Sub 3h15

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

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15/05/2012 at 11:14
Ant van Oviedo wrote (see)

Hahahahaha, Jezza! That was my twin brother! When I was over for  VLM I left him a shirt from a race in Gijón, which commemorated its 32nd edtion. Did you say hello? In hindsight you must have thought it odd that he didn't say hello to you! In any case, if I was coming over to Bromley, I would have told you.


can't get out of the quote!  but that is very funny, will look out for him and say hello next time.  Thought you looked slower and heavier than I'd remembered!
Edited: 15/05/2012 at 11:16
15/05/2012 at 11:18

Fraser - Nell said that the best thing she did this year was to buy a Garmin.  She definately went off too fast as TR, PMJ & I went by her around 8 miles. 

There is a very fine line between running at the pace you can sustain and the pace you think that you can sustain. Most comes down to how much we want the time.  Personally, I was really undecided on VLM pace until the morning.  6.29 sounded too fast but 6.35 too slow (a mental thing here).  Deceided on aiming for 6.30 pace, knowing that I would make up enough seconds in the first few downhill miles to just make the 2.50.  I though that if I were to fade then I would get 2.52ish (very happy) but if not then I would get the magical sub-2.50.  In training I didn't aim for 2.50 as a target, I just liked 6.30 as a tough pace to run at.  However, in previous years I have always trained with a goal in mind.

I know that people say not to target a time until in the final throes of training, but I think that you have to have a target time in mind from the start of the plan to give you the focus.  However, that is just me.

I am also going to target some Parkruns in the summer to try the Garmin-less approach as I think that I consciously slow down after the first "too quick" mile.

Still no progress with my knee.  Ran for 500m on treadmill yesterday and while no issues when running, my knee was, and still is, sore upon stopping.  Just waiting for a call-back from the physio to book in and see what magic he can work.

15/05/2012 at 12:17
knight rider wrote (see)

 What was your PB previously?

41:49 from last November, since when I have done no speedwork except that in the marathon training schedule. Unnecessarily disappointed to find last night's race was ARC not UKA so does not appear on RunBritain!

Personally, I think 'testicular status' falls definitely in the 'too much information' category...

Interesting debate about pacing. Myself, I have never run a single run- even the slowest recovery run- without my Garmin since the day I bought it. I certainly would not want to be without it in a race. I could imagine maybe doing a 5k without a watch, but even at 10k I like to know how fast I am going. There is something to be said for going out fast and hanging on in shorter races, but I wouldn't want to be doing it in a marathon.

As Fraser said, often marathon pace is dictated by an artificial time target, in which case you know months in advance what your required pace is and train accordingly. This is what I did. If you had looked at my HM PB from last year, it was at 7:15 pace, but I was determined to get GFA requiring 7:25 pace in a marathon, so I set all my training paces for this, and luckily it worked. Getting my HM PB down to 6:50 pace also gave me the confidence.

Also interesting to read Martin's thoughts that you like to have a target time in mind, as you appeared to approach it from the opposite direction this year, successful training leading you to revise marathon pace downwards as the weeks went on. IIRC Martin you did not do a HM in the build up- I feel I really need this to judge potential marathon pace.

Speedy- as a much older (and I suspect more novice) runner than you I approach it from the point of view that there are a limited number of marathons I am ever going to run and expect to improve my PB, so I want to aim as high as I can. Right now, with a 3:13 PB, I am certainly thinking that if I stay injury free I will aim to get as close to 3 hours next year as I can, and if I am anywhere close, I plan to go for it. In your defence (if I have stalked you correctly) your conversion across all your PBs is very good- 88 HM to 3:08 marathon for example.

15/05/2012 at 12:31

Chris - I always have a goal time in mind for the next year about 10 minutes after finishing the marathon. I have always set myself hard targets. This year was different as I wasn't planning on racing it until March.  Before then I was just enjoying challenging myself during the training plan.

The reason that I don't race a HM in marathon build-up is that for me personally I prefer to concentrate on longer runs at the weekends and racing a HM would lose one of those runs.  Also, if I think that a raced HM in the build-up can lead to uncertainty.  If you are good at HMs but not good at marathon conversion then you get a false sense of hope by running a superfast HM.  If the HM goes wrong then does that dent your mental state for race day? 

Personally, I am comfortable enough in the training plans that I put together to believe that I will get to the MP that I need for the big day.  However, I also know that I am in the minority with this school of thought. 

15/05/2012 at 13:41
Mennania wrote (see)

 we should have a column with S or I in it to define your current testicular status.

Intact or Sans?   Ouch!

As you were!

15/05/2012 at 13:49

i'm going to do my next Parkrun blindfolded - with a watch on but covered up with a wristband just so i don't look. I do seriously believe there is a mental issue with pace. Knowing you are running a pace you have targeted and trained for is great with a GPS on, I suppose it is a bit of a comfort blanket. However, I know that running without one needs a bit of race experience to be able to use it correctly. For example a while back I was doing 2000m reps and was pretty much banging out the same pace for all of them and is a good way of learning what your race pace feels like. I usually know what pace I'm running at and quite good at judging it, but still look at my Garmin - just to check. When I was doing the ASICS training this year we had to run a measured mile @ percieved MP without using the Garmin, then turn round and run back using it. Surfice to sya we all ran at least 10 - 20 seconds quicker on the unGarmined mile, and to Steve's annoyance we weren't any better running back and actually using the Gramin! Moral is to trust in your training.

15/05/2012 at 15:51

Interesting conversation about Garmins. I use mine far more for heartrate than pace, but even so I still click mile or km markers and check the split. The problem with that is I do now sometimes get into a very negative frame of mind if I see the times aren't what I was expecting. I used to be a pretty positive racer with few negative thoughts, but now I seem to be the opposite. Maybe this is something to do with the fact I'm now running much closer to my limit than I used to and have higher expectations of myself, but maybe it's also that I've got a little obsessed by the numbers.

I introduced a new event to our club last year, where the members have to run round our 10k race route with no watches/garmins/iPods etc having predicted their finish time before the start, with the winner being the person who got closest to their predicted time without beating it. Some of the runners seemed genuinely quite concerned about having to run blind in this way, and it was noticeable that most of the people who finished closest were those who do not rely on devices. Many of those who do ended up running quite a bit faster than their predicted times.

15/05/2012 at 16:10
Windy old chap! Great to hear from you. Nice to see nothing changes and you're chipping in with some ba'sack related chat. Are you fit these days?
Just done 9 with 6@MP. Pace just under 6.30 which felt more or less ok. Bit of a relief after a rubbish 16 on Sun when I felt knackered
I'm a big fan of garminlessracing now apart from maras. I suspect the more you practice pace the more of a hindrance it is. I guess that's why elites don't need them. Helps having a pacer though
Easy to get obsessed with the numbers BOTF but in some ways what's the point otherwise! None of us would be on here if we just wanted a jog round
15/05/2012 at 16:23

Listening to Nell's interview she didn't have much idea of pace, went out too fast and managed not to die too much at the end: splits tell the tale: 1:25 and 1:29. She was shooting for a sub 3, so 1:25 was safe as it gave her 1:35 for the second half but also a big gamble.

Fraser, you are in taper now so all runs should feel bad, just relax and enjoy it.

10.6 at lunchtime in 74 mins, so just inside 7 m.m pace. Today's race is cancelled so ran out to Thursday's course and did that one to see where the twists and turns are. 

15/05/2012 at 17:40

I think that Nell meant she used her gadget for training pace not racing pace.

I'm not advocating that folks smack it too hard and ruin an A race, I'm suggesting that CC could run a couple of Autumn races say, and target slightly quicker paces (eg 5 to 10 sec/mile) than she thinks she is capable of. To see what happens. But at shorter distances.

For the folks that run to the pace that their gadget tells them on race day, Iif that gadget had been tampered with without you knowing and it was reading 5 sec out, I bet you'd still keep up with it, cos you expect to.

Depends upon folks approaches to the races they do during the rest of the year really. I dont do many races during the rest of the year and if I do I too run to a pace I think I can run on the day. But my running is only about bagging sub3s on VLM day, my other PBs are all mostly similar to the paces that I run on VLM day anyway. 


Edited: 15/05/2012 at 17:41
15/05/2012 at 18:06

23 mara's, 47 half mara's  - last 2 only of each with a Garmin (use for splits, not pace)
39 x 10k, none with Garmin, loads of others nearly all garmin-free.
Of course, the majority of these were pre-Garmin availability, and I did crash and burn spectacularly on my one proper  mara PB attempt . .  A great tool, but I'm with TR - feel they can inhibit at times.

Edited: 15/05/2012 at 18:13
15/05/2012 at 18:57

Very interesting just run to feel in the early miles. Did you do any races where you were really tight to a target Garmin-less ? Were you using a traditional stopwatch/theodolite/steam powered time piece () instead

15/05/2012 at 19:27

Haha, FW - yes, always used a stopwatch - usual tactics for a half, say, would be check the watch at each of first two mile points to get a handle on pace, then again at 5 & 10 before AVIT to the finish. Mara's a bit different, as I'd usually have a good idea of desired halfway split and aim for even pace (or effort) until then.  I must admit that had the things been around when I started I'd have been as bad  as the rest of you! Maybe would have kept me in check when I crashed in mara PB attempt, but by same token may have made me slow down when I set my half PB . . .
Anyway, Fraser - I trust yours will be strapped securely to your wrist in Edinburgh?  

15/05/2012 at 20:00
Only run one race without a watch (last week for a 5K PB) though don't look at it really in a short race anyway - can't run, breathe AND use my eyes ffs. just nice to have a record afterwards to see how reality matches perception.
Best efforts from me have been when I've either run in a pace group (half and mara) or tried to stick with someone like glue (10k) - without that I don't find that extra couple of %.

Fraser, are there official pacers at Edinburgh?

Couple of days off for me at the mo, after stepping up the intensity over the last week, my shins are starting to complain so taking a conservative approach with a race on the horizon!
15/05/2012 at 20:35

I did run a 5k without my Garmin once (only cos it managed to be out of battery when I got there). I thought I was running really well and fast but when I finished the time was nearly a minute slower than I was aiming for. Funnily enough I've not been tempted to try it again!

Failed spectacuarly at my session tonight. It was only 10 mins @ 6 pace, which should be easy. In mara training I was doing those 1.75 mile reps only a smidgen slower, and doing three of them. I managed 8 mins 33 seconds before I had to stop at traffic lights and was dying a death on 6.14 pace. Having recovered my breath and crossed the road I carried on for the remaining 1 min 27 seconds and only just managed 6 pace on the nose for that section. Then I had to stop and walk for a minute before I could jog back. Last night was 42 mins at sub 7 pace, which I did manage, just, but I was blowing out of every hole. That should feel almost as easy as marathon pace. I feel unfit and demoralised. 

15/05/2012 at 20:42

I agree with TR to some extent about having a go but am firmly in the garmin camp. There are two hard things: setting a realistic target (and hence pace) and then sticking to it. The garmin helps with part 2, part 1 is the harder bit. I am not saying it is easy but there is a comfort in doing a marathon one year and then setting a target a couple of minutes faster for the next year and knocking it off and so on. The other way is more of a gamble and you go for a more ambitous target and you can hit or miss. 

For speedy, if you want sub 3, then with your experience you should be able to do something like 1:29 and 1:31 as splits so the issue is that 1:29 and you really need a 1:25 half to make that feel easy, so the first step to sub 3 is to look at speed and get your half down by a couple of minutes. There is less investment in a half and you can try for 1:25 and if you have to bail out then it isn't an A race blown. Come down south sometime and I will be happy to pace you round one. Nell got hers down to a shade inside 82 but you don't need that with your conversion.

15/05/2012 at 20:45
SJ. Have never seen pacers there before. As far as I know none this year either shoukd be loads aiming for the 3.00 mark though. Make sure you go easy on those shins

We'll need to attempt some means of meeting up pre and post race. Do you know your number yet? Mine's 260. Don't think I have any distinguishing features but could always sport some comedy clothing item to identify myself. Any suggestions?

I wonder if you haven't given yourself time out pst VLM Speedy. Remind us what the next target is. Sounds like you need a bit of down time from running

Birch. Yep - my "dark passenger" as Dexter would call it, will be on the left wrist on the 27th
15/05/2012 at 21:05

So are the folks with gadgets running to HR or pace. The best option would be HR I would assume.

I do run a watch at VLM, but I only take splits at 10 and 20M and only use it as a reference. I tend to use the clock at the mile markers (knowing how many seconds it took me to cross the line) to guage my progress, but its all done on feel rather than chasing exact paces.

CC - you need a break physically and menatlly after all the miles you put in. You need to run for fun for a while. Dont dig yourself into a hole.

Edited: 15/05/2012 at 21:06
15/05/2012 at 21:20
TR wrote (see)

So are the folks with gadgets running to HR or pace. The best option would be HR I would assume.

Always seems to me to be too much variation in heart rate so I go on pace. I race often enough to know how much you can push it at a race versus training but my heart rate is so varied that I can't tell if it is fast due to nerves or due to working hard. I'd like to use heart rate if I could but can't find a reliable mechansim to say what it should be.

15/05/2012 at 22:08

I had two weeks off, that's quite enough. I have been informed that I need to work on my speed in order to get my marathon time down. I only have a few weeks left before the next block of marathon training begins. I am very kindly being given advice and pointers by someone who really does know what they're on about and I'm not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. He has set me these sessions to do and I'm putting my trust in him. 

TR - I never use my HR strap, mainly because I find it ludicrously uncomfortable as it needs to sit in precisely the same place as my bra strap, and often also the strap on my fake camelback. Not happening!

PMJ - thanks for the offer, but the only HM I can fit into the schedule is the GNR. I don't suppose you have a place in that and could pace me round? 

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