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  • Writer's pictureTommy Trees

Couch to Marathon




Membership: 1 to 1 Online Coaching

Name: Sam Shahriari

From: London

Age: 25

Goals: Couch to Marathon

Coach: Tommy


How did we plan Sam's Training?


Training commenced on Saturday 4th of December with a good old 5km time trial. Sam ran this in 33minutes. From that Saturday we had 4 months to try and get Sam across the Rotterdam Marathon finish line.


As Sam had not trained for nearly 8 years, we had to start really slowly. We quickly identified that doing more than 1 run a week led to sharp knee pain so we introduced the cross trainer and lots of strength training.


The way we scheduled the training was very simple. We added on 2km to his long run every week (every 4th week was a de-load). The rest of his training was made up of: 1 cross trainer session, 2 strength training session and 1 easy run.


Once we got into a routine of training 4 times a week, Sam started rapidly improving. Within 4 months of starting, Sam had completed three half marathon's in training and had taken 7 minutes of his 5km PB (26mins!). I knew that he would finish the marathon, it was a matter of how fast. We set a goal of reaching halfway in 2:35 and finishing the marathon in sub 5:30.


Sam's Rotterdam Result: 10th April

Halfway split: 2:27

Marathon time: 5:30


This is a testament to show what's possible if you stay patient and follow a well structured training programme. Small changes week on week can lead to huge improvements in the long term.


Sam's Words.


"I’ve always struggled with running as I had no motivation or competitiveness to run fast and the idea of plodding for hours on end was very boring. However, Coach Tommy has changed my entire outlook on running as it didn’t have to be boring or take over my life. Tommy doesn’t see me as just another runner, he see’s me as an individual. I didn’t have to cut out my cigarettes, kebabs or Friday beers. He understood that I wanted to improve, but in no way did I want to sacrifice my social life.


We started from the bottom (little 5k plods and 30 minute cross trainer sessions) now we’re here (I finished the marathon), all through increasing the distance I ran ever so slightly every week.


Since our sessions I now look forward to going for a run after work to blow off steam or even going to the gym when its raining. The benefits from all this hard work are not solely confined to running either because I’ve seen improvements from all aspects of my life: I seem to be able to concentrate more at work, I feel more confident with my friends and my girlfriend is very happy with my new body.


I owe this, and so much more, to Coach Tommy and I will continue with his 1 to 1 training for the rest of my days until I finally reach my new dream of running a sub 4 hour marathon and I know with his patience, wisdom and perseverance, Coach Tommy will help me achieve this new goal."

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