Sub 3h15

For anyone trying to crack the 3h15 barrier anywhere in the world

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07/05/2013 at 12:14

Lining up at the start it was hot. 30 seconds  silence for Boston and we were off. A group of 8 guys took off, and I followed behind at my own pace , trying to dial into 6:18 min/m. We were soon at the first mile marker, and I took my split time and registered 5:26  throwing me into confusion – I tend to use average lap time or a pace band for races rather than Garmin splits.   Looks like I actually did 6:16 pace,  and I held this pace for around 9 miles (running 6:15 to 6:21).

After mile 1, the lead group had pulled well away and a bike marshal picked me and another guy behind me up as we pulled away from the other sub 3 runners.  First few miles were uneventful expect for some unwelcomed short sharp inclines.  By mile 5 my legs were really feeling it and another 3:15 adage filled my head – ‘the first 10 miles should feel easy’. It was starting to feel like a hard day, and I was already thinking about dropping the pace then. Unfortunately some mishap with marshalling took place and me and the other guy found ourselves back amidst a  group of runners. Angered and confused we both worked hard to pull away again over the next few miles. My legs felt a bit shot, and then we entered the Redways (cycle paths).

Entering the Redways, I was running alone, and dropped my pace a bit. We went through dozens of underpasses, each with a sharp ascent and descent, and over lots of bridges and short sharp ups and downs. Half way in 1’24” My legs were feeling a little wobbly by now – I was expecting a positive split, but by how much?  With quite a few tight corners, the heat, and plenty of toddlers, bikes, prams, dogs, scooters etc, and it was really hard work, but I was really surprised not to be passed by a few others. Generally the surface was ok to run on, but often the surface was quite uneven, banked etc.  It is not a PB course I would recommend.  During the Redways 3 guys overtook me, and I passed two of them later. Otherwise it was a lonely run.


The finish was back at the stadium – a nice finish but not quite on the scale of say Reading Half Marathons stadium finish. I finished 7th so I assume one or two ahead of me pulled up with heat/cramp, and time was 2:52:49.

What I learned:

  • 2:45 will take a lot of hard work. Although I wasn’t running on fresh legs, sustaining that effort is going to take some doing
  • I am not going to enter any marathons in future where there isn’t a good turnout of 2:45 – 3:15 runners in previous years. Running on my own in training is fine, but not in a race
  • Stick to road marathons that are run on roads.
  • Gatorade sucks.
  • I can get angry, and can use some choice words
Edited: 07/05/2013 at 12:16
07/05/2013 at 12:38

Good report on a clearly hard day AR. I wont be betting against you going sub 2.45 any time soon

07/05/2013 at 12:42

Great report AR. If you can run that pace on tired legs only 2 weeks after VLM then it looks good for Sub 2:45 next spring.

Well done - I was meant to run the inaugural MK last year but a combination of crashing my bike and a horrendous day, weatherwise, I deferred to Halstead instead. I accompanied a friend a week after MK on the run britain relay thing that was going on last year (on my bike I might add) and one of the guys running had run MK the week before. it sort of put me off ever entering again.

Your report hasn't changed my opinion!

Really well done again. I can't imagine conditions, course or marshalls etc made it very easy!

Your progression this year has been highly impressive. I have followed with interest your approach this year because I've tried P&D but can't say I like it very much. I found it all a bit hard work and not much fun for my liking. I'm going to get less hung up on schedule this summer and combine a lot of cycling (especially with the LEJOG ride planned for August) into my training.

I looked back at my old training diaries when I set my PB's because my memory told me I had more variety and a greater emphasis on speed. I intend to do that this summer and see where it takes me. Of course the speed may have been because I was 19 years younger!!!

What training are you planning for the next few weeks?

07/05/2013 at 12:50

AR that really is a fantastic performance after VLM. You really have pushed your bod to the limit, are you considering a cut-back or a rest now?

07/05/2013 at 14:31

Top marks to this weekend racers for great results.  

Never let a 3 year old use a garden fork.  I had one impaled into my old trainer at the weekend. One prong hit the fleshy bit of the outside of my foot and then went into my shoe between my flesh and the outer fabric.  Near miss for me and my son

Just a hilly 23 miler on Sunday to report and a brief recovery run this lunchtime

07/05/2013 at 14:43

OO - yes big cut back now. Taking the week off running completely.(although bizarrly I feel good for a run today) and work out what to do over the summer.

I think like DS2 I might have a go at some speed over the summer. I've never put much focus on it  and the gap between my MP and what I do on VO2 intervals gets narrower all the time. So maybe look into some 5k/parkruns and and a 10 k. I'll decide on an Autumn  marathon a few weeks down the line.

So training wise it will be light aerobic rowing for a week or two, easy running, and reading up on 5k training. 

Anyone got any good reading material on 5/10k training that you recommend, or any particular sessions you do?

07/05/2013 at 20:21

Backing up your marathon with yet another impressive run AR.

Have a look here for a 10K starting point plan



07/05/2013 at 20:41

Cheers Keir, looks like some good sessions to play with. Hope the problems with the lower back, lurgy etc that plauged you before VLM are clearing up.

07/05/2013 at 20:46

Well done Gul, next time you'll crack that sub-40 for sure - 10k is a horrible distance and very tricky to nail. Experience counts for a lot.

Full of admiration for you, AR. So soon after VLM I'm surprised you could be bothered, even!

It's not nice to be sent the wrong way in a marathon, is it? I didn't laugh when I read of all those marshalling errors but I have to admit I felt vindicated, somehow!

I did a total of 7.5 miles over two runs at the weekend and my legs still felt a bit mashed. There was a fairly high-profile HM near here (in Gijón) on Saturday and I'd been toying with the idea of entering just to run round, but good job I didn't...I'm just now going to enter a HM on the 25th May, so as I can motivate myself to do some training...

07/05/2013 at 20:51

AR Great report and another cracking performance

BikeIt Lucky with the fork. Nice little run

5 miles slow tonight and none of it was fun.


07/05/2013 at 21:06
Windy wrote (see)
Scooby Dudek wrote (see)

I bought a foam roller and a pair of running shorts today.

How big are the pockets Scoob?  Could you fit Speedy's 'wood' in there?


Yes, you don't want to be losing wood.

07/05/2013 at 22:14

Hi Gul,

In response to your mention re pacing issues for 10k, sounds like that was not an easy course, so even more impressive. I haven't raced a 10k since April last year (lack of races here on the rock) but in my last two attempts I finished in 40:20 and 40:35. The 40:20 was a bummer as I got to halfway in 19:40 and faced the turn running into a force 6 wind, so slowed dramatically between 7-9km's. The other one was the complete opposite as I got to halfway in 20:38 and did a neg split but I am confident that we will both  break the sub 40 soon.

Keir - Thanks for that workout plan looks tough but useful. I am also going to do 800 reps at 5k pace or slightly quicker, starting with 5 and building up to 10 of them. It's a pretty tough workout with a 90-120 sec recovery jog in between each one.

AR - Astounding that you did that time after VLM. Well done and enjoy your well earned break!

Just ticking over myself at the mo and my next race is a 5k 16th May followed by an 8k 28th May. Will be interesting to see what I can do for the 8k. Only ever raced that distance once last March and finished in 31:2x

07/05/2013 at 22:15

Excellent report AR! I don't think I'll bother with that one either :S But if you can run 2.52 just two weeks after VLM on a rubbish course then you're a shoo-in for 2.45 at VLM next year. 

For the record, I do not have 'wood'. I have a wooden trophy. 

Blisters    pirate
07/05/2013 at 23:26


08/05/2013 at 00:19

Special gold Blue Peter badge for you AR for knocking out another sub 3 marathon so soon after VLM. The cousre sounds horendous the way you described it with the underpasses, twists and people on paths etc.

Good link Keir!

7 miles with the Club tonight and my legs still feel a bit heavy.

08/05/2013 at 05:52

DS2 - good luck for Sunday - hopefully won't be as warm as it has been the last couple of days.
Mennania - hope you recover in time for Chester.
AR - top notch report and excellent racing.
Bike It - yikes! Close one. Nice hilly run.
Keir / AR - I can recommend the 3 x 2M session. But I'm not sure how McMillan can say that if you can do that at target pace you will be OK - you don't get the recoveries on race day!
Ant - hope those legs recover soon.
GM - actually, it's a great course - pancake flat and lots of crowd support - I've PB'd every time. (Then again, it's the only 10k course I've ever raced!)
3 mile recovery run d&d. My plan is to do an MLR on a Weds evening for this campaign, but not sure how that will go. Busy week and feeling the pressure already to rearrange the schedule!

08/05/2013 at 12:41

Interesting mix of training from you guys since your marathons, ranging from 'feet up' to 'just another sub-3'. All very impressive.

Keir - I like the look of that 10k schedule.  I managed 40:15 at the end of last year, so I'm eager to have another crack and knock those pesky 16 seconds off.  Next opportunity is Warwick Two Castles on 9th June, which unfortunately is a point to point route and net uphill.  5 weeks doesn't give me enough time for the full programme, but I'll try and incorporate a couple of race pace sessions - full 6 miles, however its broken down sounds tough though.

I've recently been reading Daniels Running formula and he introduces a new (to me) 'Reps' session, which is faster pace than VO2 max intervals, but with full recovery between  If I understand it the principal seems to be similar to strides, but as a more formal structured session.

Next up is Stratford Hilly 100 relay on 19th May.  10x10miles through the Cotswolds - apparently I've got one of the flatter legs, but team Cap'n has still predicted me being about 5 minutes down on what I would predict for a reasonably quick 10 mile course.

08/05/2013 at 14:38

Keir - here another disciple of that 10km plan. I've got a 10k on 22nd June so it'll have to be a slightly compressed version - an eight-week will have to become a six-week one, with a HM thrown in for good measure.

10km race pace, then. What shall I set it at?I've got a PB of 37:38, but I think sub. 38:30 is more realistic at this point. O.k.- 3:50/km it is. Gulp.


08/05/2013 at 17:30

I'm doing my first 10K of the season on Sunday - how do I compress an 8 week programme into 4 days?!

Rest for me this morning (apart from a bit of core work) - rather nice. Feeling very inspired reading through Hudson at the moment.



Edited: 08/05/2013 at 17:30
08/05/2013 at 18:01

a few mile reps maybe Lorenzo.

My next race is a 10k also but 22nd May.   

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