The Middle Ground

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13/05/2013 at 22:35

Mr V - I think the key to my success this year was down to 2 years build up! There was nothing special this year, no PBs to speak of, no increased speed in sessions etc but I was sure I was in pb shape.  

I did the same 9 x 20+ last year for 3:20 but then ran 3:25 off only 1 x 18, 1 x 20 and 1 x 21 in the Autumn at the Town Moor. 

I think the essential thing is to feel comfortable on those long runs and make sure you get them banked.  I nearly always finish with a faster few miles, just because I start the the draw of home.  So my long runs would average about 8:30 but would start nearer 9 and end sub 8.  The long MP miles in long runs, to my understanding, are not so much to prove you can but to show if you can't.  So if you struggle with 10 @ MP after a 10m warm up then maybe MP is a tad too fast. 

Edited: 13/05/2013 at 22:36
13/05/2013 at 22:50

Sorry Y D. I have a habit of switching! Miles averaged around 8:30ish and last two were 8:41 and 8:45

14/05/2013 at 08:58

TOM, I was at the Nonsuch 10k on Sunday (observing, not running) - I was too busy trying to photograph clubmates too see anybody else. Did you get caught up with those dogs at 1k? Well done on your result.

YD, it sounds like they've sorted out the schedules quite a bit.

Mr V, MP is going to be limited by lactate threshold, which in turn is going to be limited by VO2 max, so one of the ideas behind doing VO2 stuff first is to raise it so that your lactate threshold has more room to shift up. I'm not completely convinced by this argument. Rather than shifting up independently, I think VO2 pulls up other limits below it - as though you have an elastic band with various intensities marked on it lying next to a ruler with paces marked on it. Stretching the band at the VO2 mark causes all the intensities below to be stretched as well.

As an example, my LT has improved by about 6-7 seconds/mile in the last month of VO2 training - and I did no LT work during this time.

P&D seem to work on a progression of more intense work. However, my personal experience is that you'll get gains from VO2 max training regardless of when you do it, and the gains will not be limited by previous work. With that in mind, I'd prefer to get VO2 done and out the way before concentrating on intensities and sessions that that are more important for the marathon

Thanks for the shoe suggestion, Duck. They look very similar to the Kinvaras.

Tom K, you'll definitely feel tired the first time you tackle a new distance. It'll feel a lot easier next time though.

14/05/2013 at 09:05
alehouse wrote (see)

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.


Yeah, guessed you must have missed my previous post on the subject!  I was waxing lyrical as I recall about happy winter Saturdays (2.30 or 3.00 ko as you say) at either Filbert Street (Lineker, Alan Smith, Mark Wallington, Stevie Lynex, Keith Weller, etc) or Welford Road (Dusty Hare, Les Cusworth, Clive Woodward, Paul Dodge et al) and sunny summer afternoons at Grace Road watching the likes of Nigel Briers, Chris Balderstone, Gordon Parsons, Aggers, Brian Davison and my favourite of the lot David Gower - the simple pleasure of watching the latter bat are some of my favourite childhood memories. Think I also mentioned seeing Brian Davison take John Traicos for 39 off an over in a World Cup warm up match in 1983. 6 x 6s including a no ball, and 3 off the 7th ball of the over! And the below was my first game at Filbert Street as a 7yo - a 3-0 FA Cup win over 1st Division Norwich (City were struggling in Div 2) and in my mind's eye I can still see Weller's white tights illuminated by the floodlights in the 2nd half as they flashed by us at eye level from our spot low in the East Stand - opposite the camera. Happy days!

And no, I've not run in Bradgate Park, but spent countless hours there as a kid with my Dad and grandparents leaping off walls, watching deer and climbing up to Old John. Although we now live in Notts, took the family down there a while back for old time's sake and will do it again - might take my running gear next time - I need to get some more hill work in - good idea! I nearly did a 10k just down the road in April actually - the Beacon Hill Bunny Run - another spot I spent hours and hours at as a kid.

14/05/2013 at 09:48

Right - back to 'business' as it were after that Alehouse inspired trip down Memory Lane!

Thanks for the further congrats on Sunday's run, all - and yes, T'Other Man - definitely taking pleasure from the progress I'm making - it is a fair old way I've come in just under 6 months, particularly for an old fart - cheers. Enjoying the journey, and have some increasingly clear ideas of where I want to get to, and how I'm going to get there as well, so whilst it can't continue at the same rate, hoepfully there's plenty more to come in time.

Mr V - Will see what I can do with the PBs! Was looking back yesterday in fact and from 16 (13 x parkrun, 3 x 10k) timed runs so far, effectively only 4 of them haven't been PBs. One was the first run back after a chest infection, another was across sheet ice, a third was a hilly 10k, and even the fourth I can probably put down to a near doubling of mileage over the previous 2 or 3 weeks! Think you'll be pulling some PBs back out of your own accord anyway in the coming weeks/months looking at that mileage you're back up to again - good to see.

DT19 - Managed to trim one of the low quality samples down for my profile pic - the watermark was helpfully just below my waist on the one I've used on here!

Tom K - Sounds sensible - right decision I reckon. And yes, get yourself down for another 10k when you can - did you ever get round to tackling a parkrun BTW?

Fartleks - As per some of the previous comments here, I used them a little as I built up my easy mileage earlier in the year, but other than for (too infrequent) hillwork, I don't really use them at the moment. I'm a stats geek, so like to have comparable runs (tempos, intervals, etc) to study after the event and measure progress - something you can't really do with a fartlek.

T'Other Man - Other than the mara, all sounds very positive stuff for you. Cracking run on Sunday - and some further rewards to be reaped from that altitude training I'm sure.

Duck - Enjoy Paris, and I'm sure it's all going to come together in a race for you very soon with all the great training you're putting in.

Got the trails back out, and took myself off to the local playing field for a gentle recovery run on grass last night. Legs felt surprisingly fresh considering and had to simmer myself down to 8:45 pace after realising I'd set off at about 7:55. I wonder whether sub-consciously I didn't actually give it everything on Sunday after the recent shin issues? Anyway, 3 lots of icing of the shin on Sunday, and another after I got back last night, seems to be keeping any recurring flare up at bay at least for now which is good news. Also had an unexpected cricketing call up to the 1st XI on Saturday. Effectively the third level of the club cricket pyramid in the County, and one that I had some success at for another club back in 2009-10 when I averaged 35+ across a full calendar year at one stage. Could be an interesting test, and a subtle shift, of my priorities if I can get a score on Saturday and re-establish myself at that level.

Edited: 14/05/2013 at 09:51
14/05/2013 at 10:19

Thanks Simon. I guessed that would be the case. 

No I didn't Bob. I had one penned in, but I woke up bright and early to find a couple of inches of snow on the ground. I will get one done when I get a chance, seems a bit silly I've got a 10km time, but not a 5km time! I'm moving from Loughborough to Leeds  in six weeks and I'm sure there will be park runs to do up there. I probably need to do a bit of speed work from now until then otherwise I'll probably just end up with a mediocre time which is only a few seconds faster than half my 10km time.

Great news with the cricket. Averaging over 35 at any level is impressive. Will be interesting to see how to deal with keeping up mileage if you get back into a routine of playing on a weekly basis

Edited: 14/05/2013 at 10:22
14/05/2013 at 12:42

The plan for Paris is to get drunk most days and eat lots of cheese (Curly, recommendations please). And Eurodisney. Going to come back very fat.

Simon, check the Brooks T7 as well, pretty lightweight. Not too expensive either IIRC.

Bob, I fully admit to knowing next to nothing about Cricket, but 35 for an innings, compared to what the Pros do sounds pretty good!

Back to back track sessions here - not ideal I know but given next week won't be much at all, I'm trying for quite a tiring week then fully recovering the next. 3*400 w/11'00 rec - 59.3/57.4/58.7 - very tired by the end! Felt strong though. I think I'd be happy splitting 61/62 for a first lap right now and it not feeling too difficult. 

14/05/2013 at 13:39

Bob, I always find my easy pace has picked up the day after a race. I think it's just because I'm tuned in to a faster pace.

I like the look of the T7s, Duck. £35 on Amazon for the yellow ones or £47 for the blue ones and £85 for the red.
I don't think back-to-back sessions are a problem occasionally, especially if they have a different focus. I look forward to seeing your 800 time off your recent training. I've got my first this Saturday since out August smackdown and seeing as I've done no LT work yet, but have improved endurance and speed I don't know what to expect.

14/05/2013 at 13:46

Seeing all you lot doing speed track sessions is making me think I'm missing out. It's annoying because I could potentially use the facilities that team GB used in the build up to the Olympics but can't because I'm not a member of the Athletics Union

14/05/2013 at 17:18

YD, you are quite right, teachers are not that well paid...good job I was in Paris with a couple of very generous doctors!

Meant to say, my pic (which incidentally I still can't change as it comes up with an error message) is a reminder of breaking my shoulder. Can't remember whether it is a pic from the first time r the second, though!!

BBB: I have a picture of Old John on the wall in front of me, painted by my mother.

14/05/2013 at 18:20

Some really interesting thoughts and discussion on marathon training. Slowly starting to get my head round the basic concepts of P & D and appreciating the ‘advanced marathoning’ tag it comes with.

Without seeing your detailed marathon training schedule Mr V and YD, I can certainly appreciate the flexibility aspects you are building into things. Just my opinion here, not one person is the same as another and what works for one may not work so well for someone else. Therefore, building in flexibility into a training programme is surely invaluable – the thing is though, is a training programme tweaked to build on your strengths, or to address any identified weaknesses?! This is where a training log is proving invaluable for me too. When I get round to another marathon I would hope to follow some sort of advanced schedule by then – all dependent on whether I still have the same motivation of course! However, I think building in flexibility in relation to key sessions that have worked for me previously will be invaluable!

One of the best sessions I did in the build up to Brighton looking back was a hard Parkrun followed by 18 miles with miles 13-17 at MP (or what worked out to be MP on the day which was soft compared to my half PB admittedly). This session left me for dead where my form had gone completely in the warm down mile. I am not sure if such a session is recommended by any sort of marathon training schedule but for me it certainly worked with the mental strength more than anything else and would definitely do something similar again! And the following week the 20 barrier was tough not as hard to achieve even at 7:50 pace throughout! I also found the first set of 17-18 milers tougher than the longest runs of my training.

Some great mileage there Mr V - things do seem to be on an upward curve and a great time with your marathon training about to start! What was the specific aim of the sub 40 10k at the end of your sessions previously? Was this at desired MP or was the objective of this more for mental preparation for the last 6 miles?

Minni – interesting to hear your thoughts on how you got to your marathon PB this year. Did you complete fewer warm up races in the lead up to to Brighton compared to previous marathons or keep them at the same number?

Alehouse – reading back, I think you meant Bob rather than me re: next month but good to see the longer running continuing this week!

Enjoy your break in Paris Duck. Hopefully the bad weather doesn’t affect any plans too much. A break may allow the legs to freshen up ready for the next set of PB’s including the mile race! Am taking note of both you and Simon’s comments on VO2 max training what with a mile race coming up at the beginning of June!

YD – indeed so and very proud of her too! She got round at the Marwell 10k in 74 minutes. I set a target time of 1:20 so was pleased to see her smiling coming through with 100 metres left despite the hilly nature of part of the course! She ran the Cardiff Bay 5 the week too and has built up to almost 20 Parkruns now. Sounds like a decent 4 miler yesterday!

Good to see you posting following your trip TOM and great 10k too!

Bob - good action shots and avatar! Definitely need to change my avatar from the lousy one I currently have! However, any action shots ever taken of me really are a sight for sore eyes! I need your speed at the end of races too btw – 5:30 pace is something I can only dream of at the moment even if it’s the last 0.1 km in a Parkrun...

Edited: 14/05/2013 at 18:20
14/05/2013 at 18:21

...Tom K – same as you here in that I’d love to give it a go. As stated previously, my club doesn’t do track sessions but in a way it’s nice to be in a club which is friendly rather than more serious about times, etc. It is also appealing to then go out and beat those from other local clubs with similar race times who have access to those facilities! An interval session is just that whether on a track or roadside pavement after all, unless you don’t have a GPS watch handy to measure how far you’ve run? Or are specifically training for a track race? That’s what I like to tell myself anyway!

Was meant to be doing speedwork tonight but may decide to do it tomorrow evening instead…then again if this weekends forecast is anything to go by, it could be good preparation for this weekend’s Netley 10k!  

14/05/2013 at 18:37

WJH: I have an app on my phone that does interval training and all sorts. I guess that's good enough for what I need it for but it would be really great to get out on the track once in a while. Off on a recovery 5km now. Hopefully can miss the showers that are about. Not in the mood to get caught in the rain!

14/05/2013 at 19:59

Sometimes this thread moves really fast!

Interesting marathon discussion, I'm reading with interest though I don't have much to add!

4 gentle miles in the rain and hail tonight.

14/05/2013 at 20:48

Just a quick note about track sessions - Scottish Athletics does track sessions for long distance runners around the country, maybe the England Athletics has a similar scheme? Not many people seem to know about the Scottish training sessions (which are free) so the English ones might also have a low profile...

Also reading the marathon discussion with interest, lots to think about.

14/05/2013 at 22:29

WJH -  completed about the same amount of races, which wasn't many. 1 HM (5 seconds slower than pb but on a harder course), 1 10k ( 2 seconds faster than pb but again on a harder course), and 1 5k (about 15 seconds slower than pb). I had another HM planned but it was snowed off and another I was doing at MP I pulled out at mile 10 a because I felt unwell (running with a virus).  

The thing that made the difference this year was simply confidence, I think. 

15/05/2013 at 09:24

TomK - Ah yes, that wonderful March that was more like a Siberian January - now followed by this wonderful May that is more like an English March. FFS.  Still been playing cricket every week BTW (well, lousy weather permitting anyway!) - just it has been 2nd XI stuff since mid-season 2011, so less intense and I've not been as committed. I didn't cope with the step up to Div A (tier two in the County) after promotion at my last club that well. Was coming up against pros with First Class experience, one bloke who'd made a ton against England A for a Kiwi rep side, and the guy who got my wicket that led to me being dropped had taken the winning wicket in the Oxford v Cambridge Varsity match the week before! Sounds like it's going to wazz down this Saturday anyway, so will probably be back in the 2s next week without hitting a ball in anger. 

Duck - Swift again...not far off your race pace there!

Interesting point, Si - hadn't thought of it that way.

Alehouse - Small world! Lovely spot up there - so atmospheric. Some great pictures on Google images that folk have captured of it too.

WJH - Thanks. Yes, good to now have a running avatar rather than the ample cricketer I had previously! And I'll swap you my finishing pace for your pace throughout the rest of a  Good luck with the weekend's 10k at Netley.

Shin still holding up well, and tonight might be my one window before next Wednesday for a quicker training session, so considering some interval work back on the grass of the local playing field that I'm starting to get rather familiar with...and not a little bored of. Still - it's worth it for a while if it keeps me on my feet.

15/05/2013 at 10:08

Anyone done the Humber Bridge 10k before?

WJH – I agree with you with regards to the flexibility. For me once I’ve worked out what the plan is going to be then I’ll just use it as a rough guide. I just want to know at roughly what stage I should be doing what sessions. Basically it’s just so I have a bigger picture and know I’m working on the right area at the right time. Of course if YD recovers and does opt for the mara campaign then I’d follow the plan more closely so we are doing the same thing and can compare. As it will be my first marathon I don’t know what my strengths and weaknesses are in relation to the distance so that isn’t something I have to worry about yet!

With regards the fast finishing long runs, I think I was coming to the end of base training and was prepping for a half marathon (which unfortunately was cancelled in the snow so I never got to race when I was at my fittest.) I was just practising running fast on tired legs for the last 3 miles. The aim was MP although in reality a sub 40 10k is a bit quicker than that for me.

Minni – Just goes to show there is no substitute for experience in the marathon! The P&D schedule has most long runs starting easy and finishing quite quickly (I think starting MP plus 20% and finishing at Plus 10%) so I will be copying you on that front. Do you do your MP miles in training at actual mara race pace then? I normally do MP runs in training at around 6.35 pace but would be aiming for 10-15 secs a mile slower on race day. I suppose as you are experienced at maras and a good convertor the paces probably match up anyway?

15/05/2013 at 10:18

It's soggy out there! Currently work avoiding.

7 soggy miles this morning with 12x200m (200m recovery). Again, no looking at paces, but the 200s felt more relaxed and easier than the last couple of times I've done this session.

Music teacher from school is racing Christleton too - I've been practising by looking at the back of his head!

15/05/2013 at 12:47

Mr V - I tend to do shorter MP miles, ie blocks of 5 - 8 miles at my training MP, which is also my PMP.  However, on longer runs, ie blocks of 4 miles within a 20 or the last 10 miles of a 20m run etc, I tend to run a bit quicker.  I know this sounds odd but I just always feel much more comfortable when I'm doing 20 milers! 

So my MP this time round was 7:26 and most of my shorter MP was around 7:24, however my longer run MP miles were usually about 7:17.  I went out a did 10 @ MP just before the marathon at something like 7:04 and it felt comfortable!

Really I could probably have gone out quicker during my last marathon but I really wanted to nail a good marathon in terms of execution as well as finish time.

So to answer your question, personally I think if you can get MP to feel comfortable at a given pace then drop the pace slightly for the marathon you'll run a pretty even pace.


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