So I used the foundation training program in the book to train for the Hobart Cadbury Marathon, which I completed in a time of 3:06:53. Overall, I was pretty happy with the result, although I was hoping to get under 3 hours for my first marathon, the time is good enough for me to qualify for Boston.

I didn't follow my game plan of running with the 3 hour pacer, as I felt really strong in the first half, clocking the first 21.1km's in 1:27:45, but I faded from about the 23km mark. If I had stuck with the pacer, I maybe would have come in under 3 hours, although the course was fairly hilly, with a couple of decent hills involved.

But now I'm looking forward to the next race, Gold Coast Marathon, in 21 weeks time. This is a flat course, and going under 3 hours is definitely on the cards. I would even like to get into the 2:40's, even if it was a 2:49 for this coming race.

So my question is, what program do I use? Do the foundation program again, a custom made program, or something different? I'm prepared to sell out to the goal, and would do two runs a day if required by a program.

What will get me to where I want to go?

Looking forward to your replies.






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Wow Fantastic well done Shayne,

Can I ask how long did you specifically train for this event ? was this all foundation program ?

I will run my first Marathon on the 31st may this year, so around 20 weeks, I run regularly and have completed 14 half marathons. I have read Eric's book three times now on e-book and bought a paper back copy to reference, Also started slant board a couple of weeks ago. I would be really interested to hear your views and experiences.


Hi Frank

I used the 20 week foundation program in the book as my marathon program, as it seemed to have a built in taper for race day on day 6 or 7 of week 8, Phase 2. I started the stability (slant board) and core work outs in week 6, but should have started them in week 1.

The program itself was great. I was running 6 days a week, and always did the maximum workouts i.e. when a run was 20-40 minutes, I did the 40 minutes. I've always been pretty fit and active, but I've always done team sports, like soccer, touch rugby and ultimate frisbee. I've done one competitive half, which was a trail run, in 1:32:30 just under a year ago now.

I would definitely recommend the foundation program. It really suited my personality of micro managing each workout.

What I will change for the next program is practicing carbo loading the day before my long runs. It was hard work eating so much the day before the big race, and definitely is something that needs to be practiced.

If you have any other specific questions, fire away:)

Hi Shane,

Thank you for the reply, that's cool you have convinced me to adopt this, I will start tonight. Like you I'm reasonably fit, I get in three runs a week between 6 and 13 miles with a minimum time of 45 mins also play 5-a side football.

I'm sure as I get into it the questions will come LOL, what do you think of the slant board ?, I thought my legs were not too bad, I've been running in zero drop shoes for over a year/ The slant board defiantly shows you a work out and the foot/leg you though was the strongest is not....

Thanks for the carb advice, I've been practising eating and drinking on my 13 mile runs, some bars and dates.


Best regards


Hey Frank

I"ve been wearing minimalist/zero drop shoes for 3 years now, with my current shoes New Balance Minimus Zero's. I love these shoes, and would definitely recommend them. The wide toe box is a great fit for my feet.

I think if you are wearing minimalist shoes, then the slant board and stability exercises are a must. You'll definitely need that added strength at mile 25:)

I was surprised by my lack of foot strength after a couple of years in minimalist shoes, but the occasional plantar fasciitis and knee issue have completely disappeared due to the strength and stability work. Essentially, the stronger your core and supporting muscles/tendons, the less likely you'll have a running related injury. Going 20 weeks injury free in a training program would have impossible for me without these exercises. In the past 2 years I have suffered several injuries while out running (calf strain, runner's knee, plantar fasciitis and hamstring issues), but became injury free when I stepped up my running volume and added in the strength and stability work.

As for food, I've been using Science in Sport gels, as they don't require water to wash them down, and are the closest I've found to 100% complex carbs. I try and avoid the sugar rush that most gels deliver.

I would also recommend doing the 21 day sugar free challenge as well, to break any nasty sugar addictions that you may have. Once I was fat adaptive I was fine, but it's a long road to kick the sugar habit, and having my marathon just after the Xmas holidays meant that I probably didn't go into my race as lean as I wanted to (what can I say, the trifle I made for Xmas day dessert was amazing:)  

Shayne, I'm blown away by your time congratulations on your success. My CI for this year is to run a 3hr marathon this year, either in Broome or Melbourne.
Well done, your success is inspiring

Thanks Robert

I'll be doing Gold Coast marathon in July, Sydney City to Surf in August, and maybe Melbourne Marathon in October. Hopefully I'll see you there in October. Broome marathon sounds like really hard work. If you're ever looking for a marathon that you can get that sub 3 in, Gold Coast could be a better bet. 

Impressive time!

Thanks Rich:)

Hey Shayne - congrats on your great race and on the BQ.  A great accomplishment on your 1st marathon and love your goals going forward.

I think you have a few options, one being to repeat TCI program.  You will be going into it faster than last time, and it is important to always go back to some form of build up. Many runners make the mistake of going right into harder training after a first marathon because they are so motivated to do better.  This leads to burnout and a plateau.  So again, I would caution you to not go right into some heavy training, and why going back to the start of the foundation program would be good.

If Personal Coaching is not a consideration, remember that your one mile test is a good indicator of your marathon ability.  And this is why I like going back and doing the foundation program because it will help improve this with the HR and speed training combo.

After this next marathon, you might even spend some time working on improving your mile speed and then applying this to more marathon training for 2016 in an effort towards your long term 2:40s goal.

Hope this helps.

Hi Eric

Thanks for taking the time to reply, as I know you are busy man:)

I started the TCI foundation program on Monday, thinking that if you suggested anything else, I'd just transition over. This means I'm currently under way on my training program for Gold Coast Marathon here in Australia!!

I completed the 20 minute and 1 mile test's last Sunday though, and I have a couple of thoughts/comments/questions that you may be able to help with.

So, on Saturday, I did a 21km run, just to keep my mileage up (I've been building my long run since the marathon over the last 5 weekends, going from 4km, 8km, 16km, 21km & 21km), and then I did the 20 minute test on Sunday morning, and 1 mile test Sunday evening. I probably overdid my mileage for the weekend though.

I smashed the 20 minute test with a new 5km PB of 19.10 @ a 3.50min/km pace (6.10min/mile), taking 35 seconds off my previous PB, but the mile test was less than my previous phase 2 (5:41), coming in at 5:47, but still markedly better than my last Phase 1 (6:06). I think fatigue from the mileage was a factor on this mile time. 

My main issue though, was my heart rate monitor. I discovered that the strap has been malfunctioning for some time now (My marathon heart rate data is all but useless). I switched the pod to my partners heart rate strap two days ago, and now have no issues. The problem though, is the 20 minute test shows an average rate of 151, which is clearly wrong, and the graph out of Garmin shows it coming good in the last 5 minutes of the test, peaking at 177, with a guesstimated average of 171ish? looking in TCI charts, this would make my slow easy runs fairly hard, so I've opted to use my heart rate average from my previous Phase 2, which is 163.

So my question is, should I run the 20 minute test again, to gain the correct heart rate data, or just go with the Phase 2 HR for the rest of Phase 1? Or could you even extrapolate out a number from the bit of data I've given you.

In other news, I've started the stability exercises, and have been doing these before every run, and completed my first fit ball work out last night for this program. Abs are already sore today:) Also, I'm day 4 into the 20 day sugar free. Breaking that sugar addiction is hard work, especially when there is free cheesecake in the office kitchen!!!

Thanks in advance for any thoughts and ideas you may have.



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