The Middle Ground

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15/02/2016 at 11:54

Ah, that makes sense then (had forgotten that you are doing FIRST). Have you got any races coming up between now and the target HM in May?

15/02/2016 at 12:18


Andrew: well done on pr and getting out and running

DR Dan:: Glad you had a good time in Oxford 21'st birthdays are special hope the ice is not a problem later for you.

Knee been sore so had weekend off I knew I could not run yesterday(wedding Anniversary) I am up raring to go......when thick ice I just won't run in those conditions I guess too many falls will get on treadmill instead Have not wasted my time a big pan minestrone soup and lemon curd has been made

15/02/2016 at 13:58

Andrew ... no races planned, although I should be able to sneak in a parkrun at Easter.

WP - good luck with the treddie and enjoy the soup.

Good session for me... 1.35 mi to canal mile marker in 10:11  (7:32/m, down hill), and then 6.5 miles on the canal (headwind going out, tail coming back), and 1.35 mi back in 10:50  (8:02/m, up hill). The mile markers on the canal are handy for hitting the lap button ... 

1, 7:49, 136 bpm
2, 7:41, 138 bpm
3, 8:00, 140 bpm
3.5, 3:51 (7:42/m), 141 bpm
4.5, 7:35, 140 bpm
5.5, 7:23, 142 bpm
6.5, 7:38, 143 bpm

So, 9.2 miles in total for 7:43/m and 80% maxHR. In old money that's getting on for a Hadd lactate threshold session so, based on previous years, I should be able to get that pace down to 7:15/m as things come together. The good news is that it felt very comfortable. Actually, looking back I see that's a 23 s/mi improvement in 2 weeks over the same distance and at the same average HR .

Edited: 15/02/2016 at 14:07
15/02/2016 at 14:18

Dan: That sounds like perfect progress to me you must be pleased especially in just 2 weeks?

Treadie all done 4 mile @7% incline job done

Thursday I am off the the lake flattest part where I live to do laps of lake which is around 0.93  I usually do 4 miles worth but last time was November as knee still a little sore this will be a bench mark I may do 5 miles as today was a short run and then a cool down mile.

16/02/2016 at 22:18
Dr Dan, I recall I started noticing things felt easier. In about week 3 of the schedule, somewhat out of the blue.

Andrew, yes York was very nice thanks. Good to tick off the visit list.

Got a fairly hefty week tho week with three sessions over yesterday and today. Got 10 miles at mp Thursday and 20 Sunday. The purpose of front loading the other sessions was coming off three days rest and to give me days off between the big runs.

I've entered the Gloucester 20 for mid march to do my 20 @ mp plus 15 session. Its a week earlier than is ideal but it is what it is.
16/02/2016 at 22:20
Good effort on the parkrun, Andrew. As others have said, its not pb weather yet. I know on my parkrun I took a few I the tight turns conservatively for fear of slipping which at 5k is no good.
17/02/2016 at 15:17

DT - some solid sessions there!

Likewise, good treadmill session WP - 7% incline sounds pretty tough.

Dan - good MP session. If you are not really racing between now and May you should see some really massive improvements across the course of the next few months (rather than steady incremental improvements if you were racing every couple of weeks). I usually prefer to race frequently to see regular improvements (hopefully) but this year I am not going to be able to race as often, so will see how I find that.

Did an easy paced run on Monday night. 5.5 miles which felt really comfortable, despite the build-up of miles over the previous weekend. Had a day off yesterday and am planning a tempo repeats session this evening (only 3 reps of 1 mile at 7.15m/m pace off 1 min rests) - hoping to get it in before the nasty weather arrives here this evening! Then easy miles the rest of the week, as I am quite busy with other stuff this week so don't really have time for a second quality session this week. Will incorporate a few MP miles into my long run on Sunday though, that's the plan.

17/02/2016 at 17:43

DT - a 20 mile race would be ideal for that session.

Andrew - good luck with the tempo session later.

I did a 1.35 mile warm up and then 3 x 1 mile with 60s rests, followed by a 1.35 mile jog back. It was pretty tough and I was hanging on in the last 400m in the 2nd two repeats... I just can't compute how I once ran a HM at almost that pace.

6:46, 153/159 bpm
6:51, 154/158 bpm
6:53, 154/159 bpm

I seem to be finding the tempo and MP running easier at the moment than the intervals ...

17/02/2016 at 18:59
Oddly I was the other way round initially. I failed to even complete the distance in the first two long runs, finishing them off at easy pace.

I guess the risk with not racing often is when you do race it has more pressure as everything is on one day.

Just a spin session today. 10 at mp tomorrow. Not had to do a session like that in the dark for a long time so still unsure on a route.
17/02/2016 at 22:48

Dan - good session there. 

I did something similar but a bit slower. 1 mile warm up, 3 x 1mile reps at around 7.20 pace each with 1 min rest in between, followed by 4(200m at 6m/m pace off 200m jogged recovery) then 1 mile warm down. Kept more or less to pace on average in the mile reps, but the route was quite undulating so each 0.25 mile 'lap' was quite different! 200m reps were often closer to 5.45 pace than 6.


18/02/2016 at 15:29

Dan: Great session well done on nailing it

Andrew:That looks another good workout it makes my eye water at those speeds

yesterday was 6.1 miles but legs were dead and unresponsive for some reason so today was the Lake and laps so expected it to go all wrong.

I ran 4@1 mile laps of the lake off around 90 secs recovery to get my heart rate down and catch my breath mine were a lot slow than you boys 9.09 mm average for the 4 miles which is 30 secs a mile faster than November.

I was pleased as hoped for around 9.15 average and will keep this session and try to go once a week.

18/02/2016 at 15:41

WP - paces are all relative though. My 7.20 pace will seem slow to DT and others on another thread, and in fact 5.45 pace (which I was holding for only 200m at a time) equates to a 35 minute 10k, which is also slow compared to some on those threads! It is scary how fast some people can run over long distances!

What matters is how each person's own paces and training stacks up against themselves. Your session looks good. Was that 'tempo' pace then? 4x1mile off 90s seems a bit hard going if it was at intervals pace! Good improvement from November

6 easy miles planned for tonight.

Edited: 18/02/2016 at 15:42
18/02/2016 at 16:01

Andrew: Thank you for those kind words I just did not want anyone to think I could come even close to those fast speeds but we are all here to learn and get faster if we can

I don't do fast work at all but I yes this is my Tempo pace on the flat and it was busy as half term and a glorious sunny day so avoiding dog walkers/prams and little was pleasing as no Achilles moaning or my knee.

Enjoy the 6 easy miles tonight......

Tomorrow is long run day if there is no ice

19/02/2016 at 15:26

Andrew - nice mile reps and I hope the 6 easy went well.

WP - great progress since November.

DT - hope you found a safe route for the 10 @ MP ... I know the feeling as I like to use the canal tow-path but that's impossible in the dark.

Today was 8.7 mi with 6 @ "long tempo" (target was 7:35/m). In the end the average pace was 7:29/m at 82.6% maxHR. That equates to a 20:50 5K according to the FIRST tables ... and based on that I should have done Wednesday's mile reps at 6:26, yet I was clinging on at 6:50. So either I'm doing the tempo too fast, or whimping on the intervals ... or the tables don't work for an old git with no fast twitch fibres left.

19/02/2016 at 19:41

Good reps, Andrew, That's pretty much 5k pace from last weekend isn't it?

Dan, When I first started out on this I emailed the writer of the plan. I started basing things on my 5km time. The problem was, once I settled into the schedule, whilst the interval paces were competitive for me as the runs grew longer, the paces were less effective. He e-mailed me back and told to calculate my 5k time backwards from my half time and use that 5ks paces for the longer runs. So now my intervals are based on my actual 5k time and all other runs are based on a 5k time calculated from my most recent race time (right now, a 10 mile converted up to a half then down to 5k).

I think you have to treat it as a guide and adapt to work with your strengths.

Anyway, last nights 10 miles at mp was possibly my least successful run in a long while. I went straight from a work function so got out late without eating much in the hours before. I also decided on a route that took me deep into the country lanes with circa 400 foot of climbing. I have had no problem running easy with a headtorch in dark lanes but that leap to mp and a few stumbles in pot holes left me uneasy. Plus I found it very difficult to plan for what was to come as I couldn't properly make out the undulations ahead.

Anyway, excuses laid....I was aiming for 6.55 average. The entirety of mile 2 was a climb so I was already down to 7.05 and never recovered it. Last 1-2 miles I crashed a bit and gave up as the effort was beyond the plan so came out at 7.08 mm for a mp heart rate. My legs just didn't feel upto the job. I blame having pretty much a week off last week then hitting it hard straight in from Monday. Whenever I have a week out I feel like I need another easy week to regain momentum.

On a plus point, a very similar run 10 days out from the Cardiff half went the same way with worse pace and hr stats and 2 miles less effort so it's not all bad. They cant all be winners! 20 to cover on Sunday, which will be my 4th run of that distance since new year.

19/02/2016 at 19:55

DT - yes, not far off them. I think this tells me that I am currently lacking a bit of top end racing speed (no surprise given the virtual lack of faster sessions over the past 6 months) and some endurance ( as I can do mile reps at that pace fairly comfortably, but stringing them together and trying to go faster was much harder work) but that my basic aerobic fitness is not too bad. That and that I underperformed in the parkrun, but I knew that already!

Hard luck with your session - like you say, you can't win them all and one (slightly) below par session does not ruin the training plan! Sure you will bounce back well on the long run.

Had a day off work today, so snuck in a 5 miler this afternoon. Legs a bit heavy in places. Looking forward to a rest day tomorrow.


20/02/2016 at 00:33

Hi all, it's been a while but have been reading on and off over the last few months.

i see that DT has stepped up a few gears and is finally starting to fulfil his potential. Some very impressive training recently and racing at that too. It's good to see you have found a training formula that works for you. Not one cap fits all and your training seems to be proving that point. 

Good to see you back into the swing of it Dr Dan and well done on the rapid weight loss. Although I'm not large, I am relatively for a runner of my height and am struggling more than ever these days to the point a long run doesn't shift much! 

Well done on the recent training consistency and patience Andrew. Totally agree with you on the top end speed lacking without shorter intervals too. I was totally found lacking at the Stubbington 10k back in January with a time over 4 minutes off PB pace with short tempo efforts of the same distance and effort constituting my quality sessions at the time. That said, I never run well in that race as its too soon after Christmas for me! 

Some good training and perseverance from you as well WP. 

Som decent Parkrun progress from Myox too and suspect there will be quite a lot of improvement to follow yet with big gains made over a short period. 

Good Parkrun outings from you as well Alehouse....have you managed to keep your streak of running everyday going? 

After a poor outing at Stubbington, things hadn't picked up much until relatively recently. To be honest, ive had a pretty rubbish 10 months of running all in all. However, I'm hoping that by the end of Sunday that will be 3 50+mile weeks over three sucessive weeks. Prior to that I had two successive 30 mile weeks. Thats fine and a good week for many and normally I'd be satisfied with that but with London in mind, I was starting to think any possible PB hopes had diminished. However, the increased mileage (hoping for a third sucessive weekend 20 miler this Sunday) and some good club sessions combined with some varied workouts on my own have seen the fitness improve relatively quickly. In some ways I'm surprised I've managed to pick up the mileage so quickly from where I was post Christmas but then again, I probably have some decent endurance accumulated from previous marathon campaigns. I am running the Brighton half a week Sunday which will hopefully show for this recent improvement. I'll certainly be looking forward to a cut back week before that though prior to ramping the mileage up further in March! 

20/02/2016 at 17:10


That is some ramp up of miles per week but you know what works for you Good luck with Brighton Half it will be a good indication of how you are doing which is always good.

It is interesting that one schedule does not suit all and we all have to find what works for us.I was interested reading the FIRST book and pacing charts how pretty spot on they seem to be for me apart from my slow runs they want it even slower considering I am a tortoise the only time it is right is when I have to walk a small section of coastal path on my long run or when i am tired.

Long run for me tomorrow so aiming for 13 miles but have a cunning plan to avoid the big steps I have to walk up as too deep and long.

This week trip to the lake I am going to run 1 lap fast 1 lap easy and see how my Asthma feels about that as at the moment I have to stop after a lap(1 mile) to catch my breath and bring HR down.

21/02/2016 at 11:23
Well done on bouncing back, Wjh. That is quite a ramp up!

It is interesting what works for different people. I spent my first year or so of running breaking all the rules but progressing. I then spent two years following the generally accepted approach and went slightly backwards. I then started First which is kind of a structured version of what I was doing before and I've leapt forward. Though I'm sure the two years of predominantly easy running will be playing its part somewhere in the system.

Good luck with the 13 later, WP. I'm off for 20 in what now appears to be blustery conditions. A bit of an easy week next week then with the Coventry half a week today. Pressure is on slightly as my pb turns 3 on 3 march so I don't really want that to happen.

I've also entered the world. Half in Cardiff on Easter Saturday. It was ??58 but the attraction is it's a 2pm start, it's flat and we can tie it in with plans to visit family over that weekend anyway. It being 4 weeks to the day from London, it should provide a decent guide to mp.
21/02/2016 at 19:58


WJH - welcome back. Some very decent mileage there. Good luck in the HM - I'm sure the recent mileage will result in a decent result, and definitely a comparatively better one than in your 10k. Did you manage to get the 20 miler in today?

WP - hope the 13 went well today. Does the asthma usually affect your running or is it worse recently for some reason? 

DT - it was blustery out today, hopefully you didn't have too many of the 20 into the wind. Good plan to get a half in at this stage of your marathon training - are you racing it full beans or holding some back? Judging by your comment about wanting a pb I'm assuming it will be the former!

I got out for 8.5 tonight. Plan was to run 9m/m throughout but to stick a couple of MP miles in the middle (7:45m/m) as a very gentle introduction to incorporating MP into my long runs. In the event, it went pretty much to plan until the last couple of miles which were largely uphill and into the wind. So felt quite shot by the end of the run, but got to the end and that racks up 31 miles this week.

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