Sub 3

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

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30/10/2013 at 20:39

Wardi - sounds like a change of attack might do you good, especially mentally. In a bid to get my legs used to a bit of speed since my 1/2 IM, I've been doing sessions of 5M inc 20 mins of 30 sec hard/30 sec easy, so sounds like your diagonals. try a couple of the sessions you mention each week and see where it takes you. The 30sec reps are only short so dont seem to make my legs tired or sore.

30/10/2013 at 21:50

sorry to barge in folks, just wanted to say chin up to Wardi - I know you were disappointed,but many would grab your hand off for a 3:30, and not just in your (our) age-group.  No consolation, I know - we have our own expectations  . . . .

Must say your comments "runners coming back from long term injury or suffering a drop in pace . . . . . . I can't run the miles I did in my heyday so I need to find another solution"  resonated here .  Might have to pinch some of the suggested solutions  . . .

Anyway, you made it to the red carpet, and live to fight another day. 
"For you, Wardi, the race isn't over"!

30/10/2013 at 21:50
Al_P - great report.

Wardi - unsurprisingly I would take that Witch Doctor's advice with a huge pinch of salt. I know you are a bit older than me, but I've plodded out 20 ish marathons now and am not getting noticeably slower. Dammit, I'd better be getting faster, or else.

Of course we do slow down a bit as we get older over shorter distances and my hero Dr Noakes has a wild theory that once you get past ten marathons your legs are fucked.... But is it really so?
Is it not because of these doom merchants that we let ourselves be beaten down?

I would think that you'd be better concentrating 100% on the marathon, which is where us old timers can better hold our own and forgetting trying to compete with the young bucks over the girly short distances. First thing (as TR alluded to) is to get your motivation right, train longer and even further and tell yourself that a handsome charmer like you can match his dashing looks with astounding marathon times.
31/10/2013 at 08:34

Wardi - sounds like you have a good plan. A change of training should help, possibly mentally as well as you can get stuck doing the same thing month-in month-out.

Interesting spinning session last night. TR - you might want to try this one on the turbo:

5 x (10s hard, 50s easy with the same resistance throughout)
5mins easy spin recovery
5 x (20s hard, 40s easy with the same resistance throughout)
5mins easy spin recovery
5 x (30s hard, 30s easy with the same resistance throughout)
5mins easy spin recovery
3 x (40s hard, 20s easy with the same resistance throughout)
2mins easy spin recovery
3 x (50s hard, 10s easy with the same resistance throughout)

Starts to get hard towards the end! The bike I was using was clearly not calibrated very well as I was warming up at 250W+ and the efforts were all over 500W - I wish!

31/10/2013 at 08:38

Hey Wardi, as others have said chins up!  You have done well to guts it out and get round whilst knowing you were missing your target, and as long as you're not injured, you've got a marathon campagin under your belt that you can hopefully back up and improve on for spring/next time should you choose to.

I tend to agree with Dids about the training though, and think you have summed it up a little yourself when you say "The Park Runs have improved but have simply made me a better Park runner".  I'm not sure that focusing on the speed/shorter stuff is going to help you with the marathon so much.  I'd be more inclined to think that more focused marathon training, the long tempo runs, a hard mid week medium long run, and the good old fashioned LSR with the other stuff thrown in here and there for fun/with the club/friends etc.  But focus on the key marathon bang for buck runs.  Otherwise you might just become the best dodger at running up steep hills or running diagonally across footy pitches.  still if that's what the ladies up norf like....

might be out of order here as well (so apologies if I am, i'm thinking a little about my own shortcomings), but maybe a bit more focus maybe on the ballast, with what you eat and drink in the final 2-3 months of marathon training, to get down to a really good racing weight - those sort of things might be more likely to see you get back towards the 3:15 mark.  Hard, but it's not meant ot be easy.

I can certainly relate to the long term injury and trying ot come back, so i will keep an eye out for tips as well.  But really i can't see how short hills or 150m efforts is going to be the magic answer for the marathon.  By all means for a mental break/change for a bit it might be nice, but then i'd say get back to the grind IF it's a proper good marathon time you are still after.

So end of month stats.... back/neck and knee problems have put my "comeback" on hold... after managing 123 miles in September and 101 in August, back to just 42 in October.  but at least most of that was in the past 2 weeks so i am doing a little bit again.  My herniated disc is still causing me a lot of problems though (can manage 3 pressups almost now... up from 1, i used to do 40-50) so don't feel like i am actually training properly or for anything at the moment, just trying to do a little bit.  See the consultant again tomorrow so will find out if thy need to stick more drugs in my spine or not soon.  Hope not.

Congrats again to Joolska (you will probably still be getting congratulated at Xmas, and fair enough!), and great reports from Al_P and Lev.

nice to see my Edinburgh virgin sub 3 running mate Pisc still running well and lots of the other old forumites.

31/10/2013 at 09:04

Argh. Insanely busy with a police case but at last a proper read.

Al_P fantastic report. What a run. Really interested in your pacing, some of it by chance, some by design, both of which clearly paid off. The age old issue which CRAB and others mention of aiming for a -ve split or as near as. You don't happen to know who that Bideford AC runner was? Storming performance by you anyway and loved reading that. Final question, as you mentined the twists and turns near the end: would you recommend Frankfurt for someone aiming at an autumn pb?

PP Padams / TR some great cross-training / tri type work continuing. Hope your foot injury recovers PP. I had roast lamb last night, which made me smile thinking of your post from a few weeks back. 

Wardi interesting post. As mentioned above keep your chin up buddy. I probably agree with LD on this about staying with that as main focus, but perhaps some HM's too? Where I don't agree with some on here is re. speed. Actually it is very important for marathoning. Do you do club track sessions? I can't wait to join GGAC and get onto the T & Th Spectrum track evenings. That is one of the most important building blocks imho. Mind you, I also agree with Selbs about weight. If you hold a bag of sugar in your hand that's just 2lbs. Bit frightening.

CharlieW I'm doing the Stowmarket 7m on 10/11 and then the Hadleight 10m on 24/11. I think you've mentioned Hadleigh previously? Hope you regain your fitness form soon. Not a bad time for you to take it easy.

Which reminds me, why so few UK races in November-December? OK, so it's dark but racing a week before Christmas and a week after is exactly when I do want to race.


Edited: 31/10/2013 at 09:05
31/10/2013 at 09:07

p.s. this f-ing Puma Ad is really going to get my goat. Get the bloody thing off RW.

31/10/2013 at 09:10

Wardi - One thing i've learnt is that one size does not fit all so do what you thinks right, my 2 cents. The 2 most important runs in a marathon training week are the sunday long run and an extended tempo run, build your week around these.

Personally I feel i don't find much improvement from a plodded 20miler.  I can't start to imagine how many you've done, do they serve any purpose?  Do you need to go longer or shift your week around (scrap the parkrun) so you can do more of a session type long run on the Sunday.


31/10/2013 at 09:24

some good advice there for Wardi, I like SLs sesion type long run idea, and HRs idea of regular 1/2s (I'm trying to do a few this Autumn again).

Padams - nice one, I'll put it in the memory banks. I've got back on the turbo in the last few weeks and intend to hit it hard over the winter rather than steady base stuff. I've been doing 15 and 20min reps recently . But some bigger gear or higher intensity 1 min stuff is on the radar, so i'll add your session in. It sounds like a good leg burner.

Selbs - shame that your back is still bothering you, I was hoping the injection would help a bit more.

6M today inc (the obligatory 20mins of 30sec/sec), that gives me 135M for the month. Need to try to get up nearer 200 for Nov and Dec. It looks like the wind is going to be pretty strong again Sunday which might scupper my sub60 attempt !

31/10/2013 at 09:42

Wardi: I'm a bit of a P&D geek (and the queen of the plateau in performance), and the very short speed sessions your guy is suggesting don't sound that much more than simply doing strides a few times a week.  That certainly helps me (or has eventually, depending on your view point...!).  Perhaps making the Saturdays easier would enable you to make the Sundays harder and do more progressive long runs, etc.  However, the main thing I'd suggest is a real end of season break before your next campaign so that you are physically and mentally fresh.

31/10/2013 at 09:46

Wardi. Lots of wise words already. I was thinking about your post as I plodded to work this morning. I offer some random thoughts, focused on myself as much as you.

Briefly, you need to be really honest with yourself and clear about what you are trying to achieve. Then make sure what you are doing is consistent with that.

I am younger than you (44 next month), but also 'lost' the best part of 18 months with what I would loosely call an injury. Over the last 2-3 years I have put a huge amount of work into strengthening (4-5 sessions per week). This has given less time for running, and made me more tired when I do run, but fits my two goals of (1) being in good shape to keep active for a long time and (2) have a few more pushes at a marathon PB.

However you shake things up, I think the keys to success are to find a training pattern you enjoy and can believe will deliver your goals, and then it just might happen.

Edited: 31/10/2013 at 09:47
31/10/2013 at 09:51

i like SL's post more than mine.  very succinct and clearly knows more about it than my waffle!

i'd just say maybe for us creaky or older types, u should mix it up with one week dropping park run to focus on a "session" type long run (so many options to keep it interesting), but the other week u could do park run, plus more traditional LSR. Or 2 weeks on 1 week off in terms of HARD long runs.  i think a "session" long run, plus mid week MLR tempo is quite hard to keep up week after week for those of us prone to injury - but yeah you make big gains.

TR - dont get me wrong, the injections have worked miracles.  Gone from a 9 or 10/10 on the pain scale (i.e. unable to sleep) to more like 2-3.  But the nerve damage /compression is still there so still very weak on my left side, and still just not quite "right" in my neck.  i am nt sure as well if it will all just come back once the steroids wear off which is a worry.  Still it's promising at the moment, and i know i can have one more injection if needed which is preferable to heading down the surgical route.  hopefully time and the body will do its healing eventually.

31/10/2013 at 10:23

Just a drop-in to suggest that Wardi consider following a plan such as P&D or probably better suited to you would be plan A in Daniels book.  It straightforward to follow in that it prescribes 2 sessions per week, one of which is usually your long run and you fit in the rest of the miles however you like.  It also tells you what % of your peak mileage you should be running each week. 

It will challenge you in areas that you probably haven't worked on too hard for a while but that's a good thing!  The plan is nominally for 24 weeks but the first 6 are all easy running with a few strides in the second 3 weeks.  If you haven't got a copy of the book pm me your email address and I'll send you on the plan.

Edited: 31/10/2013 at 10:24
31/10/2013 at 10:27

Wardi - sounds like the mojo has taken a bit of a battering.  Not sure I'm in the position to offer advice considering my autumn marathon was almost 40 mins slower than my spring one.  But what I have learnt is that taking a few weeks off to recharge the batteries is a pretty good way of getting you chomping at the bit to get back out there.  How about moving your long run to Saturday, and occasionally building your parkrun into it?  Marders does that often and he does alright.

31/10/2013 at 10:27

HR -- actually I haven't done Hadleigh -- hope your races go well though.

Wardi -- I'm younger than you (43), and while the typical performance slope is definitely downwards at my age, it is certainly more so at 50+. But I thought I was heading for a downward drop off my marathon plateau after doing 2:44:47 then 2:42:38 twice in London -- surely that was telling me I had no improvement to make -- but then PBd by 4 mins last time. So you might yet surprise yourself.

I'm not planning to run today, but about 20 mins ago the courier dropped off my shiny new bike. Just about to get it out of the box! It's not that sporty, but should be quicker than my old MTB/hybrid, but is really geared up to winter commuting, shopping, and training rides when I fancy it. It is one of these but blinged up with very nice hub dynamo lighting for those dark commutes, and a few other upgrades.

Monthly stats:168 miles at 7:28/M average, 1 minor race (and win), 14 rest days.

31/10/2013 at 10:29

Selbs - well that sounds better than I was thinking. the big drop in pain reduction is good news for starters.

Wardi - maybe you should start with looking at what the full camapign of training looked like this time. I cant remember if you follow a schedule, or do your own thing. If like me you do your own thing then its possible that you might have neglected to do a few things that either dont fit into your life well or you dont enjoy, I'm guilty of doing this at times, as I try to make it fit my life better - which isnt wrong, but can neglect what might do us good. I need to put more intensity into my swim/bike and run training at times and do proper session, but like to fit training into commutes etc

31/10/2013 at 10:50

Wardi - Lots to mull over there and I'm not sure I can add much.  My thinking would be that in the short term, a change is as good as a rest and maybe just force yourself to train differently in the medium term, in whatever way, and see what comes out.  Then when  you need to focus on proper marathon training again, maybe top-load your efforts into those couple of key sessions (long run plus looong tempo efforts) and keep the rest relatively easy/recovery?

Padams - That looks like, er, fun!  Whilst I'm off running and thinking about rowing fitness, I'm also putting a little more effort into my spinning classes (and doing about 3 a week) but the structure normally involves doing whatever the instructor says (usual mix of hills and sprints) and occasionally disobeying when I feel the need.  I should probably borrow back my turbo trainer so that I can concoct my own indoor sessions over the Winter. 

I'm pleased to see that track sessions at the velodrome will now be all year round (due to the newish surface making it rideable when damp) for a reasonably high-intensity work-out, which makes things more interesting than just going for a couple of long rides at the weekend.

31/10/2013 at 10:51
Currently sat on a ferry, so will read back properly over the coming days, but for now.....

Wardi - how about outlining a typical week? Progression of phases/sessions over a buildup?
31/10/2013 at 10:55

TT - "..........progression of phases/sessions over a buildup......." that kind of shows me that I've never trained properly for anything !

31/10/2013 at 11:15

likewise TR.  my progression of phases is more like a T20 cricket batting innings graph with lots of wicket maidens for the injuries in the middle. 

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