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How Did You Get Where You Are?

  • 10-09-2018 8:41pm
    Closed Accounts Posts: 221 ✭✭

    This might have been done before but how did your training evolve over the years to make you a faster runner? What was your time progression for goal races and what changes did you make during your running life to improve those times?

    made up example:

    10k 2009: 58:21. jumped in local 10k after completing c25k
    10k 2012: 46:34. Increased Mileage, added race specific intervals etc.
    10k 2015: 41:46. started 10k training after focusing on 3/5k training in previous cycle which improved my speed, made changes to diet and lifestyle
    10k 2018: 38:18. More focus on S&C, highest ever mileage with more tempo work

    What were the game changing factors that led to your breakthroughs?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,415 ✭✭✭Singer

    March 2014|25:39|Around some football fields in Swords|The first ever time I managed to run 5k according to Strava! This was a classic newb run, totally clueless and as hard as I could go on the day. I wasn't running consistently at all.
    March 2015|23:27|MSB St. Patrick's Festival|The first timed 5k I ever did. I'd done the race series the previous summer but was only running twice a week at most and even then quite inconsistently. All my running was single paced really - between 8:30 - 9:30/mile or so. No strides, sessions or consistency. However I'd ran faster than my 5k PB at Trim 10 mile so reckoned I could run a bit faster here. I started way back in the field but eventually got free of the crowds and ended up running my fastest ever mile in the last mile (nearly sub-7!). I actually ran this on a sore foot and couldn't run again for a few weeks.
    June 2015|21:13|Docklands 5k|I started running 4 times a week. No intervals or structure, though some of the runs were done relatively fast (i.e. near racing training runs such as 10ks in 46 minutes). The better start probably accounted for a minute of the improvement.
    December 2015|20:53|Jingle Bells|In the previous few months I learned how to actually run thanks to the novices thread and ran DCM. The time was gun time, so I was actually a bit faster. No speed in my training though, just volume. Oh, and it was like running through a hurricane due to a storm and there was no hiding in the Phoenix Park. The weather wrote off any real attempt at sub-20.
    December 2015|20:07|Christmas Cracker|First real attempt at sub-20... Again no real speed in training faster than occasional MP stuff really, though I was at the end of a month long running streak.
    April 2016|19:32|MSB St. Patrick's Festival|At this point I was getting quite consistent with milage and adding stuff like hill sprints, progressions, legging it around St. Stephen's Green chasing Strava segments and even some actual running at 5k pace. Turns out you have to work to get sub-20 :)
    July 2016|18:45|Docklands 5k|I started doing parkruns, 70+ mile weeks, steady commutes home, strides, an IMRA race etc... it turns out reasonably well structured high volume running works. Simples! Felt great on the day, despite running 20 miles 4 days prior (????!!!)
    December 2016|19:36|Christmas Cracker|Post-DCM related injury I had a bit of a layoff and I wasn't running as consistent or with much quality.
    March 2017|20:15|MSB St. Patrick's Festival|Kind of went stale with not much running fast, though I was knocking out 60+ mile weeks plodding around. I ran 19:38 a couple of weeks later at Malahide parkrun, so I had a bad day here. I think it also measured long and was damn windy :)
    July 2017|18:39|Docklands 5k|I figured I should actually follow a 5k plan to get some speed, so I did. I followed the Advanced Road Racing 5k plan with a few small changes here and there. I'd ran a sub-19 parkrun a couple of weeks prior which wasn't quite all-out. I reckoned I was in 18:30 shape however I didn't feel great on the day, but ground out a PB.
    May 2018|18:45|Bob Heffernan|In the meantime I had a good summer of PBs, joined a club but got inconsistent over the winter. To get back in shape I ran relatively consistently, showing up at the club doing track sessions each week and did a good few parkruns. In the last two weeks before the race I followed the last big sessions in the Faster Road Racing book to sharpen up. It worked. Had I ran better on the day I think I could have PBed.
    September 2018|20:29|Malahide parkrun|Lots more dossing and slacking off means going 3 years back in time :)

    So over 3 years, my 3 sub-19 5ks (discarding the parkrun) were all different - first one was high volume with non-specific quality stuff, second was as a result of following a 5k plan and third was on the base of general club sessions and then a couple of specific sessions in the weeks prior.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,141 ✭✭✭rom

    2010 - Started running.
    2011 Mar - 5k 23:10 (first race)
    2011 Mar - 10M 81mins
    2012 Mar - 10M 71mins
    2013 Mar - 10M 62mins

    I used a HR monitor. Found out my max HR and ran 80% of the time at my max HR -50 beats. Did some speed work also and lost weight.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,834 ✭✭✭OOnegative

    2011- 1.43.01 - Clontarf Half Marathon:

    Warm hot summers day as this race tends to be, my first half stuck with pacers till a mile to go and emptied the tank from there. Hugely proud of the result at the time, never thought it possible of myself.

    2012 - 1.37.xx - Bohermeen Half Marathon:

    Goal was a sub 1.40, done that handily and remember on the day I should have pushed for a 1.35, glass half empty kind of result.

    2013 - 1.31.39 - Strawberry Half Marathon:

    Went with the 1.30 pacers on the day but had to let them go at 8 miles, it was a baking hot day and I suffered from there to the finish, delighted to run a 6 min PB but dejected I missed sub 90. Little did I know finishing that I wouldn’t run another half for 3 years due to injuring my knee in this race.

    2016 - 1.34.xx - Rock & Roll Kinvara Half Marathon:

    Again went with the 90 min pacers lost them this time at mile 10 due to a recurring hip issue, pulled the pace back and finished as I was training for the Rotterdam Marathon at the time, glass half full once more.

    2018 - 1.26.11 - CPC Loop Den Haag:

    Sub 90 achieved at long last which took far to long. Training went well for this and was happy with race execution on the day. A 1.25 was there only for cramping over last 3k that caused me to stop and slow down.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,455 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    Marathon progression:

    2012: 4:02 (Dublin) off Hal Higdon Novice 2. Included a few MP pace runs. 1,200 kms for the year.

    2013: 3:46 (Dublin) off Meno plan with 90% of target mileage, so speedwork, tempo introduced, and more MP running. Also lots of boards coaching advice re paces etc. 1,971 kms. Injured beginning and end of year (too much racing for where I was at physically), out for about 4 months inc beginning of 2014.

    2014: 3:36 (Berlin), again with Meno plan. Joined club, so track sessions introduced. Probably could have gone harder in Berlin but Boston Q was the main goal. 2,104 kms.

    2015: 3:29 (Cork). More of same. Meno plan again, full mileage. More running long runs with club, boardsies, other friends. 2,881 kms.

    2016: 3:28 (Dublin). 3,080 kms. Switched to P&D this year. Four marathons (inc Donadea ultra), unsuccessfully chasing London/NY qualifier. Tired by DCM and lucky to finally PB after disappointing Boston and Cork.

    2017: 3:22 (Dublin) off curtailed Hanson (last five weeks of plan following full Hanson HM schedule for Charleville). NY qualifier finally, at 4th attempt. 3,058 kms for the year.

    2018: no marathon (yet). On target for 3,200 kms.

    So, slow but consistent progress. Different plans. Consistent speed sessions. Increasing mileage, but not spectacularly. Progress comes mainly from miles in legs, consistent training, and relative lack of time lost to injury, I reckon.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos

    I started running. No science or HRM. Figured 8 min mile was what I needed to run a 3:30 marathon so every run was run at that pace for a few months!
    1:53:xx Connemara Half and 3:33:xx DCM - fading badly at the end of both

    2008 3:58:xx Connemara Marathon (my first bad cramping experience. Something that would stick with me for the next 10 years) faded so badly I walked the last 4 miles in tears

    DCM 3:27:xx finished smiling with a 6 minute mile. Changed nothing but took a good break after Connemara and did some swimming. Ran a few 20 milers in prep and tapered and fueled better than 2007.

    2008 to 2010 was a triathlon journey. I was handy on the bike which helped a lot but only progressed from 39:40 to 38:09 10k in that time. Mainly from low mileage but a weekly track interval session and most runs off a bike a hard 5k on tired legs.

    2010 1:25:58 Waterford Half Marathon. I was basically a lot fitter generally but once the triathlon season was done I focused on getting sub90 in this. Held onto the 90min pacers out into a strong wind for the first half then had a dream wind at my back for miles on the way back for a 3min+ negative split. Felt like i was running on clouds. I trained a lot with HRM in 2010.

    2011 3:00:xx Connemara Marathon. Basically increased volume of everything through a good winter in 2010. Big swim and bike volumes. I included lots of Pilates and Yoga and got a Physio rub once a month. The run training was standard marathon stuff but mostly done on tired legs. Virtually every long run was preceded by a long bike the day before. I had no marathon plan other than run at 7 min miles. I tapered for about a week as it was a "training marathon" instead of a long run! I just remember feeling so fresh.

    2011 Also a miserable 3:15 at Berlin finishing in tears. Completely over trained and fell apart. Cramps again.

    2012 1:23:40 Limerick Half Marathon. Took time off. Regrouped with a new coach. He put intervals into focused 2 hour runs. Like 3x10 mins LT or 3x15 at 10k-HM pace. I really enjoyed the training. I reduced all the swimming and biking to focus on running for a couple of months and it paid dividends.

    That's where my run progress stopped for various reasons.

    In summary
    Better Aerobic capacity. Consistent volume week after week, year after year
    Race focused intervals instead of just whatever was on the Running Club track menu that week. It meant more running alone.
    Not following plans blindly.
    Appropriate Taper and general recovery and conditioning is absolutely key.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,839 ✭✭✭zico10

    In summary
    Better Aerobic capacity. Consistent volume week after week, year after year
    Race focused intervals instead of just whatever was on the Running Club track menu that week. It meant more running alone.
    Not following plans blindly.
    Appropriate Taper and general recovery and conditioning is absolutely key.
    16-09-2018 21:25

    The best marathons I've done have come from following plans blindly slavishly.

    Here's why;

    Dublin, October 2008: 2:55:24
    This was my first ever marathon and I was delighted to break 3 hours. It came at the tail end of triathlon season and it was only after that ended, that I started fully concentrating on the marathon. This gave me 7 weeks to prepare, but I had just finished my second year training for triathlon and this stood to me. And while it might have been my debut marathon, I had entered and trained for the Connemarathon that April. In the end, I couldn’t run there, but the training I had done served as a useful base for DCM, and it no doubt helped me for the October marathon.

    Connemara, April 2009: 2:53:34
    I did this before the 2009 triathlon season started and it got a longer build up than my debut marathon had done. While I wasn’t following any specific training plan, I received more tailored advice from the running coach in our triathlon club. As it was a harder course than Dublin, my target was to break 3 hours. I far exceeded this and was once again very happy with my result.

    Luasanne, October 2009: 2:51:??
    I’d ran 1:19 in the Dublin half marathon only a month previous and I was hoping to break 2:50 for this. I thought it was the natural progression from my previous marathon times. I was annoyed with myself for failing to do this and I still think I messed it up. I’d missed the start and, in my eagerness to make up for this, I worked way too hard over the first half getting to halfway in 1:22. The course was much easier than Connemara and it was the first time I was disappointed with a marathon. Just like DCM the previous year, it only got 7 weeks of specific focus. I wasn’t following and structured plan and came up with the training based on stuff I’d learned whilst training for Connemarathon that April.

    Lisbon, December 2010: 3:07:45
    I was in the middle of a 3-month cycle trip around Europe, when I decided I’d enter this. Needless to say, my training was far from ideal. I continued cycling circa 100km a day for the next 4 weeks and did the occasional short run at the end of a day’s cycling. I took a day off cycling here and there to fit in some long runs, then finished up my trip a week before the marathon and crammed in a couple of primers in what little time I had left. Because I’d always succeeded in doing it before, I was hoping to break 3 hours. I’d also finished my first ironman that August (where I ran a 3:10 marathon) and was hoping the fitness gains I’d made from that would stand with me. I only reached halfway in 1:32, so from that point onwards I knew the game was up.

    Bangkok, February 2012: 3:14:??
    I’d chalk this down as the worst prepared I ever was for a marathon. I’d been living in Thailand for over a year at this stage, so I was accustomed to the climate. I couldn’t use the heat and humidity as an excuse, besides the race started at 2 a.m. and we were spared from the heat of the daytime sun. The marathon had been moved from its usual date in November to February, and it was only in mid-December, I decided to start training for it. This followed almost a full year of very little physical activity and compared to the previous marathons I had done, I was coming from a very low base. I was still more interested in enjoying life, and the most important thing for me on a Friday and Saturday were the nightly trips to the pub. It wasn’t unusual for me to go several days in row without running. Nevertheless, I tried to follow the basic premise of one long run, one medium run, one speed session, and one recovery run per week. I only had a regular stop watch and I was probably overestimating the distances I was running. I’d no right to be aiming for sub-3, but I went for it anyway. The marathon itself was a very humbling experience, and after it was over, I promised myself I’d never be so ill prepared for a race ever again. That was probably the only good thing to come of it.

    Connemara, April 2014: 2:35:51
    This was the first time I followed a dedicated marathon training plan; ‘Advanced Marathoning’ by Pfitzninger & Douglas. I was running more miles than ever before, I kept swimming, but dropped cycling completely. In two months prior to my commencement of the 18-week plan, I was building up for the high mileage that would be required, and it felt like a bit of a step back once the plan proper started. I think I was in good shape starting the plan and I got through things without issue. I was in the best shape of my life toeing the line, and I had the confidence to chase an aggressive time. I got to halfway in 1:14:26, which was a bit faster than I had planned. This compares with a 1:21:25 second half but given the profile of the course and the horrendous conditions we had to contend with, I don’t think I’d have bled so much time in too many other marathons.

    Rotterdam, April 2017: 2:42:59
    Since setting my PB, I’d focussed on Ironman racing for 3 years and the A-goal in 2017, was also an Ironman race in October. I thought an early season marathon would serve as a useful springboard though. I was getting coached at the time and it was under the coach’s tutelage that I trained for this marathon. There was a probably an even split between the hours I spend running and the hours I spent cycling. Given the bigger picture was October’s Ironman, this was what I wanted. Things seemed to be on track though and I was confident of setting a PB until injury struck in February. After that, I had 3 weeks of zero running and by the time I got back on my feet, it was too late to catch up. During the layoff, I upped my hours on the bike. I was hopeful that this could compensate for all the missed runs, but I started the race knowing that just getting through the 42km without further damage was going to be a success.

    Rotterdam, April 2018: 2:36:24
    This was the first time in 4 years I was able to concentrate exclusively on the marathon again. I revisited the same Pfitzinger & Douglas plan I’d followed for Connemarathon 2018. My heart wasn’t fully in it though and I wasn’t as faithful to the plan as I had been 4 years prior. I did all the long runs, medium long runs, tempo runs and speed sessions (not always at the speeds I would have liked), but a lot of the recovery runs were substituted with cross training. I took the lazy man’s option of treadmill runs for a lot of the harder stuff as well. All this had a cumulative effect of easier and less miles in my legs and I think this was a factor in the subpar performance I turned out that day.

    Dublin, October 2018: 2:26:21

    Spurred on by the disappointment that was Rotterdam, I was much more committed this time around. It wasn’t that I’d lost faith in P & D, but I felt changing plans would give me fresh impetus, something which was lacking in my preparations for Rotterdam. I chose the marathon plan from ‘The Science of Running’ by Steve Magness. Like when I set my PB in Connemara, I was going to have to run more than I ever ran before. I found things a bit daunting starting off, but as the 21 weeks went by, I grew more and more comfortable with what was required. I made a much bigger effort to lose weight and it all culminated with me smashing my PB in DCM. Finally, I think it’s worth noting that it was the first time I ever trained solely for marathons for a full year. And however disappointed I might have been with my marathon in April, it had me well conditioned for the second training cycle.