Moraghan Training - Stevie G

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09/11/2012 at 08:52

People talk about the famous negative split, but I can only imagine I've ever done that about 5 times in 136 (to be precise!)  races, and that will be races of 10k or under where the first half had a stonking hill.

I think realistically, you're going to suffer a slow down in half marathons near the end, so you might as well start them a bit quicker. If you purposely start slower, would you still see the same slow down? Or would you simply gain back the time you lost by starting slower? Or would you have the worst of both worlds, start slow, and end slow still.

Looking at my CP 10mielrs 2011v2012, the first mile v average pace stats come out as below

2011   5.25  v 5.50
2012  5.31 v 5.42

Last year was simply too fast, whereas this year didn't feel too fast, and allowed a nice "bank", without threatening the end stages.

A half is a different story to a 10miler though. By 6/7miles you're just half way rather than thinking you just need to hold on another few miles.

09/11/2012 at 09:37

That's the big worry isn't it? The fade will come the same whatever the start pace, so get it in the bank while it feels easy! Common sense says that can't be right, but come race day my common sense seems to go out the window, no mattre how hard I try. It's not that I go off like a hare, and do try ad hold back - South Bucks 10k was a good example where it felt like I took it easy to start, but the pattern eventually worked out the same.

I will try and be more disciplined at Andy reading and see what happens, though I think it's halves that benefit most from this approach.


09/11/2012 at 11:10

Yep, 10ks are a  different story, and one minute you can think you're on for a pb, then next you've fallen off track. Something about those dreaded kms complicating the maths!

09/11/2012 at 12:13

Like many others, I set off fast deliberately.  In my case it's because, once in a rhythm, I struggle to increase my pace.  Times increased massively on 10K's and halfs when I started setting out more aggressively.  Doesn't apply to marathons of course.

However, since I changed tack I've done a lot more work at different paces, so maybe I wouldn't find upping the pace as difficult as I have before if I started more conservatively.

09/11/2012 at 13:24

The start will always seem easy if pumped up with adrenaline.

I don't seem to get that anymore so a cold logical start is easier.

The difficulty is that we cannot run our races with the benefit of hindsight. How fit are we on any given day? All most of us can do is make a calculated guess at the correct pace.

Starting pace is not a problem for serial winners. I said this to a runner I knew who could win just about any race he wanted. I said its easy for him, all he has to do is run along at the front with whoever wants to lead and then at some point say "see you later" and scoot off and win.

The rest of us have to think.


09/11/2012 at 14:19

doing races outside your area helps, as you don't see the faces you usually lose to, and run without those thoughts of "Oh i'm ahead if xxx and shouldn't be, I best slow down"

I had a situation at CP where a guy I always lose was in sight. it took me a while to realise that with me on top form, him a bit under par, then it was time to go past.

Dachs, today's quality was a good one for training yourself  to increase the pace.

Basically 4 x  (800at 5k pace, 60sec jog, then 400m 3k pace). (3min between each set)

Being on the road, I decided to opt for 0.5m and 0.25m as the markers instead of 800 and 400, and came out as below.

2.38, 1.18

Picked a reasonably flat section to do outs and back. Not much wind out today, for a change!

Pleased with those,very consistent . Pretty much bang on target paces too, with 5k target pace 5.15-5.20, and the portions coming out at 5.16-5.18 pace.

3k target reps coming out 5.08-5.12, with target sub 5.15ing.

Can feel the right hamstring, but to be honest I'm not sure it's especially tight, it might just be a reaction from elsewhere, calf, back etc. Will continue to stretch all key zones!

Cortina5    pirate
09/11/2012 at 16:51

Good session SG, very good pacing indeed. Can't remember if you're racing Sunday; if so, hope the hammy doesn't hold you back (as if).

Just back from a 400m/600m/800m/800m/600m/400m pyramid myself. 400m RI - jogging for most, but 100m brisk walk after the 800m. Last weeks 1600m/1600m/800m made the 800m seem like a breeze. Today they were so much harder.

Target pace for 400m is 1:25, 600m is 2:14 and 800 is 3:00. Scores on the doors:

1:27, 2:15, 3:07, 3:02, 2:13, 1:25.

I must admit I find this kind of thing easier on a track, not least because I only have to worry about pace as I can see progress around the track. On the road I have to go by garmin beeping speed up, slow down, correct pace, etc. And the track gives back a little. Now my RH middle toes are a tad sore.

Probably a rest day tomorrow or a light spin. Aiming to ride to the XC in Sunday as an 18 mi warmup.


09/11/2012 at 16:57

not racing Iron, but i hope any of you chaps XCing it up havea good one.

Tracks certainly are easier, you can see the distance left, it's 100% accurate without checking your watch, and there's not traffic and roads to worry about!

However, especially at this time of year, if there's a chance to get the longer sesh done at lunch rather than evening, especialy on a friday i'll snaffle it. it is an odd situation to leave work for the week knowing you have a monster sesh coming up!

How did you calculate those paces per distance out of interest Iron? Are they 5k, 3k pace or something else?

Just a gentle 4 for me tonight. then some stretching/strengthening that i had to rush through at lunch!

Cortina5    pirate
09/11/2012 at 17:20

I kow what you mean about the lunch vs evening sessions. We're out at fireworks tonight with the kids, so no running/swimming tonight.

I had planned to use a wide pavement near me for the reps, but ended up using a farm road in the woods near me. No traffic, if a little undulating.

The paces are from Furman FIRST (ducks for incoming). They're based around my 5km time (20:23). I have 'run' faster but my shoelace came undone. Moving time was about 20:04 but gun time obviously didnt reflect that...

FWIW, a bit of PO10 stalking shows that your FIRST paces for 400m and 800m are 1:15 and 2:35 respectively.400m in 1:17/1:18 is more of a 18m00/18m10 5k pace, as is 2:28/2:39 per 800m. Maybe Moraghan secretly supports the non-marathon FIRST plans

09/11/2012 at 18:39

Iron, looking at your session, do you think you could do a standard 5k session such as 10x400 at 1.25 lapping with 60sec recovery, or 6x800 at 3:00min off 90secs?

If not, I'd ask why those paces for the standalone 400s, 600s and 800s?
If you could, I'd then ask why your pb is 6.34 pace of 20.23, rather than what should surely be in the 18s....

My sessions are run to target pace zones. So 5.15-5.20 is my generated 5k zone off my recent 10mile pb. Running half miles at the 2.35 your system generates would mean I'm doing 5.10 pace for half a mile, and then having to do 5 pace for the quarter of a mile after that?

I think your calculations are too much on the sharp side to say the least.

Remember before CP my 5k zone must have been about 5.25-5.30

Edited: 09/11/2012 at 19:05
09/11/2012 at 19:15

I'm with SG on this one, I think if you start slowly for a HM you will slow down in the last 3 anyway. I have always lost time in the last 3 miles. When I did Vyrnwy I was doing 1:23 pace and still slowed down. Go off hard (bank some time) and then you know your onto a PB and mentally you have more to keep you going mentally.

Feel fine after lasts nights session (did have an ice both though), I think those 'race ready' sessions you have to exspect to be bent over double. I had two pals there so took the opportunity. One of them was saying how he wanted to do it again off 45 seconds. He got a quick and clear response from me (F*off).

09/11/2012 at 20:29

I used to slow down too over the last three or four miles of a half, and after doing 25 of them I disagree with the inevitable slow down.

You slow down because either you haven't got enough endurance, or you've built up a shed load of lactic acid by forcing the pace or more likely, dehydration. 

I've caught hoards of runners in races of 10 miles and over in the latter stages for all of the above reasons.

300 distance races plus. Even pace/effort. 

09/11/2012 at 20:33

Ric, are you saying you've only done 25 halves? At 62, with 30-40 years running experience that surprises me a little. A chap of your age at my club racked up 100!

In fairness, his best one was no doubt slower than your worst one tho!

ps I've racked up 20 halves, and all have been along the same lines, out faster than average pace, and a bit of a slow down near the end.

Edited: 09/11/2012 at 20:35
09/11/2012 at 20:35


Steady on I'm only 51.

Anyway, I don't run races as an average day out. There's a guy in my club who runs whatever race is in front of him at any moment in time. If there's a race put in front of him the day before the London Marathon, he'll still do it.

A mentality like that will get an awful lot of races in the book and a lot of awful races.

Edited: 09/11/2012 at 20:42
09/11/2012 at 20:42

How did that get in there, clearly I meant 52

09/11/2012 at 20:57

SG, I had some annoying half marathon results soon after starting running. 

Against some club mates I could hold my own during the summer over 5 miles and 10k due to their inability to handle heat and the fact that I needed a lot of heat to get my muscles to work properly due to an undiagnosed ailment.

Come the colder weather, they could now do a half marathon at a faster pace than their 10k's, while I would lose a minute to them over the first 10 miles and another minute over the remaining three and a bit. 

Only discovered the benefits of super hydration in the blazing hot conditions of a June half marathon.

I can't drink anything worthwhile from a cup while in motion so simply decided to measure out all potential drinks en-route and drink them all before setting off. after all, it all ends up in the same place.

I drank a ridiculous quantity and in the race never slowed or tied up. I poured water on my head at every opportunity and took over 3 minutes off my PB.

It did occur to me that as I was running, I was gradually becoming lighter as I went along so easier to maintain the pace, or rather, not any harder.

Training today. 8 miles on the road. Over-dressed I discovered soon on. Nearly melted at 7:15 pace average. 

Edited: 09/11/2012 at 21:00
09/11/2012 at 20:58
RicF wrote (see)

You slow down because either you haven't got enough endurance, or you've built up a shed load of lactic acid by forcing the pace or more likely, dehydration. 


This ^

You go too fast early on and the fade is a self fullfiling prophesy.

My problem is i know this, yet still go off too fast

09/11/2012 at 21:05

Ah, Dean. A six minute mile to start, a sub 5 to finish. I like it.

I think that may have answered the question about whether of not you would have caught S.A from the 12 mile point at Marlow. 


09/11/2012 at 21:06

Dean, But if you start 10secs a mile slower than intended average, rather than quicker, will you be able to up the pace later on? Not something I ever want to try out.

Ric, I lost you half way through that piece. Are you saying you take on bladder bursting amounts of fluid, and then slowly pee it out on the run, thus losing weight, and going quicker as you have less weight to carry!!?

Cortina5    pirate
09/11/2012 at 21:21

SG, hard to say. I've done 8 x 400m with 400m RI. I think the 1:25 of 60s RI would be a push. The 800s would certainly be tough.

The FIRST plans always have the track work at a faster pace that target race pace. Most tempo runs are at 4:14/km, or 4:24 for a cutback week. Long runs are 4:33/km. 3 runs a week, the rest is swimming and biking.

I certainly believe there is a sub 20 5km in there, it's a case of getting used to the hurt. I'm open to suggestions on how to improve, once I've finished this plan. I'm aware the long run is probably considered too fast.

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