VLM 2012 was my first marathon. I have a fairly fit base from mountain biking (2 rides a week) and running (1 or 2 4-8mile runs a week). I did Hal Higdon's novice 2 programme of 18 weeks and was all set for a 3:15 on the day.
For example on my 14 mile training run many weeks ago, I did 7:14min/mi which was a bit fast for a training run, so decided to set my full distance target to3:15 (7:25min/mi)
All my training suggested I can run all day at 7:40 at 160bpm and 7:25 at 167 bpm.
So on the day I'm running along at 7:25 and after 6 miles, I glance at my heart rate and it's 180. I tried slowing down to 7:40 for a few miles, but it barely made any difference and after 12 miles I knew I was in trouble (yes it took me that long to realise! what a tool.... I just couldn't accept what was happening, because in training I had never encountered anything like this - I even assumed my HRM was wrong :rolleyes: )
So at 12, I really started to drop the pace off massively. My goals were: 3:15 and a fallback of "Finish", so I knew the first one was blown.
But then at 15miles both my thighs seized within minutes of each other, like a switch. I have never encountered this in all my years of running (I've been running for 28 years - but admittedly have never run this distance in one go before). The pain was searing with every step. At one point I almost passed out from it. I could barely bend my legs at the knee at all.
Like a fool, I carried on with the assistance of the medical massage girls along the way and hobbled to the line in 4:11, so whilst I got my fallback goal I'm now crippled! I can hardly walk and stairs are nigh on impossible. I'm devastated about failing the 3:15, but now my mission is to avoid all this the next time.
So, what happened? Why was my bpm so high? Why did my legs seize up? Are the two symptoms intrinsically linked? i.e. did my legs seize because my bpm was so high? And remember, in training earlier in the year I happily did 14 miles a fair bit quicker than I did the first 12 miles on the day.
I have tried to figure out what was different on the day, so here's my input:
Hot - all my training has been in much cooler weather.
Morning run - due to various factors only a couple of my long runs (including a 20 mile at 10am though which I did at 7:40 no problem) have been at a similar time of day to the VLM. Most of my running is in the afternoon or evening.
It's a race - I have only raced 10k before and not since last year - maybe there's an excitement factor? Although to be honest, I was feeling pretty relaxed about the whole thing.
Any advice much appreciated - having missed my goal, I now need to do another marathon and I want to go in prepared next time, with risks like this mitigated.
Many thanks for the replies (cheering me up a bit!) and Mark, yeah - now I have to do it again. I'm sure I'll forget how my legs feel right now. Well done smashing your goal! Very jealous.
Certainly there weren't many long runs. See here: http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51138/Marathon-Novice-2-Training-Program Only 1x 20 mile run a few weeks ago. (I chose this one to avoid injury along the way). Looking at the RW advanced (under 3:30) schedule, it's totally different from what I was doing.
To arrive at the 3.15 goal, I pretty much guessed based of a 39minute offroad 10k time and some 9 to 12 mile runs I had done off road very comfortably at 7:35 pace. This guesstimate seemed to have worked because in training (end of march) I did a 20mile run at an absolutely consisent pace the whole way around of 7:39, and an average heart rate of 160bpm and it felt easy apart from mile 18-19 but I recovered and kept the pace up no problem after that.
Basically what happened on race day bore no resemblence to what happened in training at all
Maybe it's as simple as the heat leading to increased sweating and salts loss. I did get sunburnt on the back of my neck and shoulders. I looked up cardiac dift which was interesting - I didn't think it was that hot at the time, but compared to most my training it was a fair bit hotter.
Charles - a few people have mentioned the long slow miles here which are crucial to get that endurance base before a marathon. If you had been doing your long runs at near marathon pace, then yesterday could have been burn-out, since long runs at this pace will likely injure you, or take so much out of your legs that you didn't have much on the day.
Second potential solution would be a virus or illness you maybe didn't know about? A virus can raise heart rate and make a normal run seem like a nightmare.
Either way, I reckon you should sign up for another just to be sure!!!!
Talking from my own experience yesterday.......
Was my 9th mara and the least miles done in training due to injuries & illness so I knew I was going to hurt in the latter stages due to not having done generally and almost no long runs.
Lo & Behold, I did. But I was expecting it so I guess I didn't mind so much.
Added to that I have always struggled in longer races in the early spring as the heat affects me terribly.
Possibly you put too much pressure on yourself and when your body started telling you it was hurting early on you ignored it for a while and kept going. Perhaps if you'd slowed earlier you may have had less pain and possibly even been quicker in the latter stages than you were?
As for BPM, mines generally around 70% in training on average. Yesterday it was 89% so apparently I was pushing myself too hard too so I don't even listen to my own advice......
My last marathon was 2009 in London. After 2 very poor marathons in the 90s and a 3.47 in 2006, I worked out that I needed to do at least 6 x 20 milers as well as lots of speedwork in the middle.
My long slow runs (LSRs) went like this ffom December/January 2009:
10 12 15 18 20 16 20 13 20 16 20 16 20 18 22 15 12.......26.2
I do 2 or 3 runs midweek (recovery, intervals and/or tempo)
It was a very hot race which cost me around 10 mns. I should have been in 3.15 territory but ended up getting a 3.25. Extremely pleased with that.
My HM time in that year was 1.30 and I did do a 12 mile tempo run at 6.52 pace which would have beaten that HM time if it was a race.
So, the combo of speedwork and committed LSRs seems to work well for certain types of runners.
I gave this training plan to a friend last year, he did 3.15.01 in his 2nd marathon after doing 3.27 on his debut with me in 2009.
If you're aiming at 3h15 then the sub 3h15 thread is a good place to hang out on, with plenty of great advice from people who've been there and done that.
I started running marathons in 2008 after 16 years of being a competitive cyclist so thought I had the aerobic base to carry over. I'd done a 90min HM in 2007 and then crashed and burned at London '08 to 3h30 after targeting 3h15 in my first marathon.It wasn't until 2010 on my 6th marathon campaign that it all came together with 3h12mins off a negative split
Reasons why:5 x LSR's (total of 98miles) run off at an average of 8m30s, ie about MP+60secs or so. If you run your LSR's too quick you will tire yourself out before race dayHM was under 90mins (87mins)10k was under 40mins (38m43s)Consistent mileage in the 16 weeks prior to it averaging 42mpw (high of around 60miles IIRC)The final LSR being 22 miles run in about 3h09 so roughly target time for full marathon.
Also, the experience of what to eat during training, in the lead up to the marathon, on the day etc. How much to drink and also knowing that halfway is 20miles and not a moment before. Marathons aren't easy and you have to mentally prepare to push yourself through a fair amount of pain in that final 10k when your body is willing you to stop.
Your physical preparation doesn't sound anywhere near enough as has been stated before but it's rare that people hit their target on their first marathon and it may take a few goes before you start doing things properly. Good luck with future attempts!
Advice based on what you've written:Do more miles at a slower pace than you would think is naturalDo some shorter races - the last race you did was a 10k last year? You really needed a race in the build up to give you an idea of current fitness rather than a "guesstimate". Get the results at 5k, 10k, HM at least that would indicate 3h15 or less is on (sub20min 5k, sub 40mins 10k, 90mins or less for HM) If this means you spend a year working this short distance speed it would be time well spent imo.Get some proper aerobic base - cycling is not running so try to get to 35mpw as an average over a number of months rather than starting from a base of virtually nothing.Drop the HRM during the race - so many factors affect it: stress, sleep, fatigue, weather (it was bl00dy hot yesterday - I was there spectating) that it can become distracting
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