Sub 3 for Simon at the London Marathon!


Simon followed an 18-week training programme with the addition of a tailored running-specific, strength and conditioning plan, including Reformer Pilates,  Vertimax, and EMS put together by Radcliffe Group’s very own Lucy Burrows.

The plan was to build strength and condition the body to make every stride an efficient one, over the 26.2 miles of a marathon. The first step was to reduce the weekly mileage traditional training plans recommend and replace this with more gym based training. The logic behind this approach was based on Simon’s injury history and breaking down in previous marathon training blocks in a bid to make the start line – the 2024 London Marathon was his 4th attempt at running his original entry of 2021. Deferred. Deferred. Deferred, to this point!


The running side of the plan was looked after by the well respected book ‘Advanced Marathoning’ by authors Pete Pfitzinger & Scott M Douglas. Carefully selecting an 18-Week Plan that worked alongside Lucy’s conditioning programme.  Up to 55 miles per week was the plan of choice, this allowed for 2 rest days per week, in which S&C sessions could take priority, with the addition of a 3rd S&C session on a low mileage day. Strength & Conditioning session’s were based on 2 types of session days. Quality Day. Quantity Day.

SIDE NOTE: ‘Advanced Marathoning’ has plans to suit all runners, from 12-Week plans to 100 miles+ weekly mileage ones. You’ll find something for you. See my plan here


The concept of a quality session involves performing at 100% of an individual’s performance ability. Quality days are centred around lower repetitions, higher weights, and compound movements that focus on capacity, power, and functional exercises. For Simon’s programming, we usually included both upper and lower body exercises in the day to optimize training time, along with some rehabilitation-specific exercises. Short duration of exercises with longer rest periods, low number of sets and reps, but at maximal intensity. Even for runners, it’s essential to work on upper body strength and conditioning to improve running technique and minimize the risk of injury by strengthening the core and back.


The concept of quantity training involves bringing Simon to a state of fatigue in order to create an overload for effective training. This is achieved by working at sub-maximal levels for longer durations, with shorter rest periods, and a higher number of sets and repetitions. The main focus is on the accumulation of movement. This style of training predominantly uses the aerobic system, so exercises need to last for over 60 seconds, making them endurance-focused with progressive overload. To create this kind of stimulus on the body, we used various functional equipment, including the Vertimax and K-box. On the Vertimax, the emphasis was on capacity, force absorption, force production, and functionality for running.


We incorporated Electro-Muscular Stimulation (EMS) into Simon’s training program once a week. EMS allowed us to target specific muscle groups and provided additional benefits, as it can target 98% of muscle fibres compared to traditional weight training. The 20-minute EMS sessions were designed to be running specific and focused, while still taking a full-body approach. We incorporated Electro-Muscular Stimulation (EMS) into Simon’s training program once a week.


Sunday saw the biggest ever field, of over 50,000, take on the world’s greatest race – The TCS London Marathon. Weather conditions were near perfect for running, when the horn sounded, shortly after 10.00am, to signal the start of the 2024 edition. With the sun peaking through the clouds and a mild breeze greeting the Elite & Masses field, 18 Weeks of training which began on the 18th December, had all come down to this – Bang! Time to execute the plan. 

Simon said: ” The strategy was to go off at a 6.30 minute/mile pace and try to feel as comfortable as possible…. for as long as possible. I’d run 1 hour 20 minutes at the New York Half Marathon 5-6 weeks earlier, but resisted the temptation to go off quicker, despite calls from seasoned marathoner friends, who suggested a 2 hour 45 marathon was well within my grasp, based on my New York success.”

“An instagram post I saw days before the race, from running influencer Matt Rees – @thewelshrunner – grabbed my attention, and I’m glad it did. His marathon advice was ‘Don’t get greedy!‘. This played on repeat in my head during the first half of the race and I remained disciplined in the ‘easier’ miles,  just sitting at my planned pace, and to re-evaluate this when I got beyond 20 miles”.

“It paid off. The pace became a lot tougher in the closing 2.5 miles but remained consistent, managing to 5k-split throughout at 20 minute intervals. It had been 5 years since my last marathon and a lot of demons had to be exercised in the closing stages but I knew the 18 weeks of hard work were going to bring me in with a big PB, as I turned the corner for Bird Cage Walk and the final push. I crossed the line at 12.55pm with a 27-Minute PB with a time of 2 hours 53 Minutes and with that becoming a member of the exclusive Sub-3 Club!”

“If I can do it. Anyone can!”

Running Geek Alert!
Vital Statistics From the Marathon: 

> 4 minute 06 seconds – mins/km

> 6 minute 30 seconds – mins/mile

> 8 back-to-back 20 Minute 5k’s;
05k – 20.01
10k – 20.19
15k – 20.27
20k – 20.16
25k – 20.57
30k – 20.28
35k – 20.38
40k – 20.49

> Position –  2248/50,000

> PB – 27 Minutes

Simon with Lucy and a nice shiny medal!


If you are a runner and want to improve any aspect of your running, why not speak to us and we’ll help you achieve all your goals…. and beyond!  

w.   t. 01270 918 078   e.
a. The Forge, Crewe Hall Farm, Old Park Rd, Crewe CW1 5UE

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