Sub 3

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

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22/11/2013 at 12:45

And whilst you mention Expos Dan, worth a quick reflection on the organisation of and general race experience of the Istanbul Marathon - anyone thinking of doing it may wish to prepare themselves for something that is well, unusual in a number of ways.

The website is ultra-brief and contains just the vital information you need to get to the expo and to the start and where you are running etc etc, Honestly, it's all the better for it. Just one concise page. You get no email or post confirmation when you register which is unusual.

The Istanbul Expo was a grim affair, (not one you'd want to waste time at, Dan). Like London, the location was shockingly ugly and 10 miles out of the centre (but thankfully near the airport and en route from the city). A packed, slow moving tram was required.

Inside, there was a pale attempt at razzmatazz, but there was no disguising it was just a dull sportshall with a few desks and running goods vendors. I almost missed the pomposity of Excel.

Strangely the kit bag we were given by the very friendly staff there, would have done a squaddy proud. The race number was slotted nicely behind a plastic window, there was a proper shoulder strap and it was generally made of sturdy stuff. Ultimately, it's one of those bags you'll never reuse, but probably never throw away either.

(Note - When it came to collecting the bags at the end of the race there was just a young lass alone in a big van with several hundred bags NOT sorted into any sort of order. Present your number and then watch as the girl trawled through them all. Hopeless.)

The buses to the start were pretty chaotic too - although we used their system of them neither queuing properly in the british way, or scrapping selfishly like the Dutch, to our advantage and steamed right to the front of a huge mass of dithering runners and jumped aboard.

The start was hell. Having visited Auschwitz I could not help being reminded of it. We were literally dumped from packed buses in the middle of nowhere, up high on a huge bridge over the Bosphorous with no escape. As I posted on sunday, there were 16 toilets for 10,000 runners and only one grassy steep bank like the north face of the Eiger for more desperate runners to risk death for a shit, or a dangling of the appendage over the sea below. No water, apart from an old shopping trolley full that a bloke making kebabs had probably spent hours pushing up the hill and onto the bridge.

No pens at the start, no chance to get really close to the start without some severe pushing which I couldn't bring myself to do, even though I could see a pair of grandmas in front of me, and knowing that a lot of the runners were 15K fun runners and liable to shuffle slowly off. So, it was a very hard going first km or so. It was chip timed, but everyone gets the gun time in the results.... not that I really cared as it turned out.

Plenty of good organisation on the course though, once the slow movers were bypassed. KM markers, water stops, a finish line. People guiding the 10km runners one way and marathoners another. Hardly any spectators.

The location of the finish line (and where the buses depart from) is fantastic though. Right in the middle of history and right next to where all tourists stay - a short limp back to a shower and then out into a wonderful city.

So, not a PB course, not well organised, but if you are looking to combine a great weekend with a marathon it does (in my opinion) beat the better organised German races overall, and the lack of adventure that a local UK one brings. 

I'd say however, that on this criteria Athens still has to be done in preference to Istanbul - as every runner should really experience Athens.

22/11/2013 at 12:54

Nice review LD - which Athens Marathon are you referring to? there appear to be two

22/11/2013 at 13:16

CharlieW and other non-stretchers!!


Have you always done no/little stretching or did you switch at some point?

I presently stretch and strengthen practically everything (after being far more slack last year) but have still spent at least 80% of this year nursing niggles or seeing physios. Thought it may have been an increase in mileage but last year my heaviest week was 62 and this year it was 70. I've had no proper injuries in either year but I'm starting to think that all the extra effort is not really helping. Still, I feel a bit nervous reducing or stopping it

22/11/2013 at 13:44

CW - One always hopes that changing tyres won't need to be done too often, but not all 700c tyres are built the same, some having notoriously tight "beads" around the rim.  If you're ever in the market for another tyre I can strongly recommend Michelin Pro4.  (They come in different editions, but the "Service Course" ones are very good.)  They're a folding tyre and I find them perfectly easy to get on and off without use of levers, good grip in the wet, and extremely good puncture protection.  I know I'm on statistically dodgy grounds being an experiment of one, but between my current pair and a previous pair of Pro3 I've not had a single puncture in probably 3,000 miles, and that includes a fair bit of wet weather riding (on the "winter bike".)

Is this a good enough excuse to post another picture of my posh bike?  I think it is.  The Pro4 tyres happen to come in a rather dashing white wall version, which may or may not be the only reason I bought them in the first place.


Edited: 22/11/2013 at 13:44
22/11/2013 at 14:07

Nosemi: well run at Leeds.  Bubka pb for me (1 second!) but pleased with that 3 weeks post-marathon as I don't usually run all that well for a good month or so.

First club session post-marathon for me last night: 9 x 350m hills.  Mmmm.  I've missed club sessions *so* much.

22/11/2013 at 17:13

Padams - I watched the 1st 10 overs of our innings as I wanted to watch Carberry bat (Hants player, back from serious illness etc) and at that point (1:30am) the commentators said we looked well set on a great batting pace on a bouncy wicket did for us too, like our super tall bowlers did for them.

Toro - are you chasing 2:45 as well as Ryan ? I guess that Postie and MrB will be too and maybe HR.

CW - tyre levers dude ! although I can get some of my tyres off with finger power.

Just a bike commute and 2.5k swim today, caught up a bit with swim frequency this week. From tommorrow I'll cathc up with a bit of bike frequency and then ease teh running back up ready for december, 

22/11/2013 at 18:13

Ryan -- I've never stretched much. I've had a fair few niggles this year, so have you, so the stretching you did and I didn't hasn't distinguished us so far!

PP/TR -- my odo says 145.1 miles for this bike. Honestly. OK it was a budget tourer, but I vaguely remembered it would come with sturdy tyres; actually they don't feel like anything special. I was carrying both metal tyre levers (to get the thing off) and plastic ones (to get it back on if necessary with lower probability of pinching the tube, but still managed it). Right now I'm stil at my desk waiting for the glue* to dry. At least it's a relaxed situation to fix a puncture in. And the tyre came off quite easily just now, with a metal lever -- don't know why it was so cripplingly hard this morning.

*Yeah I experimentally bought some glueless patches a while back, which are rubbish without glue. In fact the jury's still out about how they perform with glue, as this is the first time I've tried it with these.

Jools -- those hills will put hair on your chest! Or hopefully not.

22/11/2013 at 19:47

TR - yes 2:45 at least is plan, we'll see how body responds. Time to take some risks. 

My mum is off to boot camp for Asics 26.2 thing, she's never run a marathon despite having run and orienteered for many years up to HM distance and this year came 3rd in her league in the North Staffs Road Runners League.  We'll see how she gets on. She's got a back story that'll sell magazines so that's a plus for getting a place. She won't be threatening the sub 3 person!

22/11/2013 at 20:10
Despite my slagging of stretching, I do admit to stretching my quads now and again, as I seem to get a bit of gay ache in the knee region which stretching seems to avoid.

A physio didn't tell me to do this, I just sort of worked it out for myself. (But I did throw ??35 into the paper recycle bin to make it feel more official.)

Park running tomorrow anyone? I shall be in bed with a hangover, thinking of how I will do 2:35 in London.
22/11/2013 at 20:40

Nice biking CW and other tri folks.

I hope the various niggles clear or continue to clear. TT it sounds as if you're having a bit of a bad health day there so rest up and shake away the tonsillitis if you can? I concur with you about sodium etc. I had 3 migraines in the first week in Thailand and I think they were electrolyte related. Once I started replenishing them there was no repeat.

I went to see Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake yesterday and was blown away by it. The lead swan was majestic, muscular, magnificent. I'm not gay, not that it would matter if I was, but it was something to admire. I then woke at 3 am to watch the debacle down under unfold, slipped in a cheeky early doors 7 miler, and went to give evidence in court by video link. I'm a bit bushed but heading for about 65 miles this week. Looks like I'm going to have to can the 10 miler Sunday though as my sister is nicking the car for work. Targetting a flat London 10k next weekend instead. It's time to start posting some PO10 times if poss.

Apologies for not picking up on all the news. I've been reading back and noting loads of interesting things, including debates and race info e.g. your Instanbul one LD, but have been too tired to chip in much that's constructive.

22/11/2013 at 20:44

-- In fact the jury's still out about how they perform with glue
Rubbish. Unless it was me not leaving it long enough -- but hey, I left it long enough to post the above. So having repaired my puncture, and triumphantly got the tyre back on without tools (maybe a schoolboy error with bead seating earlier), and got it to 60 psi with my tiny pump, I wandered up to the far end of the office to turn off some monitors only to hear a loud "pssshhhhttt" as the air wormed its way under the patch and found freedom. Cue spare tube instead. But when I got that installed, BBC News 24 (for now I was alone in the office watching TV) broke into "glory, glory hallelujlah" as I finally ended up with an inflated tyre, courtesy of a Kennedy memorial service. How apt.

23/11/2013 at 10:07

Such a fab sleep. Have been burning the proverbials and running masses so that was 'right lush'. I've got the car back for tomorrow but will do it as a training session. Focus on Battersea park 10k next Saturday.

Slaughter down under. A small part of me feels it serves us right for a) bad sportsmanship and b) being boring as hell last summer.

23/11/2013 at 10:59

HR - home conditions and tactics make a difference, we dont maximise home advantage as much as we should pitch-wise. I watched until Clarke and Warner got going. Hope that your race goes well.

CW - I use glue on the glue-less patches too, making sure I get a lot of glue round the edges to make a good seal.

23/11/2013 at 11:40

Thanks TR I'm going to hold back and do it as part of a 14-15m training run. Big target is the 10k next Saturday and I don't want to burn too many matches. In a way it's good that it's a hilly profile as it means it's pointless trying to do a fast time - a 60' is out of the question.

Can't help thinking about how David Steele and Brian Close manned-up to the hostile short stuff:

Incredible clip of Closey without helmet and never rubbing the marks. Final frame shows the bruising. This England team has a lot of Saffers and I'm unconvinced they have the same die-for England trench mentality. Ooooh controversy.

Edited: 23/11/2013 at 11:41
23/11/2013 at 14:09

HR - I go on about shot selection and leaving balls alone that you dont need to play a shot at to my youngest and he's 12 ! If they were to sway or duck out of the way of those bouncers then there's no risk of getting out.

23/11/2013 at 15:06

So true TR. Assuming we now get hammered in this first match it's going to leave quite a scar on the collective psyche, and the Aussies will be so pumped for the series. 

Anyone out racing this weekend?

23/11/2013 at 15:47

On the whole stretching/strengthening thing - didn't do as much foam rollering/stretching/exercises this week and fairly busy with various things so not enough rest either and now have a bit of a calf niggle. Felt slightly tight during a tempo run on Thursday then woke up with it fairly sore yesterday, been icing it regularly and definitely much better today. Will see how it is on the cross trainer this evening then hopefully should be ok to run on tomorrow. Got two weeks until the main cross country race so hopefully should be fine by then, don't want to have to miss too much training beforehand though.

Since spending more time on injury prevention type exercises have definitely been able to run harder without issues, it's just quite time consuming and easy to get complacent when everything is going well.

Also just heard that one of the other university runners has been selected for the GB U20 team for the European xc champs, so as reserve will be moving up into the 1st team - something I'd really been hoping to do this term and very happy to have made it, now just need to get to the start and run well.

23/11/2013 at 16:45

bufo -- will be moving up into the 1st team
Brilliant, many congratulations! Remember you are fixing the mistakes of my youth for me now, thanks

now just need to get to the start and run well
You said it! (I'd keep quiet about your calf if I were you ; -)

After a full 6 day break (and it was only a 2M test run last Sat) I did a 3.3M bimble round town today to see how the niggles were progressing. Bit disappointed that my foot twinged a bit afterwards, whereas yesterday I didn't notice it at all, though it feels fine again now. Very minor though, it's only because I'm being hyper-analytical that I'd mention it. Might try a little run round on the grass tomorrow and then figure out what to do depending on how that goes.

23/11/2013 at 20:15

bufo congratulations on the promotion

Wolverton 5 mile race for me today. Fast flat course & a good quality field, however the wind can get up there, fortunately it didn't today, had hopes of going sub 29.

Set off hard then settled, a bit quicker than planned through 2 miles & thought I would pay for my early pace, felt good through 3 miles though & then started to pick a few off, knew at 4 miles that sub 29 was in the bag so just racing for position at that point. Had a couple of young lads around me so thought I might get done in a sprint so pushed the pace from a little further out, that worked & I still had some in the tank for a sprint almost catching another before the line. Crossed the line in a surprising 28.20, very happy with that

23/11/2013 at 20:29

HR - a defeat might do us good. We are always pretty bad in the first game.

Bufo - nice !

CW - i did 4M today to ease back into it.

Old No7 - 28:20 is tasty. Shows good leg speed for a 2:45 attempt. I did 28:50 back in the summer.

Padams - 90min turbo, 10min w/u, 20min trying to sit at ~75%HR, then 3x15min/5min trying to sit just over 80% on the efforts. Phew !

I forgot to post my training, 90mins on the turbo early this morning and 4M easy this afternoon to reintroduce some running and break in my new shoes a bit. 

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