Talkback: Lucozade Sport Super Six: Christina (sub-3:00)

Follow the progress of just back from a run, our sub-3:00 hopeful, as she receives expert advice from mentor Paul Evans

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26/04/2010 at 15:08
I stuck my neck out early on this thread and said that JBFAR could do a sub 3. Her shorter distance times previously had suggested this and this was vindicated by her 64.xx 10 miler during the campaign.

However for me the programme was not long enough or rigorous to build the endurance to succeed. Compromised as it was by a period of injury, it put the task just beyond reach.

I'm sure JBFAR could get a sub 3 at VLM (or indeed another race) in the coming years, using what she has learnt on this journey and picking up advice from her clubmates and other threads around here.

Again she gave it a go and did the best on the day, which is all anyone can ask of the individual.
26/04/2010 at 17:07

I've been silently watching this and the 3.15 thread the past few months as thought I'd fit in-between the two.

Hard luck on not getting your time, but well done for completing the run one and all and hope everyone had a drink (or six) to celebrate either way yesterday - it's a long old way.

I think I saw you circa 16 miles - I was working too hard to say hello and didn't want to put anyone off their focus! You certainly have the pace for sub three - alot more nippy than me with your time in the ten miler, so definetly keep the faith and go for it again in a smaller race / one where the start is better organised, off a good training schedule it's there for the taking.

I managed 3.08.25 (1.32 half) which was about the best I could hope for of my training / diet. Had ok endurance just not the pace but my own fault for liking Peroni and chicken vindaloo so much!

As for the race, spent the first five miles weaving. Couldn't really soak up the atmosphere due to working so hard to keep going! Organisation was great minus the pens though and will 100% be back.

Have entered Berlin and aim to try and work on my pace the next few month, I'm keeping my sub three dreams alive - glad to be able to get in GFA with sub 3.10 next year - thanks for changing that Virgin! Best get back to club after a well deserved week off!


26/04/2010 at 17:28

Just popped on to see how things went (have been lurking but not had time to participate).

Looks like a mixed bag, and like BR, I'm sure JBFAR will get a sub-3. Several athletes have mentioned they suffered a bit from the humidity in the second half - from the BBC studio I was in it seemed like a perfect day with the early rain but you can't tell the effect of high humidy until you are actually running in it.

There were quite a few elites who struggled in the second half after a fairly controlled first half. It was good to see a bit more depth near the front from the British men and it looks like there's the possibility of a break through run on the horizon for some of them if they can spur each other on.

26/04/2010 at 17:31

echo the sentiments posted recently JBFAR... just one of those things. You've been as determined as ever - no-one can take that away from you. For what it's worth... I had a shocker yesterday albeit going for a slower time (cramp from mile 19 onwards, could hardly run, ran-walked 7 miles to the finish, would have stopped but for people waiting for me and having raised substantial funds for charity).

Don't let the marathon/your aspirations beat you - I will certainly be attacking it again in future. Take time to rest, chillout and reflect, thinking what's best for you.

26/04/2010 at 20:06
Thanks to everyone for there support...and well done to everyone too..

R salter- Gutted for close- you will nail it next time.

For me I felt ok up till half way and came in at around 1hr 31. then my quads started cramping up and i began having some really negative thoughts..Ive never had that sort of pain in my quads before so it was just strange for me..I wonder if it was my change of shoes, or dehydration, or lack of cycling (not strengthening my quads)..I really don't know but from that point onward it was a real struggle to keep going at any pace.

At mile 17 i started getting stitches and had to stop and stretch at one point as i started to hyper that point i just thought, i'm just going to drop back at a pace that i can complete this marathon at and not receive medical help!!

At mile 22 i passed 3 of my club mates who were walking...2 were supporting a guy who was well on for sub 3 at mile 22 then hit a brick wall...I felt really emotional at this point because he deserved it so much and it was such a horrible thing to see.

i kept going at a steady pace with everyone passing me...up to the finish. I made it to the finish and just felt rubbish...

Regarding my pacing...Yes I probably could have gone quicker if i had started slower- but I wanted a sub 3, that was my goal, and the whole point for me, so I had to go at the pace-I am glad i did otherwise I would never have known whether or not I could do it.

So im obviously gutted, and can hardly walk still- well have to do everything straight legged! I can't even think about doing the whole thing again..but if I did I would;

a) Pick a smaller, quieter marathon that was less stressful than London
b) Not put as much pressure on myself as i did and Relax a bit more about it all

Being part of the supersix has been great and have really enjoyed the forums.. thanks everyone for taking time to write on them and supporting everyone.

I haven't heard from Paul since middle of last week- so Paul- hope you are ok?

26/04/2010 at 21:02

I look at things analytically.

The problem with internet forums is that anyone that has the brains to switch a computer on actually believes they have a worthwhile comment to make. Most simply show their ignorance.

You were on a hiding to nothing JBFAR. You have the talent, but it was never on the cards this year. Your easy pace and threshold pace should've made this clear. It did to me. The 10m race was a big surprise to me, but yesterday proved there are no short cuts. Women don't go sub 3hr by accident, and anyone that does it deserves all the credit they get.

I think you will do it with the correct approach (if you still want to). This thread has shown your naivety towards training, mileage and schedules. I don't think you were helped along the way as much as you should've been. Forum support (ignorant or not) is one thing, but when you're stood on that start line you're on your own!

The key sessions had very little to do with RW or this thread. The mileage was too low. The mara pace sessions were few and far between. The threshold sessions never struck me as adequate (sub 3hr guys should be capable of 5 miles at 6'30"/m pace once/week). I remember one key session when you did some 400s at 3k pace and then tried following it with a threshold pace run. Crazy, your legs were already full of lactic acid.

The sub 3hr became a weight around your neck. I don't believe you ran any of the race on feel. You ran it on a pre- determined pace, and it must have felt too fast very early on.

I refrained from saying too much prior to the race because negative vibes are not great. I did say a few weeks back the target was not on.

I wonder how many magazines RW sold off the back of the super 6? Just a thought! Did any of them succeed? I've only had a quick look at the 3:15 guy, he had a bad day too!

26/04/2010 at 21:42

Hi Christina - good effort, you gave it a good go, going though halfway on target, and then having problems with your quads cramping up, it was  very humid out there this might of played a part, I saw you at 22 and then got your finishing time, obviously you are disapointed but you will be back and I am sure you will crack 3 hrs next time, my advise is to take a couple of weeks off running and reflect on the last 4 month, and decide what you want from the sport? it would be good to see you doing some shorter distances, 5k's & 10k's and then having another go at sub 3

You have been a star from day one, the way you dealt with everything, injury included

My first 2 marathons I DNF, and knowing you " all be it on a forum" you will be back! 

 Well done Christina 

Take care !! 

26/04/2010 at 22:20
jokerman - out of the 6 of us, 5 of us toed the line and the sub 4 (first timer) lad did 3h44 off a negative split so you can say he was the only one to do what he set out to do. The rest of us all had bad days for a variety of reasons, mine was a low-level virus picked up in the final few days. I'm personally very gutted as I had a near-perfect build-up over the 16 weeks and a 38m43s 10k with 2 weeks to go showed I was in the right shape.
Having spoken to the Brand Manager at Lucozade she said they had identified 36,000 unique users who have logged on to the 6 threads since they were started. This is a record for the Super Six project in the (approx) 4 years they've been running it so it may not be selling the magazines but it does look like it's increased traffic to the RW site which is one of the main aims of the competition.
27/04/2010 at 09:09

Unlucky MM. The few times I looked at your thread I did believe you were going to achieve your goal. You were unfortunate.

The main aim of the competition?...Well to me it was or should have been to get the 6 under their target time. Of course in the real world that wasn't RW priority.

27/04/2010 at 10:25
JM you are obviously approaching the marathon from a physiological perspective.
I agree this is important and the better the conditioning, the better the athlete. However what cannot always be anticipated is the body's response to some variables. Viral infection, electrolyte imbalance, muscle tension, anxiety, heat intolerance (I could go on).
This is why the marathon is revered by so many and Liz Yelling is right when she says, the marathon rarely goes to plan.
What is clear is the Super Six gave everything to achieve their goals and I believe they will achieve them in the fullness of time!!
27/04/2010 at 12:00

Smurf - if JBFAR had toed the line in genuine sub 3 shape then yes any of those variables could have conspired to prevent a 2.5x.

It's tricky picking a sub 3 contender for this project because if you pick a youngish guy with some previous evidence of talent then getting into sub 3 shape is pretty straightforward for most.  A woman or an older guy presents more of a challenge, but the bigger the challenge (which makes it a more readable thread / magazine article) the more things have to go right with the preparation to achieve the end goal.

I did say at the start that I thought to get someone into sub 3 shape that the pre-thread preparation was important and that I thought endurance was the key element for JBFAR.  That she could get herself into 64.xx shape with a few decent training weeks was testament to the fact that the basic speed would not be an issue.  So I agree, 3k pace reps were not focussing on what she needed at that point.

JBFAR - were you to approach another marathon, what are the 3 most important lessons you have learned from this campaign?

27/04/2010 at 12:10
BR: 4 most important lessons;

1) Have more then a 16 week build up. I think because I had time out after my IM I lost some base fitness. If I had kept the running up I think I would have been in better shape at the start of the 16 weeks.

2) Everyone has lots of different ideas and methods for training. Have a plan that you have complete confidence in and know why you are doing each and every session...what is the point and what are you going to gain from it- know what pace you should be going.

3) Never underestimate the marathon. You can not cheat it. Aim for well below the marathon predictor times for 10k and 10mile and 20 mile races to hit sub 3.

4) Have fun in training as it becomes a massive part of your life

Paul- Shame i didnt spot you! Thank you for all you guidance.
Yes perhaps I will do some shorter races for a while and see where I am at with them.

27/04/2010 at 12:39

Wouldn't it be great if RW wouldn't perpetuate the folly of picking a marathon time and training specifically for it using an off the shelf plan.

All the ingredients are in place for the runner to train hard with a tailored regime designed / adapted by a personal coach and then to arrive at a realistic marathon goal during the training process so on the day the runner has a realistic target.  Everyone would learn more and the runner would be put in the best position to have a successful day - time wise and enjoyment wise.

Does it not strike anyone else as utterly perverse that the program forced jbfar into a sub-3hr marathon schedule off a 3:13 previous whereas the 4hr guy was asked to duck under 4 hours with a 1h 42 hm best.  So you have two runners - one with an extremely tough target and another with an extremely soft target, both shoe horned into inappropriate schedules.

This ludicrous slapping on of target numbers 16 weeks before the day with no thought to the realism of the target is such amazingly bad practice - worsened by the fact that there is no control or guidance in the weeks approaching the 16 week countdown.  Whatever happened to training to train?

The way the super six is run is a curse more than anything.  RW - next year please extend your potentially fantastic offer but do the thing sensibly this time.

The sad thing is the forum is full of runners going for completely inappropriate times because they read these RW sponsored threads and think the right way to go about it is to pick any old time and base their training paces on that aspirational (or otherwise) goal.  You have 1:30 HMers aiming to break 5 hours and 2:00 HMers going for 3:30.  Set a good example RW, for God's sake.

28/04/2010 at 22:01


I would just like to say i ran a lot of the marathon near to you as i was on 3 hour pace too. You looked consistent and strong and thought you'd get close to the 3 hour mark. I too didn't achieve goal and did 3:17. Things can just go wrong on the day and they did for me on 22 when i just ran out of fuel.

The main mistake i made was drinking a little from each and every water station which was just not enough. At races where there are fewer stations i take more on at each station and hydrate better. I am not sure if this was an issue for you but i felt that there was so much hydrtation on offer that i became overwhelmed and got confused as to where/when take on water/gels.

Maybe consider a less popular marathon, where the pressure is not there and you can just enjoy the race. I am going to do this and hopefully do London again in few years time.

Still it was a great day and you will be back and get under 3 with determination and hard work.


29/04/2010 at 10:20

Congratulations Cristina and everyone who completed the marathon! I can’t really comment on the finer detail of marathon running but I think everyone will have learnt a great deal about themselves over the past 16 weeks. 

Thanks also to the other forum users for testing my brain power and asking me lots of tricky questions. I’ll be hanging around on the Runners World Forums for the foreseeable future so feel free to carry on asking me questions.

Edited: 29/04/2010 at 10:20
29/04/2010 at 14:14

Gareth I had some questions a few days ago that I posted on this thread:

Moraghan wrote (see)


Many of the elite marathoners finish the marathon having lost up to 8lbs of weight and typically consume about 200 ml per hour.  Are you suggesting that if they had drunk to replace the fluid they lost they would have run it faster?

What is the scientific reasoning behind everyone else replacing all fluid lost and dehydration's affect on performance?  Or is it for health reasons you recommend this?

What is the factor of key importance - is it total sodium levels or sodium concentration of the blood?  If it's sodium concentration then that must go up during sweating surely and consuming water / sports drink (of less than blood concentration) would decrease that concentration further? 

Sorry for all the questions, but am genuinely curious.

Good luck on sunday everyone.

Thanks in advance.

29/04/2010 at 15:14
I'm curious, too, bearing in mind what Noakes says!

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