Grant & Stone Wycombe Half-Marathon



  • Tim,

    I'm interested in adding to my training, and as you are an experienced runner who's clocked a 2.30 marathon, do you think "nads-out progressive training" is the only session which will lead to p.b's? What else do you recommend?

  • Sunday saw us complete the toughish High Wycombe HM in a nice 2:18

    It was our 9th consectutive run there

    it was our 214th HM together

    it was real good, never at anytime, did we push the pace, if anything i held back and thought lets just get there sometime inside 2:30

    felt very good all the way,

    the first bit over the grass at the Rye and up the hill is always tough, but we just gently strolled through it bit by bit

    most enjoyable it was

    quite happy with it
  • The BusThe Bus ✭✭✭

    Nothing wrong with claiming a course best TD2! It was my 9th and fastest time at Wycombe and I'm as pleased as that as I was by my overall half marathon PB back in Feb. Whichever way you look at it it's a tough course, and for those who managed a PB on it - well done, but get yourselves onto a flat HM ASAP and lower it by 2 minutes!!

    Oh, and as I'm a natural pedant, Sarah Gee is 46 and her time was 1:17.07 and 4th overall - highest ever placed woman at Wycombe and a new course record by over 2 mins! Outstanding for any age but inspirational for all of us V40+s with kids in tow! Good luck inToronto Sarah!

  • Agreed BB, if you've just done a PB at Wycombe then head to Wokingham in Feb and knock another two minutes of your PB time. That's a great way to knock 5 minutes from your PB every year, which is a reasonable target for any runner, even someone with a 1:15 PB. 

    McBood, an aspiring local runner can improve by doing the following:

    1) Avoiding "race culture".  A race has an extremely destructive impact on the body if ran all-out. An all-out marathon (and to lesser extent)  half marathon  can actually put a training  regime back several months as well as doing irreperable damage to your cardio and aerobic/anaeorobic systems.  Ideally, only do one race a year,  not a marathon (any running session over two plus hours does long term damage to your musculo-skeletal system).  

    2)Set your goals and make them happen. Good example is Chiltern Eddie. Read the report on the Bucks Free Press website ; the man wanted to win, but to win he really hurt himself in the last five miles bringing it home, and to be frank, according to reports, was almost going backwards when he made the line (by comparison, Sarah Gee accelerated into a stunning sprint finish) . Now Eddie may never go sub 1:10 in the HM, and his extreme effort on Sunday will have put that cause back some way, but he is well capable of coming back next year and winning in a similar time and it sounds like that is exactly what he wants to do!

    3) Training. Excepting the weekly interval session  if your running session is not 1-2 hours long then your daft. It's all about time on feet: spending the right amount of time on your feet every day, not too little and not too much. Days off don 't help. You decide the pace, but for most of them keep the heart rate at 120-130 bpm. Definitely always keep the heart rate under 140 bpm on all your runs. Save all the pace bravado and heroics for the interval session, you want to hurt yourself, hurt yourself as bad as you like in THAT session, that'll humble you.

    4)Know your body. We're adapting all the time as runners. I have never been injured, but have adaption pains all the time. At the moment for example, I have a pain in the bridge of the right foot. It is happening because I recently upped session pace (as my HR was getting too low) and as a result of that increase in pace the toes of my right foot are striking the ground a little diiferently.  The increase in pace also gave me some adaptation pain for two days in the flexors of my left hip, but that went quickly. Isn't the human body great, it automatically widens your stride as you make cardio improvements!

    5) Give it ten years, that's how long it takes to become a top class runner with steady, progressive daily training.

    6) Get yourself motivated, when your daily run gets a little hard after 1hr 45 minutes get a nice hammer beat going in your head:

    That help McBood?

  • Tim Dale 2:

    Well I run because I enjoy it - it make me smile. If I had to worry about all the stuff you have written then I would not. It is my hobby not my life.

  • No Toes 

    If I give running my best shot and don't make it to the top then I can accept the truth square on the jaw: "you're not good enough pal". Whereas, if I just grow old and think of what could have been it will just kill me.

    How about you No Toes,  ain't you sick of the stars of the music industry earning fortunes for miming songs,  sick of mediocre assholes kicking footballs and earning five figures a week,  sick of airbrushed supermodels earning millions when they look just like you and me first thing in the morning, well almost image ?

    You gotta have a dream my man, ideally two or three. I got two.

  • Yeah, I've got to agree with the above comment.  I run because I like it and I'm in no illusion as to where I stand in running hierarchy.  I missed my pb by 18 seconds at the weekend but I'm still pretty happy with myself considering the comparison to where my life was then and now.  Running's a hobby for most of us, and a way to get out there, have a laugh and enjoy the communal atmosphere at races away from the other distractions that we come up against. 

    Tim Dale, I've read all your comments and as well as being a wind up merchant, you seen to be a bit of a pretentious arse too.  I came up to High Wycombe to visit friends and run the race to get me away from the south coast where I usually hang out, but thankfully I'll be going back on forums down there and won't have to encounter your particular brand of annoyance and stupidity.  Get real and get a life and some humility, if you're really that good a runner then be thankful for it and thankful for the fact that you don't appear to have some of the physical and social aspects in your life that other people less fortunate than you do. 

    AS for everyone else at the race, great atmosphere, lots of laughs and lots of water.  Thank goodness I spent some time out on the Downs to prepare for this one as that first hill got a bit steep at times. Well done to Handycross Runners for a great event, High Wycombe is lucky to have such a good one every year.

  • Richard, communal atmosphere, interesting....

    Pre race: everyone looking for somewhere to piss

    Race: everyone, erm, racing

    Post race: a burger at the mobile abbatoir and, erm, a drive home.

    Richard,  did I miss the helicopter landing on the Rye whisking you and and your eclectic group of friends over to The Fat Duck for lunch? 

    No Richard, there are much better settings for a social get together than race day in Wycombe. You are just kidding yourself. 

  • Funny, I had some interesting conversations in the 'piss' line as you so eloquently put it and the general feeling at the start line was one of friendliness and humour.  Of course you probably wouldn't have seen any of this as you were right at the front straining against the lean primed sinew of your rippling muscles, ready to burst out without looking back. 

    During the race, granted I've been at races with more support but those out there were vocal and encouraging and it was lovely to see so many children helping out at the water stops and giving their best to cheer us along the way.  You probably missed this as well as you were motoring on past  on your quest for fame and glory in Bucks.

    After the race my friends and I went to a pub where I had a nice burger and a chat, but if you met my friends the word eclectic would be the last one you'd use, but good company it was none the less.  After that I did enjoy my drive home with my wife and baby as we discussed issues other than split times and that slight niggly feeling in the back of my calf because there are more important things (that's me and the wife, the baby's not that advanced yet.)

    Yes there are better places for a social get together, but for those of us who treat this as the silly game i it undeniably is, it was a nice one.  If you'd like to see a communal atmosphere in progress at a race then  suggest you sprint down to Chichester during the year and get involved in the Corporate challenge, the Trundle hill run, the Midsummer five, the Bognor 10k or any of the other good races we all enjoy down here.  You'd have to pick only one though, wouldn't want to mess with those goals and wear yourself out now. 

    By the way, I have noticed that of all my comments you responded to - two words and none of the rest, which is interesting really isn't it? 

    I look forward to your petty and juvenile reply.

  • Thanks Richard, your reply has given me a chuckle!

    Well done Handy Cross Runners on a well organised event, they got everything right. (Except perhaps we could have had a few more ladies' loos? The queue was indeed a sociable place to be, but not one I wanted to hang around in for that long.)

    My best moment was beating all the men I knew who were running the race image Worst moment was seeing the short sharp hill just after 12 miles - who put that there?! My legs felt like jelly on the little slope back down into the woods.

    So impressed with Sarah Gee's performance, I cannot even begin to imagine being able to run that quick! And she is really tiny, what a powerhouse!!

  • Magic reply Richard.

    I run because it is fun.

    When it is not then I will stop!

  • Richard,  I'm glad you enjoyed your day out, and I am not going to slag off a new daddy having some weekend fun with family and friends.   

    However, getting out of the door for an hour plus a day at an easy pace is not a big ask, even for a parent. With steady progressive training like that,  any man can run a 1:15 HM after 6-7 years. Any faster than that, then of course it's down to genetics. 

    Sarah Gee still only trains 80 miles per week, which at her training pace is 10 hours. Out at 5am and  back home for brekky by 6:30am, that's not a big ask for an England vest is it?

    Why is everyone talking about rippling muscles and superhuman performances! No, its just an ordinary Joe getting an hour plus of daily exercise (as advised by the Government).

    Richard,  you are probably running too fast in training, slow down and keep the heart rate low then it won't seem like hard work any more!  

  • Hmm, clearly you don't have kids.   But without proffering this as a complete excuse, and accepting that there may well be people in my situation who can do this; the concept of 'getting out at 5 am to run and back by 6.30' isn't a realistic one for me seeing as I tend to be up for work somewhere in the region of 6 am anyway. Given that my evenings generally consist of lesson planning and marking after baby and 'marriage'  time etc, means that most days I'm squeezing running in - in the later hours of the day as it is, which is not always appealing.  Don't get me wrong, in the summer I tend to jack my training up as time befits, but you have to accept that some people just don't have the time to dedicate that much to running and enjoy it on a totally different level to those who have the time or inclination.  You may like to think of it in this way.  All the races that are mentioned on this website and that are organised around the country probably wouldn't be able to even be staged if it wasn't for all those runners happy to just plod (and sometimes sprint) along would they?  So where would that leave those at the top end? 

    I liked your comment at the end regarding my training and you'll be pleased to know that it generally doesn't seem like hard work seeing as I have a reasonable grasp on whether I'm running slow or fast and can also usually feel whether my heart feels as if it is happy or about to jump through my chest.  The bottom line is: I get out when I can, I enjoy it and will continue to do so as I see fit, I'm sure there are many like me out there.

  • In keeping with the thread title, well done to everyone who ran this on Sunday. Having ran it twice (not this year) I'm appreciative of the little nuances it has, especially the last few miles of dragging back to the Rye and then that Keep Hill section and the seemingly long wind back round the rye with that finishing line so near but so far.

    Tim, thanks for your reply, You've made some interesting points which, I hope you will be kind enough to explain some more for a fledgling like me...

    1) You advise that the marathon and half-marathon distance does "irreparable damage to your cardio and aerobic/anaerobic systems". I'm not sure what you mean here, can you explain how these systems work together and how they are damaged? Also, if it is irreparable, how do we improve? Are you saying for every half-marathon or marathon a person races, they are knocking back their potential?

    2) On the subject of goals. What happens when you fall short of your goal, what would you suggest, another race soon after, even if it's a half-marathon or marathon? Or would you make changes to the training and go back and have another crack a while afterwards?

    3) You advise running For 1-2 hours everyday. Why an hour? I'm interested to know why it has to be this much (every day)? To place in my own scant knowledge here, I've read that if you run for and hour or more you are tapping into different energy resources than if you only ran for say half an hour, but should we be doing this everyday? Doesn't that deplete our resources if we've not been in the game long enough to develop such speedy recovery? How do you recommend building up to an hour every day? Is running for half an hour or 45 minutes on non LSR days a waste of time as it will not be adding to my fitness?

    You say no rest day.. From what I've read in RW and through general advice on this site, at least 1 rest day a week is good for recovery and restocking on fuel (and washing smelly kit). I'd thought it takes a few years to reach a stage when you can run every day and recover well unless you start with good genes. Is this part of the ten years you mention or is it ten years after you have been able to run 7 days a week?

    For heart rate, why in particular 120-130 / under 140? As we're all different with different maximum/minimum heart rates and with age playing a big part, I presume you ought to go by a percentage. What percentages do you suggest, and why those?  

    As a cheeky extra to this point, you add "that'll humble you". I take it you've been avoiding intervals for a while then? image

     4) How do you differentiate between adaptation pain and injury pain? I'm not talking about something that is a little sore or achy, but pain? What should I be looking out for in the essence of the pain to know it is okay to run on?

    5) You mention "progressive training" but, you only suggest two paces, easy and interval. How long, how many and how big should recovery be on the intervals? Should you do them if you feel pain? Where do I put in steady runs/ tempo runs/ slow hill work / fast hill work / fartleks/ progression runs / sharpener races /? Or are these a waste of time? As I've never read any of these are a waste (done at the right time) would you be able to tell me for each one why it shouldn't be included? I also ask this as I, and I'm sure many others, like the variety of having more than two sessions to use, especially if we're to be doing 7 hours+ a week training. Shouldn't there be runs done at race pace or close to race pace in order to train the mind and body to sustain race pace? I know you say most runs should be done at 120-130 / under 140, but when you say most, how much is most? 

    Thankyou for your time...

  • Hi McBood

    Briefly, as I have a train to catch in a bit.

    1) Your not a fledgling. You've been running for a good number of years I am guessing, enough to be doing 1:15 HMs by now. Don't kid yourself, you and Sarah Gee are equally experienced runners.

    2)When I did my 2:30 marathon it was at an even pace throughout, in fact an 11 second negative split. Now, I believe I could have achieved a 2:30 eight months earlier, but had I have done it  earlier it would have totally wiped me out, been a real struggle for the line and a defo +ve split.

    I have talked to many top marathon runners, the race I did is easy to move on from and improve upon, whereas the race I could have done eight months before could have been a career peak. I can't give you a rigid proof in bio-mechanical terms as to why that is sorry, it's just the way it is.

    3)Goals. Mmmh, you should know whether you are in shape for a goal or not well before the race. For example, a couple of tests for a three hour marathon: a) a 20 mile long run at 8:00-8:15 mile pace with effort staying under 75% b) 8x800m intervals at 3:00 each with 2 min rests.   If you can do both of these then you will do your target, if you cannot then don't do the race and try again next year, simple as that..


  • ........

    4) Most of your runs should be under 70% effort, you are then burning fat. The advantage of this is that there is an unlimited supply of fat on your body. If you run at greater effort, you are burning the sugar in your blood stream and that is is limited. So, running for long periods (1-2 hours) burning fat is a good way to build up weekly distance, because you are not dependent on just the sugar in your blood.

    When you finish a long fat burning run you will have a real gnawing hunger in your stomach and you will crave wheat, pasta and protein (this is very different from sugar burning runs that most people do - all you want after the run is a lucozade and a couple of mars bars!).  After a proper fat burning run, after you have eaten and showered and are sitting on the couch watching telly, feel around your waist area, it should actually be warm (almost hot) to the touch, that's because your body is still cannibalizing body fat even a couple of hours after your run (serious,  I am not joking).

    5) Injury. If you do most of your runs at under 70% effort then you cannot get injured, fact, because at that pace its a recovery run! Therefore, any pain must be adaptation not injury. That's pretty much the view I have taken over the years. However, my theory is flawed, in fact only  a 70% run up to 7 miles is a true recovery run, any greater distance than that is not strictly recovery. So if I am feeling particularly shit one day, might limit the run to 7 miles. Again, I don't have a rigid proof as to why a 70% effort run up to seven miles helps you recover, it just does and is universally acknowledged  by the running community.

    6)In my (slightly arrogant) view not many people do intervals all out. When I do intervals, I am absolutely gasping for air, I emit a terrible rasping sound that will have the attention of anyone in a 100m radius, I also have a strong taste of blood in my mouth because of capillary damage in my lungs.   I am actually quite happy to do the rest of the week at just 70% effort after that session. I currenlty to 100-110 miles a week, and every run is at a 125 bpm average, except for the interval session. Remember, we are trying to pack in good mileage here without getting injured. As soon as you push the effort much over 70% injury becomes a serious risk.   

    Not so brief! Got a rush....  

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