Dartmoor Vale Half - I managed a PB

I did the Dartmoor Vale Half Marathon yesterday.  I managed a PB of 1:50:17 which I was pleased with (OK, I confess those 17secs are a bit annoying...!), which I'm putting down to more focused training and having recently joined a running club.  I haven't done that many different courses, but I'd say DMV is quite a tough course - there is a steep hill in the first half of the race, but then it does undulate nicely down to the end.

I know the course well and had "a race plan". However, I struggled in miles 10-12 (my splits confirm these were comparatively slow), which is exactly the part of the race I was expecting to "crack on" and recover lost time from the big hill.  When I say struggled, I mean feeling sick and dizzy, and running felt very laboured.  I felt good up to mile 9 (I was more or less on target with my plan at that point), and I also did manage to finish reasonably strongly which I was pleased with.

Something similar has happened previously, so what could I do to improve the 10-12 mile section of a half? I.E., is there any fueling advice (I previously tried Go gels but didn't get on with them - too sweet for me)? More LSRs?  On an LSR, purposefully try to increase tempo for a couple of miles at around 10miles?  Anything else?

For info, for the last 8 weeks, I've been doing 4 sessions a week.  This comprises of 1 LSR (10-13 miles) with the Club, 1 speed/hill session with the Club, 1 recovery session and 1 other session of 6-8 miles where I do what I want (mixed speed/intensity, tending towards the quicker side for me).  I've been doing 25-35 miles per week over that time (the 25 was when I was ill in one week).  On the run, I feel I took enough water from marshals and I carry a bottle with a Torq Energy drink mix - I didn't feel dehydrated.  Also, the conditions were good (I.E,. not too hot/cold).

For info, my splits from the race are below:

Mile    Time
1    8:15.7
2    8:05.4
3    8:01.0
4    8:02.5
5    8:40.6
6    9:18.4
7    8:06.3
8    7:37.6     
9    8:02.6     
10    8:39.6     
11    8:52.7     
12    9:22.0     
13    8:08.8     
14    1:06.4     


  • If this was a flat course I would say you started a bit quick, paid for it at mile 6 tried to compensate at mile 8 and then paid for it again at mile 12. But the 'Dartmoor' bit of the story suggests this is not a flat or flatish course so those pace times may not mean much! Your training looks fine!  Your assessment of your run sounds like a standard post-mortem of any race by any runner. Without a team of scientists following you and analysing your data it is almost impossible to know what went right or wrong. I have never done a perfect race in my life! Being a member of a club should help, look for experienced runners of a slightly better standard to you and use them as your pace person in races and ask questions, most people are happy to help.

  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the post. Yes, I agree I am probably over analysing but I confess I'm a geek image

    I have had the issue in previous events as well so was wondering if I should look at changing something specific.

    I've looked on the forums about carb loading (although there are conflicting views on that) and may revisit the gels to see if I can get on with them. What about the idea of on my LSR picking up the pace a bit at around 10mile. Is there any merit in that?
  • Big_G, for half marathon training I would do LSRs 2 to 3 miles overdistance. So 2 or 3 15/16 milers in the buildup will held improve endurance. My best half marathons came during marathon training where running overdistance was a regular thing.
  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    Also-Ran - thanks, I'll look at building that into my training.
  • Hi Big_G

    I was the winner of the DMV marathon on Sunday - so may have seen you on the course unknowingly.

    Other people can probably offer better training advice but to me your schedule looks OK. Would defininity overdistance on the LSR, and up the pace in the last few K's. How hard are you finding your speed/interval work? FWIW I work on the theory of taking the baseload sessions very easy and making the rep sessions as hard as I can.

    One other thing - are you getting enough fuel pre-race? Breakfast helps a lot. 

    Well done on your PB





  • Some good advice there; try different things and ideas. But remember the golden rule nothing new on race day, experimentation is for training days! Congratulations Charles

  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    Congrats Charles, and thanks for the comments.

    Regarding my speed sessions, I've taken to running them very hard. I've read in a few places that a lot of people tend to run their slow runs too quick and their quick runs too slow, and I keep that in mind on my speed and hill sessions.

    Regarding breakfast, maybe I don't eat enough. I basically have some shredded wheat with saltanas and a small amount of milk. The reason for this though is that in the past I've lost many sessions to stomach issues. I think I've narrowed this down to the fact I used to drown my cereal in milk. It took a long time to figure that out, but since I have I don't seem to get the issue any more. I'll look at eating toast and/or something like banana cake I think as well. Any other brekkie suggestions?

    Congrats again on your win! I must say that doing that course twice didn't appeal to me. Even the mile markers for the marathon made me sceptical of attempting it! As someone who won it, if you have the time I'd be really interested in your thoughts on the race generally.
  • I favour the Paula Radcliffe breakfast of porridge, banana and honey but it sounds like you have this covered equally well.Think you're also dead right on the slow run too quick, fast run too slow syndrome so sounds like you're well set.

    Thoughts on the race overall? I felt that offering a marathon on top of 1/2M and 10K was probably a step too far and the longer distance had neither the numbers nor really the course to justify it. However I thought the organisers did a good job and tried very hard to put on a good event.

    On the second lap I had the highly bizarre experience of following an 'escort' pick up truck driving about 50m in front of me and stopping for me to catch up on the hills! it was very thoughtful but a bit pointless as a) i knew the route having run it 90mins prevously and b) it didn't help anyone else in what was a fairly spread out field by that stage


  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭
    You shouldn't need to carb load or take on loads of fuel on the day for a half. Running over distance in lsr for a half will help but also a few more miles in the week otherwise your lsr is too high a percentage of your mileage.

    I did the marathon and can't say I particularly liked the course! I much prefer if I can run a constant pace but with the hills that wasn't possible. First lap was ok as more people with the half runners but the second lap was largely solo.

    Well done on the win Charles!
  • Big_G wrote (see)

    Something similar has happened previously, so what could I do to improve the 10-12 mile section of a half? I.E., is there any fueling advice (I previously tried Go gels but didn't get on with them - too sweet for me)? More LSRs?  On an LSR, purposefully try to increase tempo for a couple of miles at around 10miles?  Anything else?

    Try out a few different gels and see if you can find one that does suit you, as they can really give you an energy boost when you're flagging, especially the ones laced with caffeine. If I'm running a half marathon hard, I'll usually take a gel at about 7-8 miles. Not strictly necessary as I don't take them on training runs unless I'm going further than 16 miles, but on race day I think they help.

    Think your idea of deliberately increasing tempo at 10-12 miles on training runs is very good. Should get you used to speeding up at that point in a race rather than slowing down. If I were you I'd run a few LSRs slower than you do normally, to make sure you'll be able to speed up by a noticeable amount at the 10 mile point. Hopefully it'll be confidence boosting as well. image

  • Just thinking, in 17 weeks is the Bideford half (North Devon); a great course for a PB. There are many 16 week plans such as on the Ironbridge runner site. Download whichever plan (beginner, intermediate or advanced) you feel you can keep to and see you in March!

  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭

    Thanks everyone for the comments...appreciated.  There are some things to think about there.

    I'll try and incorporate some of those things into my training.  I've no other events lined up now until March (aslthough I may do a couple of local cross country events for a bit of a run out) so I'll keep it going and target that March event to smash my PB image.

  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭

    SideBurn - I was doing other things whilst I drafted my last message, so didn't see your reply.  As it happens, the March half I'm targetting is Bideford image

  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭
    BG I did Bideford this year, easier than DV so you should be on for another PB!
  • I will see you there; but get your entry in early as it fills up fast (entry will be open either now or v. soon).

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