The Middle Ground



  • PRF - after the Madrid bombs I did genuinely think that FLM was a prime target as there were 40,000 people travelling the capital with rucksacks and bags, then congregating in one area at Blackheath very closely packed at the start.

    Interesting question about when an event does become fair game for satire.  Blackadder was widely admired even though it was screened when for thousands of people the event was within living memory.

  • parkrunfanparkrunfan ✭✭✭

    I actually thought the same when the IRA stopped the Grand National with a bomb threat. It was a bit nerve wracking going to the start of LM knowing that they'd turned their attention to large sporting events.

    Having seen the trailer for Four Lions it looks pretty obvious that its a piss take of the terrorists and actually looks pretty funny. Blackadder/Dads Army etc all could be deemed equally 'offensive' but it doesnt mean that its wrong to show them. Everyone has the choice not to watch.

    The only thing thats realistic about it is that they start the London Marathon having done no training! image 

  • RatzerRatzer ✭✭✭
    The earlier post on running 4-6 hours before a race aside (because who wants to get up at 3:30am the morning of a race?), has anyone here tried different taper approaches to races?  Preferably someone who races a lot, as I don't race all that often, and has recorded their results.  I saw a quick question in this forum about intervals 2 days before a half and wondered if that, followed by complete rest, might be beneficial (maybe three days, as that's when I usually sense results after hard days).
  • HillyHilly ✭✭✭

    I've run 3-4 miles in the morning when I've had a late afternoon/early evening race and found that  good for the legs, as long as the earlier run is done easy.

    I've also tried having a day off on the Friday, running easy on Saturday for a Sunday race, which has also worked well for me for longer races.

    What I've noticed does not work for me is having a few days complete rest the week of a key race as it makes my calves very tight on the day of the race. 

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Not many races starting at 7:30a.m these days, apart from marathons and no one is suggesting the need to run 4 -  6 hours before them.  I do think it's a good idea to know what your race day routine will be in advance so you can get used to some quality workouts at that time and whether you will prepare by a shorter early run.  Any race pace workouts during the taper should wherever possible emulate race conditions, e.g. timings, preparation, gradient and shoes.

    Regarding non-marathon tapers.  After a fair bit of experimentation I think the following:

    -  Keep the quality, but with less volume and with longer rests and I think the the focus should be on race pace rhythm.

    -  Quality running (of race pace or faster) should be 48+ hours in advance of racing depending on presonal recovery levels. 

    -  If you are going to have a day off within the last 48 hours doing it two days before is more effective than the day before.

    -  You can continue to do strides up to race day and it is a good idea to do so.

    So for a 5k peak (and as part of a peak period where race and recovery are the phase goals) race this would be along the lines of what I aim for:

    M:  Easy, strides 5 * 800m @ race pace w / 3:00 rests

    T:  OFF

    W:  Easy

    T: Easy, strides 4 * 400m @ race pace w / full recovery

    F:  OFF

    S:  Easy w / strides

    S:  5k Race

    It would be interesting to hear how approaches reflect muscle type.  As a very fast twitch runner I prefer a bit more rest and to cut the overall volume by a fair bit more than I think I would if I were a slow twitch runner.  However, I may even consider some faster than race pace work which I wouldn't for slow twitch runners.

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    Who else practices weight tapering during the season?  It's something I've been experimenting with.   Far too many people race at weights heavier than necessary.
  • parkrunfanparkrunfan ✭✭✭

    Certainly a run before a race helps, both in terms of  actual performance and perceived effort.

    However, I'm not so sure that 4-6 hours is too critical as a window. For instance, running at 8am before a 7pm race seems to be just as effective, as does a short 2 mile run 2 hours before a morning race.

    Totally agree with Hilly that Fri-Rest, Sat-Steady is far more effective than Fri-Steady, Sat-Rest.

    Intervals two days before a half and then complete rest is not a good idea. You can have an excellent session two days after doing intervals, which may well be where the idea comes from, but the prior intervals will not have contributed positively to the second session, merely not had a negative effect. Adaptation effects take two weeks plus so no training effect will have been derived two days later. However, there is a very high risk of it going the other way and leaving some nice soreness ready for race day, which is the last thing you want. 

    You may have this combination for a 'train through' race but its best avoided for an A race.

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    prf - Agree with the 4 - 6 hour window not being critical.
  • I've always done the day off before a race, but my half next week will be the first time resting on the Fri and doing some easy running on the Sat. I'll report on how that makes me feel next week.

    Having said that though, a good proportion of my pb's at lower distances have been when training through a normal week. I did actually used to take 2 days off thinking that I needed to conserve energy, but this has proven to me that I don't need to.

    Weight I find is a very fine line and easy to completely mess up.
    I do try to taper my weight for races, but have occassionally gone too far and been left feeling pretty wiped out.
    I think in future I need to get to my goal weight a good couple of weeks before the day so that I am not cutting vital calories in the last week or so.

    Of course, I could help further by not eating so much chocolate. image

  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭

    On the subject of weight - I am already the lowest weight I've been since giving up gymnastics at 16 so 12 years later I now feel very light indeed! I've gone from 11.5 stone in Aug 2008 (and right on BMI 25) to 8 stone 10 lbs (just under BMI 20).

    Other family factors means its not practical for me to diet to reduce my weight further - I think I could get away with being up to 7lbs lighter and still having the energy levels to run...but I do not want to become obessed with it. Therefore, I treat racing at a heavier weight and getting pbs as good because it means if I ever want to shift that last half stone I should get even better pbs image

    On tapers - I definitely think that keeping the quality is good, but quality as in race pace running - faster than that takes me too long to recover from tbh. So tapering at the right intensity is going to be quite personal. I dont belive in 3 week tapers for the marathon though - some people seem to drop too far, far too early and must be sluggish come race day!

  • Totally agree with that. I did 3 weeks for my first marathon and felt ill prepared come race day. For the last one I did 2 weeks and felt better for it, well apart from the cold wrecking the entire plan! I'd prefer to keep the LSR up to 18 miles two weeks out, keep the same number of sessions but less volume the next week and a few rest days every other day for the final week.

    When I started tracking my weight when I started running, also in 2008, my weight was 10s 11 and now hovers around 8st 10-11. I think realistically I could get to 8st 7, but the last few pounds are so stubborn. Of course for me, it's not just the pounds, there are certain things having 3 kids does to the whole midriff image. I'm not hardcore with my diet though, if anything I eat far too much rubbish. I need to work on that!

  • HillyHilly ✭✭✭

    I've never been one to worry over weight as I was always naturally quite light.  In my teens 6 stone something, after children up to 8 stone.  When running at my best in 2006 I was 8st 2llbs and 8st 4llbs when loaded for the marathon.  The last couple of years though my weight has crept up to 8st 11, which I think is a bit too much for me at 5'3", but am finding it difficult for the first time in my life to get under this.  I have to admit to 'living' a bit more than I did in my earlier running days and having a few more curries, so maybe that's the reason and I can't have it all my own way these days!  So although I want to be back to my earlier weight I also want to eat things that I could get away with but don't seem to be able to so much nowimage  I'm still a size 6-8 clothes, but it's the bit round the middle that has replaced what used to be a very flat and defined tummy I'm not happy with! 

    So in answer do I taper my weight for racing, it's no, but if it comes off naturally (normally marathon training) then I'm happy for it to do so. 

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    At 6'2" I fluctuate between 11st 8 during winter and try and race close to 11st during summer.  I can eat whatever the hell I want whilst maintaining 11 8, but need to cut down on the chunky kitkats at 11st.

    Interestingly, 31 male runners have broken 27:00 for 10km and, prior to the "heavy" white guy who just broke it, the average weight was 8st 10lbs!!!

  • HillyHilly ✭✭✭
    Goodness that's lighter than me! 
  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭


    The answer to your dilemna may be to take your diet very seriously (when not marathon training) for just the last 4 - 8 weeks of a peaking cycle.  For me that makes the sacrifices fairly easy.

    In the meantime we can all play with this fantasy calculator and see the time prediction if we lost a couple of legs!

  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭

    I love that calculator - 4lbs would put me at 45 mins without any extra training!

    But since I  am still improving without weight loss I'll keep my kitkat chunkys for now image

  • Right, I'm losing 4lb!

    (Ok, maybe not 4, but we can definitely explore this at the appropriate time in my coaching)

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    It definitely should be taken with a pinch of salt of course, but it's true that stripping out useless fat should be a goal for us all.  But, like stretching regularly and getting sufficient sleep, easier said than done.
  • HillyHilly ✭✭✭

    Moraghan - yes, you're right I should be a bit more serious about my diet before a key race and I am working on it.

    The calculator is about right I think as 4llbs lighter than I am now I was running the times it says for me.  So maybe a bit more concentration will help to get the times I want back.

  • I'm just on 1m 82 and weight 76kg (sorry, I'm the new age, I use metric). I generally don't tend to fluctuate much (only by 2 odd kg or so) regardless of what I eat.

     Moraghan wrote (see)

    But, like stretching regularly and getting sufficient sleep, easier said than done.

    (I've been up most of the night watching the election)

  • Mmm... not sure about a three week taper is too bad an idea actually for a marathon, although I might have agreed prior to Lochaber. I ended up running my longest run of 22.5 miles 6 weeks out with a 20 the week after but, because of life/fatigue I only ran 5 days a week from then until M day. Legs have never felt stronger in a marathon even after 20 miles. The intensity remained up until the race, maybe I even benefited from being able to really nail those faster sessions but I needed the volume reduction I feel.

    I have messed with my pre-race rest day but a little trot the day before works best for me.

    Never ever had an issue with weight at just a touch over 7.5 stone and 5 ft 0 but, rather annoyingly since Lochaber this has crept up by 3/4 llbs. That's never happened before!! Not likely to cut out the wine so it will have to be the chocolate!

  • RatzerRatzer ✭✭✭

    I've never tried to taper weight in the run up to a race, but have tried to taper weight through a training period.  At 174cm and 78kg you'd think I still have a lot to shift, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to want to shift, and there's not a thick layer of fat anywhere.  I blame it on too many years spend idly lifting weights with no purpose.  However, when it comes to whether the weight makes a difference, I've interspersed periods of running with periods of weights, and whilst my weight from my first racing period has increased by over 6kg, my times have gone down.  I put this down to better training in spite of the weight gain.  If I could lose the kilos and gain minutes, I would, but I get the feeling this would take more effort than it might be worth.

    Been ill all week this week, HM coming up on Sunday.  So the taper has been nearly all rest.  If I'm well enough to run I'll see what kind of impact that has.  Not a chosen taper, I'll admit, but could be interesting...

  • HillyHilly ✭✭✭

    If running in the evening do people eat a main meal before they run or after?  I have a thing that I don't like to eat after 8.30pm, but BR, quite rightly, says that you should eat within the 2 hour window after the run to refuel no matter what the time. 

  • After for me. I really only run later on a club night, I don't get home until around 8.30. I don't run well if I have something big to eat before. I usually have a medium sized lunch and just snack later in the afternoon. Usually OH has something cooking to finish within about 10 mins of me getting home, but sometimes it can be around 9pm. Since it's not an every day thing, I just put up with it.

    It's particularly important if I'm running the next day, as I tend to run around 1pm, so that's not much time to recover.

  • parkrunfanparkrunfan ✭✭✭

    Yeah, have to agree that eating after an evening run is a must, regardless of the time. But then again, I dont usually sleep until about midnight so eating up to, say, 10:30 is usually fine.

    A nice couple of parkrun wins this morning for Curly and myself at Hull, its a lovely course and you couldnt get friendlier organisers. The most pleasing aspect was that we've both had quite heavy training weeks this week in terms of quality work and yet Curly managed a parkrun pb by 3 secs and I equalled mine so it points to some good time improvement when tapered.

  • Nice one, PRF. It's always especially nice after a heavy week, like you say.

    Opposite to me this morning. Really wanted to race it today and tried for half a mile, but the wind is horrendous up here and the course is very exposed. Gave up and came in 79 seconds over! 2nd lady, but a cheeky 1st in my age group.

  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭

    The only annoying thing is my result is currently missing image

    Have emailed to get them to add it - defintely scanned my barcode so no idea what happened there but PRF is now beating me on the table of most events!!! Not bothered about the first place, but want my pb...

    We were in Hull so pretty windy there too Kaysdee - I think we'll do Newcastle next week actually if you are running it?

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Here's one to cross off your list of race warm-ups.

    -  Oversleep on your afternoon nap.

    -  Arrive in car 2 minutes before race starts.

    -  Run one stride in flats (no time to don spikes)

    -  Suck in race.

  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭

    Awww Moraghan was just reading that on the wrong date thread image

    You'll be pleased (?) to know that I bought some spikes today to run my intervals in...

    However, next week I am having an ease back week since it will be 6 weeks since I started intervals and the speed is already coming through so I dont want to risk injury but can restart after next week for another block image

  • Would be great to see you there! I'm down for 5 miles on Saturday so was going to do parkrun at a leisurely pace as racing a half next Sunday.

    It is a nice course, few gates and sharps turns here and there, but it's got great potential for a pb. There are a couple of bits where you get the sense you are going up ever so slightly, but I'd consider it flat really. Field of 66 I think today so not as big as some of them - although male course record is just a few seconds over 15min!

    Moraghan, oh dear me. Naps are no good for you, I tell you. I hope it wasn't too bad.

    I had a nap yesterday after not going to bed until after 5 for the election results and up just after 7. I set my mobile alarm, but it either didn't go off or I didn't hear it and I woke up at 3.09 - supposed to pick my son up half a mile away at 3.05 (but have up to 3.15) and daughter up at 3.10. I got her first as that's closer, then we legged it and got to him just before 3.20. Oops. I felt terrible!

    How stupid am I? How many times have I seen that thread on the list and never realised it has the wrong date.

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