The Middle Ground

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24/09/2012 at 10:01

Good to hear that the Brillys are getting their running legs again.

Kelly ... hope to see you back to your speedy ways soon! And good that you refound your man, even if he had been lurking around the house for 10 years. We did a 10 year renewal as well ... but while we were away for a weekend down south, so it was just us and the kids. We we too knackered at 20 years to bother.

Josh ... get a few races planned. Do you have a parkrun near by?

Simon ... good to hear the feasting phase is over and that base phase is starting.

Ratzer - 8 miles ... take cae, that's more than a 10% increase on your usual 200m runs.

YD - excellent long run. You're in good shape.

So, I actually raced yesterday. "Kirkstall 7" but it was actually 6.7 miles. The official route (which I did in 2008) is about 7 miles, but when I last did it in 2010 the inital loop around the abbey was cut out as there was another event going on. This year the instructions said the loop was back ... the map said the loop was back ... the race director said the loop was back ... but when we set off the marshall directed us straight onto the road. However, based on the mile markers, it would seem this was planned all along, so goodness knows what was going on. Anyway, back to the "Kirkstall 6.7"  report. I set off fairly sharpish as, like the recent HM at Lake V, I wasn't too afraid of over-stretching myself on this one ... the main aim was to have a really good hard session. Mile 1 was on the road, then about 3 miles of trail/tow-path, then 2 miles or so of fields, muddy paths, a steep bank, a couple of kissing gates and steepish climb up a trail... then back via the road for the last mile. I felt pretty good for 4 miles and had been gradually gaining places ... the more XC section was a bit draining but I still made up 2-3 places ... once I was back on the road I felt the start of a stitch but thankfully it didn't develop and I finished strongly. Final time was a healthy 45:26 (6:48/m at 90% maxHR), which is a whopping 1:23 faster than 2010. Since I went on to sub-40 at Abbey Dash two months later in 2010, this is good news . Just need to survive Chester.

JuniorDan managed to get 2nd place in the 2 mile junior race in a shade under 13 minutes, after a good race with the boy who came 3rd ... they were over 2 minutes behind the winner!

Edited: 24/09/2012 at 10:04
24/09/2012 at 11:39

Josh – Good consistent training from you. I hope it pays off for you in race times next year. Not sure I would class a 58 mile week as an end of season break though

Hilly – Good news to see the injury seems to be past its worst. No doubt you pace will be back before you know it.

Kelly – Really great to see you posting and finally with some promising news. Fingers crossed you get a clear run now and get back to running those speedy times again!

Dan – Excellent racing there. Does this mean that you now have to run 38:30 at the Abbey Dash?

I’m another one of the stragglers who is starting to feel slightly better. I’m cautiously optimistic at the moment. Last week was 42  miles all easy which was the plan returning from a break anyway. This week the plan is 50ish miles and to add some steady running. If that goes ok I’ll continue to build from there.

24/09/2012 at 11:57

Mr V - There are gluten free beers about so if that is confirmed as an issue you wont need to abstain completely. Lets hope it is something more trivial though.

Stevie G . wrote (see)

ps look what you did, you set BR off on his word games....

As for me, I see little point in comparing against the top level of runners, I'm much more interested in how I sit againsy my local piers, as that's where the majority of competition comes from.

I didnt realise that you lived in Blackpool Stevie!

BR - Shambolic was certainly the word to describe Saturday afternoon. Teams getting DQd by way of course confusion and misdirection by marshalls isnt what you would expect.

YP - Good stuff on the progressive run, they are so valuable in keeping you strong at the end of races, both physically and mentally.

Josh - As you might suspect I agree with BR. Long periods without racing is akin to buying a car and leaving it in the garage for months on end.

Hilly - There's no keeping you down is there? Easing back in with a tiny little 20 miler?

Kelly - Great to hear you sounding positive again.

YD - Nowt wrong with that session. I suspect you'll feel very strong at Redcar with the GNR in recent memory to keep those early miles subdued.

Dr Dan - Dont you just love it when the organisers dont know how far their race is. The relays on Saturday were listed as 6400m, which you would take as being pretty specific, and they turned out to be 3.8 miles which is more like 6100m.

Nice year on year comparison which bodes well for Chester and Abbey Dash.


For me the weekend consisted of :

1) A sloppy Marple parkrun (2nd by 7 secs) in 18:24 wearing wholly inappropriate footwear.

2) The Northern 6 Stage Relays - BR ran leg 2 in 21:24 (5:38/mile) and I ran 21:35 (5:41/mile) for leg 3. Somehow we were both happy with that, BR was happy to run a faster time than me and I was surprised to be as close as 11 secs.

3) A 22 miler @ 8:18/mile yesterday - Initially I had planned to take part in the Greenway 10K yesterday but when it came to it I figured that, on balance, there was more to be gained from a last long run than some more faster miles.

So the training for Chester is now done, now looking forward to seeing what it produces on the day.

This week's training.

Edited: 24/09/2012 at 11:59
24/09/2012 at 12:54


BR/HIlly/PRF: a good weekend! Shame that the 6 stage organisation could have been better.
Hilly: I really do hope that you are continuing with the stretches, exercises etc...its so easy to miss them out when one is running better.

Josh:  a couple of things. When I was younger I did not race as much as I should have...all too often it meant that when I did race I was far too nervous. As a consequence of not racing often enough I suspect I never posted times that I was capable of.  You need to be in the race environment, although not necessarily race flat out, or taper for. If you re-read the last paragraph on page 29 of the HIT book..."treat any competitions along the way as purely training information" (My italics: I love the phrase!).  I know you are building a large base, and good on you for that, but I agree with all on here that the occasional race every few weeks is going to help: you could even do a parkrun as part of a longer run with 3 miles tempo thrown in the middle.

SG wrote: "I sit againsy my local piers"...that is all I'm fit for, I'm afraid. Getting rather nervous now as will find out this evening whether I need surgery on the Achilles.

24/09/2012 at 18:11
alehouse - good luck this evening. Fingers crossed he gives you a clear route back to fitness and regular, painless, enjoyable running....
24/09/2012 at 18:37

YP - 0mpw

Dr. Dan - nearest is Black Park

Alehouse - I plan on doing exactly that kind of session

Thanks for the pretty much unanimous feedback everyone   I would be a fool to not take it.

24/09/2012 at 19:11

Shocking misspelling by me..peril of writing too quickly

Josh, I'm clearly no expert, but I can't help feeling with you that with such youth on your side, smashing some short distance races for the years you can really improve your speed would be a better way to go than millions of very slow long miles. There are always exceptions, but getting really fast at the track, and slowly upping your distance would be a classic route.

I'm sure Ducky won't mind me using him as a loose example. He's really going great guns at the short stuff after a fair few frustrations at longer distances. He'll have greater speed and experience for when he goes back up the distances later.

However, on the other hand you already have a good half on the table (1hr 21 or 1hr 23?)

Been so long since you raced I've forgotten

Edited: 24/09/2012 at 19:12
24/09/2012 at 19:48

Stevie G - 1 hour 22 mins o_O I can't believe I ever ran that fast. 

24/09/2012 at 20:09

the way you train these days nor can I

In more seriousness, i'd start thinking faster mate...I know your coach loves the "get obsessive amounts of slow miles in and we'll add the speed one day", but that day seems to often get put off.

If you can hit 1hr 22 in your teens, you've got plenty of speed already, why dilute that, rather than work on it?

Edited: 24/09/2012 at 20:10
24/09/2012 at 20:52

Stevie G - there's more than way to train.  I never did speed sessions and don't do them very often now either!

Josh - if you have a coach, you need to trust in his advice otherwise it's a relationship that isn't going to work!  If you keep needing advice from others you obviously are not trusting the training.  I know Pants and personally I would trust his training advice.

24/09/2012 at 21:12

Hilly, do you mean in the early days? As I'm sure I remember you saying your favourite speed session was 400s, doing 12 or something.....(ok i forgot the reps and times,but i remembered the 400s!)

24/09/2012 at 21:17

Hilly - I do trust Pantman.  He is a little crazy, but I agree with him.  One thing he said to me which really hit-home was how my training is no more than a 12 year old Kenyan does.

One point of clarification, Pantman has said he would like to coach me if he could.  But due to other things in his life, he can only provide advice. 

Now is probably a good time to ask this question:
About a month after Anthony and I met on Let's Run, another guy (who may also turn out to be famous here) offered to be a full coach.  He is called Ben fish.  He actually recommended I take part in Anthony's base training and come to him when I need more specific coaching.

The trouble is, at what point do I determine that I will massively benefit from a more hands-on coaching style?  I can see myself improving for about a year by simply running more and being consistent.  I have given Ben a few updates every now and then of how things have gone (again I was running 25mpw when we first met), but am just very unsure of how long to wait until I should seek specific coaching.

Sorry to be very self-indulgent, and to an extent be complaing about a great position to be in (in regard to coaching offers).

Edited: 24/09/2012 at 21:25
24/09/2012 at 21:26

Pants is a good guy, no doubt about that, incredibly keen on huge base mileage, more than anyone I've ever met.

That Ben Fish is certainly a quality runner, the northern chaps on my forum have mentioned him about. He must have picked up some good info along the way.

Maybe it's simply a case of chatting it over with Pants, and asking him when he sees the big base training stage to be over. The Fish guy, having time available in a way Pants himself says he hasn't, could then take over.

Do feel you need races to show real black and white improvements. Mileage and pulse rate might do a job for some, but surely that black and white "i was this time, now I'm faster" is what you strive for?

25/09/2012 at 06:30

That's right Stevie.  When I first started running I had no idea and did everything too fast. Then I was advised to drop any fast work and just build a base, so I built up to running 70 miles a week consistently without any speed work, which for me was a lot of miles at the time as I'd only ever peaked for a marathon once at 50.  During this period I did no specific sessions and did not run over a certain HR for a length of time.  It was only after I had built up a good base did I then apply the sessions and yes you're right in saying that 400s were my favourite.   Eventually specific sessions do come into training and help towards improvement, but a good base is not to be sniffed at.  The bigger the base the better IMO one injury proofs themself and recovers quicker from sessions and races!

25/09/2012 at 06:49


I increasingly agree with Hilly's post above.

Josh:  you are becoming increasingly well read...if you have the self-discipline (which you seem to have had since February) there is no reason why you can't be self-coached. The principles that guided Snell etc to quick times, i.e. Lydiard/HIT will serve you well and are an important reminder of how quickly one can run off a very broad base with more specific training at the top of the pyramid.

Self indulgence: Last night went to consuoltant on the Wirral via flooded roads, diversions and closed motorways. Consultant was reasonably happy, surprisingly, with the Achilles, but sufficiently concerned about other areas of the calf (peroneus longus/brevus/tertius anyone?) to order a scan. Tomorrow evening. So another 100 mile drive, which in itself is not great for the problematic areas! Discussion on the way forward next Monday.  Consultant is going out of his way to meet with physio in the interim.

Consultant amused me this evening when he said that there is no point in speculating when you have tools such as MRI scans to help (after he had emailed to speculate that I may need " a para-tenon strip and internal decompression.")! In the meantime it is rest until I am advised otherwise.

25/09/2012 at 09:44
Josh Blatchford wrote (see)

One thing he said to me which really hit-home was how my training is no more than a 12 year old Kenyan does.

So you're doing 5k doubles every schoolday, with a bag of books on your back, at I'm-late-for-school speeds??!!  Incredibly few 12 year old Kenyans running even 50mpw, and the natural physiology of a 12 year old anywhere means that training has to be reasonably tough to elicit aerobic benefit.

But I'm playing devil's advocate.  I do know what he meant and what you understand!   You're doing a big base.  If the intent is to periodise, nothing wrong with maintaining base until you're a few months away from racing season.  Just don't forget speed completely - Snell said the only adjustment he would have made to Lydiard's training would have been to add a short pace session weekly during base.  But listen to your coaches, not to the anonymous type on a forum!

Stevie and Hilly, you appear to be arguing about slightly different things.  Hilly sounds like she's talking about the big base period and not impacting this with faster work, Stevie sounds like he's arguing for a more holistic view of regular time-trialling to stay on top of progress.  I don't think these views are at cross-purposes.  Even the late Hadd in his paper recommended a regular time-trial once a certain point had been reached, and that was one of the more controlled bases I've seen.  The difficulty is in ensuring you don't cross over into all-out, balls-to-the-wall racing, which even the regular racers such as BRilly and prf only do on special occasions.  Until you're in racing season, of course!  Then you go for it every time!

alehouse, so you're not actually any closer to a verdict than you were yesterday?  This really is carrying on a bit, isn't it?!  At least you don't have long to wait for the scan and hopefully everything will be beyond speculation.

Another incredibly wet run for me this morning.  Forty minutes before breakfast.  No idea what the first winter session on the track is this evening.  Not actually certain I can make it due to Boy Ratzer footie yet again, but his latest coach is a bit slapdash, so no parent is sure what's going on...  We just bought him spikes as well, and he's desperate to try them out, so doesn't really want another football training session tonight!

 Not quite PP's usual cup of luminous tea, but a decent amount of Orange, which is not too much slower than Red.

25/09/2012 at 10:05
Mr Viper wrote (see)
Dan – Excellent racing there. Does this mean that you now have to run 38:30 at the Abbey Dash?

errr, no! . Cross-checking trecent race times of folk that finished close to me doesn't suggest anything too spectacular in my performace. Looking back, I think 2010's Kirkstall race was at the start of a very good training period during which I gained a lot of fitness. This time I raced it with a reasonable endurance base, so I'm not expecting to make such big gains.

I've been hit by a throat lurgy . HR was 10 bpm higher than normal on Sunday morning, so I suspected a virus but it certainly didn't affect my race - however, yesterday afternoon it finally came out. However, best to get it now and hopefully recover before 7th Oct.

The lad (U17) that won the junior race at Kirkstall has a couple of sub 36 10Ks under his belt already ... I thought he look a bit rapid!


Edited: 25/09/2012 at 10:08
25/09/2012 at 11:21

Alehouse – Hopefully that’s good news of a sort. Fingers crossed surgery isn’t needed.

Josh – I’d say once you start to find the mileage you are doing comfortable and you find yourself well recovered between runs then it’s probably time to start thinking about adding other things to your training. Only you will be able to judge when your body reaches this stage. Like you say you are almost in a pre base period because you are only doing easy running at the moment (I think anyway?).

Ratzer – Not sure about the green. Not enough red or yellow to set any serious PBs

Dan – I reckon you’d settle for another sub 40? Bad timing on the lurgy

8.5 easy for me last night in the driving wind and rain. Not very pleasant but one of those where you are really pleased you did by the time you’ve had a hot shower. Looking forward to trying a steady run either tonight or tomorrow to try and see how the recovery is coming along. What kind of pace do people do steady runs at. My MP is usually 6.35m/m – so I was thinking 7s?

25/09/2012 at 13:13

YD, it looks like your fitness is really coming through at the moment.

Nice racing, Dr D. Rather annoying that they didn't let you in on the lack of loop before the race.

Ratzer, I thought Peter Snell also said that some of the aerobic runs Lydiard had him doing were a little slow.

Good news that things are picking up, Mr V. Could the gluten-free diet be having a positive effect already? I call steady 160bpm, which is 80%MHR and 10bpm below MP. Probably about 20-30 seconds slower. So, yeah, 7m/mile sounds good.

25/09/2012 at 14:05


I got back a little earlier today so am jetlgged and shortly off out to buy some xc spikes - wtf happened to the weather while I ws away?!?

Great time on hols in NY, lovely warm sun, awesome mile road race down 5th Avenue which takes my pb to 5:57, no bloody idea where the time came from but I'm not complaining! Wava now back up to a decent level of 70.55%

Magpie ran a 33 second pb for 6:00 too.

I see Kent AC did brilliantly in the SEAA relays - shame Phil missed it by being away too!

I will read back fully later, but great to see tales of Hilly running 20 milers on fb and to see Kelly back again with events on the list!

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