Sub 3

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

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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.
08/01/2013 at 13:27

Another amateur baker here.  LD - My loaves are slightly more dense than a supermaket one, I allow a lot of time for the first rise (sometimes overnight) then knock back, whack it around a bit then allow to rise in the loaf tin for a few hours in a warm place(above the boiler).  Hope the injury isn;t too bad.

08/01/2013 at 13:42

Welcome aboard, Bertie C (I suspect you will be BC before you know it).  More than welcome, especially those aiming at sub 3.  The speed merchants may have moved on, but it's still what the thread is really about.

08/01/2013 at 13:51

welcome to BC

RS - in 2012, I missed the first two weekends in March (hurt calf) so only bagged 8 runs of 20 or more, 3x20, 3x21, 1x22, 1x23. I did a 26.5 the previous yyear and reckon it was a waste of matches. I did however make some of the long runs last me 2:4X this time and the 23 took me 2:52 (which I reckoned would see me ok). I also only did about 6 actual MLRs (3 had 10 ~MP in them), but I did do a lot of commuting doubles. I dont intennd upon doing more than 7 or 8 x 20-22 this time and only ~6 actual MLRs again.

08/01/2013 at 14:14
TR wrote (see)

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


I'll let you know in March!  I went up to 13 @ bang-on target pace for Paris and that seemed OK.  Also I've bagged a few "Coro 10s" last year, and just before the HM the average pace for the best of these was 12secs/mile quicker than what I envisage target MP being; hard work on a Thursday evening but not quite a time-trial effort.

I'm looking forward to a bit of baking.  Will ease myself in with a basic wholemeal this weekend I think, but I can see lots of fruity/nutty experiments taking place.

Welcome Bertie!

Edited: 08/01/2013 at 14:40
08/01/2013 at 14:54

PP and bakers - I've got a breadmaker too and had tuna mayo sandwiches in wholemeal bread from it for lunch.  I too find that the loaves are heavier than the shop bought ones but much tastier.  Also, most of those multiseeded type loaves from the supermarket aren't actually wholemeal which is a shame because they do make good sandwiches.  Good jam experiment but surely marmalade rules.  

Good work in the XC by the way, all the best people come er 21st!  Also Al_P and Padams.

Marmite - thanks for posting that, interesting stats and gives the rest of us hope if it took you 8 years to break 3 and have run 2.31 since.  Are you going for sub 2.30 at VLM?

RS78 - re the 20s question I did 6x20+ for my first marathon with all being 20 apart from a 22 and a 23.5 which worked ok for 2.50 and also did the same for my second one which was OK for 2.44.  In both cases I got my midweek run up to 15 for a few weeks before but not many.  I should have done much more 20+ runs this time so will be interesting to see what difference that makes.  So, you don't necessarily need loads and loads of 20s to get the endurance.

Welcome to BC.

Couple of easy runs so far this week and will do 10 with some effort in tonight.  15 planned for tomorrow,

Edited: 08/01/2013 at 15:00
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