RW Forum Six - Sub 3:30

Minni v Dubai Dave

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25/01/2011 at 22:35

I don't think they're all that useful.  The paces you do for each rep distance will depend on the purpose / overall volume and recovery for the session.  It also makes the assumption that the longer the rep the slower the pace which I don't necessarily agree with. 

A 400m could be done at 10k race pace (for a repped LT workout) or 800m race pace depending on the objective.

Knowing the purpose and overall context of the session beforehand is what will dictate rep length, pace, recovery, recovery speed.

Minni - a good guideline for vo2 max workouts are:

Your 8 min race pace for 2:30 - 3:00 w / recovery up to rep duration.

Your 15 min race pace for 4:00 - 5:00 w / recovery up to 3:00.

Those paces can be derived from prediction calculators and your volume will be dictated by what you can handle but usually 15:00 for the former and 20:00 for the latter are more than enough.  Whether your time is better invested in non-vo2 max workouts whilst marathon training is a different matter altogether.

Anyway, didn't mean to derail the thread - it's probably better just to stick to the schedule you've committed to.

Edited: 25/01/2011 at 22:36
Dubai Dave    pirate
26/01/2011 at 05:08

Minni, hope you feel better soon. 

 I sometimes look at Macmillan pacing table, usually if I'm wondering what my rep times come out if I want to achieve a new target such as 40 min 10K for example, then I can see how much quicker I would need to be in my intervals.  I agree with Morgahan that you don't necessarily slow down on longer reps as the purpose of the reps can change.

However on this thread we are talking about marathon training, out and out speed is not a issue but being able to race shorter distances at considerably faster than MP is a issue. Relistically Minni is not going to race a distance shorter than 10K between now and her marathon therefore as Moraghan has suggested above there is probably not much point in getting too hung up on VO2 workouts.

P & D has VO2 and LT sessions on alternate weeks, I think you should be doing one of each every week but lets stick with the schedule! I think for the sake of simplicity if we assume that LT runs should be at 1/2M pace which for Minni should be about 7-30 pace, and the VO2 or interval sessions at around 5K pace or 7-00 pace.  The schedule uses 600 /800/1200/1600 intervals I don't think it actually matters a damn what distance you use and that the variance is more for the sake of variety than anything else.

I always use 800 reps as my reference point even though I do lots of various speed sessions, I start the season running 6 x 800 @ 5K pace off 2 minute recoveries, build to 10 x 800 at same pace and recoveries, then start reducing the recoveries until I get to 1 minute and thereafter increase the pace.  Because I have been using this method of gauging my fitness for years I have a pretty good idea of what I'm capable of race wise at anytime.

Some books will tell you that about 6 weeks of interval work will prep you for a race, I prefer to run speedwork every week for around 9 months of the year but as i say its a gradual build up over the period but then I race a lot over distances from 800M to ultras.

So in short Minni you can stick to the schedule or use any distance of rep you want for speedwork, whats important is to see progression and as your speedwork period is quite small it might be better to stick to one distance to be able to gauge progress more easily.  Sorry to go on about this but you really need to get those tempo and interval sessions done at around the paces I'm talking about here. What we want is that you feel very comfortable at MP.

26/01/2011 at 07:49

Some really good info on here now.

Minni, CG - hope you both feel better soon.

26/01/2011 at 18:07

DD / Moraghan - thanks for the comments.  Mmm food for thought....

DD the VO2 max reps don't start for another 3 weeks.  Do you think I should get them started sooner?  And, you're suggesting just sticking to one distance, does it matter which distance?  Or rather is one distance better than another for marathon training?

I'm feeling much better today (or at least better than I did last night!).  I've been starving all day so piling the calories in!  I'm not going to run tonight. It would have been a recovery 5 miles and I think I'm better giving myself more time to recover and will hopefully be ok for sessions tomorrow night (6 miles with strides), Friday (10 with 5 LT), then 18 long run on Sunday.  

AA - Hope your week is going well.

Kiwi - what a fantastic prize!  Can't wait to hear all about it! 

Alison - Are you following a schedule?  How are you finding the 800s?

26/01/2011 at 21:08

I am shattered at the moment - think its the training catching up. 4x1600s on Monday, 5 miles recovery yesterday and 5 miles threshold today.

Minni - good idea for a rest day - glad you're feeling better today.

26/01/2011 at 22:06
Iron Man v Ultra Runner  I have copied this from the 3.15 thread - very funny.  I think I'm a mixture of the two.... worrying!!
Dubai Dave    pirate
27/01/2011 at 05:17

Minni, as a former ultra runner who is working towards an Ironman I find that video quite accurate! There are certainly lots of people in the Tri scene who are obsessed with the latest kit, have to admit it is one of the attractions toys for boys! Interestingly here in Dubai there are very few regulars in the running scene who are also Triathletes and vice versa, it’s like two parallel universes.

As to starting speed work sooner rather than later, that’s a tough call as schedules are written for a reason and we assume that P & D are better qualified than the likes of myself.  This is one of the reasons I make my own schedules!  At the moment the schedule is giving you 2 rest days a week, myself I would ditch one of them and run intervals BUT I have trained 6 or more days a week for years, if you’re comfortable with an extra day then give it a try.

Is any distance of rep better than another for marathon training? I don't really think it makes any difference when you get up to and past 800M, for example whatever set of intervals I do it pretty well comes out at a total of 6.5 to 8K at pace.  Examples would be 10 x 800M or 8 x 1K, or 5 x 1600M, Pyramid 500 /1000/1500/2000/1500/1000/500. I also like 6 x 1000 followed by 8 x 200 fast, as this gets you used to running faster on tired legs as you will at the end of most races.  At the end of the day it’s your call BUT I wouldn't leap in at 8K of speed work, 5K would be more like it to begin with.

Edited: 27/01/2011 at 05:18
27/01/2011 at 09:00

Thanks for the excellent advice Moraghan and DD.

Minni – Others may disagree but I think adding a bit of speed work earlier in your scheduled would be a good idea and the reason I recommended the 800m x 10 earlier. You can of course do less reps or change the distance as long as there is some progression. The P&D Advanced Marathon book is as close to a running bible as you might get but in my point of view there is one weakness. It doesn’t take into consideration the individual runner’s strength and weaknesses. No cookie cutter schedule can.

I have little doubt that if you follow the P&D schedule to the letter you will achieve your goal time. However, if you adjust the schedule slightly taking into consideration your own strength and weaknesses you are likely to find your goal easier to achieve. This is what I did to change myself from a sub 3:30 marathon runner to a sub 3:15 marathon runner inside 5 months.

If you believe that speed is your weakness then it should be something that you work on a little bit more. If you can increase your 10k pace by 10 seconds during the campaign then it should have a knock on effect for you marathon pace come race day.

I’d be interested to read DD and Moraghan’s opinions on this.

Dubai Dave    pirate
27/01/2011 at 11:30

BB: I'm with you, speedwork IMO is absolutely essential to get marathon times down its a staple of my weekly running, it was only when it went into my weekly schedule that my times started to improve. As I have already said Minni clearly needs to learn to train faster than she presently is so that she can race at quicker paces up to 1/2M.

In my experience with running a club for several years most runners shy away from intervals, if you can persaude a runner to come along a couple of times and they begin to realise a) they can do this and b) they start to see progression the job is done and speed work will stay in their schedules at least part of the year. It doesn't matter if you are a half decent runner or a complete beginner speedwork will make you quicker.

Of course the risk with speed work is always injury but this can be minimized by a) adequate warm ups b) Slowly increasing the number of reps, distance, pace, decreasing the recoveries etc.

27/01/2011 at 11:32

Badbark - I'm not wholly convinced Minni has a "speed problem" per se.  Her best half time is quick enough to comfortably go under 3:30. 

There is something clearly wrong with Minni's 10k time.  Rounding down to nearest whole minute her best 10k time is 7:23 pace but her best HM pace is 7:20!  That can't be explained in terms of fitness and is more likely an issue of circumstance.

Assuming that speed were a problem marathon training is the wrong time to address it in my opinion.  There are two factors to a good marathon:  your short distance "speed" and your ability to convert it.  I think if you were to try and work on both during marathon training it would be a mistake.  Particularly as speed-challenged runners often struggle (during them and recovering from them) with classic speed sessions. Your speed will often improve as a result of marathon focused sessions but that is a very different thing from actually trying to improve speed by changing your sessions during marathon training.

For this reason most runners would be far better training for one marathon a year with the other 6 months focusing on a shorter distance.

Dubai Dave    pirate
27/01/2011 at 11:39
Moraghan wrote (see)

For this reason most runners would be far better training for one marathon a year with the other 6 months focusing on a shorter distance.

Fair point, has been one of my biggest failings in the past. Though would change that to one serious or raced  marathon a year ( I ran Athens for fun in October but didn't put much into it).

27/01/2011 at 14:02

Without a doubt there is a problem with my 10k time and I think a lot of it has to do with confidence.  Before a 10k I am anxious about speed, worried about injury and just basically stressed.  I'm uptight on the start line and this stays with me throughout.  Whereas before a marathon I am totally relaxed.  I always sleep well the night before, one the start line I am looking forward to the run ahead, and I feel confident and relaxed. 

When I ran Newcastle in November I counted 11 ladies in front of me on the first lap. I didn't let their faster pace worry me because I was confident I would pass some of them later on.  I ended up finishing in 6th position with a race finish.  There was only 6 seconds between me and the lady who came 3rd.

However, I cannot seem to transfer this confidence to the shorter distance. 

27/01/2011 at 19:39

Interesting debates on speed work etc.

The guest speakers at last night's marathon training session were Liz Yelling and her husband, absolutely inspirational!  They talked about a variety of training methods, pitched at all abilities, however in relation to discussion on here - she did recommend (depending on experience) 1 or 2 speed sessions a week - mixing it up with LT and intervals.  Her other key point was running at marathon pace - incorporating that into long runs so that you are absolutely comfortable and know how it feels to run at that specific pace.  So all the advice appearing on here is in line with her recommendations!

I'm incredibly tired today, so going to grab an early night and have switched tonight's medium long run to tomorrow morning.

27/01/2011 at 22:24

Kiwi -  tell us more!  Sounds like you had a great night?   Tell us more.....

kiwirunner10 wrote (see)

  Her other key point was running at marathon pace - incorporating that into long runs so that you are absolutely comfortable and know how it feels to run at that specific pace.

I'm hearing that more and more these days

 I found this forum back in 2003/04 when I did my first marathon and I have learnt almost everything I know from it.  But, its amazing how much more I'm learning this year.  Maybe because I'm reading with new eyes as I try to get this goal.  Thank you to all those who are offering views, experience, and knowledge.

I did 5 miles tonight and feel more or less back to normal. General Aerobic with some strides and 3 x 30 second hill reps; similar to the session I would have done on Tuesday as part of the 10 mile.  I'm hopeful I will be ok for the lactate threshold tomorrow (5 + 5).  

I might have to double up for my mid run for the next couple of weeks.  Short staffed and struggling to get the time.  I'm thinking that perhaps I could add 2 or 3  800m  reps into either the morning or evening run as an introduction to them, and also to make one session slightly harder than the other? 

28/01/2011 at 07:15

Minni, you might to dip into the 2011 Marathon Thread. There's some great advice and knowledgeable folk on there
Dubai Dave    pirate
28/01/2011 at 08:32


Minni any introduction into speed work is going to help you, likewise being able to hit marathon pace with your eyes shut is just so important. As you get used to ruuning at different paces you will find that you are able accurately feel 5K/10K/ 1/2M/ Marathon pace without reference to a garmin / watch. I have no idea how the human brain is capable of doing that but it does, I can hit a pace without ever connciously thinking about it and am always amazed when studying my garmin afterwards shows pretty much the pace I was planning on.

My right calf is still buggered from last weeks marathon as a quick fitness test showed me last night so thank god for my bike, did 2 hours today probably 4 or 5 tomorrow. Its good job I like cycling!

28/01/2011 at 12:07
Morning folks - 18 miles in the bag this morning done and dusted before a busy weekend. Much better than last week, although I did them on the treadmill at 11.4kph and upped it to 12kph for the last 5k. We've had a few sitings of wierdos flashig at women running round here on the lanes so its frightened me a bit - and one of my friends was flashed at again this morning while she was out running. Horrible hey.
28/01/2011 at 17:05
deleted... double post.
Edited: 28/01/2011 at 17:06
28/01/2011 at 17:05

I used to get sore calfs Dave, and it was always great to get one the  bike when they were playing up.  I hope its nothing serious? 

AA You mad woman!  18 on the treadmill... hat off to you again.  That's not nice having a flasher around you.  I really don't think men know how vulnerable women feel when they're out running on their own.  The chaps in my club laugh at me!  I'll go out in the hills all day myself but on the road I hate going more than a couple of miles on my own! 

 10 miles LT run in the bag.   I did the same route as last week and took the first 5 easy (this was also the hilliest bit) then pushed the other half.  The strap on my garmin snapped as I was putting it on so I had to grab my old navman, which gives me total time, distance and pace but not mile for mile.  The average pace was 8.20 and, although I'm not as good at telling my pace as you Dave, I know I was working really hard in the second half  ...probably close to my pace last weekend... I couldn't have held a conversation and was hurting.  It felt harder than the same last week but I'm pleased with the pace.  

My hamstrings are still hurting and I feel like something in my hips needs to click.  Might visit the physio...

Its my running club Christmas party and awards night tomorrow night.  As Chairman, its my job to get it all together.  Right now I am making 20 odd awards (we're a low budget club....!) and doing times for a blind handicap I've arranged for the afternoon.  There are a few runners doing it who haven't been brave enough to come along to the club yet, so I'm looking forward to encouraging them. 

Long run for me on Sunday.  Good luck with long runs everyone else. 

Edited: 28/01/2011 at 17:06
28/01/2011 at 20:55
Minni - do you have to run blindfolded at your club handicap? Lol
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