Thanks for the kind words everyone. I’m Just answering a few questions after my race report -
Frazer – No, I forgot to switch off automatic lapping before the start so the laps weren’t 100% accurate. Although I had the watch vibrate after every mile and I was never more than 5 - 10 seconds off the mile markers.
PMJ – I’d say my 5k PB (18:19) is my weakest and needs improving. This is due to only ever running un-tapered Parkruns and never having run a 5k ‘A’ race. Great 5k race by the way and your improvement back to full fitness continues!
SJ – I’m already planning on running the Dublin marathon in October. I have my basic schedule mapped out and intend on running at least 5 weeks of over 90 miles peaking at 105. For London I ran 5 weeks of over 80 miles peaking at 100. I believe total weekly mileage is more important than number of 20+ mile LSRs for me to improve.
1 sec of a PB all things considered is a great 10k Jools.
Good negative split 10k RFJ
I ran the Newry Half Marathon on Sunday. My HM PB is 1:23:00 on a faster course but decided to have a go at breaking it considering I’d PB in a 10k and Marathon over the past few months. It was only 20 days since running the Belfast Marathon but I was feeling well recovered.
The course is mostly flat with one serious hill at around half way. To PB I had to run under 6:20 pace so decided to try and run 6:15 pace from the start. I knew the hill would knock me back but hoped I could regain most of the lost time coming down the other side.
The first 6 miles were comfortably completed with splits of 6:16, 6:11, 6:13, 6:16, 6:14 and 6:15 so I was very pleased as I reached the steep hill. I ignored my pace running up the hill and concentrated on keeping my HR level. I’ve worked too hard on hills in the past and suffered afterwards so only let my HR climb from 167 to 168 BMP which is about 95%. This mile was completed in 6:58 and my average pace was now 6:20 after being 6:14 before the hill.
I’d hoped to regain some of the lost time running down hill but only managed a 6:20 and was struggling. Although it was flat I continued to struggle and the 9th mile took 6:32 and my average pace had slipped to 6:22.
The 10th mile took 6:24 and with just 5k to go I realised a PB was slipping away. I had been about 10 - 20m behind a guy for most of the race who looked about my age so decided to target him. I slowly closed the gap over the next mile and was about 5m behind him and recorded a 6:16. I drew equal with him over the next mile and we ran side by side for a 6:17.
We caught 2 other guys going into the last mile and I tried kicking away from the 3 of them. I pulled a bit clear and was giving it everything I had. The last full mile took 6:11 and I heard others closing in on me entering the final straight. One guy went past and I tried kicking again to keep with him.
I couldn’t quite stay with him but recorded 5:07 pace for the last 0.1 mile to the finish. I did beat the guy I targeted earlier by 2 seconds.
I was delighted to cross the line seeing 1:22:50 on the clock and ended up with a chip time of 1:22:48 for a 12 sec PB. It was also over 3 minutes faster than I had run that course before. Yippee, job done! I finished in 7th place out of 591 and the first over 40 years old. I think I’ll be getting a prize in the post!
He shouted and screamed at the kid who scampered off faster than a Kenyan in the opposite direction!
The 24th mile took 7:10 and then the 25th up a hill took 7:18 and I was glad to turn away from the wind and down hill for the last full mile. I ran this in 7:04 and my HR was right down to 149 before I picked the pace up slightly to finish the last 0.2 miles at 6:42 pace.
I crossed the finish line in just under 3:01 for a chip time of 3:00:55. I’ve never felt fresher at the end of a marathon and had no tightness or discomfort in any muscles. I discovered later that I finished in 46th place out of 2530 and beat all but 19 of the 1933 relay teams so I’m well pleased.
I had only mild muscle soreness over the following days without any limping or difficulty walking downstairs. This was a first!
Belfast is probably a few minutes slower than London and I do believe I could have run about 2:59 on the day if I’d run a little harder over the last 6 miles. I’ve no doubt I’d have run sub 3 if I hadn’t have managed it in London. On the flip side I also believe I could have run sub 2:55 in London if that had been my goal.
If I was to tackle something like this again I would cross train between the marathons as I believe my HR started higher due to losing a little fitness. It always appears to rise about 5 bmp after a few days of complete rest. I should have done some swimming or cycling. I only ran 8 miles throughout the whole week before Belfast without any cross training.
So to answer my original query of could I run two fast marathons 15 days apart, it’s a resounding yes. However, I was probably a few minutes faster in the first one all things considered. I think if I’d cross trained or had 3 weeks between them the relative times would have been even closer.
I loved the race reports from AR, Speedy and Literatin so have added my own below.
On Monday I ran the Belfast City Marathon which was only 15 days after running 2:56:41 at the VLM. I only booked this marathon as a backup in case the weather was bad or other problems occurred in London.
As I achieved my goal of a sub 3 and beating my PB by 13 minutes in London I considered not running at all. I also considered just running at a slow pace and enjoying the day. However, with only three days to go I decided just to go for it and see what happened!
I know conventional wisdom says you can’t run two fast marathons about two weeks apart but I believe I recover quicker than most due to my whole food vegan diet. The only way to find out for sure was to test my theory.
My plan was to begin at 6:40 pace and see if I could PB. I was going to keep an eye on my HR as I’d noticed from previous logs that I always struggle near the end of a marathon if my average HR was high 150’s. My average HR in London was an all time marathon low of only 149 and I felt great at the end. So I targeted keeping my HR below 155 and if it was too high early on forget about the 6:40 pace and adjust my goals during the race.
The first 100 people would get a commemorative t-shirt, and 100th place last year finished in 3:03:xx so 3:02 was my B goal.
I lined up at the start close to the front near the sub 3 pacers. I ran the first four miles in 6:37, 6:42, 6:42 and 6:41 but was worried about my HR. For each of these miles it averaged 152, 155, 161 and 158. So I decided at this early stage not to try and PB but target a sub 3 instead. I ran the following miles in 6:51, 6:51, 6:42, 6:58, 6:46 and 6:45 but my HR averaged between 158 to 161 on each mile.
Miles 8 to 14 are all up a steady hill then a sharp downhill between miles 14 to 16. So I decided to maintain sub 3 pace until at least 16 miles and see how I felt. The next miles were in 6:40, 6:49, 6:54 and I went through half way in 1:29:3x. Mile 14 took 6:59 before the downhill miles in 6:16 and 6:35.
In the VLM my quads began getting sore and tightening around mile 15 but I didn’t suffer any discomfort at this stage in Belfast. The downhill sections had lowered my HR to below 155 and it stayed there through the next few miles. These were completed in 6:46, 7:02, 6:55 and 6:53 to bring me to 20 miles in 2:15:xx.
The sub 3 pacers caught me at around mile 20 so I tucked in at the back trying to shield from a slight head wind. My family met me at this stage and handed over a drink and gel which was very welcome as you only got drinks in useless plastic cups. However, while trying to open the gel I dropped the drink and had to run back to pick it up. In doing so I nearly got hit by a bike and by the time I got running properly again I was about 15 m behind the pacers.
I was having no problems with my quads and still felt strong but this seemed to deflate me mentally. I knew I could catch them and sub 3 but it was starting to get tougher and I just wondered ‘why bother’? I’d already achieved my goal in London and pushing my body hard again over the last few miles didn’t seem wise any more.
So I decided to forget about a sub 3 and just target my original B goal of around 3:02 and hope I would finish in the top 100. I ran the next miles in 6:55, 7:05, 7:07 and 6:40 down a slight hill. My HR was now down to 152 and although it was getting tougher I was still quite comfortable and enjoying the crowds.
I got hit with a water bomb around this point by a kid of about 8 running past one of Belfast’s rougher areas. I found it pretty funny but a guy in a bike who was coaching a lady runner close by blew his top. He shouted and screamed at the kid who scampered off fast