 (3:06')

  • 42 runs, 2,829'45 / 328.20 mi.
  • Averaging 5.3 runs, 353'45 / 41.03 mi.
  • Pace 8'37/mi.

In terms of total volume, London 2013 was slightly better, but the pace was slower. I certainly had not done any three hour runs at 8'/mi pace.

So, I reckon I’m either equal to, or slightly ahead of where I’ve been before, which I’ve got to take confidence from (even if my bruised knee has also dented my confidence).

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