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Marathon debrief by the Virtual DCM 2020 crew

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  • 02-11-2020 2:20pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,232 ✭✭✭


    Some cracking runs over the marathon in recent weeks. Details documented in their logs but might be a good resource to have them all logged in the one thread, a sharing of ideas, method and experience.

    How many days a week did you train, how long was your training plan and what was peak mileage?

    How many training sessions did you run a week? What was your longest run? And when was your last big session?

    Was there any 1 big session that pleased you the most and confirmed to you that it was on?

    What coaches, books, plans influenced your training plan?

    Did you hit every target on your plan? or was there the odd hiccup along the way, can you describe the issue and how you resolved it?

    Aside from just running, what other aspects did you concentrate on and what was the most valuable?

    At what point in the plan did you decide on a time goal? Did you have shorter time trials along the way, 10 Mile or Half marathon?

    How long did you taper? Did you get your taper right?

    Pacing strategy, did you try bank time, even splits or negative splits and why this course of action?

    Fueling strategy?

    Low and high points of training cycle?

    What would you change for next time?

    Maybe more questions but trying not to discourage anyone from replying :-)


Comments

  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 4,281 Mod ✭✭✭✭deconduo


    This post can probably be used as an example of what not to do for a marathon :pac: Hopefully a few better ones follow.

    First marathon for me, and pretty much everything went wrong up to the day of the marathon itself. Did my first half-marathon in March (Bohermeen) with a decent time of 1.49 and was planning to do the standard boards training plan for Dublin, aiming for sub-4. Then 2020 hit:
    • Didn't get a place for DCM in the lottery (ended up virtual anyway, so this worked out I suppose)
    • Covid hit, and the running group I was out with regularly effectively stopped
    • Had a bad fall and picked up an ankle/tendon injury

    How many days a week did you train, how long was your training plan and what was peak mileage?
    Disaster. Had 5 months with no running due to the injury and a slow ramp up in the last few weeks. Ended up just running what I could without bothering the ankle. Most runs at easy pace with the occasional 1km intervals & 200m reps session thrown in. Weekly distance ended up as:


    (20 weeks of no running)
    1. 20km
    2. 20km
    3. 20km
    4. 36km (12km long run)
    5. 32km
    6. 30km
    7. 24km (16km long run)
    8. 12km (Ankle issues, easy week)
    9. 56km (24km long run)
    10. 36km (12km long run)
    11. 52km (10km + Marathon)

    So an average of just under 30k a week for 10 weeks, with longest run being 24k

    How many training sessions did you run a week? What was your longest run? And when was your last big session?

    3-4 runs a week, longest run was 24km two weeks before the marathon, which ended up being the last big session.

    Was there any 1 big session that pleased you the most and confirmed to you that it was on?

    Nope, didn't actully expect to be able to finish it at until I passed the 35k mark on the day. At the point I figured I could walk it to finish if needed.

    What coaches, books, plans influenced your training plan?

    Didn't have a proper plan really once the injury hit. I was running on purely on feeling, what felt like a comfortable volume while recovering. Main goal was 3-4 sessions a week with 1 long run and maybe 1 reps sesion. If the ankle was playing up then just stick with easy runs.

    Did you hit every target on your plan? or was there the odd hiccup along the way, can you describe the issue and how you resolved it?

    No proper plan really as above, so no real targets.

    Aside from just running, what other aspects did you concentrate on and what was the most valuable?

    Lots of cycling to help keep the fitness up while I couldn't run. Wouldn't have been able to do it without it.

    At what point in the plan did you decide on a time goal? Did you have shorter time trials along the way, 10 Mile or Half marathon?

    Would have had a sub-4 goal originally before the injury. Ended up with a goal to just finish in the end.

    How long did you taper? Did you get your taper right?
    1.5 week taper, seemed to work ok as I hadn't pressed too hard during the training anyway.

    Pacing strategy, did you try bank time, even splits or negative splits and why this course of action?
    No real pacing plan, just ran at a speed that felt good. Went reasonably well for the first half, I thought I might come in under 4.30, but the legs got sore and tired and I had to slow down a bit. Splits:
    orfvAGP.png

    Would have aimed for a negative split if I was fit enough to race it properly.

    Fueling strategy?
    15km loop to start with, picked up water + 3 gels at the end of the loop
    15km again, with water + 3 gels at the end
    6km loop with water + 1x gel
    6km to finish

    Low and high points of training cycle?
    Felt pretty good when I finished the 24km long run without any issues.
    Lowest point was the week before - had planned a longer run than 12km but the ankle was bothering me so I had to cut it short. Really didn't think I was going to be able to finish at that point.

    What would you change for next time?
    • Don't get injured
    • Do a full training cycle

    Finished in 4.36 so have a pretty good chance to beat that next time around :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,007 ✭✭✭Lambay island


    Nice idea Wottle,

    How many days a week did you train, how long was your training plan and what was peak mileage?

    7 days a week for 12 weeks, took a couple of rest days once taper kicked in. Peak mileage was 70 miles with an avg of about 65 miles p/w.

    How many training sessions did you run a week? What was your longest run? And when was your last big session?


    1 midweek session that generally involved some form of turnover and threshold work. Long run always consisted of MP miles, often 2 or 3 miles on and 1 off etc,

    Was there any 1 big session that pleased you the most and confirmed to you that it was on?


    3 weeks out I did a 20 Mile run that included 12 MP miles. It was completed on tired legs and was shattered by the end but gave me confidence.

    What coaches, books, plans influenced your training plan?

    KSU from these parts worked out the plan for me.

    Did you hit every target on your plan? or was there the odd hiccup along the way, can you describe the issue and how you resolved it?

    I was generally happy how it went but on week 4 or 5 I had a really poor midweek session. I didn't get within an ass's roar of the required paces for the intervals but finished the session anyway. I think that stood to me.

    Aside from just running, what other aspects did you concentrate on and what was the most valuable?

    Yeh, one to learn here for me. I need to do more S+C next time and improve the diet. I have PF in the right heel so dynamic heel drops and stretching helped me after the longer runs. After the long runs, I tended to have an epsom salt bath. I really think these are beneficial for recovery.

    At what point in the plan did you decide on a time goal? Did you have shorter time trials along the way, 10 Mile or Half marathon?

    I didn't do any shorter TT's in buildup. It was sub 3 for me from day one of training. I was due to be running Galway Bay Marathon which was very flat so had in back of mind maybe sub 2.55. That was only cancelled 3 weeks out so was back to sub 3 as more than likely it was solo and on a less kind route. I finished with 2.57 so was happy with my calculations here.

    How long did you taper? Did you get your taper right?


    2 weeks, I injured my back during the taper a week out, doing something innocuous. I was in doubt for the TT. Painkillers and stretching got me good for the day. I got away with it and the legs were given an easier time the final week as a result.

    Pacing strategy, did you try bank time, even splits or negative splits and why this course of action?


    I was trying to run even splits. I would usually run a negative split but due to 4 loops of same course it was easier to try and run and figure out even splits.


    Fueling strategy?

    Gel after 6 miles, Caffeine gel at halfway and then a 3rd gel maybe at 18 mile mark. I had water at end of each loop.

    Low and high points of training cycle?

    Galway Bay getting the bullet followed by Popup Athy marathon. Mood was low after both those cancellations. I found the last week hard and I had my fill of training at that stage. High points were nearly always after sessions and completing the harder stuff.

    What would you change for next time?

    Mentioned above but S+C and diet need improvements.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,472 ✭✭✭Comic Book Guy


    Cool idea Wottle, so my 2 cents on it even though it already seems a lifetime ago!

    How many days a week did you train, how long was your training plan and what was peak mileage?

    6 days a week for 18 weeks (don't think too many Sundays). Initially started it to match up with DCM but that was actually officially cancelled during my first weeks training. There was due to be one then at the end of October in Longford so ended up repeating the first week of the plan so reset. That race got canned 6 weeks out so amalgamated a couple of weeks of the plan into 1 week to bring me back in line for Virtual Dublin.
    Plan peaked at about 74 miles/week with an average somewhere around the mid 60s.

    How many training sessions did you run a week? What was your longest run? And when was your last big session?

    One speed type session per week. Started out I'm the first half of the plan as half marathon pace miles. Second part of the plan was different length intervals done at 5k pace. 4 of the long runs in the plan involved progressively longer miles done at MP.
    Longest individual run was 22 miles done on a wet Friday morning about 7 weeks out from D-day. Last MP session was 4 weeks out and involved 15 miles at 6:50/mile pace. Last speed session was 10 days before the virtual, involved 3 x 1 mile at 5k pace.

    Was there any 1 big session that pleased you the most and confirmed to you that it was on?

    I'd be a glass half empty type person so would always be questioning myself in a negative light. I didn't really feel sub 3 might be on until that log run with 15 miles at 6:50 pace where I still felt ok at the end of it.

    What coaches, books, plans influenced your training plan?

    I followed the P&D up to 55 mile/week plan for DCM19 so went with it again for this one but went up to the next mileage level of the plan for 55-70 miles per week.

    Did you hit every target on your plan? or was there the odd hiccup along the way, can you describe the issue and how you resolved it?

    I think I might have only missed 1 or 2 runs in the plan (can't remember why). The first MP session came at the end of the second week of the plan. Think it was maybe 15 miles but included 8 miles at MP which i had settled on as being 6:50/mile. For whatever reason i really tanked when i turned up the pace for these and my legs just stopped after the 4th mile. Took a mile or 2 out and tried to get going but only managed another 2 miles at 6:50 pace before blowing up again. No idea what went wrong but it was a big hit to my confidence early doors!
    Just put it down as one of those bad days at the office and got on with things the following week.

    Aside from just running, what other aspects did you concentrate on and what was the most valuable?

    I'd love to say I did x y z on top of the training but i didn't. Had planned on doing some S&C but did nothing. My foam roller is gathering dust out in a utility press and I only got serious with my diet about a month before the marathon run.
    Definitely a lot of improvement to be done here going forward.

    At what point in the plan did you decide on a time goal? Did you have shorter time trials along the way, 10 Mile or Half marathon?

    Sub 3 was always the goal for this year from a few hours after finishing DCM19, it's one i kept to myself though (confidence thing!).
    The plan had a couple of TT in the 5-7 mile range. I just did one 3 weeks out from the marathon. It doubled as the local GAA clubs virtual 5 mile race. Actually found the 5 mile one way tougher than the marathon!

    How long did you taper? Did you get your taper right?

    The plan had a 10 day taper. Each day in between was peak Maranoia with me internally questioning why the easy pace miles felt nowhere as easy as they should have. First 5 miles of the marathon felt nothing like peak fresh legs but after that they felt great so the plan and it's taper came together just right.

    Pacing strategy, did you try bank time, even splits or negative splits and why this course of action?

    i was hoping to run 26 miles pretty consistently at 6:50 but found myself chipping away a small bit under this pace for the first half and accumulating time. Kept putting out the miles at similar pace up to 18 miles and then legs just wanted to go quicker so did a negative split and set a new HM pb in the course of the second half so worked out not too bad.


    Fuelling strategy?

    Maurteen gel with one of those kids water bottles from Aldi at Mile 5, 10, 15, and 20. The one at Mile 15 was the caffeine version. Didn't forget my pre race porridge though.

    Low and high points of training cycle?

    That first MP and failing to complete it was a dent to the confidence coming early in the plan. I had actually resigned myself to it being a TT very early doors so race cancellations didn't really bother me but there was one midweek run about a month before the virtual where it was a real struggle to convince myself to head out and do it. I knew I was be totally pissed at myself later if I blew it off so that was the incentive I needed to get out and do it.
    I'm always a bit apprehensive of the speed work so it was nice to do a decent time in the aforementioned 5 mile virtual race. Given the field it also turned out that i won it so that was a nice booster (even if it wasn't exactly a diamond league field, more of a diamond jubilee get together field!!).


    What would you change for next time?

    Mentioned above but S+C and diet need improvements (shamelessly stolen from your reply D!)
    Over the course of the 18 weeks I did every single run including the virtual marathon itself by myself. Would love to meet up with a few boardsies for a couple of the longer weekend runs just for a chat and to see how their training is going etc.


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


    Interesting that both you new to the sub3 club would focus on S&C and Diet..

    Firstly the S&C
    S or C? What is your interpretation of S and C and which do you feel is more important? Also why, its more time? What will S&C give you that running more won't?

    Next diet: For weight management? Or recovery? or workout fuel. I find the diet part especially hard to control within a family and small kids

    Overall its clear that a certain level of mileage, MP workouts and above all consistency day in, day out is key. Physically its those long runs with MP miles on already tired legs. I really feel that its those mornings that you were completely reluctant to head out but did anyway that really stand to you.

    Great idea for a thread Wottle and interesting so far :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,007 ✭✭✭Lambay island


    Interesting that both you new to the sub3 club would focus on S&C and Diet..

    Firstly the S&C
    S or C? What is your interpretation of S and C and which do you feel is more important? Also why, its more time? What will S&C give you that running more won't?

    Next diet: For weight management? Or recovery? or workout fuel. I find the diet part especially hard to control within a family and small kids

    Overall its clear that a certain level of mileage, MP workouts and above all consistency day in, day out is key. Physically its those long runs with MP miles on already tired legs. I really feel that its those mornings that you were completely reluctant to head out but did anyway that really stand to you.

    Great idea for a thread Wottle and interesting so far :)


    On the S+C side of things, I probably don't know what I fully should be doing in this space. I know if I was working on my core, I probably wouldn't have put my back out picking up a kids shoe from the floor as an example.
    I expect to pick up a few niggles in marathon training but I think if I was to get ahead of them, recovery would be quicker if I was stronger in certain areas. Finding the time with kids, life, etc, make it harder of course.


    On the diet side of things, it comes down to weight for me. I was a couple of KG's heavier than I was when I was doing some shorter Time Trials during the summer. Towards the end of this cycle during taper with a couple of niggles and races getting cancelled etc, I was eating lots(fair bit of crap) still but not running to counteract it. I didn't cut out alcohol either which I would have if it was a race as opposed to a TT. Easy things to fix here really. I also agree with you on certain aspects of diet with small kids about - I eat more chocolate now than ever. :)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,377 ✭✭✭Sunny Dayz


    Mine might be a bit of a different Marathon Debrief as someone who did their first marathon...

    How many days a week did you train, how long was your training plan and what was peak mileage?
    During the summer it was 4 days but come Sept it was down to 3 days due to other commitments, not ideal.

    How many training sessions did you run a week? What was your longest run? And when was your last big session?
    Longest run was 20 miles done first weekend in Oct

    Was there any 1 big session that pleased you the most and confirmed to you that it was on?
    It was that 20 miler. I had told no-one bar the husband that I was thinking of doing the marathon, wasn't sure I'd be able to. I played each long run by ear, had dropped away from the group long run towards the end of the summer as I couldn't maintain the group pace. I took the 20 miles nice and easy and relaxed and I daresay enjoyed it!

    What coaches, books, plans influenced your training plan?
    I printed off the Hal Higdon novice marathon plan. Also looked at the DCM plan they posted weekly. It was moreso to see where I should be with the long run.

    Did you hit every target on your plan? or was there the odd hiccup along the way, can you describe the issue and how you resolved it?
    Not at all! I was probably desperate for sticking to any plan. I did miss 2 of my long runs in Sept - one due to losing motivation as everything started back up in Sept, the other due to bad planning of my weekend. During a 10 mile virtual race in Aug I very nearly bowed out due to stomach issues - I learned to take imodium before a long run and also not to put so much pressure on myself.

    Aside from just running, what other aspects did you concentrate on and what was the most valuable?
    I'd been doing S&C classes once or twice a week. Not sure if they helped although I did feel a little stronger because of them. Got out for walks when I could to get fresh air as I was working from home a bit. Didn't do anything with my diet other than trying to drink more water.

    At what point in the plan did you decide on a time goal? Did you have shorter time trials along the way, 10 Mile or Half marathon?
    Kinda had 5:30 in my head, thought it might be a reasonable time (half marthon pb Oct 19 2:21). When I took part in a half at the end of Aug (2:35) that was like a pacing trial although I had stomach trouble there too.

    How long did you taper? Did you get your taper right?
    Emm I did 2 virtual 10kms during my taper. And had registered for a virtual 5km but behaved myself on that one! The week after my 20 mile long run I only had to run 12 miles on the following week's long run! Couldn't believe I was saying "only 12 miles!"

    Pacing strategy, did you try bank time, even splits or negative splits and why this course of action?
    Just try and finish! Had mapped out 4 different loops within my 5km radius. The first 2 were a little harder so I got hubbie to run them with me for his half marathon. Had printed out a 5hr30 pacing band to keep an eye on, and was doing grand up to about 30km. Also don't start out too fast as I have a tendency to do.

    Fueling strategy?
    Set up a fueling station outside the house. No set time/distance for taking stuff. I'm not a gel person - so used jelly beans, fruit pastilles, gel shot blocks. Liquids were water, water with a zero tab and then mouthfuls of lucozade or coke at the house.

    Low and high points of training cycle?
    Highs were hitting those distance milestones I'd never covered before. Lows were maybe a lack of support and motivation during training. That was down to me not telling anyone I was doing the marathon as I knew I'd put too much pressure on myself, but a few people guessed (and saw my strava!). A few of my running buddies came out to support me on the day which was just fantastic and even when I looked at the running group whatapp after where they'd been tracking me (til my tracker stopped). I guess I didn't appreciate at the time the support you might need for a marathon.

    What would you change for next time?
    Try and actually follow a training plan properly! Bitta company would be nice, I did miss when my husband finished his half and I was on my own. A buzz along the route.
    I would say sure there'll not be a next time, but I think I would be lying...
    It's kinda like childbirth (I've just the one experience). The lead up to the big day has its ups and downs, a lot of learning. The event itself, it's tough but you just plough on through it. And now it just feels like a memory.


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


    Good idea for a thread. In my case, I aimed at a time of 3:22 and pretty much hit it exactly.

    How many days a week did you train, how long was your training plan and what was peak mileage?

    Six days a week. Hanson plan (18 weeks), extended by a few weeks, with a rest week after a tune up HM. So a total of 20 weeks start to finish, which is probably too long. Peaked at 62 miles.

    How many training sessions did you run a week? What was your longest run? And when was your last big session?

    The plan has one intervals session a week and one tempo. There's a steady long run every second week. So two and a half per week on average. Longest run was per plan (16 miles, three times). All the sessions feel big, to be honest. But the last one is 10 days out - 10 miles @ MP.

    Was there any 1 big session that pleased you the most and confirmed to you that it was on?

    No, the plan doesn't really work that way IMO. You do start to feel very strong by the final weeks of the plan however - it's a cumulative thing. So I definitely felt it was on by the end, despite some hiccups along the way.

    What coaches, books, plans influenced your training plan?

    Hanson plan by the book, including the option to monitor HR to gauge the appropriateness of the goal and to ensure you're getting the most out of the sessions. So I'd be drawing mostly on Matt Fitzgerald here for my understanding of HR and how to be guided by it.

    Did you hit every target on your plan? or was there the odd hiccup along the way, can you describe the issue and how you resolved it?

    I definitely did not hit every target. The early speed sessions were OK but I found some of the target pace ambiguous and favoured more attainable targets on some of the sessions (e.g. 5-10k pace rather than 5k pace). The main hiccups were on one of the early MP runs and one of the later 16-mile steady runs. On both occasions the conditions were difficult and my preparation had been inadequate. HRM was suggesting unsustainable effort levels so I pulled the plug. I didn't sweat this too much, you're never going to get every session 100 percent, and there were obvious reasons why the sessions hadn't gone well. I also noted shotgunmcos's comments after one of these bad runs, that it was more important to get the MP sessions right than other runs in the plan. That was a bit of a wakeup call as the first poor session was indeed a MP run and I hadn't prepared properly - late night, a beer or two too many, that kind of thing. Didn't make that mistake again.

    Aside from just running, what other aspects did you concentrate on and what was the most valuable?

    Nothing really. I had notions of adding S&C to the routine, but didn't do much - probably less than previous M blocks to be honest. Was careful to warm up for speed sessions, that's about the height of it.

    At what point in the plan did you decide on a time goal? Did you have shorter time trials along the way, 10 Mile or Half marathon?

    I set out with a goal of 3:20, but downgraded it to 3:22 (which would be a very small PB) after a few weeks of looking at HR during the MP sessions. Stayed with that target to the end. HM TT along the way (see below).

    How long did you taper? Did you get your taper right?

    10 day taper as per plan. Yes, I'd say it was right - nearly every easy run felt terrible during it, which is always a good sign for me.

    Pacing strategy, did you try bank time, even splits or negative splits and why this course of action?

    Even all the way. I've never achieved neg splits in a marathon and I didn't think a a TT would be the ideal place to start.

    Fuelling strategy?

    Carried six gels (Maurten). Managed four, at 4, 8, 16, 20 miles. Third one was caffeinated. Skipped the 12 mile gel as feeling a bit queasy at that stage. Water with the gels. Had water available every 5k or so - lapped route so it was easy enough to organise. Sports drink during mile 24 - just a few sips to fool the brain.

    Low and high points of training cycle?

    It was pretty even. I squeezed in a HM TT with the club (that felt very much like a race) four weeks out and had a PB-paced run, so that was a high point where I could really feel it all coming together at last. The low point was that abandoned 16-mile steady on a hot and windy Sunday morning. I'd had a late night and knew I hadn't respected the task at hand.

    What would you change for next time?

    Not 100 percent sure. I think I would use this plan again the next time out. It really makes you strong, and there is no question that it has enough mileage and that the long runs are long enough. It works, and it makes you strong at what you really need on the day - the ability to sustain goal MP for the duration. It occurred to me afterwards that I might have been a little conservative on the day considering the cool conditions. But there was also the wind to deal with so maybe I made the right decision - I ran a very evenly paced effort when you take the hills into account, and the fade towards the end was quite minimal by my standards. No regrets, that's for sure.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,232 ✭✭✭Wottle


    Thanks for taking the time to reply. I've signed up for the Hamburg marathon in late April, no idea of what time I'll be looking at, plan to do a half time trial at the start of December and will be guided by that.
    Interesting to see that most started their plan with a time goal already in mind, so does that mean other sessions like tempos and 10k work were run at paces more akin to predicted marathon pace, rather than current fitness?

    Had a read of an old classic thread last night, some super insights from posters
    https://touch.boards.ie/thread/2056285981/1

    One thing that arose from reading the thread was fuel type expenditure and perhaps not doing workouts at VO2(3k-5k) and risk compromising the glycogen fuel rate.
    So what was the fastest race pace sessions you did? (not including strides)
    Did you focus on trying to increase your fat burning ratio to carb burning?

    Also, maybe the thread can be used for all marathon debriefs and not just DCM.
    Anyone got other suggested questions?


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


    Interesting to see that most started their plan with a time goal already in mind, so does that mean other sessions like tempos and 10k work were run at paces more akin to predicted marathon pace, rather than current fitness?

    If you're doing Hanson, the target paces stem from current 5k fitness, and while there is not to my memory any actual direct discussion about choosing a marathon target, you are assumed or encouraged to base M pace on predicted pace based on that 5k. If you know better, you have that option to adjust your M target, I suppose, which is why I monitored HR on M pace runs and adjusted downwards.

    What was the fastest race pace sessions you did? (not including strides)

    The speed sessions, based on 5k pace. For me, around 1:36 per 400 rep, pro rata for longer - although I adjusted down to 5-10k pace for the longer speed reps, which vary from 12 x 400 to 3 x 1 mile. No strides on the plan, and I didn't feel the need to add them in. Have been down the P&D road with less success. :)


    Did you focus on trying to increase your fat burning ratio to carb burning?

    No, except in the sense of trying to do the long runs (and all runs) at the correct pace/effort, based on known LT from testing, and extrapolating out from that, which should have the effect of building endurance and fat burning ratio anyway. Most of the speed and tempo sessions were done first thing in the morning before breakfast, but this wasn't part of any deliberate strategy. I set up the numbers carefully and trusted them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,578 ✭✭✭py


    DCM 2019 was 4:28, VDCM 2020 was 4:09 so good improvement on last year which I was happy with.

    How many days a week did you train, how long was your training plan and what was peak mileage?

    24 week training plan (too long, will be reducing my 4-6 weeks next time). 5 days/week for first 4 weeks, 6 days/week for next 4 weeks and then 7 days/week after that. The 7 day training weeks were fine during the summer, unsure if I'd do it through winter though. Biggest week was 106.4Km which was about 2Km short of the target for that week.

    What coaches, books, plans influenced your training plan?

    I've moved this up as it will lead in to the next question. Followed Phil Maffetone's method which is run everything to HR. With regards to the distance, I felt pretty comfortable starting off at 50Km/week over the 5 days and then gradually upped the distance by 10% each week for 3 weeks and then had a step back. I followed this 4 week cycle throughout.

    How many training sessions did you run a week? What was your longest run? And when was your last big session?

    No sessions, all HR runs. Only thing that would be out of the ordinary throughout was the virtual DCM race series which I ran on the days they would've occurred had they not been cancelled. Longest run was 20miles/32Km.

    Was there any 1 big session that pleased you the most and confirmed to you that it was on?

    Probably the 1/2 marathon PB I ran in mid/late September.

    Did you hit every target on your plan? or was there the odd hiccup along the way, can you describe the issue and how you resolved it?

    About 7 weeks out we had our own mini lockdown due to a covid test in the household which put me out of action for 4 days. No injuries to report of througout, plenty of fatigue in the longer weeks.

    Aside from just running, what other aspects did you concentrate on and what was the most valuable?

    I keep on top of my sleep pretty well and if I've done a long run on a weekend I'll more than likely grab an early afternoon nap. Epsom salt baths helped in the latter parts of the plan as the mileage was getting high.

    At what point in the plan did you decide on a time goal? Did you have shorter time trials along the way, 10 Mile or Half marathon?

    I'd a fairly good idea of what I wanted early on but the 10mile and then 1/2 times had me believe it was attainable. (spoiler, on the day it was not).

    How long did you taper? Did you get your taper right?

    3 weeks. Went ok. Had a hip issue up until the very last week of taper but it didn't bother me at all on the day.

    Pacing strategy, did you try bank time, even splits or negative splits and why this course of action?

    Planned to run evenly throughout. On the day, the wind zapped my legs and the last few Km were a lot tougher than the first few.

    Fueling strategy?

    Maurten gel every 5 Km starting at the 3Km mark. 250ml of water every 10Km along with a chewable electroyle tablet.

    Low and high points of training cycle?

    Highs were the PBs for the TT including the big day itself. Lows were the few weeks at the tail end of the plan prior to taper, was utterly exhausted probably a delight to be around at home.

    What would you change for next time?

    If it were to be a windy day like we had on the weekend, I might choose a more sheltered route to take the wind out of the equation. I had a strong headwind on the equivalent of the DCM crumlin drag * 4 and I'm not the most aerodynamic of builds. Not fun. I'd also do more on the diet side of things, never paid attention to it this time and was definitely more disiplined for 2019.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,181 ✭✭✭healy1835


    My own Virtual DCM wasn't exactly preceded by a marathon block per sé. I'd gotten 3 weeks out from Manchester back in the Spring before the plug was pulled on that. Was pretty optimistic about how things would have played out over there.

    Kept ticking over during the first lockdown, and optimistically turned my attention to Amsterdam which due to be ran the week before DCM. Again, block was going well and after a 58:40 10 mile TT towards the end of August, I was hopeful that 2:45 would have been within reach... But plug was pulled on that and I just sort of floated about for a few weeks, which included a week off with a virus, a very inauspicious XC debut, and then a last minute call, 2 weeks out, to do DCM with a clubmate. I'll try and answer the questions that I can...

    How many days a week did you train, how long was your training plan and what was peak mileage?

    Was averaging 110k-120k during Amsterdam block. Had hopes to average a little more but that just wasn't a runner due to work + home setup during the summer.

    How many training sessions did you run a week? What was your longest run?

    Had been generally focusing on 2 quality sessions per week, including a LR session. I'd started the Amsterdam block in pretty good shape, so it was a case of trying to manage things carefully. Had a good few 20 milers in there, some with 10MP.

    Was there any 1 big session that pleased you the most and confirmed to you that it was on?

    10 Mile TT was satisfying enough. Was building towards a couple of pretty big sessions which never materialised :(

    What coaches, books, plans influenced your training plan?

    Lucky enough to have a good mate who has been looking after the training plans for me since i was running 6 min km's back in 2015 :)

    Did you hit every target on your plan? or was there the odd hiccup along the way, can you describe the issue and how you resolved it?

    Was going smoothly enough until pkug was pulled. I did jump back in with a LR session 2 weeks out just to check that I had a some quality longer stuff in the legs. Ended up doing 26km inc 8x2k off 1k float, ave 3:49/km for the 2k and 4:12/km for the float. I knew i hadn't lost much after that. It was just a case of hoping the lack of longer stuff didn't catch up with me.

    At what point in the plan did you decide on a time goal?

    2 weeks out :) Sub 3 just seemed like an arbitrary target, and one that would constitute a good morning's work. Didn't get too hung up on specific paces, just said I'd roll with whatever the day brought.

    How long did you taper? Did you get your taper right?

    Took the week before pretty easy.

    Pacing strategy, did you try bank time, even splits or negative splits and why this course of action?

    Did 9 loops of a pretty exposed route. The wind was a big factor so i was just trying to guage efforts into and against the wind. A slight positive split, I think 1:28:22 & 1:28:29

    Fueling strategy?

    Had a mate on the bike so it was a case of whenever i wanted something, rather than specific points on the route. Gels at 5,10,15 miles...possibly 20 but I don't think so. Water and electrolyte drink every 5k or so, bit of Powerade and dioralyte about 37/8k


    What would you change for next time?

    There definitely won't be a next time!! The next 26.2 I run will be a PB attempt that's for sure. Was delighted I did it though, the experience was a unique one.


  • Registered Users Posts: 94 ✭✭jackc101


    As a non blogger this looks like a good idea, thanks Wottle
    I'm a graduate of the DCM19 mentored novice gang and I went from 4:19 to 3:59 ish. Thrilled with that

    How many days a week did you train, how long was your training plan and what was peak mileage?
    I followed the Boards intermediate plan, going from the Base phase and then into the Intermediate Marathon plan. Essentially I had been running it since recovering from DCM 19, with pauses / rejigs for the Boards time trials, recalibrating for Cork getting cancelled, Dublin getting cancelled, Galway getting cancelled and then the Virtual DCM
    I hit a peak of 78Km about 5 weeks out

    How many training sessions did you run a week? What was your longest run? And when was your last big session?
    I was training 5 days a week, Mondays and Fridays off
    The Boards Intermediate has a 3hr at easy pace which I stretched to 3hrs 20 minutes to turn it into a 20 mile session

    Was there any 1 big session that pleased you the most and confirmed to you that it was on?
    I did a second 3hr easy pace run on my Birthday as the last action before the taper. It was slightly faster than easy pace and I knew things were looking good. It didn't put my mind at ease too much, taper madness kicked in and I was doubting the ability to put it all in at PMP over the taper (but I needn't have worried)

    What coaches, books, plans influenced your training plan?
    Just kept tipping along with the Boards Intermediate plan & trying to keep the slow stuff slow per the mentors from last year!

    Did you hit every target on your plan? or was there the odd hiccup along the way, can you describe the issue and how you resolved it?
    I had an IT band issue on my left knee. I can nearly predict when it'll happen, near the peak of marathon training. It's a weakness in my calves which has happened four times at this stage and either causes an IT band issue (Left, Right and Left again) or achilles . Basically I'm an idiot for not remembering to do specific calf exercises. This time I just nipped it in the bud without a physio visit but I was kicking myself for forgetting it, again :o

    Aside from just running, what other aspects did you concentrate on and what was the most valuable?
    I put massive effort into my core strength and I think it paid of handsomely. I would have the odd back issues and haven't had a bit since starting the core strengthening. I'd like to think it helped my running too.


    At what point in the plan did you decide on a time goal? Did you have shorter time trials along the way, 10 Mile or Half marathon?
    I decided my time goal about 2 days after DCM 2019 :D


    How long did you taper? Did you get your taper right?
    I did a 3 week taper per the Boards Intermediate plan. It felt about right for me and allowed be to rehab the IT band nicely.


    Pacing strategy, did you try bank time, even splits or negative splits and why this course of action?
    Even splits all the way, kept me honest in the first half and maintaining in the second half

    Fueling strategy?
    SIS gels, lucozade sport & water. Had planned gels every half hour but ended up spacing them out a bit more with the lucozade in between


    Low and high points of training cycle?
    High was defo stopping the watch with 3:something still showing on it.
    3 cancellations, with the rejigging mentally and plan wise was a pain.


    What would you change for next time?
    Not much, keep the core stuff, start the calf raises, banded clamshells, etc. before I have issues, not as or after the issue starts :o


  • Registered Users Posts: 743 ✭✭✭Ferris B


    Hopefully this is not too much of a repeat of Murph’s answers as I also followed the Hanson plan. Might be of interest to some...

    How many days a week did you train, how long was your training plan and what was peak mileage?
    This was my third time to follow the Hanson advanced plan. It calls for 6 days of running with a rest day on Wednesday. As the weeks progressed the Wednesdays become something to look forward to providing a little respite. ‘I’m having a Wednesday’ has now become the standard phrase in our whatsapp group for taking a day’s rest no matter what the day.

    The length of the plan for me moved from 18 weeks to 17 weeks to 20 weeks as various marathons were cancelled and others entered. Despite the extended length of the plan, I managed to stay reasonably motivated only really grew impatient and a tad fed up around week 18. I made up my mind early on though that I would be running a marathon no matter what the circumstances.

    Peak mileage for me was about early 60’s. I had 3 weeks of 60, 61 and 62 with a step back week between each.

    How many training sessions did you run a week? What was your longest run? And when was your last big session?
    Like most running plans there was an interval day (Tuesday), Tempo day ( thurs) and a ‘long run’ day.
    Tuesdays’ comprised 8 weeks of speedwork with all distances run at 5k pace. This progressed to 8 weeks of what was called ‘strength’ sessions which were longer intervals run at MP – 10 secs. Thursday’s tempo was always run at MP pace with distances increasing from 6m to 10m

    The Hanson plan has the long run maxing out at 16miles but run at MP + 40s. I didn’t run beyond this distance. Having completed the program twice before I had no issues with this reduced distance compared to most other programs.
    In the 2nd last week I ran a 6x1mile on the tues and a 10 mile MP run on the thurs. No sessions in marathon week.

    Was there any 1 big session that pleased you the most and confirmed to you that it was on?
    Because of the additional 3 weeks I ended up running 4 10mile tempo runs ( An extra 1 compared to the program). These sessions are tough and would occupy your mind a bit on the Wednesday prior. It was the 3rd ( I think) one of these that just felt on the comfortable side of tough. However being comfortable over 10 miles is a long way off from knowing any target ‘was on’. I tried not to think about the end goal too much.

    What coaches, books, plans influenced your training plan?

    Obviously the Hanson Marathon Method by Luke Humphrey was my main guiding influence. Although not encouraged by Hanson I used HR for the first 7 /8 weeks as a guide to determine my mp. The data for this was obtained from an LT test carried out by Emmet from Perfect Pacing last year.

    Did you hit every target on your plan? or was there the odd hiccup along the way, can you describe the issue and how you resolved it?
    Because all times were effectively based on my ability at the time all targets became achievable. That’s not to say they were easy, particularly when you have to hit the paces week on week. My times for speed work and up to 5k are quite slow compared to my times for longer distances. I allowed myself a relatively conservative 5k time of 19:45 /20mins to calculate all my interval paces for 400m thru to 1600m. Some of these were possibly a bit off the mark but I wasn’t bothered as this is early in the program.

    I pretty much hit all targets on the strength work, MP runs and long runs. I think this was helped by previous experience of the plan and sensible target setting.

    Aside from just running, what other aspects did you concentrate on and what was the most valuable?
    As an older runner with plenty of leg issues I had to maintain a certain level of S&C work to ensure the body didn’t break down. I didn’t do as much as what I wanted and possibly lucked out here.

    The other main aspect that I feel is of enormous benefit was sleep. I made sure I was in bed early on most nights. All my tues and thurs sessions were at 6.30am so an early night was valuable.

    At what point in the plan did you decide on a time goal? Did you have shorter time trials along the way, 10 Mile or Half marathon?
    At the outset of the program in my mind, I had somewhere around 3:10 as a target. As mentioned I used HR as guide here. The first 8 to 9 weeks of running suggested a possible goal of 3:05 to 3:10 . ( My pb was 3:01:18 from London on 2017 and ran 3:23 in DCM last year after an injury influenced program). However there were good improvements in my MP pace for the same HR as I moved through the program ( pace went from 7:20 min/m to 6:50 min/m) . It wasn’t until around week 12 that this improvement started to plateau out at just under 6:50 min/m. This would give me a pb time but the question remained as to whether I was prepared to possibly run a solo marathon at this pace for an unofficial time.

    The club put on a half marathon TT along the way which was a welcome break from all the training. I have always run at least one race leading to a marathon and this became a nice mini focus point en route. The time achieved for this was 1:25 ish which would be a PB. It was a good confidence booster particularly as I ran most of it on my own.

    How long did you taper? Did you get your taper right?
    There was a 3 week gap between last 16m long run and marathon. Sessions however continued right up to 2nd last week. Tapering went fine.

    Pacing strategy, did you try bank time, even splits or negative splits and why this course of action?
    The 3 loop course I devised ( within my 5k) had 2- 3 miles of continuous climbing in each loop. The flat section tho was going to be with the wind. With this in mind I allowed myself to run up to 10secs faster than the target pace (6:49 min/m) on the tailwind assisted flat section knowing I’d loose that on the hills. This workout out quite well. I wanted to keep things as steady as I could for the entire run and I think I did.

    The DCM app has my splits at 1:29:39 / 1:29:36 for a 2:59:15 finish time. A 3 sec negative split!

    While my garmin time had me finishing 26.2 m at 2:58:48, I ran to 26.3 miles though ( to be sure) for a finish time of 2:59:28.

    Fueling strategy?
    Maurten gels were my gel of choice. Guided by the principal of getting in 60g of carb per hour ( I assumed for a larger size frame than mine) I aimed for 6 gels ( 25 g ea) with one every 4 miles. Of these, three were caffeine gels which I took at 12/16/18 to allow an hour time for caffeine to kick in. A swig of water was taken with each gel. Other than that nothing special during the run.
    Porridge would be my breakfast of choice which I had throughout the program and at 3.30 am on run day. Generally my sessions were all run prior to breakfast and sometimes this applied to long runs too, though not necessarily by design.

    Low and high points of training cycle?
    Low points were nothing to do with training cycle but more the frustration of no knowing where I was running until a few days beforehand. The messing around with the weeks ( 18 to 17 to 20) was a bit of a pain but just got on with it.
    High points were definitely the improvement in my mp time which I honestly did not expect. During this cycle I was also transitioning away from using orthotics which I was apprehensive of but which turned out quite well. The improvement in training times occurred around the time I started using Nike Zoom Fly shoes with no orthotic. This was not just a co incidence.

    What would you change for next time?
    If I was to run using Hanson again I’d change nothing about the program. It works. Aside from the running aspect I’d do more bespoke S&C work and may drink a little less wine along the way.

    I like change every now an then and like to try new stuff. I’ve used hanson very successfully twice now but I want to have a go at something new. Possibly looking at some sort of bespoke marathon plan. Need to find a marathon tho….


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,181 ✭✭✭healy1835


    Ferris B wrote: »
    What would you change for next time?
    If I was to run using Hanson again I’d change nothing about the program. It works. Aside from the running aspect I’d do more bespoke S&C work and may drink a little less wine along the way.

    At what miles did you take on the wine?? :)

    Seriously though, a great debrief of an excellently executed training block and raceday. It's interesting that you're thinking of moving away from Hanson when it's just got you the sub 3. What's your thinking there? If I remember correctly, there was a debate on the Hanson thread about it's viability once the targets started to begin with a 2.....


  • Registered Users Posts: 743 ✭✭✭Ferris B


    healy1835 wrote: »
    At what miles did you take on the wine?? :)

    Seriously though, a great debrief of an excellently executed training block and raceday. It's interesting that you're thinking of moving away from Hanson when it's just got you the sub 3. What's your thinking there? If I remember correctly, there was a debate on the Hanson thread about it's viability once the targets started to begin with a 2.....

    Ha ha now there's a hydration idea! I do actually have Marathon du Medoc on my bucket list:D

    As regards change of plan, it's simple really. I've used the plan 3 times now and want a change to keep me motivated. It's nothing to do with suitability or not of the plan.


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