The Middle Ground

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06/05/2010 at 19:24
Zion - I used to take slimfast after every race or hard run, just got into bad habits as the years have moved on! 
06/05/2010 at 19:35

PRF - after the Madrid bombs I did genuinely think that FLM was a prime target as there were 40,000 people travelling the capital with rucksacks and bags, then congregating in one area at Blackheath very closely packed at the start.

Interesting question about when an event does become fair game for satire.  Blackadder was widely admired even though it was screened when for thousands of people the event was within living memory.

06/05/2010 at 19:45

I actually thought the same when the IRA stopped the Grand National with a bomb threat. It was a bit nerve wracking going to the start of LM knowing that they'd turned their attention to large sporting events.

Having seen the trailer for Four Lions it looks pretty obvious that its a piss take of the terrorists and actually looks pretty funny. Blackadder/Dads Army etc all could be deemed equally 'offensive' but it doesnt mean that its wrong to show them. Everyone has the choice not to watch.

The only thing thats realistic about it is that they start the London Marathon having done no training!  

07/05/2010 at 08:38
The earlier post on running 4-6 hours before a race aside (because who wants to get up at 3:30am the morning of a race?), has anyone here tried different taper approaches to races?  Preferably someone who races a lot, as I don't race all that often, and has recorded their results.  I saw a quick question in this forum about intervals 2 days before a half and wondered if that, followed by complete rest, might be beneficial (maybe three days, as that's when I usually sense results after hard days).
07/05/2010 at 08:56

I've run 3-4 miles in the morning when I've had a late afternoon/early evening race and found that  good for the legs, as long as the earlier run is done easy.

I've also tried having a day off on the Friday, running easy on Saturday for a Sunday race, which has also worked well for me for longer races.

What I've noticed does not work for me is having a few days complete rest the week of a key race as it makes my calves very tight on the day of the race. 

07/05/2010 at 09:17

Not many races starting at 7:30a.m these days, apart from marathons and no one is suggesting the need to run 4 -  6 hours before them.  I do think it's a good idea to know what your race day routine will be in advance so you can get used to some quality workouts at that time and whether you will prepare by a shorter early run.  Any race pace workouts during the taper should wherever possible emulate race conditions, e.g. timings, preparation, gradient and shoes.

Regarding non-marathon tapers.  After a fair bit of experimentation I think the following:

-  Keep the quality, but with less volume and with longer rests and I think the the focus should be on race pace rhythm.

-  Quality running (of race pace or faster) should be 48+ hours in advance of racing depending on presonal recovery levels. 

-  If you are going to have a day off within the last 48 hours doing it two days before is more effective than the day before.

-  You can continue to do strides up to race day and it is a good idea to do so.

So for a 5k peak (and as part of a peak period where race and recovery are the phase goals) race this would be along the lines of what I aim for:

M:  Easy, strides 5 * 800m @ race pace w / 3:00 rests

T:  OFF

W:  Easy

T: Easy, strides 4 * 400m @ race pace w / full recovery

F:  OFF

S:  Easy w / strides

S:  5k Race

It would be interesting to hear how approaches reflect muscle type.  As a very fast twitch runner I prefer a bit more rest and to cut the overall volume by a fair bit more than I think I would if I were a slow twitch runner.  However, I may even consider some faster than race pace work which I wouldn't for slow twitch runners.

Edited: 07/05/2010 at 09:19
07/05/2010 at 09:21
Who else practices weight tapering during the season?  It's something I've been experimenting with.   Far too many people race at weights heavier than necessary.
07/05/2010 at 09:40

Certainly a run before a race helps, both in terms of  actual performance and perceived effort.

However, I'm not so sure that 4-6 hours is too critical as a window. For instance, running at 8am before a 7pm race seems to be just as effective, as does a short 2 mile run 2 hours before a morning race.

Totally agree with Hilly that Fri-Rest, Sat-Steady is far more effective than Fri-Steady, Sat-Rest.

Intervals two days before a half and then complete rest is not a good idea. You can have an excellent session two days after doing intervals, which may well be where the idea comes from, but the prior intervals will not have contributed positively to the second session, merely not had a negative effect. Adaptation effects take two weeks plus so no training effect will have been derived two days later. However, there is a very high risk of it going the other way and leaving some nice soreness ready for race day, which is the last thing you want. 

You may have this combination for a 'train through' race but its best avoided for an A race.

07/05/2010 at 09:46
prf - Agree with the 4 - 6 hour window not being critical.
07/05/2010 at 10:05

I've always done the day off before a race, but my half next week will be the first time resting on the Fri and doing some easy running on the Sat. I'll report on how that makes me feel next week.

Having said that though, a good proportion of my pb's at lower distances have been when training through a normal week. I did actually used to take 2 days off thinking that I needed to conserve energy, but this has proven to me that I don't need to.

Weight I find is a very fine line and easy to completely mess up.
I do try to taper my weight for races, but have occassionally gone too far and been left feeling pretty wiped out.
I think in future I need to get to my goal weight a good couple of weeks before the day so that I am not cutting vital calories in the last week or so.

Of course, I could help further by not eating so much chocolate.

07/05/2010 at 10:44

On the subject of weight - I am already the lowest weight I've been since giving up gymnastics at 16 so 12 years later I now feel very light indeed! I've gone from 11.5 stone in Aug 2008 (and right on BMI 25) to 8 stone 10 lbs (just under BMI 20).

Other family factors means its not practical for me to diet to reduce my weight further - I think I could get away with being up to 7lbs lighter and still having the energy levels to run...but I do not want to become obessed with it. Therefore, I treat racing at a heavier weight and getting pbs as good because it means if I ever want to shift that last half stone I should get even better pbs

On tapers - I definitely think that keeping the quality is good, but quality as in race pace running - faster than that takes me too long to recover from tbh. So tapering at the right intensity is going to be quite personal. I dont belive in 3 week tapers for the marathon though - some people seem to drop too far, far too early and must be sluggish come race day!

07/05/2010 at 10:58

Totally agree with that. I did 3 weeks for my first marathon and felt ill prepared come race day. For the last one I did 2 weeks and felt better for it, well apart from the cold wrecking the entire plan! I'd prefer to keep the LSR up to 18 miles two weeks out, keep the same number of sessions but less volume the next week and a few rest days every other day for the final week.

When I started tracking my weight when I started running, also in 2008, my weight was 10s 11 and now hovers around 8st 10-11. I think realistically I could get to 8st 7, but the last few pounds are so stubborn. Of course for me, it's not just the pounds, there are certain things having 3 kids does to the whole midriff . I'm not hardcore with my diet though, if anything I eat far too much rubbish. I need to work on that!

07/05/2010 at 11:23

I've never been one to worry over weight as I was always naturally quite light.  In my teens 6 stone something, after children up to 8 stone.  When running at my best in 2006 I was 8st 2llbs and 8st 4llbs when loaded for the marathon.  The last couple of years though my weight has crept up to 8st 11, which I think is a bit too much for me at 5'3", but am finding it difficult for the first time in my life to get under this.  I have to admit to 'living' a bit more than I did in my earlier running days and having a few more curries, so maybe that's the reason and I can't have it all my own way these days!  So although I want to be back to my earlier weight I also want to eat things that I could get away with but don't seem to be able to so much now  I'm still a size 6-8 clothes, but it's the bit round the middle that has replaced what used to be a very flat and defined tummy I'm not happy with! 

So in answer do I taper my weight for racing, it's no, but if it comes off naturally (normally marathon training) then I'm happy for it to do so. 

Edited: 07/05/2010 at 11:28
07/05/2010 at 11:28

At 6'2" I fluctuate between 11st 8 during winter and try and race close to 11st during summer.  I can eat whatever the hell I want whilst maintaining 11 8, but need to cut down on the chunky kitkats at 11st.

Interestingly, 31 male runners have broken 27:00 for 10km and, prior to the "heavy" white guy who just broke it, the average weight was 8st 10lbs!!!

07/05/2010 at 11:29
Goodness that's lighter than me! 
07/05/2010 at 11:36

Hilly

The answer to your dilemna may be to take your diet very seriously (when not marathon training) for just the last 4 - 8 weeks of a peaking cycle.  For me that makes the sacrifices fairly easy.

In the meantime we can all play with this fantasy calculator and see the time prediction if we lost a couple of legs!

http://www.runningforfitness.org/calc/weighteffect.php?metres=10000&hr=&min=40&sec=00&weight=123&weightunits=lbs&Submit=Calculate

07/05/2010 at 11:41

I love that calculator - 4lbs would put me at 45 mins without any extra training!

But since I  am still improving without weight loss I'll keep my kitkat chunkys for now

07/05/2010 at 11:45

Right, I'm losing 4lb!

(Ok, maybe not 4, but we can definitely explore this at the appropriate time in my coaching)

07/05/2010 at 11:57
It definitely should be taken with a pinch of salt of course, but it's true that stripping out useless fat should be a goal for us all.  But, like stretching regularly and getting sufficient sleep, easier said than done.
07/05/2010 at 12:01

Moraghan - yes, you're right I should be a bit more serious about my diet before a key race and I am working on it.

The calculator is about right I think as 4llbs lighter than I am now I was running the times it says for me.  So maybe a bit more concentration will help to get the times I want back.

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