Sub 3

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

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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. 

31/10/2013 at 11:58

TR - Same here, makes me wonder if I should spend more time thinking and planning  training, but I hate all that, I'm more Forest Gump than Jack Daniels.

31/10/2013 at 12:46
Tend to agree with Phil Pub - do whatever you want for a bit, but then get back to the tried and tested 3 phase approach.

OS - I believe the jury is well and truly out on the benefits of strengthening...or should I say on core stability strengthening. (If you mean legging it up hills, then I'm a big believer).
Did a bit of research and amid all the zillions of pages painting a glorious picture of how core strength is the answer to everything is ONE study of 20 runners. They put them in two groups.... One was really crap (ave 28 mins for a 5k) and one a bit crap (ave 24 mins). The really crap group did core strength and trained, the crap group just trained.
My logic tells me that the really crap runners would improve faster than the crap runners anyway and that the experiment is fatally flawed. Anyway the really crap runners improved by 12 secs/mile. So make of that what you will.

I have no doubt that core strength can have a placebo effect which may even motivate runners to train harder and faster because they believe they can. However, I'd love to see whether core strength has ever improved a top runner who has trained full on for years.
31/10/2013 at 12:49
HR - Frankfurt is as fast as you'll get. Tis true that the last few miles are through city streets when you most notice any annoying twist or turn. I'd be surprised if it accounts for more than a few secs.
31/10/2013 at 12:56
Interestingly I've been running a 1,500-,2,000 cal deficit for the last 11 days now (running/cross training equivalent of 20 miles/day, eating 2,000 to 2,500 cals/day).

I've not once hit the wall. Did a fast 22 miler on Sunday morning off a single banana for brekkie, again with a 2,000 cal debt from the previous day and only found myself feeling spent right at the end.

I'm thinking that I'm overestimating how much energy goes into each mile - could it be, say, 80 cals/mile? I'm not dropping weight quite as much as I thought and I'm measuring my intake. Most strange.
31/10/2013 at 14:16

LD. Interesting comments you make re "science' behind strengthening. My n=1 observation is that I was “indestructible’ until I was around 41, and then had a long series of painful Achilles, knees, etc.  The reasonable hypothesis offered by (look away) my physio was that I needed to strengthen muscles beyond those immediately used in running, which naturally diminish with age. When I first started doing high reps/ low weight squats, lunges, etc. etc. I was genuinely shocked at how feeble I was.  A few years later I am back to feeling indestructible.  I think this is as scientifically robust as any other nonsense that passes for Sports Science. 

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