Sub 3

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

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20/12/2012 at 11:22

I remember when I was young, the talk was of top marathoners (men) running 100 miles a week.  That just sounded insane, but Charlie Spedding's book suggests that it was about his upper limit and he managed 2.08.  It was the quality & consistency that made the difference.

Paula was running up to 140 miles a week at her peak, which also seemed ridiculous and much more than her contemporaries but did the business up to 2003 until injury set in.  Then I heard a commentator say that Paul Tergat was running 185 miles a week in the build up to the NY marathon once (he came third).  Plus there are stories of Chinese & Japanese running 180-200 miles a week which only seems to result in burnout.  Dave Bedford was doing 200 mpw but at a standard that wouldn't raise eyebrows in todays landscape.

Think the point is that there is a law of diminishing returns once you sacrifice quality for volume.  Although if you want to be good at running fast for long distances, you probably need to practice running fast for long distances.  That was the Khalid Khannouchi approach anyway and was good enough for two WR's.

20/12/2012 at 12:15

Good luck with the aches and pains, Wardi & TT. The question is, should it be the original merlot I used to train with a bad back, or TB's Rioja? And would that be Coe-style rapid sips from a small but frequently refilled glass, or occasional chugs from an Ovett-style bucket? A lot of careful experiments are clearly required...

Day 3 not running and my leg has barely a murmur -- probably just hypochondria. I'll go for a decent run tomorrow and see what happens. I read between the lines last time that if the bone gets aggravated, the problem is that it is either dissolving itself (when under stress) or reforming (when not), but it takes a while to switch, so it needs a good bit of uninterrupted stress-free time to beef up (and the purple Quality Streets of course). Hence my plan is to alternating some decent training for a couple of days with some solid rest days and see how it goes (which is how I kept training for VLM this year). I'm erring on the side of caution though, as I have no race coming up I want to be super-fit for.

20/12/2012 at 13:06

None meant CW but that's Brilliant ! thats your best post yet. Might be hypochondria or could be your bones dissolving ! Not sure who diagnosed this ailment/injury, but how can rest days followed by "decent" runs help. Surely something like 5M a day, day after day would help the skeleton/tendons harden, or a few weeks on the bench drinking milk and taking Calcium.

20/12/2012 at 13:13

sorry dude, like I say none meant, just made me laugh.

20/12/2012 at 13:30

Dissolving bones sounds nasty! I have no idea about any of this, except that I would advise plenty of Quality Street (not purple ones though), plus alcohol.

As expected, not much training this week due to having to drive to Bristol and back yesterday (5 hours in the car), and the wife has been ill so felt I should stay in and have dinner with her rather than do some late evening training.

Another work Xmas party in a couple of hours, so went for a run this morning at Gobi+1 o'clock in the dark and rain - not very enjoyable. 5 days off from Saturday at least, so should be able to do a decent amount then.

20/12/2012 at 13:43

Zattu - with a feeling of dread, I shall have a look at letsrun. My prejudiced attitude being that I shall just read a load of anecdotal, unproven gumpf.

The only people that I generally take any note of are the likes of Tim Noakes and Hadd. Noakes tends to look at things scientifically and doesn't ram a particular training model down your throat, although I very much do not sign up to his central governor theory. Hadd was a complete eye opener when I first read it. Well, the simple premise that high-miles breeds an efficient change in blood capiliaries etc.

This thing about "you need to remember that training is cumulative. What they do at any given point in time is as a result of everything that came before." is, I'm afraid meaningless to me.

Am I to read into this that an injured athlete, who has, say, been out for a year will never catch up an uninjured one? Nah, that's bollox surely. An established runner like Hailesellaise could be injured for a year, recover for a few months and then do a three stage base, strength, sharpening plan over 6 months and bobs your uncle.

Anyway.... letsrun he I come.

20/12/2012 at 13:58

Goth  - apologies for the sexist overtones.


20/12/2012 at 14:30
LD - "The only people that I generally take any note of are the likes of Tim Noakes and Hadd. Noakes tends to look at things scientifically and doesn't ram a particular training model down your throat, although I very much do not sign up to his central governor theory. Hadd was a complete eye opener when I first read it. Well, the simple premise that high-miles breeds an efficient change in blood capiliaries etc."

Absolutely priceless!!! From a man who seems to be dead set against anecdotal evidence I find it totally astonishing that you lend any credance to Hadd's training given his "base training" posts are written from the standpoint of a single athlete he was coaching and his misinterpretation of physiological data (Dudley and Holloszy). Please see the "Hadd War" thread for my (and many others) rant(s) on this subject -

SL - hello, how's it going mate?
20/12/2012 at 14:39

I'm hoping that, 1914-stylee, a truce will break out on Christmas Day and you'll all play nicely...

20/12/2012 at 15:01

Brilliant marmite. I couldn't have put it better 

LD - a lot of basic things seem to be "meaningless" to you. I suspect a lot of it is just that you like being argumentative for the sake of it, but that probably means I need my head examined for responding to you!!! It would have been great if the thread I referenced hadn't said that the two coaches in question were Hadd and Cabral, as I'm sure you would have come back and denounced it as bunkum.
P.S. I'm pretty sure the ex-Ethiopian emperor was never an "established runner".

20/12/2012 at 15:04

Oh, and hip and shoulder are feeling much better today. Medicinal power of alcohol and loads of hot baths. Giving it an extra day before running again though to make sure all the tightness is gone.

I'm quite glad I haven't got dissolving bones like CW, though it's lucky that chocolate and red wine seem to be the cure

Cheerful Dave    pirate
20/12/2012 at 15:10

Well I'm still debating whether it should be the Coe-style small box of Quality Street or the Ovett-style big tin of Heroes.  Although anecdotally, on no scientific basis whatsoever, I'd say that Celebrations trumps the lot.

Half mile intervals lunchtime, very wet but no wind so actually quite good.  Almost had a TT-style altercation when avoiding a reversing van only to find a small lady laden with shopping bags in my path with me at full tilt.  Managed to manoeuvre around both with muscles, ligaments and bones intact.

20/12/2012 at 16:01

Marmite – I clarified my assessment of Hadd with “Well, the simple premise that high-miles breeds an efficient change in blood capiliaries etc.”. I read Hadd as someone who was running 50 miles/week under the impression (from the deluge of other bollox I’d read) that speed was the important factor. Hadd happened to be the first article that put forward the counterintuitive argument that to run faster you train more slowly. I always believed the athlete he was talking about was an example. I have absolutely no idea what else he wrote, and obviously what he was saying was not radical. It’s just that it was simply put and if anything led me to the realistion that 95% of stuff I’d ever read on running was total shite.

20/12/2012 at 16:12

Zattu – Haille Sellaisse indeed! Well I had a good read, and as I have admitted I didn’t approach it with a completely open mind so can rightly dismiss the view that follows if you like. However, I can assure you it’s not just to be argumentative. I passionately despise the mystique of the guru in the same way I despise alternative medicine, fortune tellers and celebrity TV dieticians.

My impressions are that it was all common sense stuff (eg, “run at three different paces”) unsurprisingly dressed up with page upon page of waffle. They are coaches, and as such rely upon fear, uncertainty and doubt to make a living.

If I was a coach and I had five different young athletes I may be able to put them on the same tried and trusted training plan and they all get peak fitness and run to their potential.

On the other hand, I could tweak things for each, claiming that I was doing this from some magical coaching insight. I would use percentages and unusual splits. I would use words a bit differently. The end result, of course, being the same as the above since they are all doing the requisite mix of fast and slow in disguise. However, I can now claim greatness as a coach.

It’s the same with homeopathic medicine – it is seen to work because people get well given time NOT because of the medicine but because it is so mysterious dumb people fall for it. Same with religion – it’s just complete brain wash because we fall for it.

I’ve been through an MBA, (and loved it), I’ve been through crank Quality Improvement programmes that swept the globe in the 1980s. All those teachings are commonsense that is often missing in organisations. Nevertheless, it is ONLY commonsense that is overdressed with bubble charts, models and the like by people looking to make a living out of it.

The reason I am being argumentative is that, despite such fine words and insight from these coaches no-one in the UK is capable of putting them into practice. The UK runners of the early 80s ran their times before any of the dubious research we have had since, before the rise of the celebrity coaches, crank potions or detailed training schedules. Surely there would have been JUST ONE runner since who would have run a half-decent marathon time with all that black magic at their disposal?

20/12/2012 at 20:03
You've not read much "Noakes" recently. Certainly his tome is valuable but He's quite adamant about his diet. Check his twitter feed out if unsure.
20/12/2012 at 20:45

Charlie.. last night's wine treatment was half a bottle of a delightful Italian Sangiovese taken in moderate glugs.  That and today's painkiller allowed me to trundle 5.3m with no pain, just a numb sensation in the affected area.  I think I will keep doing a few gentle runs with due care & attention and see how it goes.

TT.. good to hear last night's near collision hasn't caused any lasting damage.  Funnily enough after my slip I did think of your cot incident as one of similar misfortune!

Nice effort TR, 2 hours on the turbo sounds like a long time gawping at the garage door!

True grit award to anyone venturing out today, the Sainsbury's car park here is flooded already! 

20/12/2012 at 22:29

10M including the Weston Prom Run (5M) for me.  31.46 (I think) which would be a pb by the narrowest of margins (currently 31.47), although this does of course depend on my accuracy in pressing Garmin buttons.  And it's ARC so won't count as a pb on power of 10 in any event.  Splits were a little interesting (6.09, 6.15, 6.24, 6.19 and 6.31, plus a random 8 seconds because Garmin was on autolap and measured it at 5.03M), but I was only overtaken by 2 people so reckon I paced it better than most!  3rd lady but missed out on the prize giving because of the need to do a proper cool down.

21/12/2012 at 08:46

It's pretty soggy in places round here today !

Wardi - nice one, I was able to plod and bike on damaged ribs in Summer 2011, it was swimming that was hard.

Jools - your truce comment made me laugh, the thread has made me laugh two das in a row. Nice 5M.

12M bagged

21/12/2012 at 09:19

Very nice Jools

You're luckier than me then CD!

These things can happen so easily Wardi. Still improving I hope?

I had a test 5m jog into work this am. Neck is pretty much fine now. Right hip is still a little tender just above the quad - I can feel it if I lift too much. Lateral movement is uncomfortable (though luckily that's not a requirement for running unless you're bandy-legged ). As I've got the 24th and 25th off from running anyway, I think a few days of jogging should be fine and then hopefully can start to go a bit quicker again next week.

21/12/2012 at 09:36
Toro - that's sad if Noakes has gone to the dark side, but I suppose the warning signs were there when he started feeding us his central governor theory.

My old golf "coach" was a bloke called Bill Ferguson (who also coached my old mate Monty). I only had two lessons from him, even though id been playing for many years. The first he turned up late and drunk, took a look at my grip and twisted it round 15 degrees, then spent the rest of the time watching me carve balls way to the right and pissing off his lunchtime booze behind a nearby tree.

"Just keep doing that" he said.

Next lesson, after a load of practice, he did little more than watch me hit them down the middle.

Einstein said something along the lines that any fool could make things complex, but it takes a bit of genius to keep things simple.
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