Pacing webchat with Martin Yelling



  • by show I mean episode...not another full show of course! image



  • @ianschofield forefoot running does play havoc with the calves! I imagine they've been feeling tighter! The key with any change in running style is to do it progressively. You simpy can't rush it. A shift to a different foot strike (perhaps even in different footwear) may takes years to perfect.  I wouldn't rush a leap to 20miles.  take your time and go for long term injury free running. Make sure you stretch your calves regularly and love the foam roller!

  • Thanks Martin. See you in York.
  • @Ronan H - lol.  Thanksimage There are no hard and fast rules for a comeback PB other than it needs to take place as 'part of a comeback'.  I guess this is after a layoff, enforced or otherwise, and that is an extended time.  So, you take a week off due to being ill - not really a comeback PB.  You take 6months off with an injury = a comeback PB!! We could certainly look to include some fell content after marathon season! 

  • @MikeScott Given your reservations I’d suggest you set off conservatively and allow your confidence to grow as you get into the race.  A 3:45 target you’d be happy with, right?  Anything quicker than that you'd be stoked!  It’s a combination of what your training is telling you nearer the time, predictions from your races as well as the risk-reward you are willing to take.  I’d say go for the 3:44 and be happy with anything inside that that you can make up in the second half!


    @Adamkinsley Lol.  You definitely should not abandon all plans training practices on race day and go for it!  If you do you just might jeopardise finishing at all! It sounds like are on track to getting close to your sub 4hr 30min goal.  As race day approaches get a bit more practice in over section of your long run at 4:29 pace.  See how it feels when you run this pace at the end of a long run.  (say the final 6 of an 18miler).  I’d say keep tweaking your goals and progressing your training and stay on course for that 4:29.  Then make a clear goal evaluation as the race gets closer and decide on a pacing plan.

  • @HywelThomas3 – you are right ‘negative’ split is an ideal way to run a marathon (or other race for that matter). This basically means you run the second half of the race faster than the first.  The key with the marathon is consistent, even paced running and ideally you want the difference between the first and second half ‘splits’ to be minimal. So, even a 1minute negative split is significant because it means you were able to hold the pace during the second half of the race when the miles get tougher.  The sub 3 shot is a difficult question.  You’ll need to continue to monitor your training and lead in races to assess if you’re happy and feel in shape to give this a crack.  I always think that the risk when you are that close is worth it!  But you’ve got to be willing to accept not achieving it and be happy that you gave it your best shot.

  • @anniesophie Yes, definitely. With those timescales I’d certainly be looking at having a crack at your PB’s.  Just a couple of points.  You are right to have mini tapers, although don't go into the half marathon tired.  It’s too close to the full marathon to go into it tired.  You might risk coming off the race and struggling to recover.  Secondly, do make sure your few days after each race are light. Give yourself time to get back into things before ploughing ahead with your marathon build up

  • Hello Martin, I'm currently fit and raring to go starting my marathon training for Edinburgh Mon 4th Feb, following the 16 week RW plan.  

    My first marathon was New York in 2011 in 4:29, I enjoyed the whole experience, high fived the crowds, sang at every opportunity and sprinted the last mile or so.  Since then I've done a 49 min 10k and 1:51 half marathon.  I'm really hoping to go Sub 4 this time. 

    My question is I know these training plans work and I'm excited at the prospect of structured training, however I've been training well in January and already at week 5 standard, do I keep increasing from here or do I follow it exactly?

    thanks Dawn

  • @rennie - try a wig.image


  • @millsy1977 - lol.  ;-) Been trying to crack that all year without success.  Train more, train faster, get specifc!  I know, I know, all of which I need to do!

  • Do you use a heart rate monitor as Tony Audenshaw loves or are you a garmin gadget man for pace only or both..........??image

  • @DawnAddison2 Great news that training is going so well.  Training plans are only meant to be a guide and it's okay to tweak them, change them, adapt them, even change plans as your fitness gets better (or gets worse!). That said, plans are designed to get you to a race day in peak condition and progress at the right times.  If you leap ahead of the week structure you might hit race fitness before race day!  leanr how to adapt the plan to stay on track with your personal goals.  With Edinburgh in May you seem ahead of the plan, so why not repeat a couple of weeks, or plan in a couple of extra ones to build strength but stay injury free.

  • Hi Martin.  I ran my first Marathon in Brighton last year.  Did a lot of things wrong and after a good start, finished in 03:37.  I was determined to learn from my mistakes, so did Chester later that year.  Everything went right and I finshed in 03:16 with nice 2 minute negative split.  This spring I'm running the Essex and Halstead Marathon.  What's your top tip for moving up to a sub 3:00 finish?

  • @mcs - I do most of my runs 'old school' with a stop watch only.  I rarely use a HRM now.  Sometimes I run with a garmin /GPS if I want to specifically know pace, splits or need some post run feedback.  A find a HRM useful for long runs when I particularly want to work to effort level as opposed to pace.  A GPS doesn't know how you're feeling!  Naked running is good too!  Gadget free.

  • @charlieK hi ya! Great negative split and PB at Chester. Another chunk like that and you'll be well under the 3!  The trouble is, the faster you go the harder the big chunks are to take off.  As you'll know the key to running a faster marathon lies with week after week of consistent miles.  For those with specific target times you've also got to include practise at race pace and also build a strong portfolio of tough sessions. (Especially for a sub 3).  Focussed long runs, sustained tempo efforts, threshold runs and intervals need to form the basis of your plan for 16 weeks into race day. Them a lot of commitment, a little luck and who knows!

  • Hi Martin

    Am running the VLM this year having never run any form of race before (ahhh) Training is going well but struggling to work out what pace to go at in different runs. Tried a few different paces but want to know how much slower than my race pace should the long Slow run be? Also I tried a gel a few days ago and made me feel very sick -is this normal or is it a case of trying different ones or should I just stick to water??

    Any help gratefully received. 



    @StevePennington Yes, I do think it’s a good idea to race a half marathon hard in a marathon build up.  That is assuming that it’s not taking place within 4 weeks of race day (3 weeks at a push).  You need to make sure that you peak for the marathon and not the half.  When you are running high miles you are always on the edge and illness is a real threat to consistency.  You are best to listen closely to your body and if you are in doubt about running then I use a 2 stage approach – 1. If you’re feeling below par but think you can run then drop the duration and intensity and just run easy for 3 days.  – 2. If it gets worse not better then stop running and take at least 1 (but probably 2 or 3) rest days.  You are better to train healthy and run strong than train ill and weak and takes ages to recover. 

  • @nickiCouzens Welcome to the world of running!  Well done you! Glad training is going well.  You are right to think about different paces in your runs. Long runs (the best bit of your marathon build up!) should be done at an easy, controlled pace. Certainly to begin with.  In the region of 45sec to 60s slower per mile than your target marathon pace. As your confidence and fitness grows this might speed up and you may run the, quicker.  Long runs should feel easy! Especially at the start. You could try a practise race like the Human Race 'Race Your Pace' half at Dorney in your your build up. Re your nutrition - you will need some fluids and energy on board particularly to keep you feeling strong as the race goes on. You will need to to try a few things and find out what you prefer. 

  • Great advice there Martin - thanks for being our expert today. Hope you've enjoyed it! image

  • @15West See my previous answer.  It really depends on what you want to get out of doing the race.  If it’s a pacing exercise then be disciplined and stick to your targets.  If you fancy a smash up and want to test yourself then go for it. With 4 weeks to go pre marathon it’s a good chance to have a blow out and test your form but keep your eye on the bigger prize.  

  • Thanks Katie.  Hope it helps.  I'll answer the outstanding ones and post the responses below. Thanks for participating in the webchat everyone.If you have any further questions or want more info I will be holding a seminar following the Race your Pace half marathon organised by Human Race on 16 Feb at at Dorney Lake, Eton at 1pm. Participants will also have a chance to ask questions to get bespoke advice. To book your place go to:

  • @knightrider.  No not really. There is no sliding scale as more things than miles run impact on marathon performance, eg genetics, ability. That said though, there will be some correlation between miles run and marathon performance. It’s all about getting the balance right for a long period of time.  You are best to try and string together many weeks of 50miles than a few stop start week of 70miles.  There does come a point at which ‘junk miles’ simply are not benefitting performance.  This is different for everyone.  There’s little point in running miles for miles sake when the quality of the key workouts suffers.  Without doubt, you’ve got to run miles for a marathon, and within reason, the more the better – so long as more miles isn't to the detriment of the best miles you run.

  • @slimboy with increasing distance beyond marathon pacing becomes increasingly important.  The principles are the same as for running your previous marathons – it should feel easy at the start!  If it doesn’t those final 7miles post marathon distance are going to hurt!  I’d be looking to aim at holding a consistent pace from the off that is slower than your marathon PB time by some 30-45sec per mile. An ultra is about the distance not the time! Enjoy.

  • @howmanyminutes I use a combination of half marathon race results and long run times.  Double your half marathon time in minutes and add 10% for a guide. The best indication comes from a long run.  If you can't hold your target marathon pace for the final 6miles of an 18mile run (where you run the first 12 45sec per mile slower than MP), then you’ll struggle to hold that on race day.

  • Thanks, Martin.  Commitement shouldn't be a problem, but do you know where I can buy some luck? 

    Great interview on this week's Marathon Talk by the way.  

  • @RobMoyse Heart rate can be a great indicator of pace assuming that you understand your own heart rate!  Obviously heart rates very for different people at different paces and all heart rates are relative.  I try and encourage runners to get a knowledge and understanding of what their hear rate is at different paces and for them to build a profile of how it feels.  You are right though, lots of other factors affect heart rate (illness, nerves etc) and so it’s really only a guide.

  • @iancharlton.  Tricky weather makes working to pace very difficult!  You are best to work to effort level and try and keep that consistent.  Of course, running with a massive tail wind means it’ll fee easier but you’ll be running faster.  Running into a head wind and you’ll be going slower and it’ll probably feel harder despite you trying to keep it even.  Try breaking up the race into bigger sections and going for a with wind / against wind average.

  • @tomhayhoe.  I don't know enough about the use of heart rate variability to comment with any real authority on it's use to accuarately measure fatigue.  I do like athletes to really understand from a holistic stand how they really feel in order to evaulate fatigue levels.  If the iathlete helps them get a better of that through HRV than that must be good thing! 

  • Hi, A bit late I know but a question about miles and counting.

    Is it better mentally to count up from 1 to 26 at the miles or to count down once you get past 13?

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