JSET works by understanding the relationship between weekly mileage and weekly pace, and combining these two factors into a measure of training load. Training load is an excellent prediction of race time. In order to achieve your training load you can train any combination of long, slow runs or short, fast runs. There is no single ‘right’ way to train for a marathon.
The JSET marathon training program is rooted in understanding the training load that is required for any given race performance. JSET builds a unique training plan by quantifying your fitness using data from recent runs and then setting out the total training load you need to run in order to gain the fitness required to achieve your race goal.
JSET begins by quantifying your fitness using data from recent runs, and comparing that to the required fitness level for your target race time. Knowing the difference between where you are and where you want to be, JSET sets out the required training load for each week between today and race day. This gives you a clear roadmap that will allow you to gain the fitness required to achieve your race goal.
By only prescribing training load, JSET allows you to tailor your training to your preferences. This means that you are able to run:
In practice, this means that the further you run each week, the slower your average pace can be in order to achieve any given race time. Importantly JSET won’t dictate how you should run these miles, it’s simply about the total training load. Realising that it doesn’t matter how you achieve your miles is a game-changer. You can ditch the gut-wrenchingly hard interval sessions and simply do all your training at a steady, talking pace if that’s what suits you.
As an example, here we see the pace versus distance relationship for a 3 hour marathon. In order to be in 3 hour shape you can be anywhere on the blue line. Running 7.5km per day at 4:00min/km or 17.5km per day at 5:00min/km are two ways to achieve the same result.
(In reality it’s a little more complicated than this because you’d need to increase your training load each week; running less distance, slower at the start of your training cycle and then running more distance, faster in the few weeks just before your race. But don't worry, I'll set it all out very clearly in your training plan)
This is the unique thing about JSET; I don't prescribe sessions or dictate your training schedule like a conventional coach. You will have the freedom to decide how your training is structured. A range of factors come into play when making this choice, for example how much time you can commit to training, what type of training you enjoy and your injury risk are all important to consider. I will of course advise, but the final decision is yours.
With regards to my own training, I’ve taken this training towards the extremely high distance, low speed side. In the 8 weeks before my 2h28min race I ran an average of 172km per week, at an average pace of 4:47min/km (70% of race pace). That’s almost 25km every single day! However, this is really not as impressive as it first may seem; because a) I rarely ran more than 15k in a single run and b) the only time I ever ran faster than 4:40min/km was my weekly parkrun. Essentially I’d run 10-15k in the morning, and 10-15k in the afternoon / evening. Every run was at a consistent pace, and never so fast I couldn't have a chat with whoever I was running with.
For many people track sessions with a running club are fun, but they aren’t the only way to prepare yourself for a fast marathon. I will provide you with suggestions on how you meet your training target each week, but a huge benefit of JSET (over a conventional marathon training plan) is the flexibility I offer. JSET tells you how much training you need to do - you decide the style your training takes.
In order to deal with the fact that no marathon prediction tool is perfect, JSET combines two independent prediction methods to produce a more accurate race prediction. By assessing your input (the training you've done) with your output (your heart rate data), JSET produces a highly accurate race prediction.
The basis of the JSET training prediction is a study performed in 2011 by a scientist named Giovanni Tanda. He developed an equation that claimed to predict marathon performance to an accuracy of 4 minutes simply by knowing the runner’s average weekly mileage (in the eight weeks leading up to a race), and the average pace of these miles. This marathon race predictor received very little attention from the wider running community, but it has shown to be a very strong predictor of performance. With some refinement this has become the basis for the JSET training predictor.
Alongside this; JSET uses heart rate data to predict race performance. By regularly measuring an athlete's heart rate during training we are able to predict the marathon performance that they are likely to achieve. Of course you can use the JSET program regardless of whether you measure your heart rate or not, but you will get most out of your training by wearing an accurate heart rate monitor.
JSET online marathon coaching offers the additional analysis, interaction and motivation provided by Josh S, founder and head coach at JSET.
For many people a coach can be the factor that allows them to continue to progress, when alone they may have struggled.
Despite our best intentions, training cycles never go perfectly - life gets in the way of running, injury or illness can disrupt your routine or motivation can dip. It is in these times when a coach becomes invaluable. With JSET online coaching, I will help to structure your running around your busy life. I can guide you back to full strength after illness or injury. And I provide motivation when most needed.
Online marathon coaching is available to runners who subscribe to JSET-full. Click here for more details on the program.