Sub 3

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

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01/04/2013 at 09:53

Great result padams and good (if envy-inducing) to see that coro is in fine fettle.  Nice final long runs for the London runners too - look after the toasters now.

I went to my first ever parkrun on Saturday, realising that there was one parkrun about 3 minutes from my flat (the Highbury Fields one).  Struggled to get the legs started first thing and embarrassingly couldn't run 5k at the same pace as I'd managed nearly 10k the day before, so 2nd in 17:56.  Plodded along for 17m total, bringing up 245 for the month - given I'm only just getting back after a long break, this is actually the most I've done since Dec 2011.

Any hints and tips on HM-specific training by the way?  Should I just bang out lots of tempo runs or should I be doing reps too and sticking with easier miles?

Hope you all have a nice bank holiday...

01/04/2013 at 09:53

Padams - sub 2.50 off your usual three miles a week.  Bl00dy hell.

LS21 - just jump the barrier and join in the sub 3 train at VLM.  The marshalls will be fine with that if you say you've done it before.  In fact, they positively encourage people just joining in along the way so long as you're dressed appropriately.

Didn't bother to go and watch the boat race yesterday.  I do love the fact that the UK has these long-standing traditional sporting contests.  But now it's turned into watching 6ft 11 Randy J Baconburger III via Harvard and now studying land economy at Hughes Hall, whilst the river is festooned with adverts for an American bank - it can all just feck off, and I'll head off to the Ox and Lollipop for a pint instead.

01/04/2013 at 10:07

By the way, meant to say Padams that was a storming performance.

Lots of others too and it seems invidious to pick out, but PP you look to be in great shape, and Coro I agree with LS21 - knocking that out off so little training is hellishly impressive.

I'm still rooting around for a marathon end May/early June. I'd do Edinburgh but it gets such a panning from reviewers. Has anyone on here run Cork?

01/04/2013 at 10:21

HR - no idea if it's of interest but I *may* be running the Boddington Marathon on 16th June in order to try and help a friend bag a GFA time. It's in Cheltenham. Looks to be flat and fast, but is 12 loops (or similar) so not sure if it's your cup of tea? Good thing I suppose is that if you're running sh!t then you can just drop out? Do a search on Events thing on here for more info.

01/04/2013 at 10:54

Marigold - that Barca pacing was a bit erratic too. Good that he's running again anyway, he was very good.

LS21 - sounds like good reasons to do that marathon then, you have an Abo number too for an Autumn campaign ?

Padams - nice report, good read. Hope your legs are ok today.

Postie - you do a lot of MP running, you might have to start winding it back a bit now.

90 min turbo bagged inc 70 mins that I tried to replicate MP effort for. Hope to be running again in a few days.

01/04/2013 at 11:01
Marigold - Thank you for that, I will have to find the Fastwitch in South Africa! Fantastic training month there, well done.

LS21 - That is a very solid training month, you are in great shape.

Padams - Excellent marathon on tired legs.

PP and Dan - Sounds like an enjoyable way of doing a half.

16.87 miles this morning.

Mileage on the low side for March due to the marathon raced during the first week.

238 miles

2 x marathons including a 6 minute PB but sadly missed sub 3 by 12 seconds.

Hoping for a solid April.
01/04/2013 at 11:29

LS21 that's seriously tempting. I don't really mind if it's laps. Could be a bit warm I guess. Half the price of Cork which is an eye-watering £75. Do you know it it's an officially validated marathon? Only asking because of GFA entries for 2014.

Sportaloo you don't necessarily need big mileage to crack a sub-3h. At our level quality is far more important than quantity and over a certain point (maybe 45mpw) the trade-off in extra mileage exponentially decreases. Speed sessions are the key: training yourself to go fast so that you can then use the miles to sustain MP. Might seem like heresy but pretty certain it's true.

NB I'm not referring to the sub 2h30's on here which is a different ball game.

Edited: 01/04/2013 at 11:30
01/04/2013 at 11:30

Mind-boggling stats, Marigold. Though you half make it look human with all those 6M morning jogs... Lot of miles by you too LS21 and that PB too -- you're looking on really great form for that May marathon.

piscator -- I'm a (lapsed) scientist too, hence my propensity to perform whacky experiments on myself with different regimes, and everyone always said I did too few miles so it made sense to try it out. This year I started running some days I would previously have rested because of the snow (too icy to cycle) and kind of stuck with it. I have felt the time squeeze sometimes (arriving a bit later for work or back home from doing longer commutes), but my legs have coped OK, as my pace has tended to be modest. Glad you're on good form too with that long run (similarly OS).

LD -- I managed a brief debate with a 4x4 driver of the merits of parking so as to block the pavement of a wide residential road the other week, while moving, though she wished me a lovely day at the end. No karate involved.

Lev_ -- a completely arbitrary HM run I like to do is a couple of warm-up miles, then alternate doing 6 min and 7 min miles (say 6 of each). My HM PB pace is 5:41/M. Oddly it can feel harder holding the pace in the easy miles.

TR -- hope the calf isn't serious. I still think we'll get a surprise from you this year.

Anyway, today I did 20M @ 8min/M and then called it a day...
... APRIL FOOL! Oh alright, but TR will never forgive me for squandering matches: today's marathon split 2:56, by dint of doing 15M@6:57/M to make sure all was well with the calf (it was), then a 6M MP+ stint (5:55/M avg but giving it full beans at the end to claim it as speed work, not sustainable), and then another 6.4M @ 7m/M. Total 26.4M@6:43/M avg. (I would have done 8 or 10@MP without the calf worry.) I know it sounds bonkers at T-20 days, but honestly it felt totally comfortable today -- a full marathon is just a normal long run for me now. Which is a big part of this year's experiment. And that really was the last one before 21Apr. Just like I said last week.

Edit: I missed the fact you'd done two marathons in March, Sportaloo. I'm sure you'll have no probs getting comfortably sub-3 soon...

Edited: 01/04/2013 at 11:32
01/04/2013 at 11:35

Well done Padams. Nice casual marathon win.

March stats
235 miles
20 milers: 2
Races: 3 
PBs: 2

Races apart, it feels as though my marathon training has wound down rather than wound up over the last month. I averaged 72mpw for the first 7 weeks of the year but since mid-Feb I've only averaged 46mpw due mainly to shin issues and easing back into training after them. Hoping to get 60-70 in this week to round things off before the taper. Still suffering from a dodgy stomach (not so much shit in my toaster as ... well you get the idea) so I think I'll be carding a zero today.

01/04/2013 at 11:37

CW - Fairly standard session then.

01/04/2013 at 11:49

CW - no chance of being fooled by the 20 at 8mm, I just knew you'd do another marathon. I make it that you have done 4 or 5 at least this campaign. Hope it pays off, you've certainly gone the extra miles this campaign on weekdays and long runs. Trouble is if it does pay off, we wont know if it was the extra frequency or the regular marathons.....Just the 24M next weeknd then and 21 the weekend before VLM ?

Andy - the 7 weeks of 72 mpw will have laid strong foundations, you have had some decent build up races too.

01/04/2013 at 12:02

CW - insane as usual! Hope it pays off in a few weeks.

Dan - I actually did over 170M in March, which is a lot for me nowadays!

Thanks everyone for the nice comments. Just been out for 50M on the bike and actually felt OK, so will have a couple of easier days now then crack on.

Edited: 01/04/2013 at 12:02
01/04/2013 at 12:12

For those of you who, like me, have been moaning about the weather the Met Office have just officially declared that March was the coldest for 121 years. The mean of 2.7C in the CET makes it colder than December, January and February. 

And still it goes on. Another hideous biting easterly today under leaden skies. Padams I'm sure it was you who told me in Thailand that after a week of this I'd be wishing I was back. It's now been six bloody weeks. Argh!

01/04/2013 at 12:36

The Met Office - right up there with the BBC in terms of public service.  They know some of us are able to feel the temeprature ourselves and make a judgement over several years of experience as to whether the weather be good for the time of year given we're old enough to do joined up writing and stuff?  Until they can do anything about it WTFTP?

My combination of not running much and generally doing a lot of full beans (trying) to keep up with shiny new PB man on a Tuesday means whilst I can only rival Padams for (low) mileage this month, I'm not a million miles away from marigold's average pace - despite the fact I couldn't actually run a single mile at his MP.  If I can summarise my training for a month with those two being referenced then I'm happy...could've been a lot worse if I'd have had to compare myself to someone as underachieving as LS21 and used Dan's (2nd half) MP.  Not sure if that's sandbagging or not but it is factual - esp the bit about LS21.

PP - your ability to judge a good pacemaker when you see one is akin to your (running) fashion sense.  Shocking.  The words metronomic and tasteful do not apply.  Stick to the gurning son.

As you were.


01/04/2013 at 13:34
Padams - that's a fair performance, congrats on the win, sounds like a decent bike ride as well.
Coro - astonishing, how are the legs today?
Marigold - insane month.
Talking of insane, well done CW on another marafun in training.
PP and Dan, good pacing on what sounds like a dodgy course.
Jools - anther great long run.
TR - I'm firmly in the "you'll surprise yourself on the day" camp.

I had a skin full on Saturday night so ran late Sunday, 24.55 in 2.33 with 18 miles at under 6m/m was by no means flat out so pretty pleasing. Toaster in one piece.

Monthly stats
399 miles
No races
No pb's, I'm saving that for the 21st.
01/04/2013 at 14:15
CharlieW - Thank you for the vote of confidence! You will most definitely not be short on long runs.

Home Run - I agree as I ran 3:00 off about 50 miles per week and 3 20 milers. I am currently training for The Comrades Ultra in early June and I would prefer to keep the next 6 weeks around 60 to 70 miles.
Edited: 01/04/2013 at 14:19
01/04/2013 at 14:18

CRAB you might enjoy this gem then. The reason Antarctic sea ice has expanded so much in the last 25 years, which was denied until recently, is that it is getting warmer. Riiiiiiiiiight. If it wasn't from the Beeb, who are in the pockets of the MetO, I'd assume it was an April Fool's but some people actually believe this stuff, and are getting paid by taxpayers to fund it.

I'm getting irrascible. Must be the increased mileage. Or just me. Off for a run.


p.s. Sportaloo you may well be right on the Ultra front. My coach a couple of years back set out to prove I could sub-3h off a max 55mpw with quality speed sessions. That was part of his aim and it worked (2h50), although to be fair I occasionally added some miles to his programme. He thinks 2 x speed sessions a week, one tempo and one intervals + a longish run are key. He then began mixing speed into the long ones, but the point was seldom doing more than 50mpw. He's younger than me but has pb'd 2h28 M and 70min HM off similarly low mileage. p.p.s. Good luck at the Comrades. I love Durban. Am actually writing about it at the moment for my second book

Edited: 01/04/2013 at 14:29
01/04/2013 at 14:42

LS21 - thanks for the suggestion. There's no little Jonny's knocking around and while my Mrs is supportive of my running I doubt she'd be too impressed with spending her Saturday morning in Hull even if the Park is nice. The 16:xx will come eventually. Hope everything goes well in prepration of your marathon, you've clearly put the work in! 

Padams - great win! I'll be happy if I register a time similar to that in Manchester.

CW - quality long run.

SL - impressive running after a few beers the night before. Will be interested to see how you get on in London.

23m @ 7:08 for me today with miles 15 -19 at a rough MP (6:25, 6:24,6:20, 6:15) still not sure where to pitch the target time. Strangely I felt as though the MP miles were some of the most comfortable in the whole session and probably could have continued for a few more. I don't really like having to consciously run more slowly than usual during long runs as it doesn't feel natural. Always good to start a month with 20+ miles in the bank.

01/04/2013 at 14:56

March stats for those interested:


242 miles in 29:59:16 (dammit, should have run another 44s!), average 7:26 min/mile.

1 x PB (HM 1:26:46)

1 x 22 miler

01/04/2013 at 15:07

LD: Charlie Spedding in his book talks about how he gave up the chance to take over his dad's business and ultimately chucked his job in to focus on running.

(edit: CW: bonkers, but wonderful. Hope you get what you deserve, whatever that may be...)

Edited: 01/04/2013 at 15:21
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