The Middle Ground

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30/07/2013 at 14:55

Blue Peter - Welcome! You really threw yourself in at the deep end with the Mara and Ironman. Gulp. Still, should have given you a great base to work off as you look to pick your basic speed up. And yes, I was on 22:37 for 5k I think when I joined the thread in February - though had already knocked a couple of minutes off over the previous month...was on 24:36 on the 1st Jan! The devil's in the detail of course, and I may also be completely wrong, but if I had to summarise what I feel has pushed me on this year:

1. Increasing mileage to 25+ per week where possible - tick for you already.
2. A long run building up towards 10 miles - perhaps a tick for you?
3. Forcing myself to run my easy miles easier than I'd really like.
4. Thus being fresh to attack the quality sessions, being ambitious with tempo and interval paces, and mixing those sessions up on a weekly basis, so I've always been throwing something different at myself to adapt to.
5. Regular racing, which I think has sharpened me up, but just as importantly given me regular feedback on progress, which I've then used to tweak my training paces accordingly.

To expand on the quality sessions, and intervals in particular, I've pushed the pace but kept the volume on the low side. I've really used the interval work, particularly initially, to introduce faster paces to myself, rather than look for an immediate full training effect. So, my first interval session was just 2 x 1k slightly faster than 5k pace, and I then built up slowly from there. I've also leaned towards keeping the intervals on the long side - so didn't look at any pace harder than a few (10 - 15 at most maybe?) seconds per mile quicker than my 5k race pace until tackling an 800m session at notional 3k pace as set by Simon within the last couple of months or so.

Anyway, there's clearly more than one way to skin the proverbial cat, but keep us posted with what you tackle and how you're progressing. Your 20:xx target sounds eminently doable before the year is out with a decent training block. Good luck.


Edited: 30/07/2013 at 14:58
BluePeter    pirate
30/07/2013 at 20:14

Cheers Bob, mileage fluctuating between 20-25 at the mo. As I'm still biking when I can. Long runs around 8-12 miles at the mo. rest of it I had been doing a mix of easy 5milers (like today) and tempo stuff. but no real structure. Started last week with 4x0.5miles off 1min then this week the 10x0.25 off 1min. Going to alternate these with some hill reps. I definietly need to keep doing the speed work as I havent ever done it before and I think this will bring me most benefit.

Looking at doing a 5k parkrun in a few weeks to guage where I am and then target one October/November time.

30/07/2013 at 22:03

Alehouse- 8 stone 2. I am a touch taller than you and when my weight drops below 11 stone my mates start mocking me for being skinny. They are fat out of shape bastards though. I think it is the same in most sports. Look at Rugby. The backs in the 80s etc were normal sized blokes, now (particularly the welsh lads) they are bigger than the forwards were then.

Blue Peter- no point lurking away. Thnink Bob has told you as much as I can.

Bob- best take it easy with that niggle then.

Another track session tonight. Planned 6 x 1k. Ended up doing 5 x 1k, followed by a slow 800 then 5 x 200m. Mcmillan suggested 3,45 km/min pace based on last 5k, but I am feeling a bit better than that so I aimed for just under sub 6 min mile pace which is 3.42. First 4 came in between 3.35-3.40 then the last one I lost it a bit at 3.44. Will ease down a bit now over next few days in prep for a parkrun on Saturday. 

01/08/2013 at 09:15

BP - All sounds good to me. Adding those intervals, if they're at the right intensity and you stay in one piece, will surely bring that 5k time down, given the fact you've not tackled them before. Keep us posted.

DT - My cricket chairman gave me a stern, 'don't you lose any more weight' on Saturday afternoon! Fact is, I don't actually want to lose any more anyway and eat beyond appetite if I find myself dropping below what I am now, but with a BMI almost smack in the middle of the 'healthy' range, I'd have barely been considered even trim back in Alehouse's running heyday! Sounds a good track session for you there. Look forward to seeing what you pull off at parkrun on Saturday. Conditions look good for Saturday morning on the forecast.

And yes, still off my feet with the niggle. Definitely no 1500m intervals tonight in preparation for next week's 3000m, which has to now be in doubt too. Does actually feel a little better so far today - considering a short, grassy jog with some support later if a brisk walk at lunchtime feels ok, but will err on the side of caution. May have to bail out of Saturday's cricket too. Grrr.

Right - never did update the WAVA table. I'll convenently ignore the fact that it is now 1st August, and get a last update in of the July table before the April performances drop out.


Calculator here:

85.38% robT (5K, 17.00, Jun)
82.02% PhilPub (Marathon, 2:35:54, April)
80.98% Velloo (5K, 18:53 May)
80.98% Simon (1500, 4:21.2, July)

79.49% Duck (800m, 2:07.2 July)
77.22% Wardi (5k, 19:54 July)
73.23% MrV (5K, 17:37, June)
70.16% Dr.Dan (5K, 20:22, April)
70.04% BBB (5k 19:47, July)

68.76% WJH (5M 30:55, May)
68.75% DT19 (10K, 40.25, April
67.20% Alehouse (5K 23:40, July)
62.34% CB (5K 21:25, Month?)

Needs updating:

79.83% PRF (5K, 17:54, March)
68.82% Young Pup (5K, 19:59 March)

01/08/2013 at 12:24

I know CB ran 21:26 in June! Where are you CB? I'll be marshalling tonight, as usual.

01/08/2013 at 12:36

Alehouse, what were you running for 800/1500? It must have been close to 2 and 4 minutes.

DT, I couldn't manage 4 x 1600 @ vVO2 max either (8-minute race pace), but could manage that session at 15-minute pace, which is still a useful V02 stimulus. Or I could do 5 x 1000 @ vVo2 max. Nice track session there.

Hello, Blue Peter. A heart rate monitor can be great for intervals over a hilly course - pace will vary so much that it's not a great indicator. On the other hand, if you just run "hard" you're probably hitting the right zone.

Probably a wise choice to stay away from 3k pace given your niggle, Bob. Hope it clears up soon. Were you at the stadium on Saturday? I ended up on the big screen doing a mobot (didn't know what else to do).

Did a gruelling session yesterday:

4 x 400m(63")[4']

I actually only managed 64" for the last rep and this was followed by 15 minutes of feeling sick and dizzy and unable to walk properly. The goal was lactic tolerance, but I've ever felt quite so bad after a session and think the heat was partly to blame.

Based on that session I think 2:06 would be ambitious, but 2:07 might be within my reach. I'll find out next Wednesday I guess. I must say I won't be sad to see the back of those types of sessions for another 10 months.

01/08/2013 at 12:45

Simon: 2:00.2 /4:04 (although ran 4:18 something mile, which is better). Didn't race those distances when I was at my fittest, concentraing more on the steeplechse (9:22). Think I could certainly have gone faster over 1500.
Not nice feeling like that at the end of a session: remember it only too well!

Re next week's race, running 2:06 is still is all about strict pacing in 800, which I could never do, hence running 2:00 and bits several times!

01/08/2013 at 18:58

Evening all - right, need some injury advice

I had been feeling a slight niggle in the lower half of my left calf (presumably as a result of something I did during my run on Monday) on Tuesday and Wednesday but it didn't really feel too bad at all, so I went out for my easy run last night, aiming to do 7.5k.

Got through the first 4 or 5k ok and then started feeling the calf more and more until it was really quite painful in the last km. I carried on til the end (perhaps a mistake) and finished the run at a consistent pace so the injury didn't really stop me too much, but don't think I could have run much further or any faster to be honest.

I did the RICE treatment stuff last night and to be honest today it has felt pretty much ok (probably similar to how it felt on Tuesday). Got some more ice on it now as I type!

So, my question is this - with my first 10k race planned for 2 weeks on saturday, I know I need to be careful and make sure I let my calf recover or else the race will be a waste of time. So I've already decided to sack off my planned interval session tomorrow night. What is the best tactic to use over the next couple of weeks? I want to let the calf recover, but don't want to lose all of the advances I feel I've made over the past 6 weeks! Should I give it a week's complete rest and then try to pick up from where I left off, or should I try to incorporate some easy running earlier ie. as soon as I don't feel any pain in the calf at all from walking, driving etc?

Simon - I was also at the Olympic stadium on Saturday and think I remember seeing that on the big screen. Was it in the section when the bloke in orange won the Nectar points by jumping around like a loony?! I was really hoping the camera didn't come onto me during that section as I think I also would have not known what to do really! haha

02/08/2013 at 00:33

Bob- I do find the age thing slightly over compensating, in that in 2 years and a bit when I am 40 I genuinely expect to be a better runner than I am now yet my wava will be easily on 70 for slower times. However, if I was you I would embrace it!! Well for me, even at 11 stone my bmi is  circa 24. I just think, looking at any sport the general model of what someone should look like is very different now compared to 25 years ago.

Simon-thanks for clarifying. Good session there. I have felt properly sick after races and training but not for 15 mins! Quality moves on the old mobot by the way, what else could you do there!

Andrew=- No pointme advising you how to manage an injury/pain. My approach is to ignore them and treat them on a basic level and hope they go away. Its worked so far! I had lower leg issues of late and spent time stretching properly and doing the exercise of standing on 1 leg on pillows and so far it really seems to have helped.

I was stiff yesterday after Tuesdays track session, I think it was the 5 x 200 at end that did me as not used to that pace. Battled through a 7 mile recovery last night then 30 mile bike commute today. Rest tomorrow for parkrun Saturday. Decided I am sticking to pace this time, instead of chasing guys I know and smashing off at 6mm. I really want 19.15 so going to pace myself from the start for that and ignore anyone else.

02/08/2013 at 10:00

Simon - That session sounds horrible...if that's what it takes to properly focus on middle distance, I might have to abandon any thoughts of exploring whether I've got some potential in that sort of territory!  Was Sunday I was at the stadium, but they did a similar 'face in the crowd does daft celebration' that day too. Was going to pull my shirt off and twirl it round my head had the camera alighted on me, so probably best for all concerned (particularly my poor family) that it didn't happen! And thanks - I think the niggle is clearing. The lawn needed a mow last night, so decided to leave the running for another 24 hours - will give it a short go tonight and decide whether I'm fit for cricket tomorrow, but more optimistic about that now. If it holds up for both of those, I'll go a bit longer on Sunday, try something quicker on Monday, and then decide whether to have a stab at the 3000m just for the experience - I'm already feeling lethargic from the downtime so wouldn't be expecting much. I've found out that an even more local track is holding a Mile / 3000m event next month though, so will hopefully have a chance to have a blast at those before the season closes.

Andrew - Like DT, I'm not really the best person to be dishing out injury advice, but it probably depends how it feels. If it's just stiffness, some easy running sooner rather than later might loosen it up, if it's a pull, I'm pretty sure you'd need to be more cautious. Can you cross train (bike/swim?) to keep yourself topped up aerobically? I did a bike session when I had a tight calf a few months back. Keep up with the icing and elevation, though there seems to be some doubt about the compression element now apparently.

DT - Aye. Have similar expectations for myself in terms of beating the advancing years by continuing to get quicker as I progress through my 40s. For those of us at a fairly moderate standard and without a real running background, then that's perfectly possible if we train harder and with more focus in the right areas I'd think. For those at the top end who are already at a peak however, then I guess the age limitations do kick in no matter what you do, and as it's there that the benchmarks are set, that all filters down to the rest of us, who despite the advancing years are actually bringing our own performances up to meet the various WAVA percentage lines as they come down. And yes, I think you're probably right about most sports in terms of ideal body shape - certainly rugby as you earlier suggested, with the way those guys now smash seven bells out of each other in a way that just didn't happen in the past. Not sure it's the case with runners though? With no contact, and a simple requirement to run as fast as you can, for as long as you can, surely the ideal model for each event would be the same now as it ever was? Hope the stiffness has left you by tomorrow morning for parkrun - good luck with the pacing and the 19:15 shot.

02/08/2013 at 13:22

Thanks for the comments - it feels light a slight strain if I'm being honest. Think the problem is I'm not sure (having never experienced this before) how much effect taking a week off training will make. Will it set me back to the start (one extreme), not at all (other extreme) or somewhere in that vast space in the middle?! Oh well, guess it's all a learning curve and ultimately the race in a couple of weeks isn't my only target, merely a step along the way, so even if it went much slower than I was hoping for a couple of days ago that wouldn't be a disaster.


02/08/2013 at 13:55

Hi everyone been another decent training week here...allbeit on the treadmill. My Garmin charger has broken at the moment so have ordered a new one! Nice to make the most of my gym membership too!

Hi Blue has been said, that's some way going in at the deep end like you have with a marathon and Iornman! Sounds like you have built a fair base behind you then and adding some quality will help to reduce the 5k time! Good luck with your targets...

Good news on the injury front there Bob and good that you have taken a little bit of rest. If you can't do the 3,000 there will be more chances with the bigger picture in mind! I have to admit though...all the talk of track work on this thread...and my brother and mutual friend back in Wales with their track sessions has got me thinking on whether I am missing out with this as a key session or not (i.e. for improving speed up to 10k distance).

Question for Alehouse in relation to the above you think you'd have achieved your times doing quality sessions on your own if you hadn't have trained with a group of faster runners? I am suspecting I know the answer already...but would you say it made a significant rather than a little bit of a difference? As for the weight discussion, I am a monster weight in comparison to your prime race weight! Still over the recommended 25 BMI I think at 5ft9 and 12 stone 4.  

Good luck with the Parkrun and target time tomorrow DT. Will be interesting to see if the recent mileage and quality sessions are paying off!

Andrew - the only thing I would suggest is rest it if you arn't sure and try to ignore the fact your 10k is in a few weeks. I run with a minor niggle a bit like that which Dan has had with his foot (plantar fasciitis I think it is) but much less's not an injury bit does give a bit of grief for a day or so after a race and perhaps a little when I wake up and walk for 2 minutes first thing. A lot of the time I guess it's about knowing your body as best you can and recognising what might be a niggle or an injury. The only other thing I would say perhaps is not to force things if not sure. Easier said than done of course...but with hardly any running and putting on 2 and a half stone in 2011, i'd personally not have a problem with taking two weeks or even a month out when considering the bigger picture! I'd only perhaps be more dissapointed if it happened training for a marathon (although learn't some harsh lessons there too). Cross training could even be very beneficial too as your body is adapting to the increased running load...I am no expert either but that's my view on it.

Feeling pretty good at the moment fitness wise - hard to say whether July which largely consisted of steady mileage will have a benefit on times in Parkruns/races coming up but am confident nonetheless of a bit of a drop in times soon. Also entered the Manchester marathon for next April the other day another long term focus sorted to keep the interest going!

Edited: 02/08/2013 at 13:59
02/08/2013 at 14:32

I think most non-elites are overweight (for runners).

I'm currently 10st 12 (6'1") which I think is still probably about 8 pounds over my ideal race weight. I did plan to get down to it this season, but as competition season drew nearer I didn't have enough time in which to lose weight and also maintain the strength.

However, I've decided to run the Cabbage Patch 10 in October though and am going to experiment with how light I can get for that.

Andrew, you will lose virtually no fitness in a week, especially if you can manage a couple of cross training sessions. One danger is you'll put on a few pounds if you're not training as much (appetite tends to take a while to catch up with reduced training load), so be careful there.

Often complete rest isn't actually needed. in your position I'd probably have a couple of days rest and then try some short light runs and progress.

I was on the big screen earlier than the nectar point bit - it wasn't a magnum kiss thing or competition - just a quiet section of the day and the cameraman picking people at random.

Bob, it'll be worth doing the 3000 even if you're not feeling brilliant for experience of racing over a shorter distance/on the track. that way you'll be better prepared for the next one

DT, I don't think age grading tables overcompensate at all. You'll be a better runner in 2 years because your training age is young. If you'd been at constantly it for 20 years I'm sure you'd find your performance dropping.

02/08/2013 at 14:35

Andrew - If you had a week off, in my (very limited) experience you'd lose very little of the fitness gains you've already made, and provided the injury itself did not come back to haunt you during the race, I'm sure it will make no difference to the time you may otherwise have achieved. I had a shin problem back in late April / early May and had a full week off. Came back with some gentle laps of a local playing field to take advantage of a softer surface, and felt a bit sluggish for the first couple of runs, but after building up gently over the following few days (keeping to the grass), including a game of cricket the day before, I went out and knocked 2 minutes off my 10k PB in the race I'd been building up for - exactly 2 weeks from when the problem had surfaced, so a similar time scale to that which you're looking at.

Off to that same playing field tonight to test out the current niggle.

EDIT. Cross-posting.

Simon - Aye, that's exactly my thinking too - thanks.

WJH - Treadmill all week - urggh. 

Edited: 02/08/2013 at 14:40
02/08/2013 at 14:57

Andrew, Continuing that theme- I had a bulging disc in my back in March. Chiro told me not to run until he got it straight. I spent 4 weeks (as it was icey etc out) attending spin classes at the gym, doing 6 a week. He gave me the nod to run 4 weeks later on the wednesday, i got one run in and then did my seasons best 10k on the sunday!

Simon- I think bob/you have realigned my thoughts on it in that it essentially is a far more useful tool for someone that has run from an early age so their running age kind of marries up with their actual age and they do genuinely peak at a certain age and then see a fall back. On the weight point, i really struggle to get my weight below 11 stone and maintain it there so at 5'8, i am a comparable lard arse!

Wjh- Re the point on the track training question, there are a  couple of guys at my club who 18 months ago were stuck at the circa 39/40 mark. They suddently stopped coming on our tuesday sessions and then reappeared at 10k;'s doing 37 mins. They had switched to train with the track group and credit their improvement over 12 months entirely on those sessions. Brave move on the marathon, have you run one before? There were issues with Manchester this year if i recall correctly re the course measurement etc and cock ups with the timings and results.

Weather looking sensible for tomorrows parkrun so hopefully that will translate into a good run. I need 19.25 to make a dent in my runbritain handicap which i  have seen slowly get worse since april, so at the very least it would be good to get a scoring run in for that which is my B target. Otherwise beating the 19.34 i did last time will suffice!

On the point of parkrun- I noted last time I was there that only a handful of club runners wear their vest for it. Its the most appropriate running top I have but dont want to be frownded upon or secretly mocked. Do people think a club vest at parkrun is acceptable?


Edited: 02/08/2013 at 15:01
02/08/2013 at 15:55

DT - Club vests do tend to be in a minority at parkrun, but largely because club runners themselves are in a minority I'd think. Quick glance at recent results of the 2 that I've run would suggest about 75-80% of those taking part, including plenty towards the top end, are unattached. I certainly don't think there's a problem wearing a club vest, and although they are in a minority, there's still many that do - if that's the best thing for you to wear, wear it. 

Simon - Just taken in the detail of your height and weight. You're the same height as me, and already about 9lb lighter. I'd need to lose the best part of another stone and a half to get down to what you consider your ideal race weight...bloody hell!

02/08/2013 at 22:14

Thanks for all the feedback guys - think I probably am just worrying more than is necessary! Will take it easy for another couple of days then throw in a shorter easy paced run and see how that goes. Good to hear that a week off doesn't affect fitness too much (if at all) though!

good luck with park runs and any other races which people may have at the weekend.

03/08/2013 at 20:20

Sorry for the delay in replying, Andrew. I think you need to get to the underlying cause of the injury (unless it was, of course, due to an accident, e.g. going over on the affected leg in some way), or at the very least look at ways to strengthen the lower legs especially. All too often these may not be strong enough to cope with our work load and may need particular attention, whether it be stretching or strength work, or ideally both. A couple of the physios and a sports masseuse that I know are very much of this view: all too often we do too much too soon (and I am guilty as charged!). In my younger years I built up very gradually over a number of years, and also used either circuit training or weights to supplement my training, although I never gave much thought as to why, and what affect it might be having on my legs. As an older runner I neglected much of the strength and stretching work: it is quite possible that the calf problem that I had, which eventually developed into the stubborn Achilles issue that required an op, would have been prevented by a more rigorous and consistent approach to strength and stretching. This article prompted my reply, and I hope it will give you something to think about (and others also!):

BluePeter: welcome. To BBB's list I would add three S's:- suppleness
- strength (see above!)
- speed. I know that you have started your quicker work but I would have advised using fartlek and strides before the more formal sessions.

WJH: unless extremely disciplined I would always go for running in a group and feel it made a substantial difference. Sometimes the session might not be exactly what you want, but even then I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for most of us. It is probably different for those who are aiming for a representative vest where sessions need to be more specific.

BBB: all being well I will be running in Bradgate in the morning!

03/08/2013 at 22:50

Re group training- since having the baby I have not made club sessions so been doing my speedwork alone. I am fairly disciplined and like the fact that the session is set personally by me. I think where I fall down however compared to be in our group run is the recovery. In a group it would be jogged and would be strictly timed, whilst on my own I do end up taking longer than I otherwise would.

Parkrun went reasonably well this am. Came in at 19.23. Not quite A target but B target met and my first runbritain handicap gain in a while and maybe a slight wava improvement and 11 second pb. On McMillan it predicts a 10k time of 40.15 so closing in on things. I thought I was going to get A target. I was about 200m from line at 18.40, so if I had a finish in me I would have done it, however I started to push and instantly felt the burn in the stomach and had to pull back unfortunately. That time should also give me a more accurate set of upgraded training paces compared to the recent times in the heat.

Edited: 03/08/2013 at 22:51
BluePeter    pirate
04/08/2013 at 15:52

Cheers for the tips everyone, Alehouse I take it you mean strides during warmup for the quality sessions?

had a rare couple of days off this week due to night shifts and going to old Trafford friday for the cricket...which was a very long beer day. Back on it today with a 10 mile LSR sticking within McMillan paces and heart rate also seems to be following roughly z2. working next two weekends so the following week planning on hitting parkrun to see where I am currently at.

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