Chronic underachiever

Failed to reach my target again!

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07/09/2012 at 00:39
Breakfast & drinks. Something the night before too?. Might've kept the jelly babies till mile 9?
Having them at beginning, big sugar high, then later on a big down. It's possible, I used to be borderline hypo glaecmic, and that could be similar. You really want a mix of fast & slow burning energy, maybe like porridge and sports drink before start.

Could take a gel or something else carby mid way.

Did you taper at all ? Sports massage?

I know you're down about this time, but a few tiny changes, could make the difference. Honestly. If it really would help, share out your garmin stats, or message them to me.

As for future half or marathon plans, I only run 3 days a week, very rare 4th day.
2 rest days, a tough circuit class, and a weights based speed / strength class. That's enough for a 1:35 half marathon (aiming for 1:31-32 in next few months), and sub 3:30 done in May.

Maybe add a second session of the plyometrics and work on strengthening your legs. I assume you're doing box jumps and similar stuff.
07/09/2012 at 09:10

RR, hi there, I've had a scan through the thread, and first thing is to discard your husband's tips. They're an utter nonsense, that would lead to burn out and very quickly plateauing.

Rubbishrunner wrote (see)

My husband spent yesterday evening trying to come up with a different training plan for me, based on his own. He runs flat out every time, usually 6miles or so three times a week to the point where he can't run anymore. 

Without being too personal, but it makes a key difference, can I ask your age, weight and injury situation as I didn't pick up on those on my read through (obviously picked up on female)

Also how long have you done that 25-30miles a week schedule? 3x4-6, 1x13. What paces do you do each run at?

The answers to these 2 sentences will make a monumental difference.

If you're 25, super light, with no injury problems, and you're run for a year at 25-30miles and aren't breaking 2hours,  then something must be up with how you're training.

If you're 80, very heavy, with massive injury problems, and you've only run for 2months, then you've done amazingly to hit 2hr 03

and obviously...those are the far ends of the scale...

Edited: 07/09/2012 at 09:11
07/09/2012 at 12:42

Stevie G is always right Rubbish Runner.

Your husbands go fast every single run is a little mad. Burn out, injuries. and very boring.

I'm forever telling my wife to keep it simple, whatever the distance she is aiming for, 3 runs a week in, one short/ fast one - speed session if possible, one medium tempo run, one long run at comfortable pace that you can still talk at. Rest can be some form of training or strength work, cardio or additional runs.

Works for me at any distance.

07/09/2012 at 14:41

Hi there,

Breakfast was oat muesli and a banana, the night before was a pasta meal, light on the sauce.  I really don't think I can blame my nutrition.

I'm average build, probably carrying a bit more than I should but not obese.  I'm about 64kg and 5'5" and I'm in my early thirties.  At 61kg, I looked pretty skinny but I've been enjoying my food too much! I started running about 4 years ago, very stop/start but have been running consistently since January of last year.  I've had all manner of tendinitis issues, in a wide variety of tendons, which is why it was so stop and go initially but have worked on all of these and have no ongoing issues except a niggly IT band every now and then.  I had massive problems with low iron at the end of last year/beginning of this year where I could barely manage above an 11min/mile but I've been taking supplements since then. I also had to ease off running for a while because I was waiting for my heart to be checked but had the all-clear with this.

I have trained up to about 45miles a week for two marathons, running 5 days a week.  The last one was in March this year.  I hadn't focussed so much on speed for that but by doing more miles I was getting faster.  10min miles used to be my only pace.

My usual training for the past couple of months would be about 5 to 6mile run at about 8.30-8.45mm, intervals (or reps, I'm not sure of the difference) maybe 800metres x 6, doing each one in about 3m 50s but I have done longer and slightly slower reps - this varies.  These interval runs usually end up being 5-7 miles total including my recovery jogs.  I do a  recovery run of about 3-4miles, usually about 9.45mm, but not every week and a steady run at about 9-9.15mm. The long runs averaged between 9.30 and 9.45 mins/mile.  The slightly faster long runs were trying to keep up with my husband!

The plyometrics leave me really sore especially 2 days afterwards so I try to have this as a rest day.  I'm afraid if I add in a second session I'll spend my whole week in pain, although I know that my muscles should adapt.  I do squat presses with weights, burpees, box jumps, press-ups, squat jumps, all manner of lunges.  I like these workouts but they're so hard.  I think I sweat more doing these than running!

I'm self-employed and work long hours so I can only devote about an hour, max 1.5hours in the morning to a run.  The longer ones involve me getting up at 5.30am so I don't want to do that all the time.  I don't get home from work until 7.30pm so it makes it a long day!

I will try anything to improve at this!  I'm starting into marathon training again soon but hope to combine the extra miles with the bit of speedwork I've been doing and see if that helps.  Maybe you'll tell me otherwise, but I really thought that the training I'd been doing should have been enough for my goal.  Maybe it was the lack of long runs that let me down.

07/09/2012 at 17:09

RR, sounds like the injuries are under control, your weight to height has you in the healthy BMI range, and  you're not exactly old by any means.

If you came to me simply on your 2hr 03 half marathon, I would write you these training paces based on 2hr 03 being 9.23 per mile

Easy                10.43-11.20
Steady             9.58-10.28
MP                   9.43
HMP                 9.23
10K                   9.08

However, bearing in mind you're doing 5-6milers at 8.30, or 6x800s at 7.40 pace, and long run 9.30-9.45, as you can see something massively doesn't add up.

To find out what's not adding up, can you answer me these questions, and I'll get a conclusion together

  • Are you using a garmin or suchlike to measure paces/distance
  • How wrecked are you after the 5-6miles at 8.30-8.45 pace. Is that a continuous 5-6miles, or split with recoveries?
  • Same question after the 7.40 pace 800reps
  • How did you get these paces in your mind
  • Was there a good 2month block of 25-30miles a week as you described  before the half marathon race?
  • Did something particularly wrong happen in the half marathons? Mental block, feeling pain, massive slow down in pace?
  • Do you have any other race results at other distances in the last 3-4months
  • What's with Plyometrics? Are you sure those exercises aren't unnecessarily taxing you?

 

I have a feeling that you simply don't have much base fitness. You don't work at the right aerobic zones, and you simply do too many hard sessions, track/steady, the 5-6mile run and the gym stuff

Due to this,  you're working too hard, knackering yourself, plateauing, and nowhere near fresh for race day.

It can only really be one of the following options whatever your responses to my questions

  1. Above theory, wrong paces, too hard work, leaving you knackered for the race
  2. Right paces, but not taking the fitness to the race day.

 

If it's Number 1, I reckon I could comfortably get you sub 2hours, using the paces I've prescribed above, and a 4 runs a week schedule, involving, 1 long run, 1 tempo run, 2xeasy runs. From 25-30miles a week and from your history, you really don't have the fitness base, or mileage to be doing 2 hard sessions at this stage.

If it's Number 2, then that's more encouraging in some ways, and should mean you could obliterate 2hour not just get under it.

Let me know the answers though, as I'm honestly intrigued.

 

Edited: 07/09/2012 at 18:36
08/09/2012 at 09:35

Hi Stevie G.,

Thanks for your interest.  I don't know how to quote properly on this so I'll just answer your questions in order.

I use a Polar HRM and footpod to measure pace and distance.  I know that it's not 100% accurate but it's very, very close.  It largely agrees with my husband's Garmin, although on long runs it sometimes reads a bit under - ie I need to run more to make up the distance.  This is only about 0.3 of a mile over 12-13miles usually.

I feel absolutely done after running at those paces - it's a big effort for me.  I just run the intervals as fast as I can.  I guess I didn't choose the paces as such.  I know that I need to run faster than I want to run on race day so just push on over a shorter distance and that's what the averages have tended to be.

There was a good block of running before this run.  I was away for a week at the end of June and started training when I got back.  Before that, I had been running a bit during the week but not doing any long runs at weekends because I just wanted my life back for a while!

I've not had luck in half marathons!  The weather's been against me a couple of times with very strong headwinds and a couple of them I hadn't trained properly to get a sub 2 or was coming off the back of an injury (I've had lots).  I was on course to do a sub 2 last year but collapsed at mile 13.  Took 2-3hours to recover sufficiently to be allowed to leave with my husband.  This last time, there's a small hill just coming up to the 12 mile marker.  It was taking more effort to keep the pace up and I gave a lot of effort up this hill.  I felt quite dizzy at the top and having previously pushed through this and keeled over, I sat down until I could see straight.  However, I then knew my goal was gone and sort of walked/staggered/ran the last mile.  My time, which I finally brought myself to check, was actually 2h 5m but it doesn't make any difference really.

I haven't done many other races in the past few months but I did a 10k in May in 54mins. I did the Morecambe Bay half marathon in August but didn't have my watch and it was brutal - I think my time was 2h 20something mins for that.

Plyometrics and other gym stuff is just to keep me toned and active - I don't think running is great for toning anything other than calves!  I do upper body stuff as well.  I enjoy it but it does leave me knackered and I can't run properly for a couple of days after, though can do easy runs.

I suspect you're right in my lack of fitness.  The paces that you've set out I think I would find very comfortable to run but I have a fear if I'm not challenging myself that I'll just get slower again.  I used to struggle to run anything less than a 10m/m and to be doing 8.xx anything over a few miles feels like a big achievement to me but it would be better if I could translate that into race results, which seem to have remained pretty stagnant.

Hope that answers all your questions sufficiently.  I'd be grateful for any input you might care to give!

08/09/2012 at 13:05

That 10k time might give better training zones then, Let's have a look.

54:30 (taking the middle figure as 54 could obviously be 54.01, or 54.59), is 8.46 a mile pace, and would equate according to McMillan to 2:01:30 which is 9:16 pace.

Now 8.46 looks like it fits in a bit better with your 8.30-8.45 pace session for 5-6miles, as you're clearly doing that at race pace to end destroyed.

The paces from that 10k would give you

Easy               10.21-11.00
Steady             9.36-10.06    
MP                   9.21
HMP                 9.01
10k                   8.46

These look a bit better to go off. You need 9.09 to break 2hours for a half marathon, but from your 10k, your HMP is already 9.01.

I'd be quite interested in coaching you, as I think sub 2hours is something you can comfortably hit with the right training block.

As you don't have too much mileage to play with, I'd cut out the very fast track stuff, and instead build your week around 2 massively important sessions

  1. Long run, 12-14miles
  2. Tempo run/HMP pace work

The long run builds your stamina, the tempo gets you used to running medium hard continuously whilst not killing yourself like you are at the moment, and the HMP pace work specifically gets you used to running at the target race pace.

For now, i'd not be as fussed with the shorter very fast work, as I don't think it's the biggest priority. Being able to smash an 800 isn't as key for a half marathon as it is for say a 5k or a 10k.

On top of those 2 runs, I'd simply fit in

  1. 2x easy paced runs, 10.21 pace and up....easy is the word.

This 4 run schedule would bring your fitness up a fair amount, whilst not leaving you knackered as a lot of your schedule already does.

2-3months of this,I reckon would comfortably see you under 2hours. Then the real fun begins.

Let me know if you fancy a bit of a casual coaching arrangement.  I'd set you the 4 sessions a week, 3 of them mostly staying the same, with the Tempo/HMP session being the variable.

Clearly, the ideal plan is a long run, a tempo run and  speedwork, but from your mileage that's overkill I think.

For you, i think that triple pronged approach could come down the line. That's why the long and tempo coupled with 2xeasy will do the job for now.

If you were targetting a 10k, then naturally 10k reps and quicker would come into the equation, but the half is your big target.

A lot of runners worry that slowing their training down will slow them down. But what you tend to find, is that it leaves you fresher, leaves you less at risk of injury, better develops your training zones, and leaves you able to up your game for race day.

Edited: 08/09/2012 at 13:15
08/09/2012 at 15:44

Hi Stevie G.,

I really appreciate it that you'd offer to coach me and I will follow your instructions to the letter, I promise!!

Two things though - I'm off for the next couple of weeks so won't be able to start running again until the last week of September.  The second is that I'm also supposed to start training then for the Disneyworld event, which is actually a half marathon on one day followed by a marathon the next.  The idea wasn't to race these, as such, but to cover the distance comfortably and enjoy them.

Does that affect your offer of coaching?  I can probably find a half marathon 2-3 months from now and incorporate the race into my marathon plan or would you rather I came back to you when I'm done with Disney in January and pick it up fresh from there?

I'm genuinely pleased that you don't think I'm a lost cause and feel enthusiastic at giving it a go again   Thank you for that much anyway, even if the implementation needs to be postponed.

08/09/2012 at 17:43

That complicates it a little, as training for a marathon, albeit it one you're just looking to get round rather than race, is a different beast entirely to the half.

I suppose it depends on what you're planning running wise for the marathon, presumably you're needing to cover up to 18-20miles in training?

It probably wouldn't hurt to get into the 4 times a week schedule now, and then maybe you could simply increase the long run a little, 1mile a week to incorporate your marathon.

In effect, from the start of October, we'd be doing a form of base training for a couple of months up until your Disney stuff.

And then perhaps we could find a target half in March/April to have your real go at your pb.

I suppose the only thing with that is that we're talking 6months, and I'd feel a bit rude as getting you under 2hours by then would be a meagre challenge

08/09/2012 at 23:08
Thank you so much!! No need to feel rude- I'll be grateful if I ever do it, never mind in 6 months

I'd be aiming to do a couple of 20 mile runs as part of the training for Disney, ideally the day after a medium length run, in preparation for running two days in a row. Time isn't too important in this event but doesn't mean I want to walk it!

I have an early flight tomorrow then 10 days or so of practically no Internet or phone so will get back to you in a couple of weeks.

Genuinely looking forward to it; I'll give it my very best shot.

Have a lovely weekend
09/09/2012 at 06:33

have a good trip, will have to think about how best to proceed.

09/09/2012 at 11:36
Hi. I should say I'm no expert and agree that your husband's recommendation of going all out for every session isn't generally advisable.

However, my wife has struggled to get under 2 hours on the half. Mainly due to time commitments (she's a teacher with not a lot of spare time) this last year she's gone for 3 sessions a week with each session trying as hard as she can (I.e., how long can I go in 20mins? 1 min all out repeats, etc etc) with a small amount of longer runs thrown in. She has knocked 10mins off her PB in the last 12 months (her PB is 1:55 now) and she's stayed injury free and motivated.

Like I say I know this isn't ideal but it has worked for her so I thought I'd mention it.
09/09/2012 at 13:06

Big G...it sounds like your wife has hit her time in spite of her training, not because of it.  Continuing down that road will lead to a sure fire  plateau, whereas a better laid out plan and more easy mileage would comfortably get her sub 1hr 50 I have no doubt.

09/09/2012 at 15:19
Stevie G - you obviously know a lot more about good training than I do. However, I'm afraid I can't agree with your 'in spite of her training' comment.

In the last year her resting HR has reduced, she can now run further in 20mins than she could a year ago, her 5k and 10k times have reduced and she can sprint quicker. She only has about 3hrs a week to train (occasionally she does 4 hours) so she does what she can in that time. She does the majority of her training on the treadmill at the gym, where she also does weight and flexibility training.

Like I said, I (and she) knows it's not ideal circumstances but she does what she can in the time she has and she enjoys it which is the main thing for her.
09/09/2012 at 18:09

Appreciate that enjoyment and not getting injured are key factors, and sounds like her time is limited. Therefore, she's making the best of the circumstances.

A lot of runners start that way, myself included to some extent, and you naturally make slight improvement, before hitting a big plateau.

It sounds counter intuiative to say train slower to race faster, but it really is true. I went from thinking I'd hit my maximum a couple of years ago, to knowing now that I still have time to take off.

25/09/2012 at 15:15

Hi Stevie,

I'm back, feeling a bit better about things after spending a little time away and actually looked forward to running this morning.

I'm due to start my marathon training plan more or less straight away.  I was going to pretty much follow one of the Hal Higdon plans, for the reason that they're very simple.  It involves running 5 times a week and I think the maximum mileage is about 45.

If I did 3 easy sessions of between 4, and rising to 10, miles a week, and one long run using the paces you outlined before and concentrated on running faster one day a week, do you think that would be sufficient?  My plan is to get Disney done then find a half marathon early next year and hopefully get this monkey off my back once and for all!

For example, next week would be:

Mon 4miles at easy pace (10.21 up), Tue 6miles with some faster miles, Wed 4m easy, Fri 6m easy and Sat 12miles.

I'm still nervous about running all my runs so slowly but I understand the reasoning and it can't really hurt to try.  I've instructed my husband that he'll be doing the long runs himself now so I won't feel under pressure to keep up so we'll see how that works out!

Just one question - if I train at those paces, how will I improve - ie am I just teaching my body to run only at that pace, if you see what I mean?

Many thanks,

RR.

25/09/2012 at 19:14

RR, that sounds a good approach.

Don't worry about the perceived idea of running too slowly. Those easy and long runs aren't designed for speed, they're designed to help you build mileage and stamina, and leave you fresh for the weekly quality session.

If you will, they are the supporting mileage, whereas the quality session is the money run.

Ideally, if you were running 50-60miles a week, we'd have 2 quality sessions a week, with one a tempo, and one speedwork. The tempo would work paces like MP, HMP, or true Tempo (5secs less than HMP), and the speedwork would tend to be shorter faster reps.

I appreciate there's a monster haul from your usual 30 or so, to 50-60, BUT, we can comforably break 2hour off 1 session a week I reckon.

I suspect you haven't beaten 2hours for a half for only 1 of 2 reasons.

  • not enough months of consistent training
  • knackering yourself out running too hard in training.

Therefore, the approach we've discussed, and that you've taken on board, will see you there I'm certain.

On that plan you're looking at, does it have any ideas on the speedwork/tempo?

Like I said, i'm not up on marathons at all...so a few little gee ups whilst you're training for the marathon might be the best thing, and then once it's out of the way we can start talking day to day sessions and a proper build up for a sub 2 half marathon.

If I was a coach who worked on "No pb, no fee", I'd have snapped you up instantly

Edited: 25/09/2012 at 19:18
25/09/2012 at 20:55

Hi RR,

just thought i'd share my story. I've been running for about 9 years. The first 5 saw me go from not being able to run for the bus to a half mara PB of 1.55 and marathon PB 4.11. I was well chuffed with these times.

I then picked up an injury and no sooner had i cured one injury i picked up another. I fought and fought to try to get my fitness back and kicked myself for being rubbish after every run. I then got injured again and this time ended up having 9 months out and an operation on my knee. My confidence was shatttered.

Again i fought and fought to get my fitness back but just couldn't speed up. I finally came to the conclusion that i was trying too hard. i was tense during every run and as someone has already said 'the fun was sucked out of my running' So, i slowed down, i ran slower, i chilled out and stopped fighting. This May i broke 2 hours again. I am currently on the last few day of taper for the Loch Ness marathon after thinking i would never run again. I slowed down and enjoyed the training and now feel better prepared than ever.

I think maybe you are comparing yourself too much to your husband. We are all different and we all improve at different rates. My fiance started running 18 months ago cos i encouraged him. He doesn't do any other exercise but 2 'fast' runs a week. He has already beaten my PB. life just isn't fair. Does this make him a better runner than me? I think not! Don't worry what anyone else does just run for you. The fun will come back

26/09/2012 at 11:34

Hi Splodge,

Thanks for your story.  Sorry you've had so many injury issues but it's great that you're back running and best of luck for the marathon this week.  I know I suffer a bit from comparing myself to my husband - I get annoyed that he's so cavalier about his training but gets great results anyway!  I think running by myself for a while will be very therapeutic for me and I'm looking forward to seeing how things go over the next couple of months.

Stevie G., thanks for your vote of confidence!  I've run the last two mornings at an easy pace (no watch!!) and I like thinking to myself that this is actually of benefit to me.  Not feeling like I need to be shattered at the end of a run is actually quite liberating.  I hope the feeling continues!

The plan doesn't have any specific speed workouts except for "pace" runs, which are supposed to be run at MP, which for me is slow anyway! I was going to do something approaching a tempo session built into the 6miles or so or maybe do mile repeats at just a little faster than HMP, if you think that's appropriate?  I'm obviously open to suggestion!!

26/09/2012 at 11:51

As you're training for a marathon, I'd imagine the MP is THE key zone. Maybe alternating that weekly with something a bit faster, 10k reps.

Maybe you need a better plan that lays out the precise speedwork though.

When your true pb is sorted, you won't find MP runs easy. They should be medium hard.

 

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