RW Forum Six – Sub 2.50 Kier with Parkrunfan

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19/03/2013 at 11:44

Keir - excellent, 12M is ace, Your legs are just missing impact miles now, you need to run lots in the next 4 weeks, practically every day if you can, even if some are short runs. Thats where frequqncy over quality may have to come in. You can still harbour PB hopes at the mo.

19/03/2013 at 14:58

ok, I'll do that TR. I must admit to motivation being low at the moment. I always find a break in routine a stumbling block, especially when the original target / goal is compromised. However it was good to get out at 5.30am, especially now it is light, no ice on the ground and the birds are singing.

19/03/2013 at 15:25

Thats whats wrong with having a goal time as your motivating force. My aims nowadays are to make the start line and then see how fit I think I am when I get there. Gordo always says that when you come up with a weekly schedule you should then reduce it a bit as thats the optimum and the optimum is hard to make week after week. If you have lower aims then its easier to meet them. You also have no control over what might or might not happen in the campaign, so just commiting to doing as much as I can juggling life and training etc and then resolving to do my best on the day is my campaign plan. Most folks probabaly over train to some degree anyway. You are still in the game for a PB.

20/03/2013 at 14:24

Certainly having everything focused on a time goal isn't healthy and makes it hard to overcome a lack of motivation when issues arise. I can see how running (and all sport) should be about more than a number or a time. Ultimately I can see that by basing my happiness / motivation for sport on an endless cycle of pbs is going to end in tears and fustration.

However I am certainly goal motivated and train much harder when I have a goal time in mind rather than 'to do my best'. Having achieved something I find it hard to go out and do the same year after year, unless I have a new twist on the challenge (faster, further etc). As much as I admire your clutch of 2.5x VLM times TR, that is not what rocks my boat. 

I suppose my desire rather than for a love of running for runnings sake is for a love of the sense of achievement gained from the sport.


5m this morning. Stiff and back aches afterwards. Doing some self massage on the sports the physio focused on. Will probably do the same distance tomorrow, then try to run further on Friday before the 2nd round of physio.

20/03/2013 at 15:28

I didnt make myself very clear there, I agree that someone might need a long term target time to get you out the door all winter, and the next winter etc but you can't control the uncontrollables in each individual campaign so some campaigns will be compromised so you just have to get as fit as you can and get out of it the best you can, some of my campaigns have been compromised and slower than I'd have liked but all marathons take some achieving on the day. However over a period of years you should indeed get quicker esp at your age as a novice. The chances of going from campaign to campaign picking up a PB each time must be pretty slim. Its like expecting a a bumper crop each year, you need to see what the weather etc does to that crop along the way.

21/03/2013 at 11:57

I couldnt agree more with the above sentiments.

I really cant see the point of all this effort that goes into homing in on a target more and more precisely as the race gets nearer.

It just creates pressure for no good reason.

As TR says, do the training, get tapered and stand on the start line in as good a shape as possible given whatever circumstances have occurred during the build up.

Then run the race as though you have no access to any time feedback by getting the effort levels right. Whatever comes out of the other end will probably be at least as good as what would have been achieved through chasing an agonised over target and a whole lot less pressured into the bargain.

To answer your question, Keir, as far as 2:45 is concerned I would class it in the 'I wouldnt rule it out at this stage' category but that is far from saying that it is THE target.

I would be happy with 2:53, a comeback PB, even more happy with 2:47, an all time PB and would be absolutely over the moon with anything near 2:45, so will just give it my best shot and see what it throws up.

I initially gave myself four marathons to see if I could land a 2:45 as a V45, which seemed liked a very tall mountain to climb, so the fact that it is even vaguely on the cards this time around is a really nice position to be in.


It is promising that you are indeed managing to string a decent run of successive days together while managing the aches and pains. I know you feel like you've missed a lot but you've also done plenty as well so it may well be that you get to VLM with full strength tendons/ligaments/muscles and surprise yourself on the day.



21/03/2013 at 20:43
Keir wrote (see)

As much as I admire your clutch of 2.5x VLM times TR, that is not what rocks my boat.

I have to agree with Keir and say that as nice as a collection of 2.5x is, one 2.4x would be much better. I know it is a long way off but my aim for VLM 2014 is 2.4x. I did 2:57 in 2011 and 2:50:28 in 2012 and of course picking up another sub 3 in 2014 would be nice but 2.4x is the target and anything else will be a consolation prize. I fully accept it may not happen in 2014 and may have to wait until 2015 and that is the hard bit. I definitely have a goal and sometimes you get setbacks and other times not. The thing to do is to evaluate each step and see how it reflects in the overall goal. If you can't do 2.4x this time round then will it help or hinder a 2.4x in the future? I am sure that a mid 2.5x will be useful as you have not run VLM before so it is nice to see how the event works and work out a few plans and then next time round it will be more comfortable. I am taking my 2:50:28 as a sign that 2.4x is indeed probable more than possible, just over a second a mile faster so mentally I am there and having run London once I am now more aware of how things feel at different places en route and I will probably catch a tube out to Canary Wharf and run the last 7 miles or so a few times just to bed the patterns in.


21/03/2013 at 21:00

that made me smile, depends upon your angle I guess. I would take consistent 2:5X's over a single 2:49. I was defo in sub 2:50 shape in 2009 and got injured in the last weeks and ended up 2:55 and was probably sub 2:50 shape in 2012 but caught a cold in the last week and felt carp on the day ended up 2:51. However the only one of the 5 that was off running only training was 2008 - 2:52, all the others are off swim, bike and run and even then the running is only built into commutes except the long run (I wouldnt run much if I didnt commute it) so I guess that 2:4X isnt a burning desire for me, or I'd run more often to make sure I achieved it. What matters more to me is that I do my best on the day than how fast I run. However I have to add that I dont chase PBs or race performances at shorter distances, Pof10, or rankings etc VLM is just a test to prove that I still can, I'm not built to run marathons I just like the mental challenge, and I'm not prepared to do it off a run only approach, so consistent 2:5X is the aim.

Really its all about how much time you are prepared to put in and how much life, work balance etc you are prepared to give up. You have to commit to what you are prepared to cimmit to and then see where it gets you.

Edited: 21/03/2013 at 21:00
21/03/2013 at 21:37

I can see what you are saying about the advantages of knowing the course etc. PMJ. Having run Abingdon twice I have pretty much memorised the entire route and there are only a few small sections which are a bit hazy in my mind. The crowds, preparation and whole big event feel is something which I haven't experienced at all before. 

This is the 6th marathon that I have trainned for. 2 spring marathons (VLM 2012, Halstead 2010) were missed due to injury and the only other spring marathon was missed due to illness and rescheduled to an alternative event the week later. So of the 4 winters training, none have gone to plan so far. I have also trainned for 2 autumn marathons (Abingdon 2010, 2011) both of which I have achieved my most ambitious A goal. Perhaps post VLM I will take your advice PRF and use the base and experience to run Abingdon. However at the moment I just want to get VLM completed and regain full health, which will return my love of running. 

You are a fit bloke TR. So many people train bloody hard, focusing purely on their running. I am always impressed by your consistency and fantastic times from a (relatively) low volume, low intensity and low priority. You seem to real off 2.5x with relative ease whilst focused upon bigger goals. On the one hand it must be tempting to know what time you would achieve with a pure running focus, but then again, perhaps that would lead to a lack of enjoyment or maybe you'd end up like YD and me!


Back sore so rested today. Plan for 12m early in the morning and see if the physio thinks I am getting better in the afternoon. 

22/03/2013 at 08:54

11m ave 7.44m/m this morning. Felt the best I have done for about 3 weeks. Hardly any issues at all, but I was careful not to push things.

Today's run also inspired a new definition to be added to the urban runners dictionary: A brown stripe run: A run where you go faster than planned and have your mind focused upon more pressing issues. Unsually ends in humiliating disaster or undescribable relief!

22/03/2013 at 09:14
Keir wrote (see)

You are a fit bloke TR. So many people train bloody hard, focusing purely on their running. I am always impressed by your consistency and fantastic times from a (relatively) low volume, low intensity and low priority.

Mileage is a very crude measure of a runner's training effort. I have run 34 miles so far this week, 6 at lunch will be 40. if I jogged down to parkrun and back on Saturday and did a LSR on Sunday I would be over 60 but in fact I will do a short leg of the 12 stage relays on Sunday after a rest tomorrow so maybe 45 in total. I have a friend who runs and easy 4 every lunchtime so that adds 20 miles to his week.

Without wanting to use the phrase junk miles, there are some miles which help more than others.

22/03/2013 at 10:33

Haha Brown Stripe run, I have been a victim of many of those Keir! Excellent news on the run yesterday, fingers crossed this is a bit of turning point for you.

Good post PMJ.
I would consider myself to sit in the more is better camp when it comes to mileage, but there are caveats I would like to add to that. I think the main one being, it depends on where you are in your running life.
I have a theory that broadly speaking someone who has been running 3, 4 or 5 years is still going to get improvements from a steady mileage increase, and I would say that outside of Marathon training the make up of those miles aren’t that important as long as there is a long run in there, so the concept of junk miles doesn’t really apply IMO. Within Marathon training adding in an MLR’s to support the long run takes on a bit more importance for the novice runner.
Whereas someone with 10 years of running and aerobic development in them will need to think a bit harder about how a running week is made up if they want to see improvements or want to peak for an event I would have thought. Balancing a training week so that the runner can stretch themselves correctly for  those key sessions to get the most out of them will be more important.

22/03/2013 at 15:41

YD, agree with both statements: generally more is better and caveats do exist.

PRF is a touch younger than I (about 8 months) so my VLM run last year and his this year are for athletes of almost exact same age and our PBs are not so far apart (10 miles 59:26 for me vs 59:52 and HM 79:34 vs 78:41) and yet I ran VLM off 821 miles in 16 weeks so just over 50 miles a week average (that includes the marathon itself so under 800 training miles) and yet PRF is way over that. My biggest week was 61 miles as 6 runs: 3 easy runs of 7.5 miles each, a 21 LSR, a track session (10 miles and 4x200m) and a parkrun as tempo and I see 80+ weeks for prf.

Edited: 22/03/2013 at 15:42
23/03/2013 at 20:50

Nasty out there today. Visability poor whilst precipitation was high. 8m off road over tyhe downs. I'm meeting a mate tomorrow who's running Brighton Marathon and has never run more than 14m before. I've a 20m route planned. Could be carnage!

23/03/2013 at 21:06

Nice one Keir, good to see you back out there. Hope the 20 goes well for you both. You still have time to bag another couple yet too.

longest run of the campaign for me today, 23M which I made last 2h 54m (approx race time on feet - hopefully). So its all downhill now.

24/03/2013 at 09:21
Well done TR, sounds like you are bang on target.

Good to hear you are back on track Keir. It's still all to play for... Go easy on your buddy today!
24/03/2013 at 21:06

Nice run TR. All downhill? 4 week taper?

20m run unfuelled today. Very cold out there so wrapped up warm. Ran over very rural lanes where I used to live 6 years ago, so a bit of a trip down memory lane. First 11.5m covered in 1hr 30min, but then my mate slowed and was very tired from 16m onwards. The last 3 miles took 40mins! Overall 20.5m in 3hr 32mins. Good for time on feet and unfueled running, but certainly no good for pace! 

Back feels ok so after an easy 5m tomorrow, then I might try to do a bit of a session Tuesday. I can get 12m in early morning, possibly 16m if I got up really early. Any advice on what I should try to do? A 12m inc 10m progressive / 12m inc 5m @ 6.40 PMP / 12M inc 2x2m Tempo etc?

I think I will do another 20m next Sunday, but not sure what pace to aim for. I will also be running a flat 10m on Good Friday (weather permitting) where I will be looking for a low 6m/m average all going well. I will therefore plan to run 5m easy Thur and Sat and maybe a hilly 8m Weds morning. 

25/03/2013 at 12:05

Keir - Nice effort yesterday, the pace of that one wasnt important at all, just getting the leg strength back up is the priority and 3:32 is going to go a long way to getting you back.

For the 20 you're thinking of next Sunday I would just relax for the first 15, without even looking at the pace, and then push along the last 5, possibly finishing somewhere between 6;00 - 6;15 if the legs are enjoying it.

For a session tomorrow, it is difficult to say because it all comes down to what only you know, ie how your back is holding up. You may be better with some kind of fartlek session rather than anything prescriptive. Maybe 16 miles with a few efforts of up to 2-3 miles at something around MP but only if you're confident it wont do any damage?

25/03/2013 at 18:20

Keir - excellent time on feet run there, that'll do you the power of good. All downhill as in thats the longest run done for me, merely a 20M next weekend, and then a 16 and a 12.

25/03/2013 at 20:16

OK. I'll get up at 5am to do my 16m route with 3x2-3m @ PMP efforts and adjust the effort to how I feel PRF. A question I've had all campaign is what these final 4 weeks would normally look like. I'm used to a 3 week taper but your magic8 ended 4 weeks before VLM. So, for future campaigns, assuming everything has gone well in the build up, what sessions would you do in the final 4 weeks?

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