RW Forum Six – Sub 2.50 Kier with Parkrunfan

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09/01/2013 at 16:43

This thread has been great reading - thread joke lead by PhilPub so far.

I've been looking through for ideas and sessions, and last night gave a progressive run a go. I changed the pace a little, starting off really slow, increasing pace every 1/2 mile up to half marathon pace. Surprisingly, I found the session enjoyable, and running sub marathon pace felt really comfortable.

I ran it over a fairly flat 11m route finishing around 6:15 min/m pace which is the limit I have put on speed for now due to recovery from injury. I would look to finish under 6:00 when deeper in training.

Just to be clear, what are the physiological benefits of this type of run. Lets say I will be runnig one MLR and one Tempo run weekly during the magic8 week period - would the progressive run best replace the MLR (currently tend to run them at constant pace 12-15miles) or the tempo (10mile session, 6m @HMP)?  Cheers.

09/01/2013 at 21:46

Why the surprise at the enjoyment factor Also-ran?

Anyway, the general idea of the 10 mile progressive tempo is the pace of the run averages out at MP, so the physiological benefits won’t be dramatically different to running a 10 mile MP tempo at a flat pace, I wouldn’t have thought.  There may be more lactate in the blood at the end of the run as you wind the pace up beyond MP, however, you might start the run slower than MP, so the lactate might build up slower in the earlier part of the run, so it could balance out over the run. Not 100% sure to be honest. I do know it’s a great upper aerobic workout the gets you fit though.

I intend to use both the 10 mile progressive and the flat paced MP tempo in my Marathon campaign, more than likely as part of the MLR. However, once I start adding in MP to long runs, the MLR will probably just be run steadily or have some other kind of workout in there.

I think the benefit of mixing up the two for me; will be in the variety of workout I get, yet building on the same area of fitness. Flat MP runs will help me get used to race pace and the rhythm of it, learning to run as economically as I can at that pace. Whereas progressive runs are all about working through the gears and getting a feel for the effort. You already said running sub MP felt really comfortable, well that has to be a psychological benefit in itself, these sessions are really good when you have a good day and are able to push the boundaries of your fitness.

Edited: 09/01/2013 at 22:01
09/01/2013 at 22:02

Thanks YD. I think part of the enjoyment was, peversely, the control needed to ramp up the pace. I got a bit bored of garmin watching last year- but this was a fun new game to play! 

10/01/2013 at 09:08

Good question AR and good answer YD. 

I felt a bit fresher after taking yesterday as a rest day. My first non running day since being ill on Xmas and Boxing day. Did 8m this morning in exactly 1hr 1min, 7.35m/m 142bpm (75% max) Felt good to be out, but mead me realise that I probably do need to have an easier or non running day or two to be fresh and ready to hit the magic8. 

10/01/2013 at 09:52
Philhub - be carefull what you say about George Michael, any careless whispers can get you in to trouble.....
Keir - I notice in your 2 week plan there are no rest days, although you make reference to this in your last post. Will you be having rest days in your 'magic8' ?
10/01/2013 at 10:37

Keir - Yes, to the 2 week outline. That seems to incorporate the main elements of the key sessions coming up whilst keeping the percentage of faster paced work to a very comfortable level.

You want to go into the 8 week period with the thought that none of the sessions sound beyond you. By doing something approaching what you've planned for the next 2 weeks you should be feeling raring to go. Just dont strain anything, smoothness rather than hitting paces is more important when you do the progressive stuff. After all, a marathon is all about efficiency of effort.


Phil - A classic to add to your many previous classics.

Also-Ran - YD sums it up pretty nicely but at the end of the day a lot of marathon training comes from observation of others' experiences after they have worked things out through trial and error. Often the  science side of things then tries to explain why things work.

So, I observed what a couple of sub 2:15 guys did when training with them many years ago and saw that these progressive 10 milers were always somewhere in the mix. Since then I have used them in batches of 4-6 when preparing for any kind of distance events and the improvements over the batch of sessions is so evident that once you've done them, you too will swear by them as a key session.

And I think you've already discovered that they present a good confidence boosting feel good factor that drives your training on.



Well, a track race for me last night and happy enough with the outcome. It was a 3000m and to compare with the last race of that distance;

4 Sep 12: Stretford 3,000m 10:05 (5:24/mile)
9 Jan 13: Cudworth 3,000m 11:02 (5:54/mile)

As a just get stuck in and see what happens type run I thought it went well, going through a few gears at the end to finish around 5:20/mile pace.

Will now be looking to go long a couple of times in the next 7 days to start getting prepared, probably an 18 and a 20 or thereabouts.

11/01/2013 at 09:21

A good bit of speed work there PRF and always nice to stretch things out a bit to hit the top speed. 

Carter - I hadn't planned a rest day over the next 2 weeks, but I will play it by ear. I think it is important to go into the magic8 fresh and ready for work rather than tired and trying to catch up on sleep. I will post the slightly amended plan for the first 4 weeks of the magic 8 sometime next week.

12m this morning, inc 4m @ Marathon HR effort. I was a bit worried about this session as I haven't run in the 160bpms (85% effort) for almost 3 months. I figured that to help me get my pulse up I would run a 4m stretch which dragged slightly up hill overall. 

I am still having issues uploading my Garmin to my PC so haven't got any mile splits, but from pressing the lap button I have the following:

3m w/u 22mins 138bpm (73%) 7.24m/m - quite fast and comfortable warm up.

4m Mara effort 26min 33sec 161bpm (84%) 6.38m/m - felt hard for the first mile and I was puffing and struggling to ge the pulse up. However the 1m split came out at 6.20m/m so I guess it was more a case of HR lag. Over the final few miles I actually had to slow a bit to keep HR within range. 

5m w/d 39min 146bpm (77%) 7.49m/m - felt comfortable and I am surprised to see that my HR was so high over this warm down.


Positives: After the first mile Marathon HR felt comfortable and I am in the ball park with the 6.38m/m considering the terrain.

Concerns: My w/d shows that I must have been working quite hard as my bpm is much higher for a slower pace when compared to my w/u. I think recovery from effort is a true meaure of fitness and this shows I still have a way to go.


I've been working on my 'bottom end' under LT for several months now - all 70 - 80% HR max stuff so I will be interested to see how much / quickly my form comes with the introduction of some harder work.

11/01/2013 at 11:51

Keir - This struggle to get the heart rate up shouldnt be of any concern. As the training progresses you should find that it will become easier and easier to maintain higher HRs.

The progressive 10 milers have a big part to play in this respect.

There is nothing at all to worry about that your expected marathon pace in April is a struggle in January.

The main thing is not to being using up any mental resources at this stage, enjoy your running and let improvements happen rather than trying to force things to happen.

But good session, you're clearly shaping up well to be ready for the 8 weeks.


A gentle aerobic run for me last night, which actually turned out to be a marathon time on feet run... 20 miles in 2:50:43.

As I've said elsewhere, I will be pretty pleased if the gantry clock on The Mall in April says something similar.

With this being the longest I have gone since October I was pleasantly surprised at how happy the legs were and added a bit of mild progression with the last mile being the fastest. But a very relaxed run, pace unimportant.

Another point about this run is that it was completely unfuelled from 8 hours pre-run to post-run. I usually find, counter intuitively, that this leads to feeling really strong towards the end of these runs.

Edited: 11/01/2013 at 11:53
11/01/2013 at 15:16

Keir, only just stumbled across this thread, so best of luck

I've had a speed read and will go back and digest later on but i did spot that you're due to be doing the Thanet Duathlon tomorrow ? If so i may come along and cheer you on if i can identify you from your Orpington mara video

11/01/2013 at 17:02

Keir - in my experience, you shouldn't be hitting the target heart rate zone until after 2 miles or so, therefore don't fret about getting there straight away, or you risk running the first mile too quickly.  What I preferred to do was to estimate what the right pace should be and let the HR gently rise at that pace, then adjust slightly.

11/01/2013 at 20:42

ok PRF. No stress. 

Great run from you on a school night. Was that a planned run. Interesting that you feel better wthout food than having eaten normally during the day. I felt really hungry after about 11miles today. Early signs of hunger knock type of hunger. Although I hadn't eaten anything for 10 hours, I had at least slept for most of that time. 

Cheers BR. I will certainly run to pace / perceived effort for the first 2 miles next time. I knew that first marathon felt and pace was faster than MP, but I felt if I was running to HR, then that is what I should do. It has also been pointed out that my HR was probably too high on the warm out. 

Mace - Hi!  A good stumble. Happy reading. I will be at 'Kent's toughest event' on Sunday. Not looking forward to those cold wet dykes, but the sweatshirt for every finisher (almost) makes it worth it. I will be in light blue Ashford Tri club kit.


5m extra recovery miles after work. 

Edited: 11/01/2013 at 20:49
11/01/2013 at 21:05

Keir - It was sort of planned in the sense that I set out to do a 10 mile loop and if everything felt okay I'd go around again. If it had been a bit of a struggle due to the track race the night before then that would have been fine, theres plenty time to get enough distance runs in.

11/01/2013 at 21:50

Keir, ahh, thought it was tomorrow for some reason. On Sunday at around start time i should be in that area doing my long run ( i'll be going through the bays along the promenade to reculver and back, same as last Sunday )

 If you see someone in a yellow hi viz and a black beanie shouting at everyone in a light blue Ashford Tri kit that'll be me

Good luck with the race

prf - nice 20 for mid week and some great input in this thread

12/01/2013 at 16:15

Just went out for a nice easy 6miler. Felt like 8m/m - 8.30m/m. Surprised to get home to see ave of 7.25m/m. 

Now where's that YD run off to?

12/01/2013 at 16:55
Keir - going very nicely Sir. Keep it up. When you're doing these HR based runs are you monitoring pace or HR primarily. Ie is the point to hit a HR and let the pace just come out naturally? If on BR's advice you might run the first 2 miles or so of these to pace anyway what's the purpose of monitoring HR at all? Prob just me being daft- I've always been bamboozled by HR training and never been ale to make it work or me...
12/01/2013 at 20:29

Good question Fraser. 

IMHO Neither pace and HR are reliable measures of effort. Ideally we would have some way to accurately measure power, such as is available for the bike. Therefore, I do look at both HR and pace.

In the past (since Liz Yelling told Matchstickman to focus on pace, as that is what you need to look at to run xx time in the marathon) I have focused on pace, but recorded HR for interests sake, which is often interesting to look at, post race in particular.

For clarity later on in this post, I won't refer to exact numbers but rather % of max HR taken from a max HR test. For information (I know KR asked about this early on in this thread as well) my ave HR in a marathon is 85% max (it should be 83% according to HADD), 90% max in my pb HM (which I consider my best race on consistently high effort) 91% over 10k and 92% over 5k. 

After a summer of focusing on interval running and cycling for duathlons I wasn't really sure where my aerobic fitness was so pace would be an unreliable measure of effort. Instead I ran to HR as prescribed by HADD. But the shock of my poor aerobic base was distressing:

My first two HADD style 70% max run were in the 2nd week of November. The first was 72% max, 1hr 20mins and only 9miles 8.53m/m. 2 days later I ran strictly to 70% max 1hr 4min 7.2miles 8.54m/m. 

I stuck to 70% max running for the following 5 weeks, only allowing my HR to rise slightly above target on hills, but remaining aerobic. By mid December over the exact same routes I averaged 8.11m/m and 8.07m/m for 70% and 71%  respectively and also showed no slgn of HR rising / pace falling over the distance. So I then upped the HR to 75% for most runs (apart from recovery runs which were kept at 70%). I also introduced one 80% run per week - building up from 40mins to 90mins (a bit too quickly to be ideal). 

Ideally I would have stuck at the 75% majority / 80% 1 per week and 70% for recovery for a while (6-8 wks approx), before introducing another 80% per week, and after another 2 months upped one of these to 83% and so on. 

But I do want to perform VLM this rather than next year, so I am moving things on a bit quicker than I should under HADD. So I have skipped the 83% step and have gone straight into 1 run per week inc some 85% (which is my M HR anyway).

So, in short, to answer your question, I am running to HR at the moment, but keeping an eye in pace. I will be moving to running to pace and keeping an eye on HR in a few weeks when I get to the magic8. Hopefully during that time my PMP and PMHR will match up.

In summary, I found HR really useful in capping my effort, particularly when hilly or into wind, when you can be trying much harder than you realise. I will keep using it for recovery runs. It showed today when I didn't bother with the HR strap, ran to feel and when I looked at the Garmin I had ran much faster than I expected. In a way that was a good sign as I am running faster for perceived efort, but I suspect that I was also abve 70% for a fair bit of that time which was not the point of the session.


I was meant to be writing a bit more of my assignment for Uni tonight, but I guess I am happily looking for distractions!  BTW Fraser - Are you aware that you are still 'Jingling?' I know you are mid renovation, but even Sarah Beany would have found time to remove the baubles by now. 

12/01/2013 at 21:32
Excellent answer Keir - have you ever considered going in to teaching??

You'll be pleased to see I've addressed the forum name issue.. Gone back to the "handle" I used when I dabbled with CB radio back in the day . What a tw*t!!
13/01/2013 at 07:27

 Oh dear. Does that mean I need to be called 'snake-eyes'? 

13/01/2013 at 17:25

A good race today. Thanet duathlon in which I came 3rd overall last year. Not sure how I would fare with less cycling and no speed work this time. 

First 2.4m road run @ 6.10m/m 165bpm (86%) felt hard - but I was pleased to be 2nd, 8 sec behind the leader at this point. Made up a couple of seconds in transition and soon caught and passed him on some technical bits on the bike. 

The 9m bike section was so, so wet and muddy. Came to a complete standstill on a few occassions in the water and mud. Really tough going. On the back of the course I came off 3 times and ended up wadding next to the bike for a bit. Fell off twice again on the 2nd lap which had been churned up even more by the riders. Although it was flat and had 1m in total of tarmac the bike split averaged 5.56m/m - 157bpm (83%)

I lost some time in nd transition with standard rather than elastic laces on my trail shoes, but I didn't want to suffer Philpub's George Michael fate. Run was over the same course as the bike and I enjoyed overtaking 20 riders over the loop. Worst bit was where they redirect the runners through 5 water filled dykes. The worst was just short of waist deep and so slippery it was hard to get out of. 7.45m/m 159bpm (84%) for these 4.5miles. 

Overall 1hr 32min and the win, 90sec ahead of 2nd place, who is a sub 3hr marathon runner / IM athlete and also 11 yr younger than me. 

Finished the day with some intervals pretending to be a boy eating dragon, chasing my kids round a local playground

13/01/2013 at 17:39
Excellent post Keir, were your 70-75% runs at a stable pace throughout before introducing the 80+ runs, or due to the lack of time you mixed it up a little

Congrats great report and a good win
Edited: 13/01/2013 at 17:41
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