Sub 3

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

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Blisters    pirate
07/01/2013 at 22:47

MtR, I do indeed recall meeting you, and have always sought out the likes of Wardi and Jools once over the finish line. They were usually waiting for me.
2007 was 3:12:55 fo me, after having done 3:06, 3:07 etc. I was comfortable in that bracket, so decided to re-write the training programme. That year I hit PBs in every single distance I ran 5k to 50k, with the exception of 42.2k. 2008 was better, filling the blank.

07/01/2013 at 22:57
MtR - fascinating, although i would point out a couple of things:
1. Your biggest improvement (a whopping 24 mins) came when you upped your mileage by 40%. (How long had you been running for before 2007)?
2. Increasing by a further 10% meant you worsened by 15 mins. Really, really inexplicable. But you were still faster overall on higher mileage?

How were your comparable half marathon times through all that?

A good friend of mine went from 3:30 to 2:55 when he upped his mileage from 50 to 80 miles.... However, as he has held mileage at this point (possibly increased slightly) his times have generally deteriorated. He did a 2:57 last year, but has done at least three of late where he hasn't broken 3 hours. He is a real creature of habit and doesn't tend to do things any differently from one to the next. (His pb came after losing a good few weeks through injury. )
07/01/2013 at 22:59

So reading between the lines.... 

Well done's to DanA on winning the battle of the shorts, LD for sporting black socks - I wear non running socks often because its old skool innit (well done on the sub 80 too btw, congrats on a vest to my old mucker Speedy Yay! (Yes I wonder too about the 'others', hope your cold pisses off, congrats to Jools on some nice mud wrestling and well done to all the long runners of the world... especially to ES on a day-boo 20 miler *sniff* proud moment that 

Nothing to report at my end sadly as I leapt head first off the couch and onto the bench in a little over 10 days... that'll be the famous runners patience kicking in right there eh Wardi?? 

A rather sore achilles tendon which will need a little rest and some ironing out I suspect. As per I tried a little waltz tonight but sacked it after 3 minutes of light maneuvering. 

I'll be back! Some new trabs usually helps the mind games too. I'd convinced myself, yet again, that my old shoes were good for another 1000 miles... Does anyone else repeat the same mistakes over and over is it just me?? 


07/01/2013 at 23:16
TR - I don't understand the cycling calories. When I'm doing 21 mph in the gym I'm only burning 800 cals /hour supposedly. So, 40 cals per mile. That would mean I'm only burning 2,300 cals on a 57 mile cycle? I've read other stuff that seems to tally with that, but have read it can be 60 cals/mile at that sort of pace.... And that would mean 3,500 cals over 57 miles. Why the big differences? What's reality?

Running is dependent upon weight. The gym treadmill tells me a steady run is 1,100 cals/hr. Websites tell me I burn 110-120 cals/mile. However, I would be surprised if it's that high. My gut feel tells me it's more like 100/mile. I do believe that you should always subtract 100 cals/hour which is what you burn without exercise to get the real calorie burn.

Furthermore, there's no way I burn 2,500 cals/ day on a non running day these days. I bet it's less than 2,000, sat at my desk all day.
07/01/2013 at 23:29

I always do the 100 cals / mile thing. Although if I set my Garmin watch up to be an uber athlete it comes up something like 45 cals per mile... pretty sure that's Haile territory. 

Disappointingly I went away to look up my marathon training history a la MtR only to discover I only have 2 of the campaigns logged on Garmin Connect. The other 3 are lost to the ether in training books or other now defunct online logs. I wish I had kept my  £2.50 WHSmith diaries going. 

So, I have nothing to compare really other than I have never done more than 50 miles per week average and in the two years worth of data I have - an increase of 7 miles per week average resulted in worse performances over HM and Mar times by a whopping 39secs and 51 secs respectively: 

2009 Lochaber
HM 1:19:12
Mar 2:57:15 

2010 London
HM 1:19:51
Mar 2:58:06 

Edited: 07/01/2013 at 23:30
08/01/2013 at 06:12

Excellent XC racing from AW, CC2, Jools, CW, LJ, Al_P, Padams, PP.
Nicely done on the 1/2M Dan, good one from LD too. 

Black socks are the business, won't hear a bad word against them, then again I love marmite and that seems to divide opinion too, in fact as I was running past a bunch of ramblers on our group 20 miler last Sunday, proudly sporting my Marmite vest one of them yelled "I hate Marmite", not the first time I've heard that 

With all this talk of mileage and marathons I couldn't resist digging out my stats:

Race - Mileage Total* - Avg. MPW - Finish Time
Cal International '95 - 336 - 22.4 - 3:54:50
Avenue of the Giants '96 - 423 - 28.2 - 3:34:11
Napa Valley '97 - 373 - 24.9 - 3:27:24
Rocket City '97 - 413 - 27.5 - 3:27:31
Chicago '98 - 488 - 32.5 - 3:29:26
Kiawah Island '99 - 537 - 35.8 - 3:17:50
Las Vegas '01 - 503 - 33.5 - 3:09:57
Boston '01 - ? - ? - 3:24:25
London '03 - 480 - 32 - 2:56:57
London '04 - 870 - 58 - 2:52:13
Berlin '05 - 1083 - 72 - 2:43:59
London '08 - ? - ? - 2:34:27
Berlin '09 - 1229 - 82 - 2:31:08
London '12 - 1063 - 71 - 2:41:37

*Mileage totals and average mpw are all taken from the 15 weeks leading up to and including marathon week.

Boston in '01 was just done at a steady pace as it was not long after Las Vegas so was not run as an all out effort. The numbers for London '03 are slightly misleading as this was the only time I incorporated a couple of bike sessions per week. I didn't keep a log for the '08 campaign but if memory serves total mileage and mpw were midway between Berlin '05 and Berlin '09.  

Edited: 08/01/2013 at 06:32
08/01/2013 at 06:34

nice to see MtR - he beat me good and proper when I paced him to that 2:51 !

LD - I dont count calories, but I know that I need fuel more when I cycle outside than when I turbo, its the strength component thats burning the calories, I guess on an exercise bike (or turbo too) its easy to spin and not push a big enough gear. Outside the terrain, weather etc means you need to push, plus I always push the pace outdoors.

I'm late for a turbo appointment - that waking up cup of coffee has cost me a few soem time !

08/01/2013 at 08:16

LD -- I have a sneaking suspicion that the Garmin calc of ~95 kCal/mile run for one of my weight (still set at pre-Xmas 8st11) is a bit of an overestimate; I got a 5% performance increase by improving my style a couple of years ago, and it can't possibly know that. But I'm happy to accept it's probably in the right ball-park.

BUT cycling is all about aerodynamics, which varies hugely by bike and rider. 18mph on my commuting bike (heavy MTB with road tyres + panniers + mudguards) is hard -- let's randomly guess I burn 800 kCal/hr like that. Now put me on a gleaming blade of carbon fibre time trial bike with a pointy helmet, and 18 mph would be dawdling. My calorie burn per hour may well be halved. Unless your gadget has some calibration to take that into account, it's going to be pretty hopeless at estimating. A crank power meter would get it right (multiplying up to allow for 15-20% muscle efficiency etc).

No idea if Garmins etc allow for hills when estimating calorie burn either -- does it think I'm dawdling if I am doing 10 mph but gaining a lot of height? Does it think I'm burning loads of calories at 30 mph even if I'm freewheeling down a monster hill?

So I'm pretty sceptical of cycling calorie burn estimates from cycle computers.

Edited: 08/01/2013 at 08:16
08/01/2013 at 08:34

CW - I didn't know you were so light, I'm weighing in at 11.4 at the moment.

TR - Hope the turbo went well, ignore the knee pain e.t.c it's marathon training!

Nice to see Selbs popping in

SJ - I'm certainly guilty of repeated mistakes, or laziness (lack of core work, foam roller e.t.c), hope you're off the bench sharpish.

Marmite - You've done some amazing marathons, which has been your favourite?

Training is going well, diet isn't, everywhere I turn there's shortbread and chocolate, I'm working my way through it with ease though so by the weekend the house should be clear of such temptations. 

08/01/2013 at 08:49

5M easy with a work colleague last night and down to the last box of truffles on the Christmas chocolates front.

Hope you are back running soon, SJ.

TR: turboing at 6.30am.  Nice...  I guess!

Welcome back MtR and Mmmmarmite (I'm afraid I'm in the loathe it camp).

I hope I'm due a good year, Selbs, but I'd get rich quick off the predictions people make of me having a good year.  It's been a while.  You're due a good year, too; hope the rehab is progressing and the little one is doing well.

08/01/2013 at 09:11

SL - indeed, keep calm and carry on. Give it a few weeks and I shoudl be adapting well.

Jools - thats 30mins late, start time is 6am, but I let myself have a cup of coffee as I was a big sluggish, answered a couple of emails...........

nice to see marmite - running in a vest in training ? I wear a vest one day a year !

08/01/2013 at 10:20

Jools - seems like your training has got off to a cracking start which has set you up nicely

SL - yeah Xmas is deadly for naughty foods isn't it, lol

Selbs - how's your injury and moreso the baby?

TR - You're more than likely going to be under 2.55 than over it

PP - well done in the XC

Sticking my head back in - leg is finally sorting itself but picked up another minor niggle in my right hip flexor. I did run pain free on sunday though for 3m so that's a start. Going to start again this weekend and go from there. Still swimming.

If injuries stop me getting going properly for a good bit yet then I'm considering binning off London and doing Windermere marathon instead on May 19th. If I get started again soon I'll probably scrap Watford half in favour of an LSR and just do Bath in March, no need to do two halfs a month apart when long runs are needed.

Will see how things go the next week few plenty on with study/exams so to be honest I'm not stressing about running really. May just end up sticking to general training, half, park runs etc and aim at some fell running in the spring.


Edited: 08/01/2013 at 10:32
08/01/2013 at 11:04

SL - We're exactly the same weight! And I'm still getting through the Christmas cheese...

I'm probably gonna start eating more mmmmarmite because I got a bread maker for Christmas, and I'm sure I'll get bored of raspberry jam soon.  (Top of the raspberry jam survey at the moment: Bonne Maman.)

I've cobbled together a rough VLM training schedule.  I wasn't going to bother but then I realised I had quite a few races planned so it made sense to provisionally schedule some of the more key long runs and MP runs around this.  There's a lot of yellow, which looks a bit scary but I certainly won't be hammering all the races, particularly some of the XC still to come which will definitely be trained through to some extent.  "Intervals" is likely to be 10 x 1k every fortnight or so, and where we do shorter stuff on the track it will still be reasonable volume, and the marathon guys will probably tag on some MP around it when we get to the business end of Feb/March...

So mileage doesn't get too menthol, but this is assuming, in a good week, probably 4/5 gym sessions on top, including spinning/tempo sessions on exercise bike and core/weights. 

Cheerful Dave    pirate
08/01/2013 at 11:24

PP, what's up with 6th March?  You're half a mile short.  Otherwise you're right, that's pretty scary!

08/01/2013 at 11:45

CD - well spotted!  I'm not being completely OCD about the difference between 6.5 and 7 miles, the 6.5 just indicates a particular lunchtime route from work as opposed to my usual easy run in the evening, i.e. I don't envisage doubling up with a gym session + easy run on that particular day.  Right, I'm off for a non-spreadsheet gym session!  (Easy on the squats and lunges, 10 x 800 this evening...)

08/01/2013 at 11:57

PP - some of those MP thursday's look tough. Some of them are considerably more than 10M of MP, is that possible in training ?

RS - Ode has run Windermere, theres a swish prize for the winner. I'd take the 2:54 (or 50) this year, and save the 2:59 for when I'm a V50.

I'd post my training schedule up, only I dont know what it is !

08/01/2013 at 12:09
PhilPub - bread maker eh? I have become an enthusiastic amateur baker over the last few years - to the point where I can make dough with fresh yeast without measuring anything, and without making a mess or getting sticky hands! (I don't have a bread maker).

I do pizza bases, breadsticks, chappatti (no yeast in these of course) to rival or better what you get in restaurants. It takes feck all time once you know what you are doing. I've got a massive slab of granite that I got for a tenner from a kitchen surface off cut that converts my oven into something closer to a pizza oven.

However, I have never come anywhere near close to baking a loaf as good as, say, a Sainsbury multiseeded loaf. Consequently I don't bother as a loaf from there only costs ??1.35. Would be interested in whether a bread maker does the trick.
I did have a tub of sourdough for a while that I grew and fed every so often. But neglected it and it died. Not sure my sourdough was ever better than normal dough.

(If you don't know, you can get fresh yeast from the bakery counter at supermarkets. Dirt cheap, in fact Tesco often don't charge they just give you some).
08/01/2013 at 12:10


TR (and others) - Given I may be starting my schedule later than planned for London do you reckon I could get away with 7x 20+ long runs for london if I made them all atleast 21 and if I was knocking out a medium midweek run of 13-15?

08/01/2013 at 12:16

Afternoon all,

I have just spent too long trying to catch up on recent postings to this thread.  I am in a similar position to ES in that I am a marathon virgin having not run beyond HM on the road before.  I'm interested in seeing what other people do to go under 3 hours although from reading the postings there are some seriously quick people here.

Anyway....permission to come aboard?


08/01/2013 at 12:18
First proper hill training day today, ended in injury. Top of my calf as I was jogging back home. Fairly painful, but calfs mend quickly don't they? Got frozen peas strapped to my leg on the train to Nottingham.

I've done Windermere in 2011. Only time I've not broken 3 hours for a marathon in years. Tough.
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