The Middle Ground

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13/05/2013 at 11:07

Thanks guys, looking forward to hopefully kicking on, though my wife seems to be deliberately making social plans to interfere

Bob- Your profile pic, is that one of the 'your race day ones'? How do you get rid of the watermark? or did you buy it?

I have started reading a book called 'the art of running faster', which i am sure some of you have come across. In terms of training, the author seems to advocate the use of fartlek quite strongly, however no one else on here mentions it, reference is always to tempo or interval. Is it a less effective system than the other two?

13/05/2013 at 11:33

DT I read the Art of Running Faster. Some bits I liked, others not so much (I tend to like the bits that match my philosophy and ideas!) Goater doesn't really go into tempo runs I noticed, so maybe Fartlek is a way of hitting tempo paces in a less structured way?

NIce mileage Mr V. Good to see you running YD.

Alehouse well done on the LSR! Delamere is a nice parkrun. It's never going to be a PB course but I'm finding it really useful as a way of doing 3 miles at LT (or thereabouts).

13/05/2013 at 11:55

Congrats Bob that's a superb effort to take two mins off your pb. Shaved twenty seconds off of my time as well! Its probably time for me to enter another 10km now so I can try and keep up haha. I took your advice in the end and didn't do intervals. Just had a light weekend and planning on a long one tonight. Got a route planned along the canal so going to see where it takes me and hopefully get 8 or 9 miles under my belt

13/05/2013 at 12:21

I like a fartlek from time to time, especially in the week leading up to a big race where I tend to use them as an extended stride session with a couple or three extended efforts of say 0.5m at target pace in amongst the strides. This helps with familiarity of pacing and it serves to open the lungs up and get the HR up a bit without taking too much out.   
On the injury comeback trail I may also use fartleks as I wont have any recent race data, so I wont be sure what threshold pace is etc, so running a longer fartlek to feel is a good way to get some quality in.  

Good mileage Mr V. How did the 18 miler feel over the last few miles? I found it tough the first couple of times I went up to that kind of distance.

13/05/2013 at 13:13

Agree with YD with regards fartlek running. I use it mainly in early base period or when returning from injury or illness. Basically anytime I want to get some faster work in without putting too much stress on the body.

YD – Yeah I did feel quite tired in the last couple of miles, though I kept the pace pretty easy so it wasn’t too bad. I haven’t done too many long runs since injury so I expected it to be relatively tough. Should be easier next time out though now it’s in the legs.

13/05/2013 at 13:30

Mr V – they get easier quite quickly. I jumped up from 17 to 20 miles and found it tough, but after a 20 miler, the 16, 17 and 18 milers felt much much much more comfortable. Probably a mental thing for me, but running a 20 miler was like flicking an endurance switch, anything after that felt much more manegable.
Building up gradually like you are describing sounds like a much more sensible way of doing it though. Once you have a 20 miler under your belt it might be an idea to try a long run with some faster running in it. Maybe a 16 miler with the last 5 or 6 miles at MPish. Again, just to get a feel for adding quality to a long run so that when you do it for real in the Marathon campaign its not such a big shock.  

13/05/2013 at 15:24

YD  - Yes that is pretty much the plan and similar to what I did during base training at the end of last year. At that time I ran a few extremely hilly 18 milers and they felt fine (probably equivalent to 20 on a flattish route). I also did a couple of 16 milers with a sub 40 10k tagged on the end. If I go into mara training in similar shape to that I’ll be happy.  

Edited: 13/05/2013 at 15:25
13/05/2013 at 15:49
Mr Viper wrote (see)

 I also did a couple of 16 milers with a sub 40 10k tagged on the end.  



You're just showing off now!

13/05/2013 at 16:20

Thanks for the well dones.

Mr V - It was a fairly tough course, quite a lot of off road with some pretty tough hills. However it also had some nice downhill bits so wasn't all bad. The race is a very low key local one so does not attract the better club runners, hence why i finished 2nd! I am running the Hatfield Broad Oak 10K in a couple of weeks time which attracts about 1500 runners and is usually won in around 32/33 minutes so that will give me a good idea of my true pace. Would like to break my PB of 37:21 so will need to find about a minute from my time on Sunday.

When i was training for London marathon i found the 20 mile mark a bit of a mile stone and building up from 17 to 20 miles was mentally quite tough. Once i had got to 20 I then did a 22 and a 23 miler and neither of these were as tough mentally. One thing i wish i had done was do a few more fast finish long runs as i think that would really help at the end of the marathon. 


13/05/2013 at 17:31

Hello all! Mixed news in here, isn't it, and I have some more in a mo. But the big one for me is a big YEssssss! for BBB. Take a mo to think how far you've come. It's easier to appreciate a jump when it comes after a defined period of hard work but it's no less impressive when it comes as a result of week-on-week improvements! Good effort.

I'm back from Ethiopia, and back from the marathon. The former was great, the latter shocking - I'd been struggling with some knee pain, but also had been a bit lazy, never really tagging on with a group and doing some quality at altitude, so my runs had almost all started slow and got slower. Never really believed in the muscle memory thing, but it felt like it was working at the VLM - I slowed and slowed. Knew the pb wasn't happening when my mile time slipped in mile 5 for the same effort. The highlight was stopping for a pee at mile 14 - standing still in a cubicle was so lovely I nearly stayed there! At that point, as you might guess, my racing head had well and truly gone. Having started in the good for age area I'd had a lovely build up but, of course, piles of people came past me as I slowed! As the 3:30 pacers started to disappear with 1km to go I had a word with myself and my legs decided they weren't so bad and I looked a twit with a galloping finish, slipping in under 3:29.

Which is alright in the grand scheme of things, but a big come down from last year, and being passed throughout a race is mentally tough. I'd walked a fair bit, so recovered quite quickly and ran on the Tuesday. Never done that before, and there was certainly some machismo in my taking it on, but I ended up doing a fair tempo run then and Thursday. Some good training since and some hard parkruns meant I went to the Sutton 10k yesterday hoping that an 18:4x parkrun might translate to 38:xx; saw 9k at 34:15, so 3:45 for 38 mins. I managed to bash out the final k for a really pleasing 37:57. Very very pleased with that - only 40 seconds or so off my best.

I'm hoping that the altitude gave me a base and I'm now turning that to some pace with quality sessions. Lovely to feel 'back'.

13/05/2013 at 19:56

Mr V, I don't think their schedules are all that bad and I know a lot of people like them. I haven't read the book in full for a while, so apologies if I misunderstand something that is covered in the text, but looking at their Marathon Training Schedule C (greater than 60 miles a week) from the Road Racing for Serious Runners book, I have the following criticisms

1) I don't like their basic speed sessions. For one thing the reps/sets are too high for them to work true basic speed. Also there are only 5 of them across the 17 weeks, and they are quite spread out, so there is not much reinforcement. I understand they're included to maintain speed for shorter distance races rather than to specifically help one's marathon target.

I think it would be far better to add 8-10 form strides near the start of one or more easy runs. These will help maintain speed, but will also provide time to think about technique and work on form.

2) Their VO2 max workouts are too slow (e.g. 6 x 1k @ 8k-10k race pace) and there are not enough of them. I don't think there's anything wrong with 10k pace workouts, especially for a marathon runner, but it would be nice to see some 5k and faster stuff early in on the schedule to try and get VO2 max up before shifting focus to endurance/threshold training

3) I think the long run / medium long run pattern every single week is too repetitive.

4) The lactate threshold runs are not long enough. I think there is a lot to be said for combining a medium long run and a lactate threshold run. E.g. 2 miles easy; 3 miles @ LT; 3 miles easy; 2 miles @ LT;  3 miles easy. That's 13 miles covered with some good quality running in. This type of session could replace a few of the long runs.

5) There are no MP runs. When the goal is to run 26.2 miles at a certain pace/intensity it seems ridiculous not to practise this pace/intensity at all in training. A couple of 16-17 milers with 10 @ MP would be a good replacement for a long run. And shorter MP sections could be included in easy runs when feeling good.

I much prefer Daniels' marathon schedules.

13/05/2013 at 20:32

Mr V - when do you start your marathon training?  When I'm not marathon training I keep my long run around 16 miles, moving it up to a couple of 18s in the last few weeks then I'm ready to go straight into 20s.  I did 9 this time round and of those I only did 2 with MP miles in them.  In fact I didn't do much MP work at all and most was incorporated into shorter runs.   

13/05/2013 at 20:57

Simon, Saucony Grid Type A5 might be worth having a look at. It's got less on the sole than the Hyperspeed but a comfortable and light shoe. 

The holes on the bottom of the Hyperspeeds are strange, really not sure what they were going for at all. 

I'm very guilty of not doing enough of #5 on your list. I have good cadence, but dropping it a touch and really trying to get more out of each stride will be of benefit. 

YD, similar to what Simon's suggested looking at 200s/100s at 1500/800 pace in the form of aerobic power/VO2 max sessions works well. 2*8*200 @ 1500 (200 jog rec) or 10-12*100 @ 800 pace (100j rec) are nice little sessions that help you develop aerobically and improve speed without being too stressful.

Regarding speed, Simon's list is good but I'd be tempted to approach is slightly differently, using weights as a supplementary workout and focusing on the actual act of running fast first. Uphill sprints are good to begin with (e.g. 6*8s w/5-6 min rec) up a steady hill (too steep will impact on form a lot).

Downhill sprints are good for overspeed training, but the injury risk is high so do them last! 

The big thing to remember is that to improve max speed, you must run at max speed. Simple but you can play around with that like you would for improving VO2 max, for instance. Skill sprints (a specific distance split up into various %ages of max speed), fly ins (maximal sprinting that you run into at a decent clip to minimise acceleration), in outs (e.g. 150m, split up into hard stride/max sprint/ease down), accelerations (100m where you start slowish and increase speed until the final 20-30m are flat out).... plenty of options. 

Lots of 10k racing going on! Nicely done everyone.

Mr V, good to hear some feedback on the 4. They've changed the cushioning from the Progrid to the Powergrid (which I really dislike as it wrecked the Triumph series) which does seem to have given it a harder sole. Very good week's worth of training there.

TOM (luckiest bastard on RW) - nice to see you back, shame the marathon didn't go to plan but what a base to build on.

My results are in from Thursday, ran 56.64 which isn't too bad but not what training pointed to of course. Just a case of setting off way too fast. Still think I am in very good shape and just got my pacing wrong. Need to reign in the first 100 a little bit and cruise the back straight more.

Didn't get a chance to get to the track Sunday, didn't get a chance to do anything in fact yesterday. Did 3*150 w/11'00 rec this morning - 19.7, 19.5, 19.3 which was really good. Me & cs are in Paris Sunday - Thursday, so planning on really nailing a hard week's training then taking it very easy next week to recover.

I'm entered into Aberdeen's Union Street Mile on June 8th. Very high standard so I'm really hopeful I can dip well into the 4'xx range. 

13/05/2013 at 21:46

Simon - Advanced Marathoning is the P&D book most people are referring to not Road Racing for Serious Runners.
The second edition has a 12 week and 18 week schedules for up to 55 miles per week, 55-70 miles, 70-85 miles and more than 85 miles.

The 18 week 55 - 70 miles per week schedules have the following:

6 x Lactate threshold runs (between 15k and HM pace) starting at 4 mile and up to 7 miles
4 x MP runs starting with 16m w/ 8m@MP up to 18m w/ 14m @ MP
6 x VO2 Max sessions from 6 x 800m@5k  to  3 x 1600m@5k
3 x tune up races 2 between 8k and 15k and one in taper between 8k and 10k
Strides most weeks, between 6-10 x 100m usually as part of a 6 - 8m run. Loads of Medium long runs (11m - 16m) sometimes 2 in a week.
4 long runs of 20+ miles, 6 x  17m - 18m long runs (including some MP runs listed above)

My criticism of P&D is there should be more longer runs of 20 mile and more, there is only one 22 miler, I would like two or three runs of over 22 miles.
I would also drop a couple of Vo2 max sessions and add in a couple more MP tempos, maybe as part of some of the existing MLR’s.
Overall I think they are good schedules that get the runners doing decent mileage that is well balanced with a good mix of quality. My thinking is P&D is a good place to start from but would probably end up adjusting as I went along. Though I agree Daniels’ Marathon schedules also look good, with some better LT/tempo sessions than the P&D sessions.

Thanks Duck, I am putting together a bit of a schedule based on some of the suggestions you and Simon made. I will post up when I am clear on what I plan on doing.
Enjoy Paris, if you do the place justice you should come back about 8 pounds heavier 

4.7 miles @ 7:18/m for me tonight, with a 45 minute Pilates class sandwiched in the middle. I just ran to feel and that pace came out, it will drop once I start to add in more miles. Still some mild aching from my left hip flexor but ok to run on, it was fine during the Pilates class.

Edited: 13/05/2013 at 21:48
13/05/2013 at 21:47

First ten miler today. Cruised first 6 miles and found I was running into the wind last few miles, and really felt the lactic acid build up last 2km but all in all very happy. Stuck to McMillan's recommended pace too which was as hard as the run itself!

So 10 miles in 1:23:50 at an (almost) conversational pace sets me in good stead for a half marathon. Still not sure how adventurous I should be when setting the target for the half marathon. I guess I'll see how the next couple of months go and reassess then.

13/05/2013 at 21:56

TOM - good to see you back, shame about VLM, but excellent work on the strong 10k, good recoveries powers as well. I would think that 10k pb will take some damage one you get some specific work in the legs.

Tom K - good work on the 10 miler. You shouldn't be getting lactic build up at conversational pace, what pace band were you running at?

13/05/2013 at 22:07

YD: Duck come back from Paris 8 pounds heavier...they use euros. Don't do what I did and try to visit the Ritz: it is currently being refurbished. Settle for the Hotel Bristol where the Beckhams have the whole of the top floor at 15,000 euros a night. Plus food.
Re the long runs for marathons I tend to agree that the 22-23 milers give that "miles in the legs" feeling and confidence. Sometimes people get too hung up by the distance as well: 3 hours on the fells works wonders, for less miles!
Fartlek: I am an advocate, particularly when recovering from injury, or a step when building towards more structured speed work. It, too, is good for both confidence and enjoyment: and the latter is what is all really about!

BBB: either I missed your Leicester references, or more likely I am beginning to suffer from the forgetfulness that afflicts we older people! Saturdays were either 2.30 at the Tigers or 3.00 at Filbert Street...or Grace Road in the summer. Have you ever run at Bradgate Park: perfect running territory?! We used to hold county cross country training there. Tough but fun, and I still run there whenever I visit my mother who now lives in Groby.

CB: a real long run today! 26 minutes, albeit with a stretch break after 18.

13/05/2013 at 22:12

Y D: it was only the last couple of miles. Legs just felt a bit heavy, but thats probably due to the fact its the first time I've done 10m and there was a few hills and bridges to cross etc.

Macmillan puts my long run pace at 5:20, and I sat around 5:15-5:20 for the majority of the run, and the last couple were 5:23, 5:25 and 5:26 so tailed off a touch. I didn't cramp up during or after, I think it was just that my legs got tired, because as I said, its the first time I've ran that distance, and I'd already walked 5miles to and from uni during the day. But apart from feeling a bit tired, legs feel absolutely fine now. Sound okay?

Edited: 13/05/2013 at 22:13
13/05/2013 at 22:21

I've typed my message so slowly YD has already replied re P&D but I'll leave my bit in anyway as I can't be bothere to delete...

Simon - Thanks for your feedback. The schedule me and YD have been looking at  looks a bit different to that. Perhaps they've ammended it in the newer book. They now have regular sessions of 8x100 strides, the VO2 max pace is all at 5k pace, LT sessions go up to 7 miles and there are definitely MP runs included. We have added some tweaks though. The order they go for is endurance, LT and then VO2 max - though you seem to favour doing VO2 max work first?

Minni - The 29th July is 12 weeks out so officially then. However I'll do some transitional stuff throughout July so I'll be in marathon head space from then on. Interesting that you didn't do much MP work. Do you think the key to your success this time was the volume of those 20 plus milers?

TOM - You sounds back in the groove. PB time soon i think.

13/05/2013 at 22:26

Minutes per mile please Tom!!! As it was you first time over 10 miles absolutely you should feel tired towards the end. Good work.

- didn’t think teachers were that well paid? The Hotel Bristol sounds nice 

Edited: 13/05/2013 at 22:30
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