JSET is an unconventional training plan

JSET is an unusual training plan

In order to get a better understanding of how JSET is different to other training programs and online coaches, a short analogy may be useful.

Imagine your running goal as the summit of a mountain. Standing at the bottom of the mountain you can see many routes up, each with various obstacles. (Reaching the summit is akin to being fit enough to achieve your race goal.)

One option is to scale the steepest face, which is like doing your training as fast as possible. This will feel dramatic and fun, but going up a cliff is tough and you risk falling off somewhere i.e. getting injured. There are some training programs that take this approach to running.

On the other hand some training programs take a different approach. For example another option is to take the long, flatter path up the mountain, which is like doing your training “slow and steady”. You’re more likely to be able to reach the top, but this may not be a style everyone enjoys.

There are, of course, a number of other routes, each of varying difficultly and risk. Generally running coaches will tell you which route to take. However, I believe that the “best” way to reach the summit is to stand at the bottom and decide which route you want to take. Imagine JSET like a mountain guide, I will advise on the different route options, and trek up the mountain with you, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide which route to take.

This is how JSET differs from other training programs. The majority of coaches will prescribe your route up the mountain. I, however, provide you with a map showing all the different routes up, let you decide how you want to get there, and then go on the journey with you.

While there is good training value to be found in runs and workouts run at a pre-prescribed pace I suggest that there is equal training value, and more fun, to be found in running however you enjoy. That might be run-commuting, pacing a friend, long runs or anything else. As long as the total training load is high enough, then you can train for any endurance running event in pretty much whatever style you like.

A JSET training plan does not prescribe sessions or runs at a specific pace, instead it gives you a training load target each week. Every mile you run moves you towards this training load target, with faster running counting more for more training load.  Learn more about how the JSET training doughnut works by clicking on the blue doughnut. 


Most frequent questions and answers

Training for longer gives you a higher chance of achieving your race goal, so it’s up to you how long you train for. Remember that as you get faster you will need more training in order to keep improving. Generally people sign up to JSET for at least 10 weeks. 

JSET is far more flexible than most training programs. Rather than prescribing a distance and pace needed for each run, JSET uses aggregate data for the whole week to determine your training requirements.

Although JSET was first designed for marathon training it now works for any distance from 5k-marathon.

Because marathon performance is a very good benchmark for overall aerobic fitness, we often talk in terms of ‘predicted marathon fitness’, but that does not mean we are limited to running road marathons. JSET has helped people achieve PB’s in every event from 5k to ultras. 

Cross training will probably help you run a faster marathon. But there is not enough data to know exactly how much faster a cycling / swimming / yoga session will make you. For this reason JSET only accounts for running training. The same goes for running on hills. Hills probably help but we don’t know exactly how helpful they are.

That depends on your goal. If you’re aiming for a 3h30min marathon you might only need to run 4 times per week, but if you’re aiming for 2h30min you’ll need to run every day. Thankfully the JSET training doughnut makes it easy to know how much you should be running. Once you’ve met your training load target each week, put your feet up. Until then, go out for a run.

Absolutely! There are numerous ways to fit running into a busy life. If it’s possible, you might want to consider a run-commute. Many people go for a few miles at lunchtime. These are just two examples of easy ways to rack up the miles without using too much time from your non-running life.

The equations were originally designed for people completing a marathon between 2h45min and 3h30min, but as we have collected more data it has proven to work for marathons ranging from 2:14 to 6:00. 

There are two forms of JSET training; JSET-full and JSET-solo.

JSET full costs €16/week .

JSET solo costs €4.50/week.

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