Running with the sub-3s: redux (Read 390 times)

    Depends on the race. NY and Boston both have crowded starts.

      Depends on the race. NY and Boston both have crowded starts.


      I can't speak for NY but don't believe anywhere in the first wave of Boston is a problem for sub 3, especially next year. The year I ran from the 9th corral I casually ran 7:26 for my first mile and have run sub 7 from the 6th corral. It's a benefit of everyone going out too fast. 


      Speaking of going out too fast. I was amused by how many marathoners at Baystate were ticking off miles under 6:20 with me as I started the half along side them last weekend. Really? That many of em were looking for sub 2:45? Wow! The results told a different story. 

        Stadjak, you do your own thing (and do what we tell you) and it will work out just fine. Wink

        Interval Junkie --Nobby


          If my sole objective were chasing a PR Boston would be not me on the top of my list at all. I've never run Boston correctly but I do agree the gap is not insignificant. I've also tried to run sub 3 a couple times and failed but know that doesn't mean you can't salvage a decent race. Stadjak's coach's plan would require him to run a significant negative split to go sub 3. Speaking of...What the hell is that 8 minute first mile stuff? If you want to run an 8 minute mile go run a warmup. If you run your first mile at 7:20 you'll still feel like you are walking.


          To be fair to Coach, his advice was more open-ended than I may have presented it; he said, that if I'm feeling great at 16 then just roll -- don't look at the watch.


          Still, a 5minute gap at 16mi is more than I could make up on my best day right now.


          Coach has a bit of an obsession about the first few miles.  I think he knows that whatever he says, runners are going to cheat. [I'm just guessing here]  Many do, and blow up later on.  His logic is basically this: what does it usually take to warm your legs up?  (8:00 for my typical warmup).  Well, this is a race, with a crowded start, and a first mile uphill.  He puts that together and gives me a pace I won't worry about when I look at the first mile-marker.


          Keep in mind he's been coaching for 30 years and while I don't know all his bonfides, they do include a few significant marathon winner podiums and Olympic trial candidates.  He's got street cred.


          But I agree, 8 does seem a bit slow.  And to be more fair, he asked what it usually takes for me to warm up.  A pair of 8s it is.

          2016 Goals: Lose the 10lbs I gained for not having goals

            Pretty sure I've started around 8 the times I've run sub-3 at Boston. And that's downhill.

              Pretty sure I've started around 8 the times I've run sub-3 at Boston. And that's downhill.


              I looked and saw 7:16 (2013) & 7:14 (2011). I'm sure it felt like 8.

                One of my cautions about going for sub 3 vs 3:03 is whether you are "comfortable" running that pace.  There are some paces that just don't feel natural unless you practice them and it may feel easier for you to run 6:40 than 6:50 until mile 16 and then the crash.  There is nothing wrong with going out at 6:50 and if it feels great going with it, but if it feels awkward and you speed up because it feels more natural you could be setting yourself up for big blowup.


                RE speeding up after mile 16, in my personal experience even when I'm pacing a marathon, I still hit a point around mile 22 or so where it feels hard to maintain the goal pace.  Going from maintaining your original goal pace to trying to run 20 seconds faster over the last 10 miles is not something you can take for granted.  I'd say it would be very rare for someone to pull this off, possible but less likely to succeed than just trying to run even splits and may not be any less of a guarantee to not blow up.

                  I was being tongue in cheek with my last comment, but if I were to be a little more serious and try my best not to give bad advice, I'd say something like this:


                  1. Looking at Stadjak's history as a runner, sub3 is a foregone conclusion if he stays halfway serious as a runner.


                  2. Given that, my goal as a coach would be to continue constructing positive marathon experiences knowing that a) Stadjak has very little racing history and b) his mentality is not cautious or conservative.


                  3. As a coach, I would be totally uninterested in whether Stadjak breaks 3 in this race -- I'd be much more interested in seeing if he could be patient early in the race and if he could "flip the switch" later in the race.

                    Not picking on Jeff or anyone else's advice but the general concept of "if you're feeling good at 16 pick up the pace"....

                    'Flipping the switch' is something I just don't really get.  If I'm running at close to my best marathon pace on a particular day there is no 'flipping the switch' at mile 16 (I could do it but it would be Stupid, with a capital S).  At mile 22, I might do it if I could but I am never able to do much more than just maintain my pace.  Again, this is if I'm running at what I think is my best on that particular day.  I've 'flipped the switch' when I basically jogged the early parts but those are not marathons where I'm going for my best time.

                    I have no good advice to give Stadjak and I'll refrain from giving my bad advice!

                      I want one of those switches that people seem to be able to flip late in marathons. I've never found that switch.


                      I totally get the concept of being patient early, but in my best run marathons there was no moment where I suddenly started racing, and I've never significantly picked up the pace late in a marathon. It's generally been a really, really gradual transition from feeling like I'm holding back on the reigns in the early miles, to having to concentrate to maintain pace somewhere in the middle, to having to push and focus with every fiber of my being later on as the weight of the whole thing just settles over my whole body and being.

                      Runners run.

                        What do I mean by "flipping the switch" -- I don't necessarily mean picking it up. I just mean being capable when the time comes to do what has to be done, you get it done.


                        You go from hold back, to working, to -- at a certain point in the race -- being somewhat unconscious and consumed by the race. This is not a place that everyone knows how to get to. It easier to learn how to get into through strength than weakness, and that's why good coaches advise caution in racing with developing runners.


                        It feels kinda like this. Smile [and you guys are right -- it's not really an active choice; it's more like "the switch gets flipped" than "flipping the switch.]


                          At Boston, it's easy; you want to flip the switch at M21, the top of Heartbreak Hill.

                            At Boston, it's easy; you want to flip the switch at M21, the top of Heartbreak Hill.



                            However, personally, I think it's about 100 yards after the top.

                            And you can quote me as saying I was mis-quoted. Groucho Marx



                              Okay good. Next April all I need to do is flip my switch at the correct end of a 100 yard stretch of Commonwealth Ave in Chestnut Hill. Sounds like a plan. Wait, I think that was my plan last time, and the time before that, and the time before that too ...



                              Runners run.

                                Flipping the switch is easy. It's the perfect pacing just up until you flip the switch that's tricky.