The Middle Ground

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01/12/2012 at 11:54

Duck - Not a bad list really, if that was off the top of your head.  I CNBA trying to pick it apart, mainky because I agree with most of it and where I don't I think the most that can be said is that the statements are at least worth considering for discussion compared to conventional wisdom. 

Maybe your taper comment is biased towards shorter distance races.  IMO there are two main elements to the taper - getting your running muscles to a fully recovered state, and restocking energy reserves. You simply can't get round the need to prepare properly for a marathon, for example, by coming down significantly from high mileage to allow your glycogen stores to recover, over a period of several days. Still, if your statement makes someone apreciate that there is such a thing as over-tapering, that's not such a bad thing.

I overslept this morning.  That worked out OK though, strangely.  I didn't have enough time to get out on the bike for a useful amount of time, so joined a couple of club mates for a more time-efficient hill session in Greenwich Park.  Quality XC prep this: 4k flat on grass; 8 grassy hill reps; 4k on grass. The 4k's were around HM effort, which on soft muddy grass actually worked out as 3:41 and 3:50/k respectively, with the hill reps on a sort of triangular route with a ''steep hill + flat'' rep then downhill recovery, reps consistently around 2 mins and 45-50 secs recovery.  So having done one more session than planned, I'll be on 7 runs incl. 3 sessions, and 77 miles for the week. That's a lot for me. 

Also...   anniversary time ... a year ago today I ventured out on my first run post-hip surgery.  I've never felt so niggle-free.

01/12/2012 at 13:56
Stevie G . wrote (see)

How much of this is aimed at the distances you run, and how much at the  long distance races?

None of them, they're sweeping generalisations (sans taper which I'll go into). 

Stevie G . wrote (see)

I don't know anything about MD, but you certainly don't want to be trying to nail a target half marathon after a peak level training week! That taper is essential to the majority of runners. (though for some reason I have a feeling BR or prfmight disagree)

Notice I said "unless you have to". A lot of taper-related training is context-dependent IMO, I think you can get away with a few 5k or 10k races a few weeks in succession, yet running 3 marathons in back to back weekends is unlikely to produce a great performance in race #3! Yes MD races are a different kettle of fish (then again I ran my 800 pb 2 days after a 5k race and 1 day after running for an hour) yet I've run good 3k/5k's back to back and 3k/10k races within a few days of each other. I've also run a good 10-miler the day after a turnover track session.

Stevie G . wrote (see)

How do you judge what is "too fast" as a start in a race out of interest? I ask as I always start a race with the fastest mile of the whole race.

How much of a fast start can you get away with before it wrecks the race, and how do you measure that?

I'll tell a story for this one, as I think it differs between people.

There's a guy at parkrunwho's notorious for going off to fast. We had Myles Edwards at parkrun a few weeks ago who's a pretty decent runner, yet the aforementioned poor pacer ran about 19'50 yet was ahead of Myles (who ran 15'47) for the first 600m (and Myles certainly dosn't start slow)! I think the first mile/third slightly quicker than eventual average pace is fine but sub-5 miling for the first 800m when you average 6:20s is clearly not ideal. FWIW I ran 5'47 for the first mile last week and averaged 5'49/m overall for 5k and I think that was fine. Yet going out in 5'30 or sub-5'30 would be poor pacing I think. 

But yeah, pacing is a fine art that takes a long time (if ever) to get right. 

I think one of the reasons the first 3/4 of 2011 didn't go well for me is that I raced a bit yet tried to taper too. So my training was essentially taper/race/recover/taper so I got next to no training in. I ended up sucking for the most part. 

I concede my taper comments are biased towards shorter distances, mainly becuase I haven't raced further than 5k in 5 months, 10k in a year and further than 10M in 2 years (so I have no idea about the longer stuff). I would not want to race a marathon off of no taper for sure! 

Nice training this morning Phil. 77M's a good training load!

Bad news, looks like the bad weather up here might scupper the mile tomorrow. The alternative is that we will head to the indoor track and do some sprint races instead. parkrun was won in 19'02 this morning, simply due to the poor conditions. I've beaten the runner who won. So the last 3 consecutive parkruns I didn't run (I was timekeeper today) I could have won 

Edited: 01/12/2012 at 13:58
01/12/2012 at 14:26
Phil - congrats on a successful years comeback says I enviously . Notwithstanding that it's thoroughly deserved.

Duck et al: it might be possible that you're over analysing a bit. It seems to me at this level of club standard running all you need to do is get out every day, ensure that your training is progressive and that you reach the end of each week no more or less fatigued than the same time last week....oh and avoid getting injured.
01/12/2012 at 14:46

Yeah, probably  At the same time I want to ensure I run to my absolute potential (regardless of what standard that is, it's something I think is worth aspiring to), so if something like tapering be tweaked to the right level for the individual to benefit from, then I think it's worth discussing. 

But yes, consistent/uninterrupted and progressive training can't be argued with! 

Edited: 01/12/2012 at 14:47
01/12/2012 at 15:48


Stevie I've not done more than 55 miles a week for ages but mostly around 45-50 mark so it was my usual level (I just missed a few miles I usually run on Saturday as I was too cold after tailrunning to do any more!).Agree a marathon is a different kettle of fish by the way as it goes into glycogen depletion issues which you want to be rested and peaked for as its such an assualt on the body.

Phil tasty XC prep there! Greenwich park is nice and hilly. I am so pleased you have made it to one year with no niggles And running so well. Awesome work by your surgeon and yourself to come back and be running new pbs

Duck shame about the mile and stop volunteering

Ladies XC today - 6k round Nonsuch which had muddied up and melted nicely, not my kind of course as too flat for me to really work on, but decent running. Our club star turned up (she ran on the elite start at GNR!) and finished 12th which was briliant as she hasnt raced XC for a while. I was second for the team, about 2-3 mins behind, which overall I am happy with. I need to see the results to confirm, but I know I started up too far, went off too fast but was able to halt the decline at least (no places lost after mile 2, only 2 in total anyway, 10 places taken). Overall pace was 6:54 which isnt bad, but obviously means little.

I didnt enjoy it anywhere near as much as the technical course last week - I ran much of it in gap with no-one to focus on. I really need to find some rivals!

01/12/2012 at 20:09

Duck - you've nicely summed up the ethos of the thread there. Well done!

Nice XC running Curly. 2 races in 2 weeks - is Moraghan happy with that?

Happy anniversary Phil

8 wet chilly miles this morning with 6 at a sort of tempo! The path round the local flashes resembled an ice rink, which was fun

01/12/2012 at 20:21

Actually its 3 in 3 weeks about to become 4 in 4!

Sounds like you enjoyed the skating!



01/12/2012 at 21:01

Phil - It doesnt seem two minutes since your return but then again you've packed a lot into that year so I dont know why I'm surprised. Your current robustness is testament to your patience during the injury period.

Duck - Shame about the mile but bound to be a bit of a lottery at this time of year.

Curly - What is the world coming to? Not only are you relishing XC but you're wanting to search out tougher courses. Good stuff.

Chubby - 'Tempo On Ice' sounds like a challenging session.


As for tapering before HMs I am genuinely not convinced that there is any benefit at all. Realistically I've run between 150-200 of them with all sorts of build ups and the best performances have generally come off normal training weeks.

In recent times I would say my best race of the comeback was this year's GNR (1:18:41) which came off a 59 mile week, exactly the same as the average for the entire Chester build up. That week included a 10 mile tempo run and a sub 18 5K the day before.

Going further back in time to when I was in HM PB shape there was a period of 8 weeks in which I ran 7 HMs, 6 of which where 1:14:xx including the PB run of 1:14:04. There was no tapering involved in any of those.

However, I wouldnt recommend the build up to my first HM which consisted of running a HM every day in the lead up week, each one progressively faster than the previous one. That hurts!


Due to RDing today I didnt get to warm up before the parkrun. However, I've got to be happy with the pacing...6:24, 6;24, 6;24

Guys 10 in the morning with the aim to run a strongish last 5K, I'm not too concerned about the first two thirds.

02/12/2012 at 10:07

Good luck to all those running Guys 10 today... is anyone else racing?

16 miles for me this morning @ 8:48 which was alright and not too tiring at all after yesterday. Knee hurting a little a times though - need too keep on rolling the IT band at that seems to be the root of the tightness everywhere else. When i run with a steady rhythm and form its fine, but up and down curbs or stopping to cross roads is when it twinges...anyway nothing too worrying yet, just a different niggle for me (usually its my feet!)

02/12/2012 at 10:30
Curly45 wrote (see)

Good luck to all those running Guys 10 today... is anyone else racing?

Not me anymore. Mile got cancelled, expected after yesterday morning but still a shame. 

I've often found after XC I get sore knees which might be related to jarring action from uneven ground - related to IT band as well I think. So you're not alone!

Finishing 2 mins behind your club star is good going - not long before you're the club star at this rate! 

cb - tempo on ice, quick patent it and sell it to ITV 

prf - 150 HM's?  this is over the course of your life I assume? 

02/12/2012 at 10:55

Sorry about the mile cancellation Duck that is a shame as you are in such good shape!

it didnt help our team much though - we are still in a relegation spot, which frankly is no more than we deserve. We just dont have any depth in our women's team and only one star so its very hard to compete with the decent clubs let alone the good ones!

Anyway results are out and done a bit of stalking - of all the women around me at the finish they all have better shorter distance times than me (5k, 10k etc) set this year but none have faster halfs than me this year. One is quite distinctive, I remember her from a parkrun or two and she was one of the two to pass me in the second lap. She now becomes the target

02/12/2012 at 12:41

Duck - shame about the mile.  Anything else coming up?

prf - You're a freakish metronome. Hope the 10 went well.

Curly - It's all about the placing with XC, so good to be able to identify some rivals. I've got enough of a job trying to keep up with training partners, let alone other clubs.

I've now managed to clock up a 20+ per month, Sept - December and they're getting more comfortable all the time.  Lovely run today over a brand new route, 20.05M, 7:33/m, mostly off-road and scenic on a crisp, cold morning.  I much prefer this to the wet and grey.  And all without any brekky. 

Edited: 02/12/2012 at 12:43
02/12/2012 at 15:51

Curly/Phil - Good to hear of tales of effortlessly eating up copious miles before breakfast. I hope to join you in the coming weeks.

Duck - Yes, 150 might sound a lot but the first was when I was 16 and I'm now 46 and there have been years when I've done 15+, so not that big a number really. Not when you compare to 182 parkruns in the last 3 years.


Guys 10 this morning was just what you want from a road race - a flat course, in perfect conditions, accurate distance and organisational efficiency.

These may be things that are often assumed when you pay your entry fee but with  the scandals brewing around other races today I think we were very lucky.

Really enjoyed it and, as with other recent races, felt strong and controlled but in slow motion. The scores on the doors were 1:06:07 with splits of 33:02 and 33:05.

However, it didnt pan out as I expected (ie steady with a strong last 5K) because clubmates kept throwing challenges up, especially Hilly overtaking twice and throwing down the gauntlet.

So individual mile splits were a little lumpy in a playful sort of way :
6;48, 6;25, 6:31, 6;42, 6:33, 6:15, 6:29, 6:32, 6:35, 6:49

A good session on the way back to the upcoming smackdowns with YD et al.

Talking of whom, I wont steel his thunder but I dont think it will be breaking any state secrets to reveal that my fastest mile this morning didnt come anywhere near to challenging YD's slowest!

Edited: 02/12/2012 at 15:55
02/12/2012 at 16:45

Curly - nice xc running and long run!  Take care of the knee twinge!

Phil - nice 20 this morning.  I agree cold and crispy is much better than wet and grey and I really dislike windy days!

As others have said shame about the mile Duck.  Unfortunately that time of year again where it's uncertain on some days if races can go ahead.

CB - I think we had a bit of racing on ice this morning, but not too long and not to severe.

PRF - I'm glad I pushed you to a good session

Guys 10 for me and was looking for anything sub 70.  Realistically I thought around 68 going by training runs, 10k etc.  Did Dewsbury parkrun yesterday at up tempo pace and felt quite strong so was looking forward to today's race.  Set off with full intention of running as hard as I could on the day seeing as the conditions were so good and the course was supposed to be flat.  It was and the sun came out making for a very pleasant if somewhat very cold race.  I enjoyed a few spurts of catching PRF and another friend telling them I don't give up easily  They both beat me, but I wouldn't have expected anything less seeing as they're men  I ran strong though and felt really quite good.  Had to dig in in the final mile though to overtake another women who was just too close not to!  Good to see I still have a bit of competitive spirit

Splits for me (although I don't think the mile markers were all in the right place)

6.42, 6.39, 6.40, 6.38, 6.39, 6.34, 6.29, 6.52,6.42 for 66:45, 6th lady, 1st F45.  That'll do nicely for now!

Edited: 02/12/2012 at 16:47
02/12/2012 at 17:00
Well done yesterday, Curly, and today PRF, YD and especially Hilly: not long ago etc etc etc!! Hope the prize was decent! I look forward to at least one more account of the race!
Nice set of 20s Phil!
02/12/2012 at 17:05

Shush, dont mention the prize.

02/12/2012 at 18:53

Anyone want a night in Garstang on a Sunday night between now and end of Jan, but not back holiday, in the Guys Hotel, where reviews are a bit iffy...? I have a voucher for a free night,yours for £10 The cheese was a nice reward for running though - don't think I've ever had cheese as a memento before

Edited: 02/12/2012 at 18:58
02/12/2012 at 19:01

Looks good on the results Curly. Get a good 5k nailed down now!

Phil, yeah a fair few. Next is the 60m indoor league on the 16th, then parkruns the 22nd, 25th (xmas day special!), 29th, then indoor 19th & XC 20th January. Phew.

prf, nice going. Looking forward to YD's report now. And well done Hilly for winning!

So the mile didn't happen today but but a few of us went out for a  run around the local trails. 6.03M @ 9:23/m isn't the same as 1M @ 4:55/m but I felt a bit crap anyway - the Fetch xmas night out was last night and let's just say I enacted my rule #13 to its fullest 

02/12/2012 at 19:32

Hilly Job done. Well done.

SOunds like an enjoyable day out PRF!

Looking forward to YDs report.

A little less sheet ice this morning. 12.6 gentle miles.

02/12/2012 at 20:04
Evening all, I am on my phone for the next two days so my check in and race report will very short (better for you probably )

Phil -an excellent comeback year topped off with an excellent 20 miler

Curly - Sounds like an excellent weekends running with the xc and long run this morning. You must be in or close to the shape of your life!!?

Duck - shame about the mile and missing out on the possible top spot. Still a decent weekend of sport for you and I include the beer in that

Hilly - really pleased to see your form returning, good strong running today and not all that far from top end form. I think you are in for a some good racing this spring.

prf - playful splits! That's one excuse for inconsistent splits I've not heard before! Anyway good to see that you appetite for running is in good working order, I think Dewsbury and BM should be interesting....:-P
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