Sub 3

For anyone trying to crack the 3 in any marathon anywhere in the world

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03/12/2012 at 18:40

Nice day's work TR.

SL - yesterday I ached just walking upstairs. I've at least managed to hold food down today, so will try some jogging tomorrow. I suspect my alcohol tolerance is probably equally pathetic, but it'll get a bit of a boost over the next few weeks I'm sure. Well done on still getting the 16 in.

TB - I've had the testing done. I had a follow up 6 months after to see what improvement I'd made. With hindsight it's money I could have put to better use elsewhere. As CD said, it's unlikely that any of us here are in danger of reaching our potential.

LD - I disagree that you could have reached your potential. It takes years of consistent training cycles building on top of each other to get there. You may well have hit your potential at a given point in time within the limits of your (accumulated) training, but that's different to your outright potential.

Congrats on making the next stage A.W.

Well Mrs TT has finished. She was her usual pessimistic self after the exam, so I'm sure she's done fine, but we won't find out until mid-February.

I see Lemoncello dnf'd at Fukuoka after going through half-way in 65:27 whilst Scott Overall finished 13th in 2:14:15 (half-way in 65:24).

03/12/2012 at 20:23

Thanks for the advice everyone. TR what would you have spent the money on? I keep threatening to buy myself a GPS watch 910XT, Ambit or Fenix

CD  I must admit that learning to balance my life around running. I recenly suggested to my wife that we went to Paris  next spring or maybe Boston. She saw me coming and new it was marathon related. Went down like a led balloon! My wife does NOT share my new found enthusiasm for running. I am sure some of you are well ahead of me on this one. So any tips please

Currently running 40 to 50 miles a week with more quality. Got to 70 in the summer but did not seem sustainable with my legs or my home life! Will look to increase my miles and do some proper sharpening rather a gradual deflation in my last taper for an Ultra!

If I can get close to 02:50 that would be beyond what I thought was possible so that  is maybe something to aim for. Like to remind myself I enjoy running. Not sure gunning for a 02:40 would be enjoyable, even if it would be a great achievment.

I was a member of a local running club, then moved clubs and hardly went due to time limitations. Feel like I should get back to my local club which was a 5 minute jog from my house. They did some great speed sessions.

I have quite a few more questions, but will relax and watch the thread for a while as someone else may ask for me

Edited: 03/12/2012 at 20:49
03/12/2012 at 21:47
Zattu - is 10 years not enough, with 5 of them on 90 miles/week?
Wanjiru broke the world half marathon record aged 18. Now, he may have been running at a young age, but I wonder whether he was doing 90 miles/week aged 13?
Tracey Morris did 2.33 off only 4 months of hard training, and never improved after several years of the same. Sure there's plenty more like them?
Meanwhile, I started hard training in 2005 and 18 months later felt I'd got about as good as I was going to get. 5 years of more hard training and I was still only doing the same times. Your theory would dictate that I would actually get better even though the training I was doing was the same?
I was a pretty crap school runner, was delighted running 3.23 in 2001. I'm not in the same league as you lot, but came 188th in a London Marathon and did 2.42 aged 48.
I may have had injuries over the past 10 years, but I've been fit enough to do about 20 marathons and kept a champs start for 6 years. The training I've done (with the classic phases of base, strength, sharpening) has never been constrained by time or circumstances. When you run to work and back you lose no time, you inconvenience no-one. There's plenty opportunity to realise your potential.
It's what the best 80s runners often did.
03/12/2012 at 22:04
CharlieW wrote (see)

In Four Minutes Roger Bannister tells his girlfriend that when he runs hard enough, the colours fade, and the world goes black and white... 


I recall that Alexei Sayle maintained that one of the effects of taking cheap acid was that everything went black and white & old Ford Anglia's appeared. 

Edited: 03/12/2012 at 22:05
Cheerful Dave    pirate
03/12/2012 at 22:18

Tim, get your wife to speak to other people who've been gone for weekends abroad so their partners can run marathons.  She won't believe you telling her that it'll be a decent weekend in Boston or wherever, but she'll believe someone else who's done it.  If you can, add on a few days afterwards so you can do stuff she likes as well.

It worked for me with ironman, anyway

04/12/2012 at 10:02

LD - I misunderstood obviously, not knowing your background, but looking at your times across 2007/8/10, I can see your point. However I should point out that - "Your theory would dictate that I would actually get better even though the training I was doing was the same" is not the same as what I said - "It takes years of consistent training cycles building on top of each other to get there". If your training hasn't evolved over time then I would argue that you could possibly have plateaued, rather than peaked. Of course it's impossible to know, but as the saying goes, if you keep doing the same thing, why would you expect different results? As you touch on, we're all experiments of one, so what works for one will not work for another and it is quite possible that you have maximised your potential, but surely it's better to assume there's a bit more to squeeze out, no?
As for Wanjiru, I think most people would agree that he never reached his potential.
Tracey Morris, well I don't know her background, however I think it's not a straight comparison from a 2:33:52 debut in London '04 to 4 championship marathons (some in tough conditions), though she did manage a marginal pb in one. Her HM results would certainly back up your theory though, but it's impossible to know if there were extenuating circumstances.
I do wholly agree with your general point that the time is there to put the miles in if you really want to and if you can absorb it, and that is what was done in the 70s and 80s. I've been spending quite a bit of time looking back at training logs/methods, and I think they had much more right than they had wrong, and there seems to be some large similarities with the most successful marathoners of today. It did seem less pressured back then though (general life), but lottery grants seem to be what most athletes are looking to achieve nowadays, rather than thinking purely in terms of running achievement and that can't be right.

lol marmite

TB - in the past we have arranged a family holiday to start just after a marathon, so if you can't persuade your other half of the benefits of travelling with you, then you can always offer that alternative.

Woke up this morning feeling almost fully recovered, so a nice slow 6 with no ill effects. Bloody freezing though.

04/12/2012 at 12:09

TT.. Zattu Towers sounds like a poorly place over the weekend, glad you're feeling better.

Marmite.. ha!  My Dad's first ever car was a Ford Anglia.  In those days only about 1 in 6 families had a car so we felt dead posh!

TR.. I wondered when you would get your VLM head on, 3 runs in 2 days is proper training! 

AW.. congrats on good progress in the ASICS competition.

SL.. nice 16 with a fuzzy head!

Welcome to TB.

Dids.. I think Y D's 2 blocks of cheese beats your Sunday night in Preston!  He just needs to win a bottle of Port now and he's set up for Xmas!

With all this dour talk of Accrington, Blackpool & Walsall I think it is opportune to report on a very picturesque race I did on Sunday.  The Edwinstowe trail race runs off road along forest tracks & trails in Sherwood Forest/Robin Hood country.  Plenty of parking near the start, short queues for the loos, all the marshalls had some manner of device playing Xmas tunes/hymns.  A prettier course you will struggle to find (a sunny day helped no end!) plus biscuits, squash & a tech t-shirt at the end.  To add a nice touch of poignancy the finish line was about 80 metres from me old Dad's final resting place in the forest cemetery!    

XC isn't my forte but I thoroughly enjoyed the run, the course was hard & a bit icy/nobbly rather than muddy due to the cold & mildly undulating.  Finished 51st/412.

4.2m this morning + 7m with the club later.

04/12/2012 at 12:18

Tim B -- welcome! And I'm grateful you tipped me off about the Garmin Fenix, as I have really appreciated using my 305 in "adventure" mode to follow mountain routes etc, and have got on well with two flavours of eTrex. The usual problem (apart from the price) I'm sure would be the fit on my slim girlish wrist...

My Mrs is actually very understanding, but I minimise impact on family time by doing most of my training as part of my commute (I'm very fortunate to live a few miles from work, with good routes available, and a shower when I get there), while I do long weekend runs early enough to breakfast with the others. Races throw things out more of course, causing me to disappear until a late lunchtime on Sundays quite often. I don't drag the family to races unless they're special (like London).

I've been plateaued for a year or two, but to be fair have never tried high mileage (50 mpw is a good average for me, 65 mpw a record I've hit only rarely).

04/12/2012 at 12:58

Tim B - get your missus some running kit for Christmas, and before you know it she'll be hooked.  Sure I can recommend a reputable retailer 

I must be lucky cos my missus absolutely loves travelling to watch races, whether it's a UK one or overseas.  She's followed me round most of Europe (Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Swiss Alps, Barcelona etc), and loves the atmosphere at races, cheering everyone on and getting involved in the atmos.  Since she's known me, she's got into running to a reasonable extent herself completing three marathons and a few shorter distances.  There's been times where we've both entered the same race & made a bit of a holiday out of it (Venice, Nice, Chamonix).  We don't have kids though which admittedly makes things much easier.

I can trump TR's 3 in 2, with three runs in one day yesterday.  6 in the morning, then 5 to football, an hour of 5-a-side, then 5 home.  Didn't have dinner until 11.30pm though 

04/12/2012 at 14:36

Prizes - Fair do's to that hotel in Garstang - they have allowed us to transfer the prize to some elderly relatives, who will enjoy it.

Zattu - the most interesting part of all this is your bit about "It takes years of consistent training cycles building on top of each other to get there".

If, say, I did a few years of building up training ..... from 30 miles/week to around 80/ order to get to the point where I could endure hard training, and then start hard training, how then could I build on that? A training cycle is a training cycle isn't it? Base, strength, sharpening. How can it "evolve" from that? Do all runners actually not do the same thing each year? Furthermore, do all runners not really plateau once they get a couple of years into the hard stuff? I know some of them change coaches, start running under water and think doing more core strength work will work miracles.... but is it not because they reach their potential so soon they are desperate for something else?

In fairness, I found it easier after a few years to endure the high mileage (far less tired from it), and maybe my age graded times may have improved a little. Maybe I could have shaved off a couple of minutes and maybe if you looked at the top runners over the course of their careers they may show a slight improvement (or maybe not). So, if you are arguing about minute improvements then fair enough.

Cheerful Dave    pirate
04/12/2012 at 15:01

TT & LD, to put it into perspective, my original response was to Tim who wanted to measure VO2, lactate etc to tell him his marathon 'potential'.  My case is that even if such numbers can do that with any accuracy, any prediction would be based on an assumption of ideal training & preparation over a number of years with the sole focus on running marathons.  None of us are full-time athletes, we all compromise our training in some way and in any case that 'ideal training' to get to the quickest possible time is probably different for each of us.  LD's probably right, we can get pretty close on what we do, but Tim's idea of finding out what he can achieve in a few years based on some numbers generated today isn't going to be very useful, IMO.

04/12/2012 at 15:32

CD - I agree on the last sentence.

However: "we all compromise our training in some way". Not sure about that. The "full time" athletes of today are way behind the enthusiastic amateurs of 30 years ago. I've never really been convinced by cap-in-hand athletes grovelling for grants. Given that you can't possibly run more than 2 hours/day, and that a working day is only 8 hours, and you sleep for 8, I'm puzzled as to where the need is.... unless it's so they have time to mix their magic protein potions and have a session in an oxygen tent or other such bollox.


04/12/2012 at 15:47

"A working day is only 8 hours."  Best joke I've heard all day

04/12/2012 at 16:01

Very enjoyable discussion.  I agree lab tests would be of limited use.  The difficulty we have in training is not know where we are on the dose-response curve.  If you are on the flat bit at the bottom then doing a wee bit more will bring loads of improvement.  If you are at the top then more miles will bring you nothing but likely injury. 

Anecdotally, I think a number of full time athletes have a nice sleep in the middle of the afternoon, which would be frowned upon in my workplace.  More time to rest, not train. 

Edited: 04/12/2012 at 16:01
04/12/2012 at 16:21

Cheers Wardi. Very nice with the trail race finish line!

Nice triple Dan A.

LD - well this for me is where it gets interesting If you look at the likes of Canova, he maintains it takes 10 years just to build your aerobic house, and then you are ready for hard training. Building your aerobic house (or a proper base to the rest of us) is, as best as I can figure out, similar to his standard training, but just at a lower level of intensity/volume, so after the initial 10 years you should be ready to handle his bigger workouts. Then, when you start the bigger workouts he has said he would expect to see progression year on year for both your general paces as well as your workout paces. Obviously that improvement is going to lessen over time, but the overall aim is that, over time, you increase both quantity and quality repeatedly. The difference, as I see it, between the Africans/70s-80s runners and us, is that their aerobic house was much better developed by the time they started proper hard training than ours is. Looking at it like that, and your specific example of finding it easier after a number of years to endure the higher mileage, I would have thought you should then have been looking to increase the quality quotient that you could manage, as well as looking for an increase in your general paces. It's just speculation on my behalf obviously, but to me, it sounds like you got to the stage that you could absorb the mileage well, but didn't take advantage of it by increasing the stress you were placing your body under (or at least not by enough). i.e. you'd pretty much built your aerobic house, but hadn't started on the roof.

As for the grants/available time situation, I couldn't agree more. I've always maintained most people can find the time to do as much training as they need if they really want to. Not sure why you think you can't possibly run more than 2 hours a day though?

OS - very valid point on the extra sleep, but as LD points out, 70s/80s runners seemed to manage to hold down full time jobs. I suspect being a full-time runner is as much about less stress/responsibilities as it is about the extra sleep. Time no 'see'. How're you doing?

CD - totally agree on the numbers requiring ideal conditions to 'come true' but even then it all depends which numbers they focus on. E.g. VO2max is a poor predictor of Marathon potential (if it were valid I should be capable of 2:08!!!), but vVO2max (velocity @ VO2max), threshold, economy are much more relevant, however, all of those are genetically unlimited, so the numbers can change radically as you get fitter, which is basically another way of saying that I think they are not much good other than to confirm what condition

Jools - probably not the best time for me to point out that I have 7 hour days and can work from home for two of those then?

04/12/2012 at 16:40

So, next VLM training plan will be a 10 year base-build followed by a couple of years of increasing quality. Sorted!

OS - that was the point I was going to make. The advantage of being a full-time athlete is not so much the additional time for training (which as LD says, most people actually have time for, if they are efficient with the rest of their time), but the time for resting, access to masseurs, physios, good facilities etc. etc.

Jools - obviously there are exceptions (you probably being one), but IMO very few people actually work much more than 8-9 hrs/day. When I say work I mean actually doing something productive rather than making tea, having lunch, going to the loo, chatting about their weekend etc. I have no idea why people insist on exaggerating how many hrs/week they work - my aim is to do my job as well as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. Obviously depends on the job though - I suspect yours is one where you actually do need to work long hours.

Speaking of which, I'm heading home now. Think it's km reps tonight, followed by mince pies apparently!

Edited: 04/12/2012 at 16:41
04/12/2012 at 16:46

CD - that should have finished with: other than to confirm what condition they are currently in, which a race can do for much less cost.

lol Padams

04/12/2012 at 18:00

It's more the truly inflexible deadlines which floor me.  Over a year I doubt I average more than 45-50 hours a week, it's just that when I have a very busy week (in the middle of one now - started with 9 hours in the office on Sunday) it can mean more than that and concentrated on certain days depending on when documents arrive and when the hearing is.  You just learn to cherish the weeks when a trial collapses and suddenly you've got a couple of very quiet work days when I get a bunch of running and violin practice done!

04/12/2012 at 18:29

Wardi - a fitting place to finish a race. Sounds like a decent race too.

Dids - excellent prize swapping and your relatives get the benefit. You must feel proud about that prize now.

Jools - you do get stuck with long hours, I'm sure you get well paid for it though.........(runs for cover ! )....................and you spend too many hours asleep............(runs further away for more cover !)

Padams - pro athletes have it easy. esp runners 20M a day is only 2hrs if you are Mo !  Made me laugh when they said he had to run 10M even on Christmas day, an eay 10 is 60min tops for Mo and plenty on here run for more than an hour on Christmas day.

04/12/2012 at 18:44
Ha - good to see the rocket science vs common sense debate still rages on here. I don't have an answer but I will provide a bit of a case study and a slightly odd one at that.

First marathon off 40 mpw = 3.07 doing the usual VIRGIN London Mara thing of going off like Maurice Greene and finishing like Robson green

Then became a zealot of church of hadd - slowed overall pace of training and increased mileage to 60mpw. Result = massive improvement curve to 1.15 hm and 2.48 Mara + plus legitimate entry to this thread (relationship to improvement = causation or correlation - jury still out).

Figured I would continue with that plan so upped mileage to around 70-75 mpw for a year (95 peak) while maintaining balance of training (all usual suspects one track sesh, one thresh, one long one etc) and expected the pbs to roll in like new chelsea managers. Result 1.15 and 2.48 again - zero improvement.

Cue much soul searching and three years stuck on a plateau. No PBS at all
( though a world record did make up for it a bit)

During this period I tried all sorts of training permutations with little effect ( some definitely made things worse) - but as previously indicated I was limited in mpw by job and family at this stage. Was on the verge of figuring I had just "reached my potential" (given other factors) when I suddenly and kind of accidentally found a way to improve again.

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