2022 Advanced Racing Thread (Read 493 times)

Running Problem

Problem Child

    Dead zone.

    Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

    VDOT 52.45

    5k19:35 | Marathon 2:56:07


      JMac thats very explicit, I appreciate that. Also assuming 6:50/mi is my marathon race pace, if I followed that rule I'm looking at 8:12 and slower. That actually sounds hard, like literally hard to stay that slow. But I have been slowing my easy pace since last cycle at least!


      Cal Thanks for the thoughts. I screwed up my last marathon and I'd say 7:30-7:45 to me is easy on a day my legs aren't sore/stiff. I feel great around 7:50-8:15 though. If I run 8:30 or slower sometimes my quads get a weird stiff feeling if I don't pick it up?


      RIP Milkman

        RP said it. 7:30 is the dead zone for the 2:59 runner!

        5K: 16:37 (11/20)  |  10K: 34:49 (10/19)  |  HM: 1:14:57 (5/22)  |  FM: 2:36:31 (12/19) 


        Next Race: NYC Half (3/19)



          JMac thats very explicit, I appreciate that. Also assuming 6:50/mi is my marathon race pace, if I followed that rule I'm looking at 8:12 and slower. That actually sounds hard, like literally hard to stay that slow. But I have been slowing my easy pace since last cycle at least!



          I wouldn't be too mathematical about it as everyone can be a bit different.


          I generally work it off HR (easy pace for me is <145bpm) as a measure of effort. Not to the point of monitoring it obsessively on my watch but if it does creep up towards that number I know I need to back off a bit.  My easy pace has always been quick-ish.  The main thing is just ensuring that your effort is genuinely easy rather than focusing on a specific speed.  If you're slowing your pace to the point it feels awkward, you're probably at more risk of doing something unnatural and injuring yourself.

          3,000m: 9:07.7 (Nov-21) | 5,000m: 15:39 (Dec-19) | 10,000m: 32:34 (Mar-20)  

          10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) | HM: 1:09:41 (May-21)* | FM: 2:41:41 (Oct-20)

          * Net downhill course

          Last race: Clevedon Country Half Marathon, 5 Feb, 1:17:50, 1st overall

          Up next: Waterfront Half Marathon, 2 Apr



            Mikkey What I really meant was the extremes. People thinking 9:00 pace will get them an elite time or even sub elite. I've been getting more used to the idea of embracing higher mileage with slower paces. Just not so slow that it feels awkward as Mark said.


            Mmmm Bop

              I’ve never logged a 7:30 pace run in my life.


              I just need to make sure that doesn’t become my MP for Boston next year. 

              5k - 17:53 (4/19)   10k - 37:53 (11/18)   Half - 1:23:18 (4/19)   Full - 2:50:43 (4/19)

              Running Problem

              Problem Child

                RP said it. 7:30 is the dead zone for the 2:56:07 runner!


                Fixed it for ya. 


                MMerkle it kind of takes a while to adjust to slower running. I happen to run with people who, on paper, have not run races as fast as me. They'll usually want to run faster at times, and other times slower. I just go out and jog. Check Strava. 90% of my runs are 8:10/mi or slower. I like the slower runs and here is why. If I run 7:30/mi for a 7 mile run then do the same run at an 8:30/mi run it has saved me a whole 8 minutes of life. The effort put into a 7:30 is much higher than 8:30/mi. Heck....one of my runs about two weeks ago I set a target to keep it at 9:00/mi or slower. It reminded me of "way back when" I wasn't as fast as I was. Those slower paces and "weird stiff feeling" you get might just be different muscles getting used. Part of the slower paced running I like is the lack of effort put in. It might feel lazy, and it probably is. At the same times it's really nice to go chill out on a run mentally. Check out the scenary, look at the farmers, notice the yard art. Maybe try running every street in your area and plan on the pace being slower than you expected because travel time to the start location matters if you're doing it before work.


                EDIT: I don't know how much you watch pace while you run. I had a revelation during Chicago training and it resurfaced during the year of our lord COVID 2020. Run without looking at the watch. Run by feel. Pay attention to your shoulders, form, foot strike, breathing, tension in your back, and effort. After doing this a few times I can start to recognize when my body starts pushing harder and when I take a second to think about just how much tighter the body feels I can check pace and see 7:46/mi. Drop down to 8:25/mi and it's much more relaxed, for me. Those "feel good" runs do occur. Body just wants to go fast and it is really weird when you've put in lots of hard workouts in, plus peak mileage, and the body tells you "yeah lets go do this." I've told many people "Yeah, I CAN run a 7:30/mi pace for this run. I just don't want to." After pacing this weekend I was wondering if I'm just sandbagging myself on these easy runs all week, and if I should be putting up 7:30/mi paces or not.

                Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

                VDOT 52.45

                5k19:35 | Marathon 2:56:07


                Cobra Commander Keen

                  Quick drive-by as I've been out of the office (and logically off RA) the past few days. I'll catch up before long.

                  Steve, Krash, Cal, Marby - Congrats on all your races!

                  JMac - I hated to see your comments on Strava regarding the injury, I do hope that you get past it quickly.

                  Good week here, my highest volume in nearly a year and it also puts me at 80mpw average for the year.



                  Weekly for period: From: 09/26/2022 To 10/02/2022

                  Date Name mi km Duration Avg/mi Avg/km Elevation Gain
                  in ft
                  09/26 Cruisin' 14.06 22.62 01:54:49 08:10 05:05 692
                  09/26 Early runch 4.05 6.52 00:34:47 08:35 05:20 184
                  09/27 Another uneventful morning 10.05 16.17 01:31:17 09:05 05:39 328
                  09/28 5x 1mi HMe, 1mi M 16.01 25.75 01:58:05 07:23 04:35 456
                  09/28 1 hawk 5.01 8.05 00:44:42 08:55 05:33 226
                  09/29 Sweet, sweet, recovery miles 8.00 12.88 01:16:54 09:37 05:58 400
                  09/30 2 owls 12.06 19.40 01:42:16 08:29 05:16 564
                  09/30 7 buzzards 5.05 8.12 00:41:12 08:10 05:04 217
                  10/01 1 mangy coyote & the original Pizza Hut 6.00 9.66 00:51:11 08:32 05:18 141
                  10/02 A nice little loop 20.06 32.27 02:45:02 08:14 05:07 266

                  Total distance: 100.34mi

                  5k: 17:58 11/22 │ 10k: 37:55 9/21 │ HM: 1:23:22 4/22 │ M: 2:56:05 12/22


                  Upcoming Races:


                  Heartland 50 - May 6


                    Thanks RP. I've been running more and more by feel and less by the watch. Sometimes on easy runs I'll check the watch to make sure I'm not picking it up too much. I do sorta shame myself when an easy run comes out to under 7:40 average, which as you can see on Strava has happened a couple times recently, I blame the cool weather.


                    But anyway, definitely trying to emphasize mileage at easy easy paces for all but 2 days of the week; 1 workout and 1 long run, where I treat my long runs as workouts with long warm ups and long cool downs. The rest of the week my goal is lots of miles around 8:00 pace. Or slower. I'm not convinced speed is my issue with breaking 3, I'm pretty sure it's mileage and not being dumb on race day.


                       KEEN- I know I sound like a broken record here but another nice week!  And 80 AVERAGE is just awesome.  Super consistent.  Are you planning anything new before CIM? I'm not suggesting you should do anything different I'm just wondering what's in store for the next 8 weeks.

                      Good week here, my highest volume in nearly a year and it also puts me at 80mpw average for the year.


                      5K 18:36 (2023), 10K 39:40 (2022), 1/2 1:29:07 (2015), full 2:58:36 (2015) 


                      Hot Weather Complainer

                        Melbourne Marathon 2022 - Race Report


                        I've dreaded writing this and considered leaving it, but there are lessons to be learned if I'm going to do this again one day...


                        I arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday night, 10pm local time, which was 1am NZ time so I was pretty tired.  I only managed 4-5 hours of broken sleep so I was very tired on Thursday and my short run felt pretty average.  My mates' wife and son were both sick and she refused to come out of the bedroom to avoid risking giving me anything.  They had been sick for over a week so it's unlikely they were infectious.  I decided to go to my AirBnB a day early which was all good.


                        On Friday I jogged around The Tan to remember what the late hills had in store and felt a bit better than Thursday.  Slightly reduced this from the plan because of the tiredness.  I had a basic chicken schnitzel sandwich for lunch and made a stir fry for dinner, again basic with chicken, rice and vegetables.  I had a powerade every day and on Friday and Saturday 2 doses of my electrolyte drink.  I was drinking a lot of water too, and at times, peeing quite a lot.  All this detail is for when I'm ready to understand what happened.


                        On Saturday I did a 15 minute shake out and for the first time since the flight I felt sharp with pop in my legs.  I reduced this from 5km to 3km again to try and counter the fatigue.  I'd also been doing too many steps each day, Saturday was down to 7700 which was better.  On Saturday I noted some soreness on my inner left quad, close to my knee but put it down to taper madness.


                        Slept really well on Friday night but not great on Saturday but still got 5.5 - 6 hours even with the start of daylight savings.  I was up at 4am for the 7am start, did my normal routine before my mate turned up and walked with me to the start, in the dark, cool weather.  This saved me having to go extra early and go all the way to bag drop then back to the start.  A couple of warm ups then into the start for "Welcome to Country" and the Australian National Anthem.  I took an Endura gel 5 minutes before the start.  2 minutes before the start, someone suddenly appeared saying my name, it was Marby who only had the description of my clothes to go by but found me among the 8500, close-ish to the front.  He was very confident on my behalf.


                        The start was delayed for reasons unknown but we got underway 1-2 minutes late and what I'd been waiting for for years was underway.  The start was very congested, with some walkers in front of me, and I was well in front of the 3:20 pacers.  I was forced to start slow which was fine with me.  The first km included a short sharp climb up a bridge which felt fine and I was through in 4:52.  Without the congestion I probably wouldn't have started so slow - I was hoping for 4:45-50 for the first km, but this was even better.  Ease into target pace over a few km....JMac's voice (generic New York accent since I haven't heard his voice) was in my head.  The congestion continued for 2-3km but after the first few hundred metres it was fine and not too distracting.  After 2km I felt the soreness in my quad again - cramp has started in this spot before so I did worry what would happen later, but assumed I'd just run through it.  The second km is 4:38, then the third 4:40, the 4th 4:26.  I hadn't felt a noticeable lift in pace and there were buildings around here so I thought it might not be accurate.  It was also the downhill on a false flat so maybe the same effort was a bit faster.  The 5th km went by in 4:39 without feeling like a change in pace so I was back in business.  It felt like it had been more downhill than I'd expected so I knew the return journey late in the race would be interesting.  The 5km split on the race app is 23:20 - on target to the second.


                        Around Albert Park and my mate on his bike hands me a drink around 10km.  Everything going to plan but the niggle is still there.  I mentioned it to him and he played it down, told me to just focus on my form.  My plan was a gel every 30 mins - the first Maurten Caffeine gel went down at 30 on the dot.  There was a gel station at 11km, I grabbed a Maurten standard gel to have instead of my Endura flavoured gel.  My research suggested the hydrogel with no flavour absorbs better, and I'd practiced with Maurten Caffeine so I figured it would be okay.  I spent 3.5km drinking my first electrolyte drink and suddenly realised I'd passed the 60 minute mark so was 1 minute late taking the gel.  Then I finished the drink and felt good exiting Albert Park then down Fitzroy Street - the slope wasn't too bad, being mindful I was coming back up at about 30km.  Turned into Beach Road and the next 15km or so are up, down and back up the coast.  The second 5km split (on the app) was 23:21.  Perfect.  The third was 23:25.  I wasn't confident of the km markings - some were obviously out - but my watch was consistently showing 4:37-39.  It was cool seeing the leaders coming back down Beach Road, then I saw my running coach who was targeting sub 3:10, and shared a high five.  Everything going well, energy felt almost as good as an easy long run.  The niggle remained but wasn't getting worse.


                        I got to 20km with a 5km split of 23:24 so I'm hitting my pace really well.  The race plan was to go through halfway in 1:39.  My coach was thinking 3:18 by the time we got to race day, with potentially a faster second half.  I crossed the halfway mat in 1:38:35 and thought that I probably hadn't blown it with those extra 25 seconds .I first noticed somewhere around here that it had clouded over and was very pleased - it was going to warm up quickly and this would delay that.  I got my second drink from my mate on the bike at 20km, and spent 2-3km drinking this one.


                        Once I went past St Kilda, I noticed it was a downhill false flat almost all the way down the coast.  Again, thought that would be fun on the way back.  And now the fun begins....


                        At 23km I thought I felt the first sign of cramp in my hamstring - not where the niggle was.  I told myself that was impossible.  I was going at 4:38/km average (according to my watch) and I'd done a half at 4:10/km with no nutrition.  It was cool, I was tapered.  That can't be cramp.  Saw the second member of my race crew at about 24.5km.  He said he could tell something was wrong.  By now fog had rolled in off the bay and it was colder than it had been at the start.  At the turnaround, which I think is about 25km, I slowed and did a 180 turn, and I knew the cramp was real.  I could not believe it.  I had 17km to go, and I knew it was over because there's only one way it goes from here.  The same mate was waiting at the same point, other side of the road, about 27km.  As I approached him, I was close to tears.  He handed me the drink and kind of put his arm around me and said "COME ON".  I said "I'm cramping already".  I had considered stopping and pulling out since the turnaround.  He gave me a drink, and just the way he encouraged me made me decide to keep going.  It would be a long walk home, with no phone, and no keys to the AirBnB.


                        I took the drink and waited for the inevitable which came some time in the 29th km.  I stopped and stretched and got so much sympathy and encouragement from those passing.  I was the first, that I saw, to pull up with cramp.  Not surprising given how early it was.  The stretching helped and I started again.  My pace was dropping and so the slight uphill wasn't an issue.  My energy levels were fine.


                        I went up Fitzroy Street, past about 30km and the second Maurten table.  I grabbed 2 this time, one caffeine, one normal.  In the next 5 minutes I dropped all 3.  I was desperate.  I felt a bit sick 10 minutes later but it was a trade off by now.  Up St Kilda Road, I was going okay, albeit slower to try and avoid the cramp.  At 32km, I thought that I was surprised how fast the race was going.  If only there wasn't cramp...I thought if I dropped to 5:30/km and didn't cramp I'd still get 3:27.  But the plan was to get to 35km where my mate on the bike would be, and pull out.  The second forced stretching stop was in the 33rd km and this time it was much worse.  I was screaming in pain.  Started moving again and saw my mate at 35km.  Told him I'm cramping everywhere, and I can't finish.  He said "yes you f**king can" and I took it as a war cry.  I was close enough to the finish to make me think I could get there.  Under St Kilda Road and up towards the climbing and another cramp stop.  Stretch, scream, swear.  Resume.


                        Up the hills I was worried about.  Felt fine.  Downhill, then back up to the Shrine of Remembrance.  At this point it's downhill and flat to the finish.  Having already been passed y the 3:20 and 3:30 pacers, I saw the 3:40 group heading up the other way.  I said they are not passing me.  Someone on The Tan offered me a snake (sugar high sweets) and I said, "do you have a poisonous one that can end this...".


                        Back on to St Kilda Road and the second merge with the slow half runners and walkers (I haven't gone into this too much, but it was a DISGRACE).  I had to weave around people in headphones, when straight and narrow is what I needed.  Another bout of cramp on St Kilda Road, serious screaming.  People checked if I was having a medical event.  Started up again, round on to Flinders Street, and with about 1 mile to go it was both legs, excruciating and I can't move.  I don't have a good leg to use to help stretch.  I have to wait it out.


                        I've given up on time, but I said to a first aid lady who checked on me "I'm finishing this thing if I have to f**king crawl".  When I can start moving again, I keep it slow because the stops take up so much time, I'm better off shuffling.  Finally go through the tunnel into the MCG and have to cross the half runners again to get on the marathon finish path which is longer and sends us on to the grass.  I feel that cramp is again imminent.  I'm not stopping on the MCG.  There's about 20000 people in the stands.  I run with straight legs in tiny steps to see if I can avoid cramp.  There's a 250 metres to go sign and someone goes down next to it - paramedics run towards him quickly.  With 40 metres to go another guy goes down with cramp.  I just get to the finish, rip off my race number and tell them I don't want a medal.  They give me one anyway.


                        I won't spend too much time looking at reasons now, this has been long enough.


                        Saw Marby at the pub, along with my coach, who were both very good at making me feel better.  Marby is an absolute legend, if you have the chance to have beers with him, DO IT!


                        Official time 3:35:03.  7:20 minutes stopped to stretch.  Basically the same pace as my easy paced marathon when Wellington was cancelled.  I'm proud I finished.  And I've had a great trip, except the race.  I've had so much support from friends, real and virtual and I'm very grateful.

                        5km: 18:53 12/22 │ 10km: 40:49 2/22 │ HM: 1:27:32* 5/22 │ M: 3:35:02 10/22

                        *Net Downhill.  Flat course PR:  1:29:25 6/16

                        Upcoming Races:

                        Christchurch Marathon April 16, 2023


                          I've done a race report too, mainly to look back on myself.  Seems a bit cheeky to dump it here given I've been a stranger... but here 'tis anyway.


                          Started the year fit but had 4 months of doing next to nothing, stacked on 9kg and then had 13 weeks to cram. Executed the race near to perfection with an 18 sec positive split for 3:27:50.


                          I ended 2021 on a high with a 3:00:23 at Melbourne in December.  In late Jan I ran a 10k PB of 40:37 on the track at Zatopek B races then took it pretty easy during Feb. In early March I rolled an ankle playing Tennis with Luca (DS1), ended up with an avulsion fracture of the fibula and a DVT.  I was able to walk in a moon boot after a couple of weeks and did my first run at 9 weeks post injury.  I thought I was building back gradually but it must have been too much too soon, I developed runner’s knee and had another 5 weeks off.  It was early July by the time I again started another comeback, I had 13 weeks until Melbourne. Six week later I was up over 50k per week with a long run of 25k.  Over the final six weeks I was able to average 60k per week and get in four decent long runs – 28k, 31, 31, 27 – the last two included about 10k at marathon effort.
                          My Sunday run at one week out was 20k.  Race week I only ran once – a 6k progression on Wed PM. I was at The Show on Friday and Expo Saturday, racking up 17,000 steps each of those days.


                          My fitness had been steadily improving but I didn’t have any races and it was pure guesswork when coming up with a goal pace.  B goal was to go faster than my first marathon (3:40), I thought that 3:35 was possible and would have been very happy with that.  Then Russ, who I had been doing some training with, said that he was going out with the 3:30 pace group and his aim was to beat me by 1 second.  We had both done 10k at around that pace two weeks pre-race and felt okay, I decided to give it a go but doubted either of us would sustain that pace over a whole marathon and would likely end up having to grind it out for something like 3:35, with some luck.


                          Sat Lunch: Katsu Ramen
                          Sat Dinner: Pasta Aglio e Olio
                          Sun Brekky: 2x Honey Toast & 2x Vegemite Toast & 1l coconut water & 4x 100mg caffeine
                          Mid Race: 1 x 600ml SIS Beta Fuel (80g carb) starting at 25k & sipped over 5k/25min.


                          The weather could not have been better.  This being my hometown event and my tenth time doing it, the logistics of getting to the start line were no stress.  We found a suitable starting point near enough to the pace group, then I thought I recognised Steve about 10 metres ahead and was able to say a quick hello before the gun.
                          There was a fair bit of congestion at the start which lost me some ground to Russ and the pace group but I steadily reeled them in just before 5k.  Another mate joined us and it was cruise and chat for the next 5k. Not long after that Russ said that he wasn’t quite feeling it and dropped back.  There was a good vibe in the pace group and I had Shane with me until just after 20k when he dropped back. I picked up my bottle at 25k, it was feeling a bit harder but not unreasonable. I had the drink to distract me, after 30k the half marathoners to weave through and the pace group to stay hang onto. There were moments I thought I was losing touch and others where I gained on them feeling like I might be able to move ahead.  The 1500m of 2.5% climbing at 36k only slowed me slightly but I did lose some ground to the pacers.  Just before 40k they were about 100m ahead but then I started catching up very quickly, I wasn’t going any faster but they were definitely slowing down and by about 40.5k I went past them. I guess they had figured out that they had banked too much time and hit the brakes. I knew that sub 3:30 was in the bag and used what was left to dip under 3:28.


                          Post Race:
                          It was great fun catching up with Steve after the race over drinks.  He and mates were awesome company and despite the disappointment with his race there were loads of laughs!


                          I feel like I got a result beyond what I deserved from the training and that’s got to be very rare thing in a marathon.  I guess that the long layoff during this year didn’t totally wipe out the gains from the very good one I had last year.  I’m excited to see what I can do next year with this little block as a base, some consistency, increasing volume and getting back to race weight.
                          Evidently, I forgot one and need to apply lube to both nipples next time.
                          I got lucky with the pacing – I would have gone out on pace for 3:35 if it hadn’t been for Russ.


                          The aim at this stage is to run a couple of iconic local races that I haven’t yet done - Two Bays Trail Run (56k) in Jan and Great Ocean Road Marathon (44k) in May – before having another crack at Melbourne and hopefully sub 3 next October.

                          Half 1:26:41 (2016), Marathon 2:59:83 (2021)


                          Intl. correspondent

                            Steve - the whole picture of what happened will slowly load for you over the next few months, at least that was my experience, though I do believe some of my take aways from my race still hold (lack of muscular endurance). You were able to easy run 42.5k in the past so you are already way better at the marathon than me.

                            I still think that 39K run was your peak and you only went downhill after that. Were you to run the marathon race on that day you would have comfortably run faster than you did you the actual race day. I believe exactly the same happened to Mark who had a spectacular training run and then a meh performance on race day. Peaking at the right time is very difficult, but ideally you would peak after the race so come into the race slightly under trained. Overall you've learned a lot over this cycle and hopefully you are able to carry all this fitness over to the next training cycle. I burst out laughing when you said you refused a medal, that is so relatable. I would punch rabbits after my race I was so pissed off.


                            Marby - Thanks for the race report and kudos for being humble enough to target 3h30, I know I'm too stubborn and proud to ever start another marathon unless I'm 99.9% certain I can achieve a sub 3.


                            Keen - Your coach is taking you to another level, I'm happy to see such progress!

                            PRs: 1500 4:54.1 2019 - 5K 17:53 2023 - 10K 37:55 2023 - HM 1:21:59 2021

                            Up next: April 8th - 20.8K Eco Trail Porto (https://porto.ecotrail.com/en/race-ecotrail-porto/20km)

                            Tool to generate Strava weekly


                              Steve – Finishing shows you’ve got the mental strength and the benefits of a great cycle will give you a lasting physical strength. You will kill it next time.  Probably too early to think too hard about it but I’d go your local marathon, removes the stress in travel-routine-expectation-expense.  Timing is good to have a decent break and re-set.
                              The very first event I did was a sprint tri.  I was very green. I can count the number of times that I have cramped, in my 50+ years, on one hand.  One of them was during sleep the night before this tri. I’d heard that you need to be well hydrated and I reckon I overdid it, peed too much and messed with my electrolyte balance. I know you said the colour was good, so maybe not that for you.  The other thing was that I was super hyped, a kind of excited anxiety.  Maybe that did something hormonally or just created a tension that contributed.   Who knows for sure, but it wasn’t lack of physical conditioning or over exertion which are often cited as a cause in my case. I don’t think it was in yours either.

                              Half 1:26:41 (2016), Marathon 2:59:83 (2021)


                              RIP Milkman

                                Steve that was tough to read, I'm sorry. I have luckily suffered exactly 1 cramp in my life, but having read a lot about them from others, it feels like nobody really knows what the fuck is going on. People have so many theories, but how in the world does it make sense that you were smashing 22 mile runs and then you get a cramp that early in the race? Overtraining? I can't see how that's it. I'd leave it to others who have figured it out.


                                Either way, the thing with marathons is you absolutely cannot make any long term plans right after a bad one. I've mentioned Boston 2019 a lot here, but I finished that race and not only said I hate marathons, but questioned my life choices to waste so much fucking time on this sport. But you know what? A few weeks later, I felt better, and then ran my PR 8 months later at CIM.


                                I'm not saying you're going to feel the same, but a lot of people make crazy decisions in both directions right after a race. See how you feel a month from now. This is supposed to be a big mental and physical rest period.

                                5K: 16:37 (11/20)  |  10K: 34:49 (10/19)  |  HM: 1:14:57 (5/22)  |  FM: 2:36:31 (12/19) 


                                Next Race: NYC Half (3/19)