RW Forum Six – Sub 3.30

Sarah Osbourne with Minni

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04/03/2013 at 12:33

Hi all,


I headed down to Bath at the weekend for the Half Marathon. As I have mentioned before, my aim was not to push myself too hard but to try to get close to my PB of 1:38:28 and certainly under 1:40, so the intention was to keep to about 7:30/mile pace to start with and then see how I felt after a few miles. That plan went out of the window pretty soon as I went off quickly, partly because it was slightly downhill at the start and partly because I always do, and although I settled into comfortable pace after the mile or so I still found myself knocking out miles at a steady 6:55 - 7:10 pace without feeling I was pushing myself.


My splits were as follows -


1 - 6:40
2 - 7:04
3 - 6:55
4 - 6:57
5 - 7:04
6 - 7:09
7 - 7:01
8 - 7:09
9 - 7:01
10 - 7:10
11 - 7:04
12 - 7:10
13- 6:58
0.22m - 1:20 

(according to my Garmin the race was slightly long)


Total time: 1:32:42 @ 7:01/mile


So I'm obviously really pleased with that, especially as I managed to keep up a steady pace for the whole race and I still felt fairly strong at the end. I think I can confidently say my 3:30 target for the VLM is realistic.

Sarah - that was a great 9 miler, especially on a hilly course and coming just a couple of days after a good 20 miles.


Angela - I was interested to see your comments on US marathons as I'm looking at doing one to mark my 50th birthday in a couple of years. My preference would be New York as I love the city but we would want to combine it with a family holiday so it has to fit in with the school holidays. San Francisco is currently favourite as it's usually at the end of July and the West Coast of the US is somewhere we are keen to go anyway. I guess that wouldn't work so well for you if your family is on the Eastern side of the country.

04/03/2013 at 13:54

Hi AndyA

I have a cousin- her husband and son all live in San fran, so I've visited once.  I would love to go there for a race, but I think its very hilly city for a marathon...  But when I went to San Fran, it was a great holiday!  It was during one of my summer vacations when I was at university, and whereas I'd been to the east coast of America, and thought everything was, well, very American, I loved that San Francisco felt that much more European.  The people are definitely more about the healthy lifestyle, but then you also have the wine country nearby.  We did a drive in Sonoma valley and had some wonderful wines, but Napa valley nearby is the more famous one.  I think SF would be a great base for a running holiday, if you couldn't fit it with a race they had.  I personally have been considering the Bay to Breakers- I don't think its a standard race distance, but from what I've read its very San Fran... with people showing up au natural to run it  But I was really considering that as a trip to see my family and show my fiance San fran.  I'll ask some of my running connections over there-  My cousin and her friend just did Dallas as a replacement for NYC that we were all supposed to do together.

Hi Sarah, I did 17 miles this morning, and I feel GREAT 

I made it a more functional run, as I had a Dr. appt at 9, so ran 2 miles there, and had the appointment- she was rather annoyed that i'd run there as she needed to take my blood pressure, which was obviously high from fuelling my method of transportation!  2 miles back, to go to toilet and retrieve sunglasses, as the sun had popped out, and then out again for 13 miles, along my usual Wivenhoe trail route, which is beautiful when its sunny. though I thought I was going off road, but these trails are pretty hard when its dry (clay), so I was scared I would feel it, but seem to be a ok .  I planned to do the whole run slow and put in a few MP miles toward the end if I felt I could, but also didn't want to push it, as this was upping the distance and the recent niggles I've had.  What ended up happening was more of a progressive run.  I think partly because what I consider my easy pace is now too easy- I've certainly found on the shorter runs that I can't stay that slow any more (10.40).  Here are the splits.

1:  9:44 (was a bit late leaving to get to Dr on time)

2: 10:22

3: 10:21

4: 10:28

5: 10:46

6: 10:32

7: 10:32

8: 10:33

9: 10:16

10: 10:08

11: 10:18

12: 10:14

13: 9:54

14: 9:46

15: 9:35

16: 9:41

17: 10:29

I put chia seeds in my drink, I think this gave me wings....  Overall average pace was about 10:15, though due to going home between my garmin recorded a 4 mile run and a 13 mile run, as it autodownloaded the data when i got near my computer.

Where did you have your honeymoon?  I must say being able to go a bit crazy on that is the only thing stopping me from completely hating how much we're spending on the wedding day.  Our holidays this year are much more frugal. I'm very lucky that I have family all over the place!  We're managing South of France, the lake district and somewhere in Surrey without paying for accomodation


04/03/2013 at 14:13

Hi Angela,

Running AND wine - you are really selling SF to me


04/03/2013 at 14:20

Hehe, Do it AndyA!  I think it will end up being cheaper than NYC too...  I visit because of friends, but it always ends up crippling my bank account!  I'll ask my friends what they think of the marathon- if they know people who've done it.

04/03/2013 at 14:30

A huge congratulations Andy, thats a fabulous time and an amazing amount to knock of your old PB, you must be ecstatic. Its always abit worrying when you think that you have set off to quickly, but looking at your paces you soon settled in to a steady pace...much quicker than what you had set out to do. All that training must be paying off. 

It does make you think are we holding ourselves back sometimes when we are worried about going off to fast and blowing up before the end of the race...although having done the latter I do think I would prefer to take the risk and start steady and enjoy the race. Congratulations again, im so happy for you....think a sub 3:30 is more than likley

04/03/2013 at 14:43

Hi Angela....San Fran...I would love to go there...out of everywhere in America I think that is the place I would most like to visit, although having seen pictures of the roads there I dont think I fancy doing a race there.

Congratulations on your first 17 miler, feeling great and enjoying it . Its always nice when the sun comes out on a training run.. Your paces look great, you have certainly speeded up and to keep picking up the pace throughout shows that you managed the run fantastically and didnt go off too quickly.

Did you do the last mile as a slight cool down? I never know what to do with my long run...whether to do the last mile slower or add an extra bit on to cool down...having my sensible head on I would say do the last mile slow...think weve done enough miles by that point. However when im running and have my daft hat on, then I sometimes add a bit on...feels a bit stupid doing that now!

We got married in Crete two and a half years ago and then went on a delayed honeymoon the year after. We went travelling around italy for a month (serronto, rome, venice, florence and lake garda) then last year we went to Kenya. Like you we are having quieter holidays this year (barcelona two weeks ago for the weekend, france in a couple of weeks again for a weekend, isle of skye for a week and then sicily to visit relatives and run in palermo)

04/03/2013 at 14:44
Angela Isherwood 2 wrote (see)

Hehe, Do it AndyA!  I think it will end up being cheaper than NYC too...  I visit because of friends, but it always ends up crippling my bank account!  I'll ask my friends what they think of the marathon- if they know people who've done it.

Im quite excited to see what they think of it too....maybe next years holiday!!!

04/03/2013 at 16:13

Thanks Sarah, yes I still can't quite believe I did that time and I'm certainly very happy

Although I tend to have a target pace in mind for a race I think it nearly always comes down to what feels right on the day. I do always try to get a good start so that I'm feeling good I can try to keep it up or if it's a bit quick then I can ease off and at least I've got a bit of spare time under my belt - I prefer to do that than try to make up time because I've gone slower than needed at the start. I think once you have a few races under your belt you get a feel for what works for you personally. Mind you, I'll certainly be more cautious in the marathon - I've no intention of any heroics, I'm not changing my target and I'll still be really happy with 3:29:59.9  


And as you say, it's nice to feel the marathon training is really paying off - it's put me in a really positive frame of mind again for the hard weeks coming up. Mind you, as you said earlier I can't believe we are nine weeks in now. Just five more to go until we start tapering  

 Angela - thanks, I'd be interested in people's views of the SF Marathon.

04/03/2013 at 18:39
Hi Sarah, yes, the last mile was kinda meant to be a cool down- the last section of this run involves crossing several busy roads and an uphill section, so I can never take it particularly fast, and, yes, I wanted a cool down. Tbh, though the run went well, I was pretty tired- I think it was psychological, not having run so far in over a year etc...feeling really good. Last year, my training was a complete shambles- kept getting injured, so I'm really happy I've had a good enough run to get me to this kind of fitness. Feeling very confident for my half marathon in 2 weeks

Will let u know what I hear about SF

Crete sounds wonderful, and ur trip to Italy... The amalfi coast is my favourite place in the world
04/03/2013 at 22:51
"just five more to go until we start tapering".....the thought is giving me butterflies Andy! I think your plan for the marathon is spot would be awful if you blew up in the marathon...its a hell of a long way to go if your not feeling great!

I think you did amazingly today Angela. My training was the same last year for London. At this stage my longest run was the 9 mile race that I did on sunday as I was out for a month with a stubborn chest infection ? whooping cough. Im so paranoid this year about picking something up as everything is going so perfect at the moment. What are your plans running wise for the rest of the week?

I loved both places, we were made to feel like celebrities in Crete just because we were getting married and Italy....its my favourite place in the the food, language, limoncello and their way of life.
04/03/2013 at 22:59
Training Diary for Forum 6 sub 3:30 (VLM)

Week 9 (day 63) Aim; Netball training.

I took today very steady in training as I really dont want to risk an injury. We spent the first half an hour doing drills and then the second half playing 10 minute matches.

All day I have been dying to get outside as it looked so nice and the time I got out however it was 3 degrees, foggy and cold. I couldnt feel my fingers all training as I stupidly didnt pack my gloves this morning as it looked so nice.

On a positive note..I survived without any injuries ready for my run tomorrow. Ive definitely decided that im going to be packing in netball at the end of the season to concentrate on my running.
04/03/2013 at 23:42
I have been asking Ruth the dietician for advice on fuel during the marathon as I really messed this up last year and didnt really have enough, infact I had less than half the amount I should have and didnt start having anything until mile 12 which was far to late.

So far this is her advice;

I would go for the drip feed option with the chews when you find them heavy. My first guideline to you would be no less then 30g of carb per hour (so 4 shot blocks or 3 shot blocks and 2 jelly babies (jelly babies around 4.5g of carbs per sweet) per hour. You may need up to 50g of carbs per hour but some runners seem to get by on less and you may be one of these runners as you are light. What carbs per hour have you taken before and how have you felt? A little more history may help me decide on how much to have per hour. But my initial thoughts are one sweet every 15minutes or 2 jelly babies, this may seem a lot to you so if really think this is not doable reduce to 24-25g per hour and have over two feedings say at 30, 60mins, 90mins etc

Ive given her a little bit more information and will let you know her reply as soon as she has got back to me.
04/03/2013 at 23:57
Ruths reply when I asked if milkshakes were just as good as protein drink;

Sarah, regarding milkshakes you do need to be wary about calorie content and your energy budget (how much calories you can eat to maintain a heathy body composition balanced with racing weight). You weigh very little, so of less concern for you, but for Adrian I would not suggest he adds 500ml each day of flavoured milk (sorry for talking about you being your back Adrain!) everyday but a glass of around 200ml at lunch may be useful for Adrian whether from milk (lesser calories) or even a milk shake. However, 500ml of a milkshake post race or long runs is a great recovery drink for most but as a day to day drink just be wary of the added calories if need to watch their weight- it is all about balance.

Here are some examples of calories, carb and protein content:

Pint of skimmed milk: 218kcal, 28g carbs and 19g protein
For goodness shake (500ml): 266-315kcal, 50g carbs & 17g protein
Sainsbury flavoured milk (500ml): 350kcal, 49g carbs & 19g protein
Frijj (500ml): 325kcal, 52g carbs, 18.5g protein
Nesquik power and 400ml skimmed milk: 171kcal, 50g carbs, 14g protein
Let me know if this makes sense!
05/03/2013 at 07:11
Morning, so is the JS choc milk I drink as good as For Goodness Shakes then?
05/03/2013 at 08:14
Hey hey, Italy is my favourite place too! Maybe we should look at some races there- I have this book- 'the world's ultimate running races' and there are quite a few in Italy including one Seb Coe speaks about in his autobiography. Cinque mulini(I think) which means 5 mills (not 5 miles as seb had assumed)
Haven't decided yet on this week- it's slightly messed up becaus of log run Monday, but I think I could be ok on an easy run tonight- 4 miles.
Going to Dublin tomorrow night for work until Friday, so I may not be able to be so militant about my running, but the weekend will be 8 miles race pace on sat, and I think 14 mile LSR on Sunday- I hope this isn't too much the week before the half? I think 8 miles at half mara pace will give me great confidence unless I come away from it feeling horrible...

London is so close- so annoyed my holiday in France is when the race is on so I'll be running 20 miles on that day and hopin I can watch the marathon on the tv in the morning for inspiration!!
05/03/2013 at 21:21

Hey Sarah,

Sounds like training is going great

Love all the nutritional advice from Ruth - I've actually found the nutritional side of things surprisingly interesting (yeah, ok, I'm a geek). That doesn't mean I always make the healthiest/best choices... but it is interesting nonetheless!

Angela well done again on your run - sounds like it's going really well!

05/03/2013 at 22:01

Evening, how did the session go Sarah? Quick tempo run tonight, a mile warm up and then 4 milesprogressive with a little warm down and back in time for football on TV

 Distance    Split pace
1.00    9:08
2.00    7:48
3.00    7:38
4.00    7:30
5.00    7:32
5.35    9:22

Tomorrow is 8 or 9 but a little easier than last week I think, then push again on Thursday.


05/03/2013 at 23:07
Hi Mr certainly looks that way. Ive been getting the Frijj milkshakes as they're on offer in tescos...was going to get the for goodness shakes, but im glad I didnt waste my money now!

Looks like you had some nice speedy miles in your training today. I do like running at a faster pace, its so more satisfying when you finish! I wish I was running tomorrow instead of playing getting more scared of picking up an injury by the minute!

My session went well tonight running wise, but im not sure about my new trainers just yet. How was the football? I didnt get home until 21:30 so I missed it all!
05/03/2013 at 23:21
Hi Angela...Ive that book too, 500 races, in 101 countries, choose your adventure!! It was a birthday present a year ago...there are some amazing races and photos in there. I would love to go on the inca trail and guess what they have a marathon there (p 288). I suggested it to my OH but he firmly said no! I will have a look at that one in Italy.

How did your easy run go tonight? The rest might do you some good so think of it as a positive. I did a 20 miler the week (9 days) before a half and it didnt seem to cause any problems, but I had a good taper for 4 days before the half and I took the 20 steady.

Doing 8 miles at HMP and then a LSR the following day might take it out of you a bit though. I would probably say either run saturday slightly slower or do less HMP miles...what does everyone else think as I could be completely wrong?

I always remember my parents watching VLM on the TV when I was younger...I thought it was so boring and just wanted the cartoons on....20 years later and the theme tune brought tears to my eyes (last year) and if I wasnt running it this year, I would certainly be watching it.
05/03/2013 at 23:23
Hi Steve. Ive enjoyed picking things up from Ruth as well as its all advice ive never had before. To be able to ask her direct questions which she appears to go out of her way to answer is fabulous.

I hope your knee is on the mend
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