Starting Volume

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    I checked before purchasing the level 2 HR-based marathon plan, which I’m loving – thank you, that I met the conditions. I was running at least three times a week, including a long run of 8 miles and at least five sets of aerobic exercise a week.
    Nevertheless, right at the start, my running volume has suddenly doubled from around 20 miles a week in maintenance mode, to 40 miles a week having started the plan. I’ve had some achilles tendon niggles already and I’m sure that it’s this sudden increase that has caused this.
    I ran my previous marathon about six weeks ago and was running an average 30 miles a week leading up to that, so I’ve been close to the plan volume quite recently.
    Instinctively, what I feel I should do now is swap out some of the recovery and foundation runs and replace them with non-impact elliptical sessions for the same duration and in the same HR zones. This will take my amount of impacting road running back down closer to what I was doing before I started the plan. Once I’m feeling less sore, I can then follow the traditional 10% rule of increase, and phase the elliptical sessions out gradually, so my road mileage comes up by no more than 10% each week, until it’s eventually all running again. And even then, there’s always the option of tuning the mix if I feel I need to.
    Does this seem like a sensible response? Apologies if this is already a well documented question.


    I would consider switching to Level 1, which you can do for free. Moving from running 3 days a week to 6 days a week I found a big jump.

    Leyla Porteous

    I would say what you are feeling is due to having run a marathon 6 weeks ago and perhaps not having enough recovery before returning to training. I would recommend replacing some of your runs with non-impact cross training as you mentioned, and you can that by following the same effort and duration. I would also suggest reducing your plan to Level 1, so that the plan itself has this reduced volume, you can always switch back up at later stage, if you are new to 80/20 plans you will find our plans have higher volume, so a Level 1 sounds more appropriate for you right now. This will reduce your risks of over use injuries popping up again.

    Coach Leyla


    Hi Leyla

    Thank you for both suggestions. I feel as though since I posted I’ve been adapting better to the increased volume and, because I’ve been diligent about warm up, cool down, and stretching, and keeping the HR zone one and two sections as slow as possible, my symptoms are now only occasional and mild. I’ll definitely be replacing some runs with equivalent non-impact sessions, and give serious consideration to reducing to the level 1 plan for a time.

    All The Best


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