RW Forum Six – Sub 2.50 Kier with Parkrunfan

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15/01/2013 at 10:16

Keir - great duathlon win.  Who cares about cycle training if you're overtaking the cyclists on the run? 

Just a few comments regarding the MP / HR / pace discussion.  I'm with BR on the HR advice; it takes a couple of miles for my HR to settle on an MP run, so I tend to run at least the first mile split to perceived effort, then take my first glance at HR a little while after that.  My average HR for marathon racing is 168, so at the moment my strategy for MP runs is not to go over 165.  I had a textbook MP run last Thursday, 13.3M w/ 11 @ 5:51/m, and average HR for each mile split (after a 2 mile vaguely progressive warm-up) went: 155, 163, 164, 165, 165, 165, 166, 164, 164, 164, 164. (Note, these are the averages for each split; HR probably got up to about 160 after the first mile.)

Apart from the pace itself, what was most pleasing was being able to keep HR in check right to the end, which gives you confidence that there's a lot more left before cardiac drift starts to creep in.  This is particularly useful to monitor if you're used to doing long progressive efforts, because otherwise it's tempting to get carried away towards the end of an MP run and turn the last couple of miles into a time-trial effort.  This might flatter your overall pace stats but it defeats the object of getting MP to feel as comfortable as possible.

15/01/2013 at 12:34

Check out the cheesy grin on Keir in those pics

PhilPub wrote (see)
Apart from the pace itself, what was most pleasing was being able to keep HR in check right to the end, which gives you confidence that there's a lot more left before cardiac drift starts to creep in.  This is particularly useful to monitor if you're used to doing long progressive efforts, because otherwise it's tempting to get carried away towards the end of an MP run and turn the last couple of miles into a time-trial effort.  This might flatter your overall pace stats but it defeats the object of getting MP to feel as comfortable as possible.

Good post Phil. I want to mix up the progressive 10 milers with flat paced MP tempo runs.  MP tempos for the reason you give, keeping a lid on effort, running economically etc, but I also think the progressive runs are more fun and can bring your fitness on quite quickly. The prog 10s might be quite a useful tool for bringing me to a fitness peak close to the Marathon, as well as helping to make MP feel easy as you drive on past it.

prf – I had a listen to the Joss interview last night, nice of her to give you a name check  One thing is clear, she’s a grafter. As you were saying earlier, easy is very easy, hard is very hard for her. She must be pretty robust though to handle that workload and some of those monster tempo runs she describes. Oh, she is also aiming for 2:50 at Manchester, she will make an excellent pacemaker for me

Edited: 15/01/2013 at 12:36
15/01/2013 at 13:25

Going to stop lurking to say hello then go back to lurking!!

I am sub 3 marathoner. Was quite a bit faster in my 20s but can't quite back there after having twin boys 6 years ago and a wee girl who is 3 this year. Plus am hitting the big 40 this year too ...

I train hard with high mileage as I get results that way, looking at 80-85 in peak weeks for London this year. Looking for sub3 this year again, but will be happy with sub 3:10 if I'm honest. Enjoying this thread, but am aghast at the 8 hour starvation before an evening run. I am tiny at 7.5 stone, so not eating for more than 2 hours makes me wobbley !

I do run empty mind most mornings so can do that, and can run 20+ miles like this with gels after 8 or so miles if I have a huge dinner the night before.

I also coach endurance at my club (I take the speed sessions and have a few individuals under my wing too) so love reading about other people's training. I am in the very easy runs camp too, and do push hard when I need to push hard. I am currently enjoying a xc season for the first time in a few years since my wee girl was born. Fab for speed and strength.

Also love the progressive type runs too and I run my hard temp runs with the fast guys at the club each week.

15/01/2013 at 15:20

I tried the lsr with no fuel at the weekend.  Ate on Friday night at 7:30 - just a sandwich  then nothing else.  Mug of coffee in the morning followed by 20 miles with only water (2 drinks of, one at 6m and one at 17m).  I took a gel just in case because I thought I would need it -  I don't normally but then I normally have breakfast.  However, I found if anything I had more energy than normal and it certainly didn't have a detrimental effect on my run. In fact I ran the fastest 20m ever in training without putting in any MP sections.   (I'm small too Mitchie).  I'll certainly do it again.

15/01/2013 at 16:11

What a fascinating read! Marathon training - either doing it or reading about it, really floats my boat. Seriously loving the detail here, many thanks to prf, BR and Hilly for their measured comments and explanations. You guys are making me itch! Really missing the fact that I have made the decision to take a break from marathons till Autumn this year.

Hope you don't mind me lurking (mostly), keep up the good work everyone.


15/01/2013 at 16:12

Just a point on both long(ish) MP runs and progressive 10 milers.

These can be mentally tough until you've really got your head around them, at which point you actually cant wait to get on with them. However, they are quite easy sessions if you do them with a number on, physiologically you're getting the same benefits so if you can take the route of least mental energy expense and use races where available all the better.

YD - Yes, nice to get a mention on the Joss interview. In fact my pacing subjects in 2012 were quite an elite bunch, the interviewer, the interviewee and Hilly!

The reason that she can handle the mileage is that she is tiny and light on her feet, although she does have a tendency to get injured running into things, which is not to be recommended.

And she will indeed make a good pacemaker, she is metronomic with those marathon splits, both Amsterdam and Berlin were a series of pretty much text book 5K splits.

Mitchie - Dont de lurk, it sounds like you have plenty to offer these discussions.

Minni - So I'm not totally bonkers then? Feeling stronger at the end of 20+ milers when unfuelled is not just a figment of my imagination....

Edited: 15/01/2013 at 16:13
15/01/2013 at 16:54

Minni – I haven’t done a 20 on no fuel yet, but I will next time out (weekend after BM probably) but I have done quite a few 15 – 16 milers un-fuelled, and can confirm they felt the way you described. Though, I can usually eat for England in the few hours after an un-fuelled run.
For those that aren’t sure about trying this, I would recommend trying it on a medium long(ish) run first, say 10 miles or more and then work up the distance.

Agree with prf, Mitchie Moo and Brian, don’t lurk, get posting. I know Brian has, and it sounds to me like MM loads of experience to share with the thread.
+ there is loads of time after BM to fit in a spring Marathon campaign Brian, go on you know you want to  

prf, Joss described her pacing at Berlin in the interview, negative split n’all, so yes her pacing sounds good.

Edited: 15/01/2013 at 17:01
15/01/2013 at 17:15

Minni - Good effort!

My last three 20 milers have all been unfuelled (besides a cup of coffee and some water) and energy levels have felt fine.  The urge to nap a few hours later after Sunday roast is pretty strong, but I'm pretty sure that would be the case even after a bowl of porridge for brekky.  This weekend will be an interesting test - 21 miles w/ 7 @ MP being my hardest LR to date. I'll be eating a small horse after that I think.

15/01/2013 at 17:48

I've quite a short running background, but pretty early on took to the unfuelled long runs. If I am aiming for a fast finish per Mcmillans approach, I do tend to take a gel or two, and maybe have some porrige the night before. Otherwise nothing after an evening meal.

I crashed and burned on one unfuelled LSR over 20 miles out of about 16 in the last year. Luckily I was near patisserie valerie where I partook in a cream cake or two before finishing the run (no guilt, no big deal)

15/01/2013 at 17:58
My final couple of miles in my 20 miler were just a bit slower than MP so yes finished strong. Although I felt hungry I didn't feel sluggish, which made me realise I sometimes do after eating breakfast close to a run (normally I get get up, have porridge and out within 20 mins). It also made me thing about whether I eat too much before a race. Might test it out sometime.

AR - if you're having a gel or two on those fast finish long runs then they're not strictly unfuelled, are they?
15/01/2013 at 20:03
Read back but too busy to comment tonight. Late night doing uni work and baby crying issues, along with snow has meant I haven't run yet. Just going out now but as tired from inspiring but exhausting uni day I am sqapping sessions with tomorrow so going out for 8m with uphill strides. Totally fuelled on fish and roast veg kebabs with salad and 2 glasses of red. Cbeebies 'I can cook' recipe apparently (but wine was my idea)
15/01/2013 at 21:51

8m with 8x up hill strides completed. 1hr 10mins. Very slippery and icey in places, but a lovely clear night. Lots of stars. Very quiet in the lanes as well, only 1 car all run. 

Interesting that you felt better without food Minni. Was it Scooby who said similar on the sub 3.15 thread a few days ago as well? I am comfortable running without breakfast and without fuel on the run, but not sure how I would be on just a sandwich for tea. I am also still a little concerned that carbo depleting from running 20milers without fuel has a negative affect on the immune system and takes longer to recover from - which will affect the runs the following week. However, if PRF recommends it...

Thanks for de-lurking everyone, but don't stop posting. We all learn from each other, regardless of speed or ability. Let's hear what training everyone is currently doing - weekly mileage / target times / number of runs per week is a good starting place.

edit: Surely you mean a Pony PP?

Edited: 15/01/2013 at 22:10
15/01/2013 at 22:56

Brian - hi!  At the moment I'd like to get back to being able to run a good game, rather than just talking it.  (for reference, see the results of the last Bradford parkrun).

Phil's session hits the nail on the head.  I have known runners over the years who can knock them out with little heart rate drift and have excellent marathons.  I have also known runners like myself who really are not suited to this.  Even after 18 months+ of very individual and specific advice from Hadd, I could only convert a 74 mins HM into a 2:42 marathon.  5:38 HM became 6:11 Marathon, and that was with running exactly to HR.  On paper, even given +20 secs per mile for double the distance this should have been sub 6m/m.  Ho hum.  In years to come I hope I'll be able to say `I converted a 2:42 marathon into some great HM and 10k times' rather than bemoan the lack of conversion upwards.

Well done on the race Keir.  Thanks for the picture of the dykes.  Hope they didnt mind...

2012 was all going swimmingly until I got sucked into track races and ridiculous multiple parkrun challenges!


15/01/2013 at 23:08

I normally only have a cuppa tea and a slice of toast before my long run on a Sunday, I did 14 miles with nothing at all during run and I felt fine in fact I could have done another few miles if required.

16/01/2013 at 04:56
Keir - I certainly made up for the lack of fuel on Monday. I was like a waste disposal unit! But like you I worry slightly about the knock on effect. I simply don't have time to get ill or run down. PRF - do you think this is a risk?
16/01/2013 at 06:45

Hi Brian and Mitchie Moo!

Thanks PRF, but I wouldn't call myself elite by any stretch of the imagination even if I have got 3000m top age ranking in the country this year lol

Haven't had time to read very much lately, what with being back at work and training, but looks like everything is going nicely Keir so far!

On long runs I normally have a slice of toast and coffee, but never have a drink out on the run unless it's in the summer.  I did 20 on Sunday off a banana on a very tough course, but can't say I was flying at the end - more like crawling!  Average for the run was just under 9mm, but the last hill at 19 miles took over 10mins it was that steep!

Also did a tough 14 long hills last night with the club over an 8 mile route.  Anyone who knows Barnsley will know they are proper tough  hills (Yorkshire tough)!  I'm told it's a good session for marathon runners - thoughts?

16/01/2013 at 09:12

I'm intrigued at the thought that somehow unfuelled runs will lead to being more run down somehow. Why?

Just to clarify, you are making things easier for your body not harder.

As I said previously, I wouldnt even think about eating before a morning race but post Chester when I didnt give a monkeys I did eat a couple of hours before we ran at St Albans parkrun.

Even though it was a relatively sedate effort I remember thinking during the run, why do people put themselves through this discomfort and make things more difficult?

Whenever there is digestion going on at least some bloodflow is diverted for that purpose, leaving less oxygenated bloodflow for supply to the working muscles.

Crashing on unfuelled LSRs is very unlikely unless the pace is too high because there is a higher ratio of fat in the fuel mix, something that the body has absolutely loads of.


Hilly - I'm going to stick my neck out and predict that you'll collecting another V45 No.1 ranking shortly to add to the 3,000m


BR - That wouldnt be a parkrun challenge conceived of and organised by a certain Barnsley Runner would it?

Keir - Good to get a session in yesterday but dont go pulling anything on that slippery stuff, especially when half cut on red wine

16/01/2013 at 09:19

When I get particularly tired on longs runs (especially when I go into a long run having not recovered sufficiently from the previous harder runs) my hamstrings are the first to ache, as a result my stride length shortens and maintaining a pace can be difficult. I don’t imagine I am particularly unusual in this.
I have often wondered about using hill work to build strength for a Marathon to counter this, or at least delay the onset. Those uphill strides that Keir / Badbark linked could be a good low impact way of doing this without kicking the crap out of yourself.
A chap who posts on another thread ran a good Marathon last year using the tactic of hard hill repeat session on Saturday, long run Sunday on the resultant tired legs. Something about tiring out fast twitch muscles on the Sat, when the slow twitch muscles tire a few miles into the long run on Sun, they normally try to recruit fast twitch muscles to help with the workload, but cant because the fast twitch are knackered, thus preparing the slow twitch muscles to keep working when they might want some help.
I don’t claim to really understand the science, but running long soon after hard isn’t all that new an idea and is maybe worth investigating.

Edited: 16/01/2013 at 09:25
16/01/2013 at 09:54

Off for 12 miles now in the frost while my little girl is in pre-school, best get going as only have until 11.45!!.

So far this week:

Mon: 10 miles easy at 6am, 4 miles easy on treadmill plus 45 mins core and strengthing (one twin boy at home sick)

Tues: 5 miles easy 6am, pm 9.5 miles with 6 x mile reps at 6:18 to 6:21 pace, with 90 secs recovery. Bang on what I wanted. Felt harder than it should have done for the pace mind felt like I was breathing ice into my lungs and probably was! I coach this session too so have to shout at folk as I'm training myself!

Weds: About to do 12 miles easy half off road and hilly

Thurs: will be 8 miles easy, 7 miles with 5 at 6:30-6:45 pace I hope! Then off to see podiatrist for new orthotics!

Fri: REST. I always rest one day a week. With 3 young kids I need a down day, although rest day involves dance group for my daughter, take her swimming, lunch/coffee with friends, collect boys from school etc etc.

Sat: 8 easy miles at 6am (then on coaching course all day with 2 hour drive each way )

Sun: 20 miles steady

Will be 82-84 I think.

Last week was 76 miles, but was all mixed up due to my husband doing a mad 40 challenge for his birthday to raise funds for his Mum's disease charity, she dies in 2011. He did 4km swim, 400km bike and 4km run in 40 hours. Nutter!

I run my own garden design business from home, but work is a bit slow this time of year, which is fine by me and I plan for it, so not a worry. It will pick up and then I have too much work!!

16/01/2013 at 10:13

The recommendation in my previous club was to the a tempo 6 miles, building to 9 miles on Saturday and the LSR on Sunday. I guess this would have a similar affect in tiring the faster twitch muscles YD

No wonder you are able to fit in so many miles with such a quiet, calm and stress free life MM!   - impressive time management.

Here are some articles on carb depletion and immunity suppression for a bit of light reading PRF:


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