Sub 3h15

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  • Sorry to hear that Gul.

    I wonder though if shorter distance and speed training is really the thing that is holding you back. Your training has been littered with fast running and it always hints to a strong marathon performance but the distance (or the pressure) catches you out on the day. Why not take a look at running an ultra over the summer. Get some big steady / easy miles in and then do a no pressure 50miler and do it for the fun / challenge of completing it. It really is a different feeling on the start line of a race like that. Especially if it is off road so looking at splits etc is pointless - It just might reset the way your subconscious reacts to a marathon start line and give you a huge aerobic boost for a crack at an autumn marathon (it's only March after all!). Just an idea



    Rest well buddy.
  • Well done, PMJ.



    Gul: sorry things didn't go to plan, although if you had a temperature afterwards it may well be that a low level viral infection has caught up with you. Take some time out and then review your training and the general run up to the race: the answer is usually there to be seen, whether it's illness, key sessions unavoidably missed or life stress taking it's toll.



    Rather tough session for me yesterday, in that I could only hit marathon pace rather than half marathon pace for my mile reps yesterday. Suspect it was tiredness and

    a bit of dehydration but I could have done with some confidence boosting fast reps post Bath and ahead of Reading!
  • Gul-sorry to hear that you didn't meet your target , just take it easy for a week now ,you should have the fitness for some shorter distances PB's later in the year with a bit of sharpening up .

    Sounds like conditions were tough later in the race with the wind, even PMJ slowed a good bit ! I do think you have (at leastimage !) a 3:15 in you going by the training you have cranked out , its just missing a big chunk at a crucial time has done the damage this time .Mara training is a cruel sport as the build up is so long and you can't just do another in a weeks time .image

    You kept a lid on it at the start so that's a very positive step forwards so you are going in the right direction image Quite a few on here have had a bad run before smashing it so chin up image

  • Gul - Chin up and take stock later on down the road. There were some positives from y'day and you will get the time you are capable of soon. I'm certain of that!

    RJF - Nice one, that sounds tough! Good luck for today!

    GD - That was a very casual 3:3x marathon performance. Noted, you are indeed in good form.

    Jools - Your MP mile reps are fast no wonder they felt hard. Don't lack the confidence though, as you can do it!

    Was in two minds whether I should make my comeback to racing today and getting hammered on a Friday night with a mate and no sleep last night meant I almost didn't want to do it. Been worried about my left knee as it has been bothering the past week, but I thought what the heck it's only 8k and if it goes wrong it's no big deal and would be nice to see some friendly faces again. Anyway I did it and it was a bit mediocre time wise but I'm not too concerned as I forgot how much I love racing and pain! Didn't know what to expect really as we lined up and after nearly 5 months since my last race I was a bit excited.image Course is a bit tricky with some long drags and the knee didn't thank me for that. Finished in 31:20. Splits were as below. The long drag was on the way back from 4.5k and the wheels semi came off but I had a word with myself and managed to calm down and focus on positive thought's as opposed to telling myself I was ruined and it was going to be a horrible last 3k. Legs were complaining a bit going up some of the hills but I just shortened my stride and kept working. Good to be back racing and that's the main thing. Was fun! image

    00:03:48 00:04:04 00:03:51 00:03:53 00:04:09 00:04:03 00:03:49 00:03:43
  • RFj-back to back 16 mile races , that's good going !image

    G-Dawg-nice casual training Mara ,you are in good shape now image

    Gerard-nice racing comeback .image

    73 miles for the week and just over 9m this morn to start the new week and near perfect weather ,spring is nearly here image

  • Part 2 done and dusted.... Another top drawer race this morning, Lidl Kingston Breakfast Run, 16.2m. Knew the legs would be tired, but thats was all in the plan, the main plan was no miles over 7:45mm, achieved with slowest at 7:44, manged a good few miles down near MP too with an overall average of 7:38 for 2:02.35 . Good to meet up with WW towards the end (he chased me down) and at te finish. Good run and very happy with a good solid weekend of 2 x 16m + races......

    Nice racing GM

    Good milage Leslie

  • OK, the full report.

     

    Background

     

    As you know, VLM 2014 was a DNF for me. I got a gout attack in the last weeks of training (which is probably related to the stress of marathon training) and though I got to the start line with medication, it was compromised. I had a 2:50 target and got to halfway on target but it felt laboured and I knew the second half would hurt and I wouldn't PB so I took the applause on Tower Bridge and then stepped off. A tube to Westminster and a job down birdcage walk and I was first to the finish ahead of Mo and all others. I have asked for the prize money but my emails get no replies.

    There are a few on this thread who have passed the half century and gone sub 3 and I fancy joining that group. I turn 50 this September so VLM 2016 is the obvious plan. I also needed a sweetener to appease the family so I will run for http://www.b-eat.co.uk as I have an anorexic daughter. As my previous marathon was VLM 2012 I had no GFA and would prefer an early guaranteed place rather than take pot-luck with the various public, club and other ballots and also feel the charity should get the whole donations and not have a portion skimmed off. GFA is 3:15 for me but I decided 3:10 was a reasonable goal: I was always going to run the first half in the low 90s so 3:10 allowed for a lot of fade. 3:15 made the numbers look silly and 3:05 meant I might start to chase sub-3 and that was not in the plan.

    I'm not the best to be with immediately before and after a marathon so my initial plan was to run a marathon in the middle of a 2 week work trip to the US. Ideal place for carb loading in week 1 and resting in week 2. This all got scuppered when the first week got moved to Italy. Even better for carb loading but three air flights on Friday and 7 hours time zone changes before a Saturday marathon looked less than ideal so plans got changed. I was wary of hot April days and there are plenty of enjoyable marathons in the early months on off-road courses but I needed flat, road and UKA certified and Shakespeare Spring Marathon offered all these so was chosen. Only oddity was the late change of date from mid-April to mid-March which meant a 10 week campaign.

    Training

    I like a relaxed Christmas and New Year so the serious training was always going to start after that. After the autumn races, 10 mile and half marathon, I gradually bring up the miles so November saw 15 and 16 and December 18, 19 and 20. The 20 mile before Christmas was very much off road and at 2:40 was my longest time out running. This part of the training is characterised by a single long run in the week so the total mileage was not high, maybe 45 miles in 6 runs so 15 and 5x6 miles.

    The real campaign started on January 5th (start of Jantastic) so was just 10 weeks. I loosely followed the final 10 weeks of the 12 week P&D up to 55 miles plan. This plan has a couple of rest days and I only take one so I had an extra 5 mile recovery run per week so my weeks were 47, 55, 60, 56, 49 (cut-back for Wokingham Half), 56, 54, 45 (taper starts), 40 and 47 (21 + 26). My longest 5 runs in the 10 weeks were 16, 17, 18, 20 and 20. 17 runs were medium of long (over 10 miles) and the vast majority of them were at faster than 7:40 pace overall. I like to follow the P&D faster back than out and they suggest MP+20% and MP+10% which is 7:54 average for 3 hour pace so I was comfortably inside that.

    In general, the training went well. I hit all my targets, did all my runs. The one down was my last 16 miler. I did my final 20 on the Sunday with 3 weeks to go and it was well inside MP. The plan had a 16 the week later but I decided to do it Thursday morning to leave the Sunday clear. My usual routine is to have a snack and drink on the commute before I run but for some odd reason I didn'

  • In general, the training went well. I hit all my targets, did all my runs. The one down was my last 16 miler. I did my final 20 on the Sunday with 3 weeks to go and it was well inside MP. The plan had a 16 the week later but I decided to do it Thursday morning to leave the Sunday clear. My usual routine is to have a snack and drink on the commute before I run but for some odd reason I didn't and I really felt it: really struggled and my gout rumbled for a day or two after. I definitely need to keep better track of consecutive days. I run 6 days a week but some weeks I run Sat and Sun and so take a day off mid-week. This means I can e.g. have Tuesday off and then run solid Wednesday until the following Saturday, so 11 in a row.

    Race Day

    Slept well Thursday night as it is always hard to sleep the night before a big race. Friday night got some sleep but woke at 6 and was wide awake so got up. Breakfast of 2 almond croissants and 2 cups of tea and left the house at about 7:15 and arrived at the race 8:30, 1.5 hours before the gun. Now March is an odd month in regard to weather. Earlier in the week it had been clear blue skies and bright sunshine, but the weather forecast coming up to race day said cold and windy with the possibility of rain. It was obvious from stepping out the back door that it was chilly and windy. Picked up the race number which took all of 10 seconds. Two big issues now: (1) passing the time and (2) clothes. I met up with Gul and his friend and we had a good chat and checked out a few details of the route and the time passed fairly easily. I don't like this bit of races, I'd rather get going but also I know I am always going to be early so inevitably have to wait. The course was 8 identical 5k laps with a curtailed lap to finish and it was important to know where to cut the corners on the last lap. The laps meant there was a table provided for gels etc. so no need to carry stuff with you so I left two gels there in a tote bag.

     

    I tend to race in club vest and shorts unless it is sub-zero and was having doubts. I put Vaseline on all tender parts and walked out in vest and shorts and it felt very cold. I had half convinced myself to go back to the car and add gloves and t-shirt but they announced it was time to go to the start and get briefed so off we went. The start really was a bit of a mess. The course is on an old airfield which also serves as a drag strip. The start/finish area was the staging area for the drag races so was surrounded by safety barriers and grandstands. 700 runners had to file to the start down a path that only allowed 3 or 4 side by side and there were odd buggies, prams etc. We had held back for a while and then found there were no start pens so it looked as though we were going to be far too far back. I took a short-cut and a marshal tried to send me back but I said I was fast enough to be up towards the start line and she agreed. Gul went the long way but managed to join me by weaving through people. A few words with an ineffectual PA system and we were off.

  • There were 4 races on at the same time: a 5k, 10k, half and full marathon.  The wind was a big factor as airfields do not provide a lot of shelter and so the plan was always to let others do the work where possible, especially in the first half of the race where the half marathoners could be useful. The course was 5 segments: you did an out and back, then a cross shape so up the leg, out and back on one arm, out and back to the top, out and back to the other arm, then back down the leg to the start. With so many out and backs, you got to see the leaders passing in the opposite direction for quite a while and it was a bit unreal.  Coloured numbers meant you could see what race people were in and one guy was tearing off at suicidal pace. Turned out he did 2:28 and must have been close to winning all 4 races. Also about 50 people ran sub-45 for 10k and I am not used to seeing such runners ahead of me. Fist km 4:16 and plan was sub 4:30, maybe 4:25. Ease back and next was 4:16. Ease back some more and 4:22, good going in the right direction but then a downwind 4:12 and another 4:12. First 5k 21:30 so a minute up on plan. Decided then to run more on feel which may be dangerous but I really felt I was running easily and couldn’t see the point in running slower. Next lap 21:47 and 10k done. Most of the runners were doing the 10k so I thought it would shake down nicely then but the third lap (21:54) was real messy with lapping slow 10k runners but I got into a nice group of 5 or 6 with a couple of guys shooting at 1:32 for the half and the others doing the full.

    Fourth lap (22:07) in the same group and then halfway in about 1:32: was lapped by the eventual winner at this point so he had already done 5 laps to my 4! I ran through a quick mental checklist and all looked fine. I was running easily, no aches or pains or niggles. It was a touch cold but I felt fine and would rather be a touch cold than a touch hot and definitely would have taken gloves and t-shirt off if I had them on so I avoided the need to do that. There was a drinks station at 5k and I had taken on a half cup or so of electrolytes a few times and no issues there. I knew I was good for at least 2 more laps at the current pace so 2:20 for 20 miles and that left 50 minutes for target and 55 GFA. Only downside was that the half marathoners had gone away and the marathoners seemed to fall away. There was a very large guy ahead in a red top and we were just coming up to a windy section so I assumed from his bulk he was a slower runner but it soon became apparent that he wasn’t and was a marathoner ahead of me. This was nice as I spent the rest of the lap (lap 5 22:00) and the start of the next lap slowly pulling him in. Took a gel at the start of lap 6 so just over 25 km in. Moved up to his shoulder and had a chat: established he was a triathlete (hence the bulk) and that he faded at the end of marathons. We went round lap 6 together (22:26) but at the start of lap 7 he took a longish stop at the drinks station and fell back by 20 or 30 metres so I was on my own again.

  • For me, the laps now started to help. I know full well a marathon is 42,195 metres and so 8 laps of 5,000 metres is not the end but I could easily ignore the last bit so it was just two laps to go. Each windy section was the penultimate time I would have to do it and the next lap would be the last. Lap 7 in 22:25 so still inside the 22:30 and just one lap and bits to go. Lap 8 and it started to get mentally hard. I was in nowhere man’s land. No runners ahead nor behind, no significant time to break and fairly sure I had 3:10 in the bag, so really just a grind. The km splits started to show slower than 4:30 for the first time but nothing drastic and lap done in 23:56 so 2:58 at 40k. Over the last bit of lap 8 there appeared to be a runner ahead who I wasn’t catching fast so maybe he was on the same lap as me and once he cut the corner and joined the last short lap this was confirmed. I had seen him only at the start and he seemed to be fast then (results show 20:01 for his opener) but he was definitely coming back and I needed something to motive me so I set off to catch him. I passed him with about a km to go and just kept on going to the finish so 9:38 for the 2km and odds and sods. Results showed he probably slowed down more than I chased so his 10:56 was a bit of a death walk for the last bit.

    Laps all in one place were 21:30, 21:47, 21:54, 22:07, 22:00, 22:26, 22:25, 23:56 and 9:38.  Got to the end, had a bit of a gasp, and was told Gul was out on his last lap. This gave me time to get to my car, put warm clothes on, and have some sugary snacks before seeing him pass through 40k and enter the last bit. Saw a few finishers and I must say I was very envious of the 100 marathon clubbers who reach the end and just start to chat as though nothing had happened. My legs were tight and my stomach was churning. Congratulated Gul and set off home: a quick exit I know but the legs didn’t fancy much more effort.

    Conclusions

    So GFA secured and that was the aim. Sub 3 looks possible but needs a bit more effort than this time round. I am sure I need a couple of 3 hour time on the feet runs and may do a casual autumn marathon as well but it will be an LDWA off road one.

     

  • Excellent report and blow by blow account PMJ, thanks for sharing in so much detail. Each one of us is different, but we can learn to from each other and be strengthened too, thanks.

  • PMJ- nice write-up ,always good to hear how others cope on the day ,onward and upwards image

  • Good report Philip. Like the run itself, lengthy but very informative, solid and well executed!

  • Feel free to skip the report if you want to. I find it good to write and save a report so a few months later I can better reflect on the performance and try and improve.

  • Scores on the doors from my 20 miler today 2:14:30. Conditions were good and I felt great. I got a bit carried away and early pace was around 6:40 for the first 10 miles. Although the legs started to stiffen by 15 miles, I only dropped 10 to 15 seconds per mile and rallied for the last couple. This is 5 mins quicker than last year and a new pb from my previous four 20 mile races. Awaiting results to see if I made top 10. Very encouraging for VLM. Subject to injuries I'm more confident that sub 3 is a possibility. 

  • Gul - keep plugging away, maybe you should change things up with a different approach next time



    Pmj - well done on the gfa. Can mp now become mp ? 6:50?



    Minni -hadd is good but how do you hadd bike and swim too?
  • PhilipMJones wrote (see)

    Feel free to skip the report if you want to. I find it good to write and save a report so a few months later I can better reflect on the performance and try and improve.

    I enjoyed every minute of it! Good to get an in-depth analysis. I find I can never remember the detail of long races!

  • Here's that Hadd article http://www.angio.net/personal/run/hadd.pdf



    For tri, I'd go for a bit of maffetone personally. Similar approach re heart rate but easier to stick to. Worked wonders for me last year.
  • Great report PMJ



    Stonking run there OO image



    Nice work to RFJ and GM too



    2hrs ont' fells for me. Beautiful day.
  • TR wrote (see)
    Pmj - well done on the gfa. Can mp now become mp ? 6:50?

    Yep, pretend MP is over. May even have to admit to 6:45 which is 2:57 as a certain poacher did that.

  • PMJ - I loved every ounce of detail in your report!! Excellent execution of a plan and brilliant post race analysis! BTW, where is Poacher? Anyone know??

    SJ -  You're going well and most importantly enjoying it!

    OO - Great 20! You can so do sub 3, again!!!

    Leslie - Don't quite know how you have the energy/will power to rack up such mileage. Good for you man!image

  • PMJ - excellent race and report.  Sounds like a close to optimal race given your training and the conditions. Cause for great satisfaction. Good luck with the sub 3 at 50.

    Gul - sorry to hear things didn't go to plan. Marathons can be unpredictable and a disrupted training plan can easily throw you off one the day.  Often it is the more the fact that it is playing on your mind rather than any material loss of fitness that is the issue. Don't give up.  There is plenty of evidence in the training you regularly post that you are capable of sub 3:15.

    G-D - That must be a real confidence boost to knock out a 3:32 marathon as a training    run.  Bodes well.

    OO52 - congrats on the PB.   Sub 2:15 for 20 certainly indicates sub 3 is a realistic goal.

    RFJ - another racing packed weekend. In most weeks that would take nutter of the week but on this occasion it must of course go to Lorenzo for his 31 miler.

    Not the best of weeks for me running-wise but by no means a disaster.  I only managed 3 runs: 8m easy on Wednesday, 10m at MP on Thursday and 22m yesterday at a pedestrian 8:44m/m. Didn't enjoy that one bit. I'll call that a "time on feet" run (3:12).  Generally tired and taking it easy following Finchley 20 last Sunday.  

     

     

  • Quick drop in to say:



    Well done OO! I was a bit worried when I saw your photo on fb that it hadn't been good. And it wasn't - it was excellent! Phew!!image



    (((Gul)))



    Good result I think from PMJ? Sorry not time to read the report.



    TR - good point. I hadn't thought of that.



    Duathlon nailed today. I felt it was a very solid performance. Better than I expected on both runs and bike, although it would appear my 1.65m pace is now a bit slower that my old marathon pace!! I'm not worried though. I never dreamt 3 months ago that I'd be back racing now, so feeling happy. image
  • Gul - I feel your pain with the marathon result and gutted you didn't achieve your goal yesterday. We all know how hard you have trained and how much effort you have put in over the past year to get to where you are now. Even though you had doubts about actually making the start line, you got there and completed it. I think it must have been those few weeks compromised training that had an effect on the outcome and I'm sure the conditions played a collective part too with the wind & temperature. It's good to read that you are thinking of next year already - never say never.

    Well done on your Duathlon Minni - welcome back!

  • Great to have you back racing Minni!

  • Great racing everyone - even when things don't go to plan you still  inspire those who are on the comeback trail.  The effort and dedication  shown is truly impressive.

    Three runs last week including one hour run yesterday.  Five weeks to Manchester - I figure four weeks of training with higher mileage and one week leading to the race may just give me chance of being ok for a reasonable time.  

  • PMJ - very engaging report - enjoyed reading it for a great sense of your race

    OO - great 20 - bodes well for sub-3 

    RFJ - nice double . . .

    Minni - welcome back to racing image

  • PMJ - excellent report. 
    Minni - great to hear you're back racing! Really pleased for you.
    Thanks for all your words of encouragement and thoughts. If you'll allow me to indugle myself, a few things have struck me since Saturday:-
    Firstly, the consistency of the first 5 laps, which is something positive to take away. I was going by the distance markers on the course and it's strange to note that the variation with each km on each lap is pretty consistent too! Could be small errors in the markers or ratio of headwind to tail!
    I didn't particularly feel cold while running, it seemed more of a resistance issue. However within minutes of finishing and, in spite of adding several layers of clothing, I started shivering quite badly and took a good half an hour to calm down. Drinking 2 cups of freezing cold water in the finishing area probably didn't help! A hot bowl of soup did though. I think my high temperature later on in the night, was possibly more of a reaction of my body to the stress of the race rather than a low-level virus? Who knows!
    Looking back at my training, as well as being effectively benched for most of February, I also lost a couple of weeks in December and didn't do too much over Christmas. So really only November and January were any good!
    I started off too hard in November with "hill" work, another steady run (by which I mean MP +5 to 10%), and back to back MLRs. Hence the calf issue in December. I didn't introduce any MP work till January, and then I think a progressive run tipped me over the edge with the foot/ankle issue. I should have planned all that much more sensibly. (BTW No speed work at all).
    I still have to find the right balance between quality and quantity. I don't seem to be able to put the quality work in without cutting right back on the mileage, so how do I then get the endurance work in? Maybe I am over strict with the long run to weekly mileage ratio? (I try to aim for a long run of around 30% of weekly mileage). My body seems to cope with say up to 50 miles per week, but that would only give me a long run of 15 miles. Next time might have to be more flexible maybe. My long runs were all done at snail's pace - I don't think I could do 65 mpw with fast finish long runs or long MP sections, without getting crocked.
    I'm pretty much set on cutting back the mileage to give my body a good rest from the 60+ miles per week. I haven't really done any serious speed work in nearly 18 months, so that's where I'm going to be focussing for at least a few months. If I recover quickly enough (should do - legs have felt pretty good, just a little twinge going downstairs; even caught myself running up the stairs on Sunday morning in a rush and felt perfectly normal) the local 10k is at the beginning of May (on my birthday in fact!), so that will definitely be my short term goal.

  • And meant to say, thanks for the thought about psychology, Lorenzo. Could be something in it - I managed to speed up for the finish straight after all, so maybe there was more left to give than I managed to find.

  • PMJ – Well done on the GFA target and thanks for the great detailed report.  They are always my favourite reads on the forums

    Gul – Sorry to read your marathon didn’t go to plan but it’s another notch in your marathon completed belt. You certainly didn’t have a great training build up so don’t feel bad. The only advice I would give is to stop putting a limit on your mileage. I used to get a lot more niggles when I ran less (50 to 60) but have been completely niggle free since running regularly over 90 miles. I find the more I run the easier it gets.

    GM – Nice comeback performance

    RFJ – Brilliant back to back racing!

    OO – Super 20 mile PB and sub 3 is definitely on the cards

    I ran the DUNE Half Marathon yesterday which is a cross border race alternating from Dundalk to Newry or the other direction each year. The plan was to use it as part of my P&D scheduled run of 18 miles with 12 at MP however it didn’t quite work out that way.

    I ran 4 miles before the race at 8 m/m pace and intended running the HM at about 6:40 pace. The first 2.5 miles were up a pretty steep hill (400 feet climb) but afterwards it was all downhill or flat the rest of the way. I completed the first 3 miles in 6:49, 7:18 and 6:29 feeling good and relaxed knowing that hill was out of the way.

     I didn’t look at my Garmin for the next few miles and just ran at a comfortable pace that I thought I could manage for a marathon. It was all steady downhill and looking back I ran the miles in 6:07, 6:13, 6:17, 6:06 without my heart rate rising over MP effort. I was feeling very strong and running along with the first lady (Mary) who was getting a lot of encouragement from the spectators.

    I was still not pushing hard and completed the next miles in 6:21 and 6:11 but had dropped behind Mary by about 20m. I was still feeling very comfortable and now my competitive juices started flowing. After a few weeks lay off in January due to an operation and only a 12 week marathon training plan I decided to put a bit more effort into the last few miles.

    I targeted Mary and started catching her over the next two miles (downhill) which I completed in 5:57 and 5:55.  I went passed her over the next (flat) mile in 6:10 and entered the last full mile. I realised at this point that I could beat my Jantastic target of 1:23:25 (fastest HM last year) so kept the hammer down. The last full mile took 5:58 and was 5:44 over the last 0.1 to finish in 1:22:38 which was only 47 seconds outside a PB.

    So my VLM confidence been raised considerably and I will definitely be targeting a PB now. I had my first rest day in three weeks on Saturday and will now not have another until the taper starts in three weeks. I’ve about 90 miles planned weekly till then including 18, 22 and 23 milers and two more HM races.

    I wasn’t sure about the P&D plan as I’ve only run faster than HMP once in the first 6 weeks but the cumulate effect of high mileage seems to be working well. Bring it on!

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