Sub 3

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

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25/11/2013 at 08:30

Very interesting link on the migraines CW! Well done on sticking to the downtime. Hopefully that minor niggle you can still feel is nothing and you're all ready to go.

Good news bufo. Congrats.

Old No7 - nicely done. The lack of stretching obviously doesn't affect you

Nicely controlled racing HR. And yes, with the tonsillitis I simply stopped running. I'm getting good at being sensible And 17:30 = a good shout of a sub-36.

That xc bodes very well for your shape Padams.

After nothing Thursday and Friday I got in an a gentle 7 and 8 over the last two days. Will start to ramp it back up a bit now and hopefully that's my winter woes out of the way!

25/11/2013 at 09:28

Nice to see Gobi popping; Merry Xmas indeed! More good work over the weekend and good recoveries from the marathoners. First mini block of 4 x 50+ weeks done and ticked off, including 4 x 17 milers, 8 x 10 (hilly) milers and recovery runs. 5,10,5,10,rest,17, 7 is my default setting at the moment. 

25/11/2013 at 11:16

Nice stuff going on - particular congrats to bufo and good running from HR (enjoyable report), Old No7 and padams.  CW and TT, hopefully that's the worst of the niggles over.

I'm a lot less glum this Monday morning than I was last week.  Shin splints still there in left shin (hmph) but yesterday and today I am no longer actively limping and rest is definitely improving things.  I'm hoping I'll be able to get back to some running in another week or so.  

With thanks to Al_P for guidance, I've been doing some pool running, which is probably why I'm feeling less glum (in the past, I've tended just to curl up and become really inactive when injured).  Some tough interval sessions, including yesterday's 8 x 5 mins (1 min recoveries) + 10 x 45s (15s recoveries) for a total of 47.5 mins effort and today's 3 sets of 6 x 2:30 mins (30s recoveries, 1 min between sets) for a total of 45 mins effort.  It's tough to get the HR up (apparently it's generally 10% or so lower in water as the water pressure helps the heart pump blood around) and perceived effort is higher but I've managed to do the efforts at gen low 150bpms, which prob equates to HM effort (mid 160s), with sprint efforts getting up to around 160bpm (equiv to mid 170s).  

I have to say, although my form prob isn't the best and the flotation belt doesn't quite fit so I've ended up with nasty rubbing on my sides as it rides up around my ribs, I'm a bit of a convert to water running - I think I might try to keep a session a week even when back running as it's great to be able to do proper aerobic/anaerobic sessions without stressing the body/pounding concrete.  Plus the resistance factor means I'm sure it's good for strengthening muscles too.  

Edited: 25/11/2013 at 11:18
25/11/2013 at 12:16

Great stuff, Old No 7.

Wardi -- great to hear you're in VLM.

Gobi -- what's happening on Feb the 9th?

Padams -- that was a strong XC judging by the form of those around you.

HR -- sounds like you had a lot of fun in your 10M with the tactical slow start, and you're on good form.

Lev/Al -- maybe I should give that water running a go the next time I'm crocked. I could almost do my commute like that as I go along the river anyway ;- )

And well done on all the training the rest of you.

I did 7M @ 7:10/M or so on the grass yesterday. I was still a bit aware of my foot niggle but hardly at all. One factor could be that most of my shoes are badly worn on the outer edges, maybe encouraging my foot to roll outwards and so collapse my foot bones a bit, whereas I did the grass run on my nice XTalon212s which are still in good nick. Anyway, I've experimentally bodged some hot melt glue to reshape one of my worn pairs to see if that helps. But I'll be shoe shopping soon I think. A rather feeble 8M on the bike this morning.

25/11/2013 at 13:19

Been chatting with coach and has suggested that I run a positive split for my marathon based on these articles

My first sub 3 was run of a small negative split and my second road marathon was still just a sub 3 but did not really go to plan. It became an unplanned positive split.

I am going with the suggestion to run a positive split,as my upcoming marathon is a training marathon for London, but a big part of this training schedule has been to do things that are different to improve performance. Running a planned positive split is a first for me. Anyone else back this theory or have an alternative view?

Cheerful Dave    pirate
25/11/2013 at 14:02

Tim, my alternative view is that 'ultrastu' is talking a lot of cock.  He's using results from thousands of marathon finishers to prove an optimum strategy.  Unfortunately when he works out his average % that people slow down, it's weighted at one end by a small number of people that get it right on the day, with anything between a small -ve and a small +ve split, and at the other end by lots of people who completely blew it and ended up walking chunks of it.  In other words, his data is biased by failures.

In all probability, whatever you plan to do, you'll end up with a positive split.  The smaller you can keep that the better your run will have been.  Acknowledging that that's the likely outcome on the day, and actually planning to slow down (i.e. setting out at a pace you can't possibly maintain throughout) are two different things though.

25/11/2013 at 14:24

HR - Gotta love a satisfying race.  Well done.  You sound bang up for it at the moment.

bufo - Congrats on making the team.

Padams - Cracking pace for XC, well done mixing it up at the pointy end.

GOBI!!! - Hullo! What sort of bike racing are you doing, TTs or proper scary road racing?! (I'm not that much of a wuss, honest, it's the thought of other people's poor handling skills that puts me off bunch racing...)

So I've had four days' enforced non-training with this stupid lingering nothing-to-write-home-about cold, but feeling better after today's lunchtime session because I managed to ignore it and complete my quickest ever rowing interval session (partly down to having fresh legs I guess.)  My first session with all reps under 1:40 pace:  8 x 500m, 3.5mins recovery, average 1:39.7.  I didn't kill myself and it didn't even feel very fluent after some time off, so I'm sure I can still improve on that.  Best thing I've taken from it is that I can at least crack on now and get a few more sessions in before the race on Saturday week.

25/11/2013 at 14:35
Cheerful Dave wrote (see)

Tim, my alternative view is that 'ultrastu' is talking a lot of cock. 

No beating around the bush CD! Love it!

TB - I'm with CD. I typically assume I'm going to run an even pace (for more effort in the second half obviously), but sometimes it comes out as a slight +ive or even a slight -ive.

That sounds positive CW. Good news.

Lev_ - I found pool running quite fun when I had to do it, but not to the extent I'd want to do it if not injured - thought that's mainly because of time constraints (which would mean it would have to replace a run).

A very easy 13m for me today says things seem to be all back to normal. Monday would usually be long run day, but obviously that was never going to happen after the last week and a half. Hopefully I'll be in my normal mileage range by the end of next week and I can start doing a few sessions (only a bit of light tempo, strides and maybe some hills for this week and next).

25/11/2013 at 14:37

Oh, and for the ale lovers amongst you, a local brewery - Ascot Ales - have got a Christmas ale that is, somehow, like Christmas in a bottle. It's got to be tried if you can get some of it.

25/11/2013 at 14:42

I started reading the first of those links and couldn't get to the end as I was getting too annoyed (and laughing at the same time). This would be a perfect example of how you can use statistics to prove a hypothesis which you've already decided is correct. You could easily use it to prove the opposite - the main thing I took from the stats was that a higher proportion of the sub-4 hour runners did a -ive split than for the 4 hour runners, which seems to suggest the opposite to what he was trying to prove.

As CD says, you will almost certainly end up with a +ive split whatever you do. But I think it would be a bad idea to actually plan to +ive split by more than a minute or two. My best marathon times (relative to what I was expecting based on build-up races, training etc.) have been very consistent pacing.

Edited: 25/11/2013 at 14:43
25/11/2013 at 15:34

Padams: even my (very rusty) A-level maths enabled me to see that he isn't a great statistician.  I'm tempted to send the link to my dad (PhD in stats) just because it will infuriate him.  And quite apart from anything else, using data from London, where the first half is intrinsically faster than the second half (assuming you aren't caught up in traffic), due to the downhill 3rd mile and the fact that the twists and turns come well into the second half, means you have started by selecting a course which lends itself to a positive split for someone who runs to even perceived effort, let alone someone who paces it poorly.

25/11/2013 at 15:51

Not a hugely "positive" response so far

I have spent a little more time looking at the formula and in essence for me to attempt to run 02:52 marathon, it would have me run the first HM at 06:23 per mile. Then allow a progressive slow down of 3 seconds per mile. So my final mile would 07:02. About a 5 minute slow down in second HM

Having people pass in the second half would be tough, there is a "psychological" feel good factor to chase people down that are slowing down when I ran a negative split. There is also the danger that I might not slow down enough and run even faster

The 5 minute split seems a little wide and would feel happier if this was a 3 or 4 minute split. Talking to him tomorrow so will see what to decide. Happy to risk trying it though if it is to be 5 minutes.

25/11/2013 at 16:04

Bit jealous of all the quick 10k talk. I've been targeting the Christchurch 10k in Dec which is very flat, and fast on a calm day. Park runs are coming on nicely with a couple of 17:30s recently and a 17:23 this week so was hoping to threaten the old 36:09 pb. Just found out I'm working on this day now so I'm going to be 'all revved up with no place to go'. Like the sound of Stubbington but I see it's full. May try to pick up a place if I can find one going nearer the time.

25/11/2013 at 16:52


I've got so many issues with those articles but I'll stick to facts and personal experience. As well as the 2nd half of London being slower, this year the 2nd half was also significantly hotter (from what clubmates have told me). A faster first half will increase % glycogen used vs fat and force you to slow down in the second half.

My personal experience is that I've run 3 marathons - in the first I ran 1:28/1:37 for 3:05, in the second 1:25/1:27 for 2:52 (last 6m into wind) and the third 1:22/1:41 for 3:03 Was in better shape for the third and yet only 3 mins quicker caused a calamitous slow down. 

Trying new things and challenging established ideas is good. I just think that this is one established idea that is firmly cemented in fact.


25/11/2013 at 16:59

8 miles for me today with 2m of a new tempo style run I'll be doing for VLM which a very good (2:38) lady marathoner from my club suggested.

It involves doing a mile at tempo, followed by a mile at marathon pace. Just did one mile of each pace today but hope to be doing up 4 of each at the peak of training

25/11/2013 at 18:11

CW - one of my shoes wears more than the other on the outer of the heel, I put a bit of shoe goo on it to make it last longer. So are you running rpoperly again now, or still stop/start ?

MrB - Stubbington can be wind affected though. Chichester in feb is the place for a fast 10k.

Unless you are an elite or high mileage then you should expect a small +ve split, its not wrong to. I ran a slight -ve split at VLM this year but without any build up races I guessed at how fit I was, and got it slightly worng.

25/11/2013 at 18:57

TB -- I ran what felt (and was) my best marathon by far this year in London, with a positive split... of 18 sec. Given Jools' factors (like the downhill bit early on), I think that's pretty even. I still have fond memories of Abingdon 2010 when again I was much more even-paced than usual. Aside from anything else, a significant +ve split normally feels awful, because you do it having blown up to some extent, and feel like you're dying on your feet. (Unless you've artificially done it I suppose.) Whereas an even or negative split feels great, because you're strong at the end. In my book, the first 10M or so should just feel ridiculously easy. An even pace does not mean even perceived effort...

TR -- err, not sure yet. Will try running my commute tomorrow and then I'll know better. Things are certainly much better, but I'm not sure if I'm totally niggle-free, which is what I want of course. Didn't feel anything peculiar today but then I wasn't running.

PP -- glad you're well. Well ergo'd too.

25/11/2013 at 19:16

Eastleigh is meant to be quick but starting to get close to Marathon time 23 March.

25/11/2013 at 19:32

CW - wait until you can run daily and then do that for a while, doesnt have to be far, it will toughen you up.

Toro - it is fast. 3 weeks out is ok, but I'd rather be doing my last 20. I reckon I'm going to do the Salisbury 10 which is 5 weeks out as my main race and use it to compare to my recent Lordshill 10 time which I know equates to 78min 1/2, which I can then use to convert to a MP. Simples ! What could possibly go wrong with such a simple idea !

25/11/2013 at 19:36

Ha Ha TR.  I am hoping for Fleet or Stafford half 4 weeks out.  Easy 5 for me and looking forward to track tomorrow night.  My first time since 2008 when I used to run in Spain.  Happy days.

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