RW Forum Six – Sub 4 Running Rachel with Cheerful Dave

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25/02/2013 at 16:38

Carl and Dd - really great running! Very impressive!! Seeing results like this really spurs me on...even if the splits seem mentally fast!

I have accepted that this time round I'm not aiming for sub 4....but second time round I definitely will be! How long has it taken people to get sub 4? I'm going to be aiming for sub 4.15 this time round and think sub 4.10 will be likely. Is ten minutes a lot to knock off from your first time? (Very general questions and obviously very personal, just curious how long it can take / has taken people. I am 22, and having spoken to a few people your 'best marathon years' tend to be your 30s? Is there truth in this?!)

Was talking to a friend who has been bitten by the ultra bug and made me realise one day I would love to go on and do one. No idea where to start but will get this mara out the way...maybe get the sub 4 out of the way, then go and be one of the crazy ultra runners! 

Edited: 25/02/2013 at 16:40
25/02/2013 at 18:09

Thanks Dave,

I think I might increase my long run this weekend, maybe back up to 12. I am feeling pretty confident the alopecia has started to resolve, (evidence of hair coming back!!) so will try to up my distance a little, though I still need to keep it pressure free for now.

Runwtw: I think you  are being sensible in your goals but it wouldn't surprise me if you smashed them on race day, I think the reality is that however prepared we are, anything can happen when the big day arrives!!

25/02/2013 at 20:22
Cheerful Dave wrote (see)

Carl, you've just shown that you can negatively split a long race, and ideally you'd do the same in Paris.  I wouldn't say that 3:30 is beyond you, but if you start the race with 3:30 in mind and run 8s from the gun you risk suffering late on when (as you say) it warms up a bit.  Worst case, you aim for 8:00 at the start, crowds slow you down for the first couple of miles, then you speed up to make time back up.  A 7:30 at mile 4 and you might as well pack up there and then!  My sugestion would be to aim for 8:15 to 8:20 at the start, and stay roughly on that effort.  Don't try & force any pace at all - if you're going OK then pace naturally picks up a little I find, and you might find yourself ahead of that schedule.  At 17-20 you can think about a finish time - if you're close enough to 8s by then to give it a shot then that's great, if you're not then frankly it wasn't going to happen anyway.

Bear in mind that markers will be in km at Paris, so you maybe need to think about 5:10 per km.  Don't rely on your gps to be accurate, and without mile markers to check against you won't know if it's out.  At least have in mind some target times for each 5k: 3:30 pace would be just under 25 minutes per 5k, so you want to be around 26 for the first 5k.

Dave - really sound advice. I do not want to mess this up and get it all wrong by starting too quick and then loose out on beating 3:45. 8:00 min/mile is quick as that was my original target for HM pace so think what you suggest is a very sensible approach. As you say it is about getting to 17 - 20 miles in good shape and then racing it from there. Will practice some 8:15 - 8:20 milers during mt MLR and LSR's over the next few weeks to get comfortable at this pace.

Must say I had not thought about the markers being in km. Must check what they say but that would have been one of those curve balls you have mentioned before and that Dd experienced yesterday with his GPS.

25/02/2013 at 21:57
Runwtw MCR will be my 5th marathon, the first one in Edinburgh I finished in 4hr 20 the following year my second 3.59 the other three all back around 4.20
The difference being I did more mid week runs and it got me over the 4hr mark, honestly it has been the only difference, this time I am trying as it seems everyone else is in being disciplined in getting out mid week even if you do a quick 5k it all helps
Rachel look forward to the 12 mile report happy running
25/02/2013 at 23:19

RWTW - Don't know about best marathon years being in your 30's. I was only a kid then  and ran my first at the good old age of 41.

I have not run sub 4 yet !!!

I ran my first in 4:46, my second in 4:20.

My target is 3:45 this year (initially it was about breaking 4 hrs) and today was engaged in a discussion about whether I should actually be aiming for 3:30. (Lets not start this one again - I am going to be focusing on nailing the 3:45 )

I can honestly say that I had not put in enough endurance training for my first two attempts nor mixed up the speed sessions enough. I struggled in both over the latter stages.

26/02/2013 at 07:21

4 easy miles at 9:08 min mile. My first early morning run in ages, and it's soooo good to be back out. My legs were feeling it a bit from the weekend, but I guess that's inevitable with having cut right back for several weeks. I'm going to aim to try and get out again on Thursday. Watch this space!

Carl, I think it's fair to say a marathon PB is on the cards for you!!!

26/02/2013 at 08:50

Just de-lurking....Carl - that is a brilliant HM time, but I would agree with CD on your target marathon time. In my experience sub 3.45 is definitely achievable, but for sub 3.30 I would say you'd need to knock another 4-5 minutes off that HM time. I did a 3.47 off a 1.42 HM, and it wasn't until I'd lowered my HM to under 1.35 that I beat 3.30.  As you say, running 8 minute miling is no mean feat and it would be so easy to get to half way feeling strong only to blow up.  Sounds like you've worked that out anyway!  I think you have a cracking shot at going under 3.45, and then you can raise the bar for the next one.

Oh, and your best marathon years are definitely in your 40s. I ran my first at age 31 (4.23) and my PB was aged 42 (3.24). Two years later and I think I can still go quicker... 

Cheerful Dave    pirate
26/02/2013 at 08:52

RWTW,  very few people run their best marathon first go (assuming that they do more than one, of course!).  Most won't manage their best one until they're run a few, and I would say that's even more the case when you're starting to run them as young as you are.  That's true whether your best is going to be 2:30 or 5:30, and if you ran 4:15 for your first there's no reason why you couldn't use that experience to knock 15 minutes off the next time.

You're fortunate to have many years of improvement ahead of you - those of us who start when we're older have to peak quicker, because once you get to your mid 40s then the march of time is starting to drag you back.  I set my marathon pb when I was 42, that was my 10th marathon.  Don't worry, you'll be inside 4 no problem!

Good getting out there Rachel, inevitably it'll take a few runs before you find these more frequent mid-weekers as comfortable as before, but before you know it it'll be like you've never been away!

26/02/2013 at 09:48
RWTW, I did my first marathon in my (very) late 40s in 4:02. By my fourth one I had got it down to 3:54 and I am hoping to chip away at that in April. It takes time, but you have plenty of years ahead of you!
26/02/2013 at 12:18

Thanks for all the feedback - great to hear people getting better and better! Experience has such a huge part to play!

Lots of pb potential knocking around as well!! Carl, you will smash those times. Well done on such improvement! And everyone - really great to see such improvements! I see many years of marathons ahead of me!! 

26/02/2013 at 14:36
Got out for some intervals today 6 x 0.75m at 7'17 pace. Hope I haven't tired myself out with additional mile and a half for Thursday's 10m tempo at 8'05 pace...

Actually what do you all think about this pace for a 10 miler? It's just over 2 wks out from reading half but my original plan had this down fr 8'35 pace... I want to do something closer to half marathon race pace and 2 wks out seems like enough recovery time. Am I doing the right thing running he long tempo that quick? I'd like to do the half in 1'45...
Cheerful Dave    pirate
26/02/2013 at 15:28

Will, given that your 10 mile race pace is going to be very similar to your HM pace, you're basically talking about doing a 10 mile race (solo) two weeks before your HM.  Recovery wouldn't be a problem, but there's really no need to do it that quick - tempo runs are meant to be hard efforts at a constant pace, but not all out. 

I'd suggest that if you're finding that 8:05 pace comfortable early on then fine, stick with that.  If you're finding it hard to hold on to that pace then don't force it, back off a little to keep it as a tempo run rather than a race pace run - save your gunpowder for your HM.

I must say I prefer to run tempo runs to effort and feel rather than a strict pace, but then again I hardly ever manage to hit MP in training except in intervals.  Today for instance I did 10k tempo as a hard effort, but I was a good 3 minutes slower than I'd manage in a 10k race.  It used to bother me but I don't worry about it now.

26/02/2013 at 17:10
Thanks dave, v good advice, will just play it by ear
26/02/2013 at 22:24

I tried interval training for the first time ever tonight. I was forced to do a treadmill session tonight so thought it was a good place to experiment with intervals.

Didn't really know what I should be doing so decided to try 0.5ml reps @ 7.04 pace - I took a 0.15ml recover @ 9.10pace between each rep. Boy I found this tough! I had set out with 10 reps in mind but after the 5th aborted that idea and just ran a further 2 miles at what felt like tempo but only equated to 8 m/ml pace.

A really tough session - I thought treadmill running was supposed to be easy?! The paces I ran at seem much tougher than when running them out on the road for some reason?

Anybody give me any pointers? Were my recoveries too short/fast?

Cheerful Dave    pirate
26/02/2013 at 23:33
Ricky, a few things spring to mind. 10 reps is a lot for half milers. Basically to finish that you'd have had over 35 minutes of pretty much flat out running. That's a lot in anyone's book, even with rests. That pace seems very quick, it may have been a bit ambitious if you were planning 10. The treadmill can be hard for fast running because there's no let up. On the road you might have slowed a bit at the end of each rep, or reps may have got a bit slower overall, but the treadmill won't let you do that.

Those recoveries do seem a bit short and fast - recoveries should be as slow as you like, but with a set speed the treddie is forcing you to run at a pace that's not hugely slower than MP. And even at that pace you'll cover 0.15 miles in less than 90s, which is less than half of your effort time. I take 2 minutes recovery in my half mile intervals, you want to properly recover for the next one.

Pacing intervals takes a bit of practice because you're looking for a pace that you can sustain through each interval, and keep the same for each one as far as you can. That means that the first one shouldn't feel like an all out half mile sprint, instead it should feel like you had a little bit left. Hard to judge though, and doing it on a treadmill didn't leave you with room for error. Good effort getting to five! That's still a good session, if 8:00 felt hard after that you know you'vedone some work.
27/02/2013 at 00:22

Your friendly night owl checking in. Bet you are all thinking that I was slacking today. Well I did get out tonight as planned but it was a little later than planned due to interference from work that I needed to sort out.

6 mile tempo run planned and delivered.

Tonight was more about being mentally tough as it was dark, cold and very windy with a strong headwind on mile 3 and 6 of the tempo. Other than a blister that is annoying no real side effects from Sunday today but maybe as the week goes on i will get a little fatigued.

Stats from tonight as follows:

1 mile wu at 8:53 min/mile.

6 miles tempo at 7:32; 7:33; 7:36; 7:27; 7:32 and 7:31

1 mile cd at 9:18 min.mile.

Total 8 miles at 7:56 min/mile.

Had to work hard on mile 6 of the tempo to get it to come in at that pace.

After the exertions on Sunday, I found my mind wandering tonight. First 3 miles were fairly comfortable. Needed to dig a little during miles 4 and 5 and as I say I could so easily have stopped during mile 6.

I thought that tonight would be much tougher. My plan is a 10 mile MLR with some MP tomorrow followed by an interval session (probably 5-6 miles with wu and cd on teh track) on Thursday, a 21 mile LSR with some MP on Saturday and a short recovery run on Sunday.

Should I expect some fatigue to creep in later in the week as Sunday catches up with me ?

27/02/2013 at 08:47

Ricky - TM sessions and pacing of them take some getting used to. I would start with 5 or 6 0.5ml reps with very slow jog recoveries (much slower than you did them). You can build it up to 10 over time but hitting it like that for the first time was a big ask. I like to increase the pace for each of the fast reps, only by 0.1mph or so, but it forces you not to start off too fast and find your way into it.  It's also good psycholigically to finish with your quickest rep  

Carl - probably yes you'll start to feel it - a HM PB is bound to take it out of you. You might find it hard to build the MP into your LSR on Saturday - don't beat yourself up if you do and just concentrate on getting the miles in. Or of course you may not feel it at all in which case you should have gone quicker last weekend

27/02/2013 at 21:05

You guys are all really racking up the miles!! I'm hoping to get out again in the morning, which will mean my first week in ages with two mid week runs.....watch this space!

27/02/2013 at 21:27

Good stuff Rachel - just get out there and enjoy the running with no pressure!

Thanks Dave & Freemers.... yes on reflection my recoveries were too short and too fast. I needed to get the session done in less than 45 mins (as I had to be somewhere) so in my eagerness to get on with it I rushed the recoveries I suppose!

9 mile MLR tonight - middle 7 miles averaged 8.02 pace.  Purpose of this run was to practice HM pace for forthcoming HM on 23rd March. Found it tougher than expected and felt almost like a tempo run even though it was slower & at a lower HR than my normal 5ml tempo runs..... maybe just tired legs from three 50ml weeks & fairly intense interval/tempo session last night??? What do you think?

A bit confused by the run as it has me thinking 8 m/mls & thus 1:45 goal is maybe a little ambitious?

27/02/2013 at 23:58

Ricky - do not stress. With the results you ahve been delivering you will be fine come HM day. Probably just tired tonight as you have put in alot of miles recently and mentally you are on a cutback week so running what should have been an easy run with some pace miles was always going to be tougher than it should be.

Freemers - am fully expecting it to catch up with me so I decided that I would do an easy run tonight as doing some MP in my LSR at the weekend is more important. However if it is too much this week I will not stress as there is plenty of time and I can keep doing some MP during my taper in any case.

9 miles easy for me tonight at average 8:54 min/mile pace. Fastest mile at 8:44 mins and slowest mile at 9:01 mins. 

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