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Boards DCM22 Graduates Thread - A Deeper Understanding

  • 09-11-2022 9:13pm
    Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭

    Welcome all to the 2022 edition of the DCM Graduates thread. (Open to one and all, whether you ran DCM or not)

    Due to a certain global event it’s been three years since the wonderful stewardship of @Singer saw the 2019 newly minted marathoners capitalise on their hard fought fitness and go on to build on it with excellent advice and superbly designed training plans.

    The ‘DCM Graduates thread’ was first a thing in 2011 when @Younganne, unwilling to let the flame of buzz, excitement and camaraderie that had developed in her mentored novices thread go out, kept that flame going and created a prototype whattsapp group, a thread to keep in touch with all of her newfound friends, to bounce off each other and keep up with each other’s training and exploits.

    It became a tradition.

    In 2016 a superb contributor to this forum, a renowned running coach Myles Splitz (posting currently under the handle @E.coli ) created a set of incredibly well thought out training plans, specifically tailored to marathon graduates. It took things to the next level. I will link to them, and talk more of them below.

    I’m incredibly humbled and honoured to be selected to steward this year’s Grads thread and help you all through the next phase of your running journey, to maybe help you capitalise on all of that blood sweat and sacrifice that rewarded you with one of the best days of your lives.

    I mentioned just last week on your novices thread about the value of the hive mind of the boards athletics forum. With that in mind I will be joined in here by many more folks willing to and capable of giving quality guidance, more than able to answer questions that I may not be able to, about the plans, and about training in general.

    A brief little bit about me.

    I began doing this crazy thing we all love in January 2016. Jan 1st to be precise. The only new year’s resolution I’ve ever ever stuck to 😁.  C25K and on my way. Signed up to parkrun that March and ran one around Paddy’s day in 28:30ish, needing to stop for a few seconds during it.

    I began running with a neighbour early mornings twice a week (with parkrun at the weekend) and around June or so he asked me to do DCM with him. I can still remember how loud I laughed.

    There was no way in my mind I was capable of running a marathon. The longest I had ran at that point was about 7km. I went to spectate at it though.

    I stood at Walkinstown roundabout and watched as people of all shapes, sizes and ages ran past with smiles on their faces, at that point on the course a distance three times longer than I had ever ran. It was truly inspirational for me. I signed up for 2017 the following week. A few weeks later I searched out the boards athletics & running forum. In hindsight the single best running decision I’ve made.  

    Signing up to @Wubble Wubble’s 2017 mentored novice thread and absorbing the truly incredible advice over those months ensured DCM 2017 will always be one of the best days of my life.

    The boards hive mind, that concentrated depth of knowledge combined with a spirit of altruism and a genuine willingness to see people progress has benefited me no end over the years since, and it will you too. For absolute sure.  The thread title is the name of my favourite album, by War On Drugs, and given the goal is for you guys to all stick around, to benefit from and add to that depth of knowledge it felt pretty fitting.

    The Boards Graduate Plans – Myles Splitz

    Whether you’re looking to continue on with the marathon as your focus, or switch it up to chase a pb over a shorter distance, the Grads plans have exactly what you need to get you there. There are 4x 14 week training plans covering all distances from 5k up to the 26.2, with an all important six week base phase in there too.

    That base phase is what we’re going to focus on though, and is what I will be recommending people just off the back of a marathon block should initially follow. Although there is absolutely no rush to begin, in fact it’s totally acceptable and no real harm to totally scale things back until you feel fully recovered.

    You may wonder to yourself why you would need to begin base training after spending the whole summer building fitness. We tend to think of base training as something you’re required to do before a specific block of training, after some prolonged downtime or low volume. That’s true, it is.

    In our case though, after we’ve been through tough months of intense training it’s a gentle way to maintain that fitness, and to build on it, safely. We can still shoot for the moon at parkrun occasionally, at Jingle Bells or at wherever we want to chase those endorphins (within reason obv).

    The prudent thing though to do is to gently build, get ourselves to New Years with a strong solid base of fitness, pick a target and train hard for it. Rather than jumping straight into another intense specific block.

    The plans may contain some terminology that’s new to you, fire the questions in here, let’s get the thread buzzing.

    You’re of course totally welcome to follow your own rules, your own goals and plans, the main thing is that we get discussion going, and help each other along our way.

    The very first thing you need to do is to ascertain your training paces. The most important of which is your easy pace. Easy Easy Easy, it’s all about the Easy. It’s been drummed into you for months but be warned, I’m gonna keep banging that drum 😀. Easy miles are the absolute backbone of your fitness. Heed what the Tinman calculator tells you is your easy pace.

    Link to the pace calculator

    Link to the Boards Grads Plans

    So, it would be really wonderful if you guys continued your running journey with us, got involved here and shared your goals and your training with your fellow boardsies. As I’ve mentioned, doing so will strengthen you immensely as a runner, both physically and mentally.

    A couple of questions for you to get things going.

    Now that you’ve completed the marathon, what’s next, what are your immediate goals?

    What is the pinnacle of what you aspire to achieve with running? Dream big with this one, and have huge confidence in yourself.

    Out of all the things you had control over, what would you have done differently in the lead up to your marathon?

    I’m incredibly excited to get this underway, and am excited too to watch and be part of your progress.

    The tradition now is to sign off with an inspirational quote. The theme of this one is confidence.

    The most valuable attribute you can have, and can learn, in running and in all aspects of your life is confidence. Belief. Quiet inner confidence and belief. When the pain comes on hard, one mile into a 5k pb effort, as it should, belief and inner confidence is what deals with it and powers you through.

    “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” –Vincent Van Gogh



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,989 ✭✭✭Kellygirl

    Delighted to see you setting up this thread Lazare. You’ll be great.

    I love those graduate plans. I followed them in 2019 and PB’d over every distance using them. I started with the Base plan, then the 5-10Km and then the Half Marathon and raced 5km, 5mile, 10Km, 10 mile and 2x Halves in that order as I did them and the runfastcoach calculator gave me predicted times for each distance based on the previous race and the times were spot on for every race. Would recommend them to anybody to follow. I had a bit of work to do slowing down to proper easy pace at the time but it did me the world of good.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭Lazare

    Thanks K, your experience and knowledge will be so valuable to this year's grads.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1 elainecw

    These look great, look forward to following them ! Tested pos for covid day after DCM so waiting to jump into base plan! Thanks for sharing 👍

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭Lazare

    Brilliant stuff Elaine, and welcome aboard. Recover well after the dreaded covid, although your timing with it was lucky. I hope it's not hit you too badly.

    Make sure you're well recovered before beginning even the base plan, there's no harm at all to hold off as long as you need.

    Let us know how you got on at DCM, how the day went for you, and your build up.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 22,070 CMod ✭✭✭✭Pawwed Rig

    I ran my first marathon in DCM this year. I will post my journey to that when I have more time. My immediate goal is Belfast on 30 April.

    Thanks Lazare for stepping up to be a leader in the running community

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,423 ✭✭✭scotindublin

    Great to see you taking on the role of Mentor to the Graufuates of 2022.

    I was hoping that it was going to be you, your enthusiastic and positive approach is exactly what is needed to follow up on the excellent foundation laid down by E who done a super job with the DCM group this year.

    I will be flicking in and out of the thread to see how everyone is doing and if I can be of any help just let me know.

    Good luck to all on the next stage of your journey.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,383 ✭✭✭Laineyfrecks

    Delighted to see this up & running, you were the perfect choice. As already said your enthusiasm & positivity is something that needs to be shared. Very best of luck & anything I can help with just ask.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,241 ✭✭✭ariana`

    Great to see this up and running again and nobody better to mentor it than @Lazare with a wealth of running and life experience - good and bad, ups and downs. The Grads plans have helped countless runners achieve PBs over the years, a really solid place to start for anyone who is wondering 'what next' after DCM or has been left feeling a little bit of post DCM blues. Best of luck to all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,146 ✭✭✭PaulieC

    I am liking the War On Drugs reference in the title. 👌

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  • Registered Users Posts: 610 ✭✭✭MisterJinx

    Well done @Lazare for putting your hand up and doing this 👍️

    Now that you’ve completed the marathon, what’s next, what are your immediate goals?

    Just started back running a bit and had intended to just up the easy mileage for the end of the year and back to running 4 or 5 days a week. Just trying to get my toe to heal a little bit first. Was looking at the Jingle Bells but it's sold out now so will probably just try and get a park run in to see where my 5K is now.

    Signed up for Dublin next year but I may be pacing my wife so I was thinking about a Spring Marathon to try and keep the momentum going and try and keep improving on the gains I've made over the last block. Limerick is on my radar as it would be easier to get to than abroad and the hassle and expense of a trip like that but I'm not fully settled on it yet.

    I'll definitely give the Raheney 5 mile a good go this year. Last year was my first time doing it and the course was long so It'd be nice to have a crack at it

    What is the pinnacle of what you aspire to achieve with running? Dream big with this one, and have huge confidence in yourself.

    Loads of different things spread over lots of distances! I think there is a sub 3hr marathon in me. I'd like to qualify for one of those big Marathons, maybe Boston as a friend did it and my wife heads over regularly and it might be a nice trip for us to do or maybe Berlin as I really like Berlin.

    I'd also really like to do a sub 5 minute mile. Sub 19 5K and sub 40 10K are good targets that I'm not too far off......

    Out of all the things you had control over, what would you have done differently in the lead up to your marathon?

    I should have wrapped up more toes more often!! Ah but generally the block went really well. I do however need to start doing some regular S&C and get the body a bit stronger especially in the Core and it leads to back issues for me which I managed to just stave off with physio.

    I don't think the gels I was using (TORQ) were great. They were fine on the stomach which was excellent but I never really felt they were giving me any kind of boost. I'll test out some other options over the next while.

    I've just taken a quick look at the grads plans and I'm liking that they are basically time based as that is something that I need to work with as my runs are all fit around kids training or other activities so I only get time windows to work with. I was going to take a look at Hanson's plans as a lot of people here seems to have had very good success with them but the Grads looks quite simple and straightforward which I like.

    Question: On the pacing, which is the best race pace to use for the pace bands. the reason I ask is that my marathon is a slow outlier to my other races this year. Would it be better to use the HM which line up more with the lower distance races. i.e. Marathon time gives a 5K of 21.20 while my 5K from July was 19.36

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭Lazare

    This is brilliant folks, great response so far, yipee 😄

    I'll come back on later with a little more time to reply to you guys.

    Delighted though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 149 ✭✭TheRef

    Huge respect and thanks @Lazare.

    Now that you’ve completed the marathon, what’s next, what are your immediate goals?

    My immediate goal is to get over a calf injury and do the 26km Run The Line on the 19th. I'm back at the physio next week and I'll allow him to make the call if I should skip it. I'll just say that on Tuesday morning I couldn't put any weight on my right leg. Today, I can walk, although with some discomfort, so looking good.

    10 mile planned for early March and DCM 23.

    I've finished reading 80/20 running and nearly half way through Daniels Running Formula. My current thinking is do one of Daniels plans to prepare for the 10m.

    What is the pinnacle of what you aspire to achieve with running? Dream big with this one, and have huge confidence in yourself.

    I don't really know to be honest. I guess I'd like to do DCM under 3:30, and a 10k in about 43min. Truthfully though, it's to do what many others here have done - use the last marathon as a springboard to long term consistent running.

    Out of all the things you had control over, what would you have done differently in the lead up to your marathon?

    Nothing that I can think of. I followed the boards plan closely, and the mentors were excellent with their advice. I continued to referee soccer during my training which I'm sure others would advise against, but it was important to me to keep doing things I enjoy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,989 ✭✭✭Kellygirl

    Could you just change the days you are running? So make the plan Sunday to Saturday and then you have Sunday as the 20 min recovery or OFF? Or if Sunday suits you better to run then treat it as Tuesday to Monday and take Friday’s Very easy or Off as an Off Day on Saturday?

    It was either this plan or another where I just changed the days written on top and still did the runs in the right order but I think the long runs were on a Wednesday for me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,220 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    Best of luck with this @Lazare, a great choice of mentor. The graduate thread was a big part of my own running development way back post DCM 2012. One mistake I made thought was jumping too soon into another marathon plan without really having enough of a base and getting injured, so don't let that happen to you! Enjoy the next part of the adventure.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭Lazare

    @MisterJinx Question: On the pacing, which is the best race pace to use for the pace bands. the reason I ask is that my marathon is a slow outlier to my other races this year. Would it be better to use the HM which line up more with the lower distance races. i.e. Marathon time gives a 5K of 21.20 while my 5K from July was 19.36

    @Jbat first question though. There’s a big discrepancy between my 5k time and marathon time (5k is sub 20) so when I put both times into the pace calculator there is about a minute difference between paces for “easy” I assume I should go at the pace it gives based on my marathon time?

    Want to deal with this question first. I mulled over talking about this in my OP, mainly out of caution but also because the post was fairly tl;dr as it was 😁

    I think it's fine to use your half time to determine it. For a couple of reasons. First is, DCM is not a 'fair' course, it's a relatively slow course. Plus for a first time marathoner it's totally natural for it not to have been perfect, in a racing sense, fuelling, pacing etc. Add to that you guys were advised all along to be conservative with your targets and enjoy the day.

    You've probably more experience running a half, so I think it wlll better represent your fitness. @Jbat was that 5k recently? Did you do a half in the run up?

    Whatever you enter needs to be recent, needs to best represent your current fitness. Future race times can be added in as we go to keep things up to date.

    I erred on the side of caution not mentioning it in my OP, figured it would come up as a question anyway. There's no such thing as 'too easy', but we also want accurate info for the faster stuff, LT runs etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭Lazare

    Looking forward to reading it, great to have you onboard, and thank you for that lovely comment. 😊

    Plenty of time to get into great shape for Belfast.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭Lazare

    Nice one C, thank you v much. You'll be of stellar help around here.

    Likewise E. Thank you, honoured that you put me forward.

    Thanks so much E, another wise head around these parts that steered novices to glory.

    Haha, cheers. Tix on sale tomorrow morn. Sshhh. 😊

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭Lazare

    Great stuff Dublinlad. I loved your race report in the novice thread, loved how you got what we always hope people get from their first marathon, an absolutely amazing day that you won't ever forget. The race was tough for you for the last six miles (as it was for almost everyone) but what's great is you know exactly why and know exactly how to remedy that for Manchester.

    I think the base phase of the grads plan is perfect for you, it brings you right up to the start of your Manchester block.

    Post edited by Lazare on

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭Lazare

    Welcome aboard Adiaga 😊

    As @Kellygirl said, and it's a really good tip, maybe switch the days around and see how that looks for you. For me, it would suit my lifestyle much better to do the Sunday run on a Saturday for instance. I think also, just like Dublinlad, having a Spring target is ideal, as the specific plans line up great with the base phase.

    Love your answer to the pinnacle question. A sub 4 is absolutely achievable for you.

    That injury fear leading up to the marathon is the worst isn't it. I'm not sure that can ever be avoided. The stress of it from about six weeks out had me in bits. Then I got Covid two weeks out lol. Avoided injury though 😀

    Love your WOD reference, haha. I love that album too, in fact their albums are like kids, feel bad saying I have a favourite. Toyed with the idea of using 'Under The Pressure' but didn't want people scared off 😄

    Post edited by Lazare on

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 Jbat

    Thanks @Lazare yeah I did the 5k early in my DCM training block maybe around July and my half marathon time was 1:38 from the Dublin half marathon in September. Using the half time sounds like a good idea to start with. Looking forward to a couple of weeks of easier running. Got out for a very short and slow run today, was good to get back moving :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭Lazare

    Delighted you've signed up Misterjinx. You ran a really cracking debut DCM, I did think you were a little hard on yourself on your report and said so, and your reply to me was spot on, that you weren't being hard on yourself, you were highlighting areas for improvement. That's a fantastic attitude. You've a sub3 in you without doubt.

    Focus on getting that toe back in good shape I would say. Like the guys above, targeting a spring marathon makes the base phase a great fit for your next few weeks.

    The time based element of the grads plans was also something I meant to speak about in my OP, was in my extensive notes lol.

    It's a pretty genius method really, designed especially to suit a wide variety of people, of varying pace abilities.

    Basing a plan on time rather than distance means everybody gets the same adaptation. Regardless of whether you can run a 20 minute or a 40 minute 5k, a 90 minute run is a 90 minute run.

    The idea behind the 'what would you do differently' question was for people to reflect, and maybe think of things they've overlooked, and improve on them. You seem to have that nailed. Nice one.

    Post edited by Lazare on

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭Lazare

    Great to have you onboard Jbat, was really hoping to attract people (also) from outside the novice thread, so that's great to see.

    You seem to have a really good handle on where there's room for improvement on your DCM performance, and it's brilliant that you realise it's more and more easy miles, saves me a few bangs of the drum 😀

    If you've ran a 3:45 at DCM off a non optimal block of training, then a 3:1x is within reach for you over the next year or two with solid training. Basing that off the fact you've a sub20 5k under your belt. Wouldn't be stopping there either. 😉

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭Lazare

    Thank you TheRef, great to have you onboard. I really enjoyed your posting in the novice thread, loved your enthusiasm. Another race report that I really enjoyed.

    I really really think you need to be careful about Run The Line. It's a pretty challenging thing to be doing this side of DCM anyway, I would be giving you this advice if you weren't nursing an injury. Without your calf issue I would be suggesting you run it very easy with a view to DNF'ing without hesitating. With your calf issue I would advise on skipping it.

    Get yourself recovered and strong, ready to take the world on in 2023. A couple of weeks rest then a gentle getting back into it with the grads base phase. You won't drop much fitness either.

    Have you more ref duties coming up over the next few weeks?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭Lazare

    Yeah, I think the half would be the better one to use. Your times suggest you will benefit greatly from lots and lots of easy miles, building that endurance engine. You're very nippy over 5k, but aren't translating that yet into your longer distances. Even if 5k is going to be your focus aerobic work is vital. You've highlighted that yourself in your first post so that's brilliant.

    It's great to get back out again isn't it. I'm running every second day at the moment, and while the breathing and heart rate are in great shape, the legs still have remnants of DCM in them. Be another couple of weeks I'd say before fully recovered from it.

    Post edited by Lazare on

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,262 ✭✭✭Lazare

    Oops, there's me saying ty to everyone wishing me well and forgetting this legend.

    Thank you very much D, for your kind words privately, and for putting me forward for this, truly honoured.

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