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Swashbuckler's Marathon Debut?



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭AuldManKing

    I love the Thursday-Wednesday approach - ingenious. But will you be doing the long sessions in the dark?

    My experience of it is that it gets you fit very quickly - then you get tired, but strong.

    My only 'concern' about Daniels is the lack of 20 milers in his plan - so I add my own workouts (e.g. 5/4/3/2/1 at MP) - I'm not saying that you need 20 milers, but for people like me who are prone to cramping - then it is a must.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ThePiedPiper

    Happy new year, and best of luck with your training for the marathon. Good to see you’ve referenced flexibility a couple of times. With your kids being as young as they are, there’ll be plenty of times when sticking rigidly to a specific long run will be impossible. My own theory would be that the long run is key, and if you get the 5 or 6 key sessions of the program identified, focus on them. Each week, one additional quality session is adequate, then stay flexible.

    Over my 25 marathons since starting a family, the dominant trend has been slower times when the youngest child has been 0-2. On a log about your running, maybe my suggestion to not focus entirely on running might seem a bit counter intuitive, but I’m sure you get where I’m coming from.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Thanks AMK - yep pretty much all of my sessions will be starting at 7pm at best, more often 7.30pm..........Can't say I'm delighted about that but its the only way I can make it work unless I want to take a 3hr lunch and get fired from my job...or alternatively disappear for three hours at the weekend and get fired from being a husband 😂.

    In terms of the 20 milers I'm not so concerned about the long runs with stuff. For me there's enough in those to see them capped at 17 miles. I certainly can't imagine myself managing some of those big sessions you've done lately. Eye watering (despite your rationale of them being 15 miles at MP with breaks).

    However I was a little taken aback at the vanilla runs in the plan. If I was to stick rigidly to the book then my longest vanilla run would be 150mins (of which there are only two in my plan). That would come in at around 20miles. The other vanilla runs max out at 120mins which, for me, will probably be around 15 miles. So I expect I will probably not cap some of those vanilla runs at 120mins. I'm not someone who is overly concerned with not running 22 miles in training but I do think the vanilla long runs look a little short for me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Completely and I appreciate it. As my previous coach pointed out , I have a very zen like approach my running. 😂 . So for me, I'm very focussed and determined when it comes to my running but at the same time I understand the ups and downs and sometimes other things take priority. So there needs to be flexibility. That being said I usually do a good job of keeping the train on the tracks.

    In terms of the long run being key - thats the funny thing about the Daniels plan - 2x long sessions a week makes it difficult to know which one is infact the key one. The 2Q Daniels plan is unlike many other plans where its easy to see that the "weekend" session is usually the key one and the midweek is somewhat supplementary. In the 2Q plan both sessions are big meaty sessions - Q1 is usually either a MP session or vanilla. Q2 is normally Threshold session or speedwork. Both sessions are usually 13+ miles each. Daniels does say that if you have a weekend race then prioritise the Q1 session that week and drop the Q2 so maybe that tells you all you need to know about which is priority. That being said, and this is another thing I like about the 2Q plan, Daniels has several sessions in the plan emboldened. He notes that these sessions are flexible and if you feel tired or overwhelmed then feel free to drop them and take a rest or easy day. That certainly helps too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭AuldManKing

    "That being said, and this is another thing I like about the 2Q plan, Daniels has several sessions in the plan emboldened. He notes that these sessions are flexible and if you feel tired or overwhelmed then feel free to drop them and take a rest or easy day. That certainly helps too."

    Or modify them to something else (which is what I do a lot - especially in the later weeks). This is where the Steve Way sessions come in handy.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Great Limerick Marathon 2022 – Daniels 2Q Plan Week 1 – (30-Dec to 05-Jan)

    So just a mini reminder for folks: E = Easy, M = Marathon Pace, T = Threshold, I = Interval (5k effort), R = Repetition (Mile effort).

    For the first 6 weeks of the block Daniels recommends going slower than current fitness. For me I'm probably taking a more conservative path even than that. For the next 6 weeks the pace guides (which I only intend to use as a guide and will really go by feel) are as follows;

    Easy = I ignore the pace range here. It will be what it will be.

    Marathon Pace = 6.40min/mile

    Threshold = 6.15min/mile

    Interval = 5.40ish per mile

    I'll see after the 6 weeks how I'm feeling. The odd thing with me is i'd be very happy to run a marathon of 6.40's today if it was offered to me so it might seem strange to folks to see me training at athat pace from the offset. Recent race performance would suggest a theoretical marathon pace of 6.25ish but I dont see me racing that on the day. Maybe for my second marathon 😉

    Thursday, Dec 30th



    Shoe: Saucony Endorphin Pro

    Per my previous update I wasnt feeling great on the Wednesday (29th) run which had me worried starting into a marathon block. Felt ok during the day and I made sure I hydrated and ate well all day. One of those situations where you dont really know til you get moving. It's a tricky one to describe. I felt reasonably ok. The weather took a turn for the worse during the easy four miles and it pelted down with rain. Wind picked up too. Thought to myself, you know what, even though this is day 1, these are the runs that you will think back on and use as motivation. Mental toughness and all that. Had to manage the effort given the weather conditions. I felt ok....only ok. Nothing phenomenal. Decided about 5 miles into the marathon paced effort that I would just cut it a little short, drop the threshold and finish up with two easy miles. I was feeling it in the legs and body. Heart rate was higher than it usually would be. Get it done, get home and hopefully better days to come. In hindsight I think I probably was fighting something, plus the tiredness and stress from the xmas was catching up with me a bit. I parked it and was happy enough with my nights work. Not a bad day 1 considering how I felt and how sh*te the weather was. Rome wasnt built in a day....Hopefully it was built in 17 weeks though.

    4E: 7.55/7.51/7.57/7.58

    7M: 6.46/6.53/6.42/6.52/6.52/6.50/6.55

    2E: 8.01/8.08

    Total: 13.1 miles, 1hr37mins

    Friday, Dec 31st

    Plan: Easy

    Actual: Easy 5 miles

    Very leggy but I always like an active recovery the day after a session. Kept it very very handy. HR still a little high. No booze that night - something I hope to continue for a while.

    Total: 5 miles, 42mins, 8.26min/mile

    Saturday, Jan 1st

    Plan: Rest

    Actual: Rest

    A lovely rest day and essentially what probably reset my body.

    Sunday, Jan 2nd  

    Plan: Easy

    Actual: Easy 6.4 miles, 51mins, 7.53min/mile

    Effort level/HR back to normal. Felt great. A happy boy.

    Monday, Jan 3rd

    Plan: 8E/2x2T off 2mins/1T/2E

    Actual: 8E/2x2T off 2mins/1T/2E

    Shoe: NB Fuelcell TC

    It's funny, even writing this I still think these sessions loo pretty hefty for week 1! Understood these plans are probably more geared towards some of the faster marathoners but still! Anyway, time will tell.

    So for the first time in my entire running life I set out and did 8 miles of running before moving into the harder stuff..Threshold on tired legs. Thats a big feature of the Daniels plan. I had to look twice a few times to make sure there wasnt typos in his book. On week 8 there's 10 miles easy before even touching on the threshold stuff!

    This was another shocker of a night in terms of weather. I really got shafted this week in that the two worst nights of weather were my session nights. Wind was a big factor this time. Got the 8 miles done without much fuss. Taking in some parts of the marathon route. Felt pretty good after 8 miles. The first 2 miles threshold was a bit of a shock to the system and made me rethink my route strategy. This was on North Circular road which I've always found to be a bit of a nomansland on race day. Support can be hit and miss. You're far enough away from the end that it seems like theres no end in sight. You've just left the support of all the people in the city centre. And you have that big feckin hill to come at the GAA grounds. Where better than to suffer some windy threshold miles eh? I did the two miles and then decided to mix up the route a little for the second two miles. The second two miles and the last threshold mile were more manageable. I was pleased with how it went especially given the weather. Finished up with 2.2 miles easy and back home for a shower.

    8E: 8.11/8.05/8.19/8.17/8.11/8.05/8.02/8.28

    2T: 6.24/6.24

    2T: 6.04/6.20

    1T: 6.14

    2E: 8.19/8.11

    Total: 15.2 miles, 1hr57mins

    Tuesday, Jan 4th

    Plan: Easy

    Actual: Easy 5M, 43mins, 8.31min/mile

    As with the Friday run this was pure recovery. Leggy again but as expected.

    Wednesday, Jan 5th

    Plan: Easy

    Actual: Easy 6.6 miles incl. 8x20s Strides

    Legs much better , in ballllltic conditions today. I had forgotten to do strides last Sunday so made sure to include them today. Nice run and legs much better. Hopefully better again by tomorrow for Wk2 Q1 session.


    Planned mileage for the week: 48

    Actual mileage for the week: 51

    Time on feet: 6hrs 45mins

    Miles in the block to date: 51

    Number of MP miles: 7

    Number of Threshold miles: 5


    • Not too concerned about the Q1 difficulties as everything has come back to normal in terms of how i'm feeling.
    • A solid week 1. Certainly didn't feel like an easy introduction.
    • Nutrition and hydration has been very very good. This just feels like the kind of plan where I can't slack on that stuff. No coffee consumed this week and by god I could have done with it a few times.
    • Sleep isn't too bad. A couple of nights in the spare room helped.
    • All in all i'm happy. Very excited to have a purpose to the training and really immersing myself in all things marathon. There is obviously a big concern this wont go ahead but i have my blinkers on right now. I have to assume it will to keep me motivated through those big sessions.
    • It will be interesting to see how the cumulative fatigue works on this plan. There are some of what I would consider massive sessions deep into the plan. 14 miles at marathon pace being one in particular. But thats a long way off.

    Next weeks sessions;

    Q1: 2E/3T/40min E/2T/1E

    Q2: 6E/5x3min Interval off 2min/6x1min R off 2min/2E

  • Registered Users Posts: 735 ✭✭✭Treviso

    Must be a nice feeling to get the marathon block well and truly started. Have to say that the 8m easy warmup for that session would be mental torture, I baulk at a 30' min warmup! Will be interesting to see how this plan goes. I do agree with AMK about stretching some of the MP runs wu/cd to 20 miles but only if the legs want to, it will stand to you on your first marathon run.

    Best of luck with the plan, will try to be more vocal on the log.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭AuldManKing

    Great start.

    Don't put pressure on yourself on the paces - at this stage 'effort' is good enough - as the fitness builds the paces come.

    The other thing is that as the focus of the week are the 2 big sessions - the paces for the rest of the week can be slower if needed. (Edit: but you're only a youngster - so maybe you'll be ok)

    Your level of detail is top notch.

    Post edited by AuldManKing on

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Every now and then I would like to drop a few things in here (not specific to my training) in the hope I can get some tips and advice from the fine folks who follow this log! You could argue some topics might warrant a thread of their own. Honestly, I often feel like the quality of conversation and volume of inputs is much better in the training logs rather than individual threads. Not sure why. Also, I know its early days in my training but what harm in chatting about some of these things now. Anyway here are the two things current on my mind;

    Race strategy

    I've been doing some reading and chatting with folks on how they approach the marathon in terms of how they break it up in their minds (and targeting splits). I've seen several different approaches so far.

    • HM/HM
    • 10k/10k/10k/12k
    • 10k/"the middle bit"/10k
    • 10 mile/10 mile/10k
    • Every mile

    I can see benefits to different approaches. I can also see, for some people, it wouldnt really matter and its a case of just go out and run the bloody thing. I guess what got my asking was I was visualising the Limerick marathon, in particular the course, and it seems to me that its wise to have some plan for the last 10k as there are some tough spots there. I also understand that plans need to be flexible and you deal with what happens on the day (wind, heat, feeling lethargic etc). Do you guys go in with a strategy or is that overthinking things? If so, what strategy has worked for you?

    Racing in a marathon block (assuming races go ahead)

    This one has been niggling at me a bit. I had signed up for Adare and Mallow, maybe naively. Now that I have them placed (in pencil) into the plan I can see that they really do interfere with what I consider important looking sessions. For example, Adare happens a few days after an 18M and would require me to drop or move what looks like an important MP session (12MP). Similarly, Mallow happens a few days after a 20 miler. Im less concerned about the session that would need to be dropped as its one of those emboldened ones that Daniels allows you to change up. However it would mean in the space of over a week id have a 20 miler, Mallow 10M and a 14M marathon paced session. Any thoughts on this? I'd also not have much of an issue just not doing the races - I'm certainly an advocate of keeping the main thing the main thing. Are races important in the build up? Would you move stuff around?

    Post edited by Swashbuckler on

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,984 ✭✭✭Duanington

    Fair play, P - you're getting the finer details taken care of.

    I've taken both approaches to marathons in the past - a very clear strategy and a more relaxed approach.

    Surprise surprise, the more relaxed approach was a disaster, anything with a clear strategy was a success. The strategy that works best for me is definitely the 10 mile, 10 mile, 10k. I haven't actually done a whole load of marathons in my time but its clear for me that a strategy works best.

    A good friend of mine who came within a whisker of breaking 2.30 a few years ago, swears by the "three Cs" approach, I've stolen it but only applied it once so far (to good effect)

    Control the first 10 miles (don't get caught up in the madness etc)

    Concentrate on the second 10 mile section (it does take concentration to stay on target, relax the form, work when you need to and ease off when you know you should)

    Character for the last 10k - its going to hurt, its supposed to hurt, there is going to be a stage over this 10k (maybe all of it) where you need to show your character and dig in to get things done.

    **Edit - in terms of an actual, more detailed strategy, pacing by 5k or 10k has worked well for me in the past. The mile by mile thing is just too heavy on the head, some miles are faster, some are slower but if you can keep each 5k segment on track, hit your halfway split on track, get to 20 miles on track and then it gradually just becomes a race (for me).

    As for racing during a marathon phase, this is largely individual but I do think with little or no racing, a lot of us run the risk of building up a crazy level of anxiety on the big day itself. Racing is a skill, something that we should practice, like all skills that we would like to improve on. The pre-race nerves, the mental side of things, the hurt towards the end, it all serves a purpose in my book.

    **Edit - our club coach DH is a huge advocate of ensuring you race during marathon prep, in fact in a recent marathon block that I ultimately never got to finish (COVID related), he got wind that I hadn't raced in well over a year and was dumfounded - he could not believe that I was putting everything into one single race without practicing racing along the way, "embracing the hurt" as he put it is something most people just cannot and usually should not do in sessions, it toughens you up and leaves us no room for self pity (his words, not mine!). Races can also provide a physical stimulus that training doesn't always give us. I would emphasise that this I do think this is largely individual, we all know people that race 2\3 times a year and do really well with that.

    The flip side is that we can overcommit (guilty as charged here) and race too much, try to squeeze everything in and simply not get the best out of ourselves because there is no real adaptations taking place.

    The 10 mile race would be great but something has to give in that week, you'll probably feel you can do the lot at the time, and you probably could - but that does not mean you should.

    Post edited by Duanington on

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

    Marathon Training is all new. I've learned some hard and good lessons. TPP and others have alluded to it earlier when speaking about flexibility, particularly earlier in the plan. (As you know from your Professional Role than risk is lower earlier in a plan 😉).

    So 2 things about that and marathon training in general.

    1. The Long Run vs Adare. Being a Slave to the plan and the mileage can be detrimental. I missed 2 weeks of the sub3 plan in 2019 due to flu and had to rebalance. I went on feel and RPE initially to get back on track. Ultimately the goal was still achieved. The long run is about time on feet primarily. The key purpose is to get you on your feet for a longer duration and as you progress, longer duration at MP. So, consider Adare as 6m of that 18m LR you need to do. Do whatever warm up you normally do for a 10k, tack on an easy mile or two to make 4m easy. Do Adare (6m), then run the course in reverse eeaasy (6m). Total 18m on your feet. Ok its broken up but that doesn't matter. Your body is still working for the few minutes rest you take. Just an idea, but even if you do Adare, consider the cost of your normal recovery to the marathon plan. You know your own body well over 10k all in. In terms of a performance on the 10k vs your Marathon, what are you willing to sacrifice? Tailor your expectations for Adare which in itself is an early 10k anyway. In general I don't see any harm in breaking up a marathon plan with a couple of races but its important to define the "why" and what you expect from them.
    2. MP. Going after sub3, well within your pace range, puts a specific number on a lot of your training. 6:45-50 per mile, give or take. Its great to tick off the early training MP miles in the plan but I'd encourage getting to know your marathon effort. Whether its RPE or HR, particularly to navigate obstacles that "flexibility" or events will bring. Don't underestimate the cumulative fatigue of adding MP miles to the volume, even with the solid base you have over the last couple of years. Priority 1 is getting to your first marathon healthy and recovered.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,426 ✭✭✭scotindublin

    As always great detail and some great discussion points that will come out of the log.

    I am not really sure I am best placed to answer on racing during marathon training, seeing as I have only done 2.....but I will give some thoughts on this.

    Racing during the marathon training block may be confirmation that the training is working, but then again so is lashing out a monster session, what benefits would you see yourself in racing? If it is chasing PBs then the work you do for the marathon will take care of those in due course.

    Would racing mean missing out on a couple of key sessions due to taper/recovery.....if you plan to run a half would it be wise to incorporate this as part of a long run and do the 1/2 at MP?

    Pretty sure someone on here mentions keeping the main thing the main thing 🤔.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,376 ✭✭✭diego_b

    Some great points above but one thing to add the risk with doing a race to be disciplined within it, a lot of people that once they start a race and no matter the planned intentions will run it as hard as they can. I'd favour doing the races, it's good experience and good to embrace the pain but use them properly.

    In my own case I was training for what would have been a 3-4 minute marathon pb in DCM 2017. I did the Dingle Half marathon as a training run...I love the race but I got suckered into going for too fast a time (2 hours on the course would have been a nice training run, coming home in 1.46 partially cos someone banged into my back in the first mile and annoyed me, I passed the same guy in the last 500m). All well and good, doing the Charleville HM two weeks later, I was on course for a sub 1:40 up till 10 miles and had to pull back and end up coming home 1:40:23 (a pb which I still haven't broken but I was going for 1:39:xx) but I also injured my calf in the race and lost at least 1-2 weeks training for DCM. The net effect of all that was I did recover and get back training, felt good and I still did have a go for the target time in DCM 2017 and started to proper blow up around 16 miles, got to 20 miles...had to stop and walk...the last 10K was to run a bit, walk a bit effort and it was not fun. Of my running and racing experiences to date, those 3 races within 6-7 week period hold the most regrets for me as with a smarter approach I think I could have went sub 1:40 in the half and pb in the marathon as I wouldn't have injured myself and impacted training.

    So aside from talking about my own experiences too much above I am saying you'll get into proper good shape, have the potential to waste it all on non target races. I would race one of them though because it's fun as much as anything and it's good to set a new bench mark...the longer the race the better too.

    For pacing strategies, for my best marathon I ran it for the first 15 miles with a pace group and after that I felt good and went for it on my own. With a marathon like Limerick you should have people around you especially if going for a nice round number time so you can work with people. The race will ebb and flow, watching mile splits is good for me as good to check in as well to see where you are at for a target. Can work for keeping the mind occupied but can make people anxious. A nicer version would be 5K splits...serious checkpoint at halfway as you're only getting into it. 20 miles another major mark...last 5K...go hard or go home.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,807 ✭✭✭skyblue46

    Hey P, this log is certainly generating a lot of conversation. I have still to decide if it is great attention to detail or paralysis by analysis 🤣

    I just thought I'd throw in a few non specific comments that jumped into my mind on reading some of the recent posts both by yourself and other contributors.

    What strategy should you employ on the day? There is no perfect strategy. There is only a perfect strategy for you. As with every other plan in life it should be designed to both get the best result possible whilst avoiding the biggest risks. If you fear that as a 10k runner with a good cruising speed there is a risk that you go out too fast because the pace will still feel low on the RPE scale then employ a strategy to keep yourself at a pace to a certain distance before reevaluation. If you fear being too conservative give yourself targets to be met at certain distances. List your worries and formulate a strategy to mitigate.

    Should you race during the plan? Yes if you would like to, no if you wouldn't. There is no reason you shouldn't if the races are well scheduled. This is your marathon, your hobby, your year. It might sound twee but enjoy it. Do what makes you happy. I know you are following a plan but don't be a slave to it. You have 95% of the training for this marathon done over the past few years. That's where all the big gains have been made. A 'key' or 'boldened' session can be rescheduled. Remember what L said recently on another thread about training concepts not having changed much over decades. Don't buy into the marketing idea that X coach has a magic session, or sessions, that will make or break your training plan. That's marketing to sell books. On the flip side you can run an excellent marathon without racing in the build up. The choice is yours.

    So relax into have it 😉

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Thanks everyone for the thoughts and inputs so far. I was going to hold off responding to any/all of the above as I feared that once I start responding then the conversation could move off on a tangent and i'll miss out on other peoples inputs who may feel like the ship has sailed on the original topic.

    But just some general comments in response to some of the above;

    I certainly dont feel like i'm the type to go off too fast. I'm extremely disciplined when it comes to pacing - both in training and races. I have zero concerns that I might go through the first 10k in 38mins for example! Long way to go with training but the obvious would be - am i being too conservative and if so, when would be the point to ratchet it up a bit, and obviously there's a big unknown in how I'll feel deep into the race given my lack of experience.

    In terms of racing, it wouldnt bother me not to race. I guess the motivation for asking really was to see if there are any benefits to actually racing. I certainly wont be doing anything other than Adare and Mallow. That would be it. I am also the type that doesnt like messing around with things too much either. There were some good points above in terms of recovery needed and maybe encorporating a race into a long run too. I'm certainly disciplined enough not to go all out if thats what I decide is best, but in that case then why bother - why not just do a training run at home.

    I get what you mean @skyblue46 in terms of discussion vs overanalysis. Dont take it up the wrong way though. Its pure enthusiasm from someone who is finally delving into the holy grail in a sport that he loves. I dont spend day and night sweating over this stuff.. I'm just very interested in it all and while I'm on the journey I'd like to digest and learn as much as I can. Just the way I'm wired. Especially given the fact I have a whole group of very experienced folks here to bounce ideas and thoughts off. I dont get that anywhere else. Ye are pretty much the only people I can really chat about running with 😂 . Plus if there isnt a bit of analysis then why bother logging other than getting Thanks online 😂

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,182 ✭✭✭demfad

    Just a quick couple of points. Specifically the 10m race helps a 14mile M pace session. i.e if you have recovered from a 10m race then you will be in a very good position to complete a good 14M pace session. Can you rejig the 14 mile M pace session to be 2 weeks after the 10m race?

    Secondly, it is normal to positive split races especially early ones. You don't want that IMO. Think of the Daniels long runs: a good few miles in the legs and then the fast stuff. Replicate that: go out at what feels like a gear too slow and grow into it. You want to be running the second half of the race well and training those muscles you'll be giving endurance to in your long sessions. If you start fast in a 10k you haven't trained for you'll positive split by a minute (probably more) and you will lose that benefit. That may be the trade off to race: have to start conervatively no matter what. My 2pence there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,841 ✭✭✭squinn2912

    This is a brilliant post! Cobra Kai has been on pause now for about 45mins!

    A thought or two from me. I agree that it doesn’t matter how exactly you break up and strategise the marathon but it does matter that you do. I’ve had a few sub3 attempts at this stage and the ones that went right I always had clarity in terms of how I wanted to approach the race. I’ve gone for a 10m, 10m, 10km approach, 2xhalf and a weird 999 (my thinking here was that each 9 takes an hour but it’s a bit uneven and complicated). As a short aside a fell in with a clubmate after a few miles once and we stayed together. I was fixated on my numbers and didn’t want to talk much. At halfway through I remarked that we were a minute inside the schedule. He bemoaned ‘All that effort and we only have a minute,’ I was pissed off (actually livid) that we were so far ahead.

    Either way I say stick to the plan until 20 miles and then you’re allowed to race after that wee warm up.

    I’ve just read From Last to First by Charlie Spedding and in it he talks in detail about races during marathon prep. When he marathoned well he raced badly by and large because he was so focussed in his motivation towards the marathon, the big one. That really struck a chord with me.

    I think tune ups are a good idea but 2 is plenty and I’d make them part of a session or to replace a session. Big tax on the body.

    SB you’ve given times for your E, T, MP etc I’m wondering how you gauge R pace? Apologies if that has come up already. I feel like I’ve turned up to class without the homework done but I promise I’ll read the book!

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    No worries atall. There's a lot of reading in this log to catch up! R pace is basically mile effort. To be honest they are maxed out at 1min reps in my plan and the approach usually take with those is go as hard as I can while not flogging myself, maintaining form and being able to see out the session.

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭E.coli

    All the talk about the forum on the decline when really everyone is just hiding out in here. Some great discussion, good to see

    My 2c on a few topics you brought up

    1. Race strategy - Whether you go with HM/HM , 10/10/10k etc the one thing I would say is that with trying to focus for nearly 3 hrs is a significant mental demand. We can sometimes focus too much in the early parts (be it about running the right pace or worrying etc) The main aim I find works best is to remain as relaxed as possible for as long as possible, save the mental energy for when you need to dig in, takes confidence to do but that will come from your training block) That may mean adapting plan as you go (slot in and let someone else do the focusing for a few miles and switch off etc if the opportunity arises). The three Cs mentioned above is a good way at looking at that
    2. Racing- DDs club coached influenced half the coaches I have worked with so very much of the same mentality, racing regularly can be a great way to break things up mentally. Often I find a race week tends to come with a bit of extra attention on the little things (a bit more sleep where possible, nutrition, hydration etc) that are sometimes overlooked in the day to day. In the slog of a big block that can make a difference in the long term. However this would be individual to the person, if you stress over race build up or deviating from a set plan and it compounds stress/anxiety it might be counter intuitive

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,178 ✭✭✭MY BAD

    Happy new year P. I haven't much time for detailed posts but I'm following with great interest. All the best

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Thanks so much to everyone for the responses to the questions above. All posts were really helpful. I pulled something from each one to be honest. Plenty of time ahead to make decisions but just to summarise some of my thinking;


    • I understand a lot of the work has been done in the past few years. Its not all down to one block....but.......I also understand the purpose of this block is to help peak me for a 26.2 mile effort. Something I have never attempted. Me being the type of person I am, I tend to like to stick to a plan. I know there arent make or break sessions but I certainly don't like messing around with what I consider some important ones - particularly long vanilla runs (20 miles) or big MP sessions. I'm the type that will build confidence from those rather than trying to rejig things. Remember, I'm a guy who has never really ran farther than 16 miles. Seems like now is the time to really stick with those big MP sessions plus the big easy runs.
    • The motivation for racing was twofold - trying to get a sense of what shape I'm in and trying to keep that race sharpness. I'm not really interested in running pb's . I think if I train well in this block then I should eventually see a knock on effect to my shorter 5k/10k times.
    • In relation to E.coli's comment above in relation to the side effect of improving nutrition on race week - to be honest I've made a specific effort to improve hydration and nutrition since I started this block and plan to continue it through. Sleep is out of my control im afraid. So I dont think i'd see any benefit on the nutrition/hydration front.
    • One concern I would have (which Duanington pointed out) is without racing, its all building up to one day. Not sure how I feel about that. Seems inevitable regardless. Its always one of the things that put me off the marathon - little did I know how enjoyable the training phase would be though. Might feel different after some more of these sessions though.

    So right now I'm certainly leaning away from Mallow 10M as it feels like its really in the guts of the plan. Adare 10k, we'll see, although I cant really see me bothering with it unless it was a crack at a pb. Me being the type of person I am I know I'll probably get more (mentally and physically) by ticking off all those runs on my plan rather than reshuffling & recovering from a race effort.


    This is one I'll park for now but I really got some super insight from folks here. Thank you! I'll see how training goes and read back on a lot of these posts in April.

    Really enjoying this whole process. I know it probably comes across as overthinking and overanalysing. Its genuinely not. I havent been this motivated and excited by training in a long time - probably back to when E.coli was training me. So i'm just throwing myself into it and want to soak up as much knowledge as possible. I'm like a leach sucking the info from your brains. 😂. Thanks again folks.

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

    On the periphery of all things running at the moment, but maybe posting on your log might provide a little inspiration.

    As regards racing during a marathon build up, my buddy (who would have been coached himself by DH who Duanington & Ecoli both referred to above) would place a pretty big significance on racing during the marathon build up. In my early running days these races would be PB-fests as I improved rapidly, but more recently, as PB's have gotten a little harder to come by, they've still maintained their importance. Toeing the line in some of these races when a PB isn't on the cards because of where you are in the training block can be tricky to deal with mentally, but I think you'll be ok somehow.

    The DCM race series would have been my meat and drink back in the day, and even now I'd usually try to get a 10k, 10 Mile and HM into the build up. Any successful marathon I've ran has always been preceded by a decent HM outing. (although my Antrim Coast HM from this year proves that a good HM isn't always followed by a decent marathon!)

    I'm somewhat slow to pick things up about my own running, but I'm gradually seeing what's been in front of me all the time; I race best when I've a plan which doesn't involve arbitrary time goals. I know Sub 3 is Sub 3, but I think it might still be of some interest to you. Almost all of my best races have involved me cranking it up as the race proceeds and negative splitting to some degree. When I go out aggressively, or try to maintain a target pace I've struggled at times. My sub 2:45 attempt in Manchester when I hit MP off the bat, may or may not have been an example of this, but I can tell you now for sure that the next day out, whenever that may be, will involve me starting slower and working into the race. I know that this suits me and that the times will follow.

    Looking forward to seeing how the journey goes pal.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Thanks for that J.

    I'll keep an open mind with the races for sure. The first potential race is still 6 or 7 weeks away so I should have a good sense by then where I'm at physically and mentally. Feels like I might just save my tinkering for future marathons though 😉.

    Great input on the pacing/strategy. It's a bit of an odd one for me coz, as you know, my shorter distances would suggest better than sub 3 is achievable. But the uncertainty of this being my first crack at the distance lingers too. I would hope that come marathon time, sub 3 pace should feel comfortable enough to be my starting pace. So in all reality I would hope that sub 3 would be the C goal on the day and I would hopefully not chase an arbitrary time but maybe go through halfway better than 1.30.00 and see from there. But who knows what happens between now and May.

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

    Your first marathon, like your first 10k wont be your best. Just head out with the 3hr gang and push on when you feel its right. Simple strategy and on the day you will be more focused on what is going on around you than looking at your watch a thousand times. Better chance of actually enjoying and remembering your first marathon!

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Yeah I get you. To be fair my first 10k was on a training diet of multiple 10k runs a week trying to run faster each time 😂 so its no surprise the result from the official race was dire.

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

    Some great reading above from today. I see you mentioned your shorter distance times point towards something faster than sub 3. I was in a similar situation in 2020 where the calculators had me somewhere between 2.50-2.55 depending on what app or what race distance I used. My main goal was still simply sub 3 despite what the calculator was telling me. I was chuffed with the 2.57(albeit virtual).

    I had experienced running a marathon before that attempt and it can take running one to realise what it actually involves(I was reminded again back in Oct the hard way). Don't get me wrong, I think you are well capable of running a 2.50 or whatever, but I tend to agree with shotgun advice of heading out with the 3hr gang. I'm hoping to be part of that gang btw 😁. Any accom advice for the weekend?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,426 ✭✭✭scotindublin

    I am with shotgun aswell re going with the 3hr pacers even though I believe you are capable of going well into the 2.5x. Stick with them and push on if you are feeling strong, I am assuming anything starting with a 2 will be Goal A?

    It is a class aim for your debut marathon.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,454 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    Not all runners like to be in the paced group but if you do go with the pacers, you can't overestimate the amount of mental work that you save. You can really switch off a lot of the systems and just go with the flow, until the time is right to strike out. It's up to you, but something to consider, and also possibly something to try out in a tune-up race, if you haven't run in a paced group before.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Yeah Goal C is sub 3. Goal A and B begin with a 2 but i'm not committing to the number of minutes just yet 😉

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Funnily enough the sub 3 pacer is the same guy that paced me to sub 80 in Charleville that fine day in 2018. That's the only time i've ever gone with the pace group and I'd agree it was mentally refreshing not to have to look at the watch. Definitely something to consider, assuming its not a huge jam packed group. Although it was a big enough group in Charleville too and I just slotted in at the back.