RW Forum Six – Sub 2.50 Kier with Parkrunfan

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07/02/2013 at 14:06

Keir – have been discussing it with Brian on another thread. Yes it looks like PMP is set a bit low, but there are loads of unknowns for me, being a first time Marathoner and all. The key being that I have no idea how I will stand up to MP after 15, 20, 22 mile etc…. I think caution is wise + there is loads of time to make decision on PMP, getting some consistent consistency is a better use of my mental matches at this stage (god I am starting to sound like TR!! )

The fact you are tired and not necessarily full of confidence yet you are looking forward to your long run at the weekend speaks volumes about you Keir. I am sure you will be fine, just keep on keeping on.

07/02/2013 at 14:15

Keir - Beating yourself up about race times at this stage of the game is just wasted energy. For a faster 10K its simple, stop doing the long runs for 2-3 weeks....the 10K time will come down but it wont help the marathon training.

As an example, I would rather have two 38:xx 10Ks in the bag in quick succession with lots of slower miles in the equation as well than one 36:xx. It is far more useful towards the aim of knocking out a string of 26 x 6:30 miles.

Other people's times are also a source of unnecessary stress, comparisons on April 21st are the ones that matter

73 days to go, thats a fifth of a year, so now is the time to be getting tired, running on fresh legs can come later.

07/02/2013 at 14:26

Keir - If I can put a positive spin on it (from your perspective), I would say that your recent prep has looked more marathon-like than mine and you've been building up the mileage on key sessions like the progressive runs, all whilst battling poorly health.  (Much of my training in the past couple of months has kept in touch with quicker than threshold pace to help with my XC performances, and also the 10k being very much a target race in its own right.)  I've got every faith in prf's emphasis on getting the process right for the bigger picture. 

YD - If it turns out that you're operating just a notch under PMP that's probably not a bad thing.  If indeed you are getting fitter, for the same effort you're applying now the pace will get quicker anyway.  You seem to be at a very similar stage to me before Paris 2008.  (Where I mulled over possible targets between 2:50 and sub 2:45 between January and April, and ran 2:44.  Just saying.   )

07/02/2013 at 15:28

Phil - Thanks for the vote of confidence

It is probably fair to say that for a marathon prep to get you well prepared then, certainly for the first few, you will have periods during the training where you're going to have serious doubts about whether it is going to come together in time. It is par for the course and was actually the predominant theme that I was hearing at last night's race.

And getting back to 10K race times during training, it all depends how you interpret the results.

For instance, I could have posted a session for last night as:

6 miles w/u + 6 miles @6:10/mile - which I would have been very happy with, especially in the middle of big mileage. No need to look at it differently just because it is nominally 'a race'.

07/02/2013 at 15:52

This discussion rings familiar bells. When mara training, as soon as you miss a session (in effect, a mini taper) you feel like Superman and prep races are potential pb fests. In TR-speak, every time you race hard you burn some matches, and this reduces the stock for your 26.2. It's hard, to know you are in great shape, and "keep a lid on" the prep races. Aim to finish them and think that you could have gone another 4 miles at that pace. But on the converse, sometimes the call of the pb is too strong and you'll never know how much time the pb cost you in the marathon. I have done the prep both ways, stringing together a few pb's and then hitting a mediocre marathon. But I have also hit the marathon just right and eeked every last second out of the performance on the day. At the end of the day it depends on how focussed you are to get the best result out of the marathon. As PRF says, no point in hitting 10k races now as fresh as a daisy and registering fast times, when all your training is geared towards the 26.2

Sorry for my waffle....

07/02/2013 at 16:09

Brian - You've hit the nail on the head there, ie you should feel as though you can carry on for another mile or two afterwards in prep 'races'. It was the first thing I noticed from the video of the finish line at Dewsbury (that YD posted) on Sunday that I was talking to the chap I finished alongside immediately that we crossed the line in a calm voice, you wouldnt see that if I was PB chasing!

A snippet to throw into the equation since I like to keep an eye on Jocelyn's training on the way to her sub 2:50 attempt - today she was delighted with 10 miles in 63:29, so 10 @ 6:21/mile.

We're all doing roughly the same stuff!

07/02/2013 at 18:37

I dont usually say anything much here as its Keir and PRFs gig, but seeing as my names been mentioned, here sa few thoughts I have had after reading this today

All of our training, work, life, family etc causes a certain amount of stress, once that stress gets too much then you get tired, burned out, sick etc we all have different levels of stress which is why IMO someone like PP can train differently to someone like Keir. I know I rib PP about peaking early, but he is wise, eats well, gets planty of rest, has low life stress, doesnt train at Gobi o'clock etc.............and Keir has family stress, more job stress, trains at Gobi o'clock etc the more stress the more it takes out of you. Getting to a marathon start line in one piece ready to nail it is despite our lives not because of them. So the whole life picture has to be taken into account to manage the campaign.
Keir has been maxing it out in lots af stressful ways recently and has been tired and under the weather. He now hits the big push, has a less than hoped for 10K and then zips his man suit up to grind out a tough session, more stress. Which is ok for the odd time but is only going to end in tears if he doesnt listen to his boday a bit more. Once you have enough leg speed to run a sub3 then its all about endurance and running frequency and consistency, meaning that if he only hits 5 of the 10M runs or misses a long run or a midweeker with pace etc then for me thats fine, i dont think it changes his result on race day much. But over reaching, burning out or getting ill would.

Build up races need you to put your ego to oneside a bit (PRF does this well), I can do this too as I have no short distance ego, or no Pof10 ego etc I choose to run 1/2s and 10s deliberately tired as they help my 1/2 IM running. Some folks will worry about the short distance build up races though and so either taper or get down if they dont run as well as hoped for. Even if you taper a bit and get a good result like PP and YD its still compromised by the VLM campaign which is why IMO PP and YD couldnt hit the expected HRs in their 10ks.

I deliberately dont chase paces in training, I just run, although I will do a few marathon specific sessions later on and will look for some ~MP. However too much watching paces, agonising over details, HRs, hoped for paces etc in training is a waste of matches (like YD said). I mostly just run, bag the session and move on. Control the controllables, let the rest go and simply resolve to be the best you can be on the day when race day comes around. This lifts any pressure and is more important than target times on the day for me. Doing your best trumps target times.

The perfect marathon campaign and race day needs a sequence of planets coming to alignment that is never going to happen. Its all too easy to train really hard, leave it all in training and have a shit day. For me its about getting to the start line as fresh as possible, marathon training is about saving energy now, not expending it.Life stress matters and will shape your campaign and end result.

Be wise, and its only running after all.


Edited: 07/02/2013 at 18:42
07/02/2013 at 18:43

sorry Keir and PRF - I think I got a bit carried away ! Back over to you.

07/02/2013 at 19:22

BTW - no criticisms meant in any way, just thinking aloud.

07/02/2013 at 19:45
Arnie, well said. Top banana!
07/02/2013 at 20:29

Amen too, TR, a lot of what you say is what I was starting to plan for my next campaign having ignored the body and come out with a PB but an injury as well.

07/02/2013 at 20:35

Great posting TR, that’s one of the reasons why I name checked you, I like your brand of wisdom.

Same to Brian, prf and Phil. Plenty of sense being posted here!

parkrunfan wrote (see)

Brian - You've hit the nail on the head there, ie you should feel as though you can carry on for another mile or two afterwards in prep 'races'. It was the first thing I noticed from the video of the finish line at Dewsbury (that YD posted) on Sunday that I was talking to the chap I finished alongside immediately that we crossed the line in a calm voice, you wouldnt see that if I was PB chasing!



prf – I noticed that when watching the video the other day, lazy sod I thought  
Cracking session from Jocelyn, she is running Manchester isn’t she? You will have to introduce us, I imagine we might be quite close to each other in April!

Phil - behave

07/02/2013 at 21:34

Some very wise words from some very wise people (what's the collective noun for a group of wise people?)

Very nice to see 5 people who have all given me great advice over the past few years all posting on the same page.  


I was speaking to a colleague today (who had a break down a few years ago) about a 'mini emotional breakdown' I have last spring time and wondered why with so much more on my plate this year I seem to be coping ok. Essentially we worked out it was the combination of 3 things:

1. new baby changing home life balance / responsibility stress. Although this hasn't gone away, things have settled down now.

2. I was trainning a teacher - who took over all my 'good' classes. Although this reduced my work load, it meant all my work was with difficult classes, whic is emotionally draining without the 'pick me up' of good lessons.

3. Getting injured, but not bad enough to put me on the bench all together led to 6 weeks of 'will I, won't I' make VLM startline. 

So essentially I think jugglng lots in our busy lives is fine, but it is when one or more areas starts to go wrong or require extra attention that things can turn bad. Although being a mentee brings another layer of responsibility, at least with last years experiences I have increased awareness of the importance of keeping things in perspective (most of the time!). 

07/02/2013 at 21:39
Keir wrote (see)

Some very wise words from some very wise people (what's the collective noun for a group of wise people?)

Three ...

07/02/2013 at 22:27

TR - Excellent post, that should be a post that is pinned to the top of each marathon training thread. In general terms, far too much energy is wasted agonising about pointless stuff, but I think it takes a few years for you to realise just how pointless some things are.

YD - You didnt need to watch that video to know that I'm a lazy sod

And yes, you could well be close to Joss at Manchester. You could do worse than use her as a pacing guide, she is very good on that front. I'll introduce you at some point before April.

Keir - Good analysis. As TR says, people seem to think of tiredness just in terms of physical resources but just as good news can put a spring in your step, so stress can demotivate and actually make you physically less able. And it isnt just imagined, it is a real lowering of physical ability due to stress hormones released into the bloodstream.

Planned sessions at fixed times seem to be the biggest cause of stress, a bit like an impending doom hanging over the day. Generally I just go for a run, as TR describes, and decide once I'm out what sort of session it is going to turn into. It tends to be just races/parkruns where I know what I'm going to be doing on any particular day.

And on that note, 12.0 miles @ 8:47/mile this evening.

With 52 miles completed Mon-Thurs and 20 pencilled in for Sunday, it is looking like being a 90 mile week with a strong 5K and strong 10K in the mix. That is a bit beyond the mileage level that I can maintain but it is still a good week to get in at this stage.

08/02/2013 at 08:58

It seems as if new runners just go for a run - and get fitter. Then as we become more serious we look how to improve - read, study and analyse a whole lot, become obsessed by HR, pace, intervals etc, then only when we have several years of doing this and we get to know ourselves really well do we come out the other side and can run and train as TR and PRF describe above. 

First attempt this morning at PRFs recommended 5k session @ 10k pace. Following a suggestion from YD I have planned a set route for this session so I can accurately see progression. I have a cycle path which is pretty flat 2.5m from home, so an ideal warm up distance. I ran to perceived effort for the 3m which came out at 6.19m/m. Although I was a bit disappointed with the pace first of all, I think running on an unfamiliar path in the dark at first thing in the morning probably cost me a few seconds per mile. HR was in a similar range to sundays 10k. PRF - with this in mind, would it be better to try to rearrange this session so I am running later in the day with a 'warmer engine' so I can hit 10k pace, or is the effort level the key benefit for this session?

08/02/2013 at 12:23

Keir - Again, being disappointed with pace is something to forget about.

If we come back to the basics of training, it is:

Run plenty miles and run a few of them a bit faster.

Thats it in a nutshell. During this period the only purpose of faster stuff is to keep us in touch with speed so that we dont go suddenly accelerating like mad in a few weeks time and start snapping things.

When I do a parkrun I just go for a good graft but certainly dont strain anything. It is more important to be concentrating on running efficiency and keeping everything nice and tidy at speeds a bit quicker than you're going to be dealing with on marathon day.

Just go through a routine of 2-3 mile w/u and then run 3 miles of effort, whether that turns out to be 6:10, 6:19, 6:30 will not affect your marathon time. You will be running much quicker than this in a few weeks but it will be due to the overall training load, not due to the speed you run these 5Ks at.

Again, it is not a case of faster is better. So to answer your question I wouldnt change away from doing them in the morning if the only reason was that you think you might be able to run them a few secs quicker later in the day.


Going back to yesterday's discussion it is interesting that running is just about the best stress relief activity there is and yet a lot of runners manage to turn it into a stressful activity. The body can actually train itself - if you programme into the brain that you want to run a marathon on April 21st and just go out for a run 6/7 days a week there will be some days where the legs naturally want to go long, some where they naturally want to go fast and some where they want to do neither.

But the chances are that just by stepping out of the door 6/7 days a week and going with the flow you will end up in pretty decent shape on marathon day.

All this structure that gets handed down in schedules is mainly because it takes some time to become au fait with, and trusting of, the body's natural training inclinations. So the structure should be a means of assistance in getting from A to B but if structure itself starts producing stress then surely it has become self defeating?


08/02/2013 at 13:07

I hear that you are saying PRF, - running should be about getting out there and enjoying it. It was the need to de-stress which brought me to running in the first place. However as soon as we race we start a competitve desire. As we become more competitve - either with others or against ourselves we look for ways to improve our performance. To maximise these we end up pushing our limits a bit (whether time / physical / lifestyle etc) and that in itself causes stress. I don't think it is possible to get the best out of yourself in anything* without it causing some invcreased levels of stress.

*Exceptions being Yoga and meditation.

08/02/2013 at 14:19

Keir - I get stressed at the thought of yoga and as for meditation - well lets no even go there!  I couldn't sit still for long enough to do either.   

I think you're right in that you can fit everything in so long as things go right but as soon as something goes wrong it all falls apart.  Especially if you're doing well with your training and something external gets in the way.

I am a complete slave to the schedule (sorry prf) but that is how I best work.  My life is so busy that it would be easy to miss sessions due to lack of time but if its written down in black and white then I just gotta do it.   ie intervals late on Wednesday evening (in a 10m run) followed by 10 miles at 5am on Thursday morning.  It would have been so easy to drop one of them but the schedule said do it so I did it!


08/02/2013 at 19:04

Keir - Now thats interesting because I would class stress as being a negative emotion that hinders your progress whereas competitiveness is a very positive, focussed attribute that is anything but stressful.

I'm sure this came up on MG as a discussion a while back and there were differences of opinion on whether races were 'stressful' or not. I think it came down to personal definitions in the end.

Minni - No problem with schedules if the structure helps, it is just when it becomes a burden and starts taking the enjoyment out of the training.

At the end of the day, we spend 3 or 4 hours running a marathon and 3 or 4 months training for one so need to get plenty enjoyment out of the training.

I opted for a rest day today

Plenty miles over the weekend though.

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