Hills, marathons and autumn training



The picture above may be my legs, but my first cross country race of this season didn't so much as skirt around a tiny patch of mud. In fact it was almost unnerving: 18 degrees, bright sunshine and running wearing shades? Most peculiar. Mind you, Richmond Park - a frequent venue on the Surrey circuit - is rarely a mudfest. Must be all the deer sweeping up beforehand to make it tidy for us.

So while my weekend's racing was short (see last week's post - a mere 6k for us feeble women) I spent a decent chunk of Sunday stalking Strava for marathon results, mostly from Abingdon and Amsterdam. Some stellar performances, including another sub-3 and second lady at Abingdon for Melissah, who I think has now run more sub 3s than I've had hot dinners this year (if you think that's an exaggeration, bear in mind I didn't have a kitchen for three months ...) and an amazing post-natal return of 3hr 04min for Gill (longest run in training 19 miles..) Finally, check out this masterclass of pacing by Andy Waterman on his way to 2hr 42min. I hope they - and all of you other marathoners - have a full week of beer/cake/indulgence planned, because whatever the outcome, you deserve it.


Comments

  1. Saturday was the big event for me, The Dramathon. I've been waiting all year for this and it did not disappoint. There were Marathon, Half, Relay and 10k options and I'd plumped for the Half. Beautiful weather, beautiful scenery and a goodie bag that was Whisky heaven, even the medal was a stave cut from a whisky barrel. I could rave about this event forever but I'll save you paragraphs of gushing (that'll be in my blog) Everything from the organisation to the route to the support of volunteers and also fellow runners made this my best event all year. I am looking forward to doing it again in 2019 already 😁

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    1. My magic weather for race days held out again (though sadly my body did not).
      Beautiful day, love the event.

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    2. What's the hill situation in the Dramathon? I suspect likely to be a fair bit of upping and downing? Saturday was such a lovely day! I ran on Sunday, in the rain..... bad planning.

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    3. Ah that sucks McWhirr, sorry you were not able to run but the weather couldn't have been better. Those views were just stunning. As for hills RunnersandRiders it wasn't do much undulating as more a gradus descent yo Aberlour and then a gradual climb to Dufftown, it was deceptively tough towards the end with lots of folk walking

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    4. Thanks, BvP. Might have a go at it next year. Though might not be so lucky With the weather again!

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    5. There is a fair amount under trees so you'd get a bit of protection from heavy rain if the weather turned foul. I'm looking forward to 2019 already 😁

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  2. Well, I did Abingdon Marathon! As many of you know I had a slightly difficult training run in over the last couple of months with masses of air travel limiting training. Then there was the plantar fasciitis...

    Anyway, I was well tapered going into yesterday's race. Weather was perfect - started out foggy and misty and the sun came out as the race progressed. Abingdon really is a well organised race - the marshals are all super friendly, the course is lovely and well signposted, the support is good, and as is often the way in "smaller" marathons the runners are friendly all the way around the course.

    Going in I hoped to run 89:30 for the first half of the race and then hold it for the second half so I would sneak in under 3 hours. At 6:50/mile pace that would be down on PB (2:55) but probably the best possible on the evidence of the last four weeks of training. However, fuelled by some 6am instant porridge I found myself feeling frisky at the start and ran the first 5k in 20.15 - well under target pace. One of those days when everyone around me was doing the same - conversations suggested I was in a bunch of "sub 3"ers all of whom were running a little too fast. So I made a conscious effort to relax a bit but got into a super rhythm knocking out 6:37 and 6:38 miles for a while, and the next 5k chunks came through in 20.40, 20.38, and 20.48 meaning I crossed halfway in 1:26:45 or so - definitely faster than I had wanted to go...!

    However, the sun was shining and I was feeling loose and pretty good at this stage so perhaps a good time was on after all...! I'd settled into a great rhythm. While my heel wasn't hurting I was beginning to feel sore at the top of my right foot - couldn't quite place the pain, but runnable through. Next 5k went through in 20.56 and then next in 21.03 so I did slow slightly but more to avoid blowing up than because I was fatigued - I knew I wasn't in PB shape but my watch was telling me I could hit the finish in 2:55 or under at this rate.

    So 30k down in 2:04:20 and I started to feel tight in the legs. This was not a good sign. My stomach was rebelling a little bit so I continued to drink but couldn't get much sugar down (Consequence of lots of training without nutrition? Not sure...!). Had a nice chat with a Bracknell Forest runner at this point who was on for 2:57 but I could tell that just "running it in" would be a struggle as my legs were getting tighter and tighter. The next 5k came in 21:31 as I just eased off a little to try and loosen and protect the legs. That was 2:25:51 so I needed to do the last 7.2k in 30 minutes or so - just don't stop and I was there!

    But then the wheels came off. Between one stride and the next my left hamstring seized up in huge cramp - cue stagger to the side of the road cursing out loud and massaging as best I could but couldn't shake it off. 2 minutes went by and every time I tried to walk I'd cramp again. Eventually I got going again, back to a reasonable pace, but as I was going through the town centre the right hamstring went in the same way...! Cue another 2 minutes of wrestling/screaming. So the next 5k took 27:42 - over 6 minutes slower.

    I did run/walk the last couple of kilometres home, finishing with an 8m mile in 3:04:19, but I reckon the cramps cost me 7-8 minutes in the last 2 miles - which actually means with a bit more luck (and if I'd completed the training schedule with more consistency) I might actually have squeaked a PB. But 24 miles at PB pace isn't enough....!

    Overall I don't feel too shabby about the run, given the build up I've had it's a reasonable time and actually the race shows that I have a faster time somewhere lurking within me if I can just string together a more consistent travel schedule!

    Big regret on the day was not saying hi to Gill Bland who must have finished on the track pretty much same time as me - but I didn't know she was there! Another time...!

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    1. Maybe not the day you dreamed of but sounds like the best-case scenario given the amount of travel you were doing in the leadup. Congratulations on your finish, looking forward to seeing what you can do when you have a more consistent schedule on your hands.

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    2. If you've come through without the dreaded PF rearing up then that's the main thing...have some downtime and use this as a springboard to 2.50!

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    3. It's a shame about your last 7k, a mere 7k! but it was at the end, the end that bites. Sounds like you ran a great race until then, no mean feat knocking out a very respectable marathon time on limited training and 2 months worth of travel disruption! Well done!!

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    4. I am a) just plain amazed that anyone can run a marathon as fast as that and b) amazed at how you get your training in around all that travel. Really do believe it's.showing there's a much faster time in there if you can get some consistency on training and in time zones. Well done!

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    5. That sounds strangely similar to my Brighton marathon experience! Well done for getting through the cramps and still finishing in a very fast time!

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    6. That's even closer than I'd realised. gutted I didn't say hi. What were you wearing (that sounds weird but y'know)?

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    7. As your time was only about 1:10 longer than it takes me to run half the distance (without cramp) I think that's pretty damn impressive! Well done!

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    8. Well done - that was a great effort, despite with the disrupted build-up. Looking forward to reading about your next marathon! Enjoy the recovery period.

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    9. It wasn't the run you wanted but a great run all the same, especially with what sounds like horrible cramps. Well done for finishing, despite all the setbacks.

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    10. Thanks all, I am mostly pleased! Going to enjoy a few days off and then plot the build up towards Manchester...

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    11. I thought it was a great effort squirblej, especially considering your disrupted lead up - really well done.

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    12. Well done all the same (and a great write-up too!) - I remember on a half marathon a couple of years ago having a similar tightness and it's so frustrating, knowing you feel well capable of running but somehow that pesky cramp just won't let you do it.

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  3. After meeting up with nondescriptive/Brussels last weekend, I travelled down to Virginia and spent 4/5 days running and hiking in and around the Shenandoah national park. To say it was wonderful was an understatement. From there, we moved on to Amish country in Pennsylvania and had a really great run on Saturday morning in the countryside, marvelling at the rolling farmland, the crops and livestock. Then, I was planning a 6 mile(ish) run yesterday and was up getting ready to go out when my sister called at 7am (12 noon uk time) to say that my mum had died. She hadn’t been well for some time and had been in and out of hospital since May, but just before we left to come over to the USA she was into a nice and comfortable period that lasted until the beginning of last week. Anyway, after checking that my sister was ok as two of my brothers are also out of the country, I NEEDED to go out and just run. Truthfully my head was, and is still frazzled but I needed that run, though I made it shorter than planned as my concentration wasn’t so good. We then spent the rest of the day traveling back up to New Hampshire. I’m not back in the UK until November, so I’m going to need running as therapy for a while.

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    1. Goodness Pete, I'm so sorry. That puts everything into perspective...

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    2. So sorry to hear your Mum has passed away BHP. I hope running continues to give you the peace you need

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    3. Sorry to hear about your mum's passing, Pete. Sending deepest sympathies to you and your family.

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    4. Pete I'm so sorry to hear that. I hope you can find some peace while you're away. Running in beautiful places as you are I'm sure will be the best thing you could do.

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    5. Very sorry to hear this. My deepest sympathies to you and yours. Glad to hear that you have been finding a bit of solace in your running.

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    6. Really sorry for your loss Pete. Glad you're with loved ones...look after each other. x

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    7. Thanks everyone for your kind words and thoughts. It's a bit difficult being so far away when things need doing. The good news is that my brothers and sister are happy for the funeral to go ahead the day after I get home. I had told them I wanted us all to be there and they agreed. A weight off my mind. Now I need to run again and find some head space.

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    8. I'm so sorry to hear this Pete, it must be difficult being so far away. I'm glad you're with loved ones and as Ruby said, have some lovely backdrops to run and help come to terms with you mother's passing. It's comforting to know that you will be there for the funeral and meet up with your brothers and sister. This is when running comes into it's own, it can be yours, whatever you need it to be and when, it's a gift we've been given, lean on it and let it help you.

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    9. So sorry, Pete. Hope the running helps, good to have some outlet. Hard to be remote from the rest of the family I'm sure. Virtual hugs from your Strava/blogs pals there if needed.

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    10. Really sorry to hear this Pete - look after yourself...

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    11. My condolences BHP to you and your extended family! I hope running can provide you with an outlet for your grief! Take care of yourself!

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    12. I'm so sorry for your loss. Whilst obviously running can't (and arguably shouldn't) take the pain away, I'm glad you have a space for your thoughts. x

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    13. Oh no, that is very sad news. It must be hard to be so far away. I'll be thinking of you.

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    14. I'm sorry for your loss BHP - my thoughts are with you and your family at this time.

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    15. So sorry to hear that, Pete. Even though you're far from home, you've got family around you (and much support on here) and you're in a lovely part of the US at its loveliest time of year. Your mum will be there for you in the falling leaves and the long shafts of late season sunlight.

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    16. Really sorry Pete, I lost my dad 5 weeks ago and was 4 days away from traveling to see him. It's hard, but being able to attend the funeral really helped me say goodbye, so I'm glad you'll be able to be present for that.

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    17. Pete, sorry to hear of your loss. My Dad died in July and running has been a big help. Thoughts are with you from me and many. Jim

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    18. Pete, so sorry to hear your bad news. Good that you are surrounded by family. Thinking of you.

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    19. So sorry to read this Pete. My thoughts are with you at this sad time.

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  4. I've had a slight niggle in my leg for a couple of months, (feels like a shin splint, but from my ankle to around 2-3 inches up my leg) mostly when I wasn't actually running, just using stairs and stuff. Then last Thursday it really started to become uncomfortable when running, and the day after I couldn't move very well on it. So I might finally have come to accept that I'm injured, (or at very least in need of a rest). So nothing over the weekend, and likely only my club run this Wednesday and a 10K race I've already paid for on Sunday, then use November to try and get this sorted before marathon training starts December 3rd.
    Any advice on how not to feel demotivated and lethargic while not doing too much mileage would be appreciated.

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    1. The rest might be all you need to help you feel motivated again. If not, might be time to try another activity/ devote some more time to something you enjoy but don't have time to do while running? My hiking suffers when I'm seriously training so I'm always itching to get out during training breaks. In general getting outside helps me a lot, personally. Otherwise even though you're on lower mileage, a fun fartlek/ tempo is a nice change of pace and is easy to work into a normal run.

      I find winter hard in general as far as motivation goes, so will also be following this thread to see if anyone else has any good suggestions.

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    2. Have you got a bike? I always try and get out on mine as much as I can when injured. A bit of run/walking might help too - it's surprising how much of a workout it can be.

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  5. my weekend of running well i did a parkrun in 22:22 which has a nice symmetry to it. sad to see what appears to be the end of bekeles career sad to see him dnf inside the last mile in Amsterdam. on the other hand nice to see levins back from what seems to be years of injury to break the Canadian record

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    1. Definitely a satisfying number - great time as well.

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  6. On Friday I ran 3k@4.10 pace. A big step forward.

    Even better, I could walk normally the next morning.

    I'm going to aim to knock 5s per km off that every other week between now and Christmas...hopefully it's achievable.

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    1. Fantastic to see the beginning of the recovery! The blog isn't (quite) the same without your race reports...!

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    2. Sounds like a plan Asta, it's very motivating to feel you have a 'project' on the go with a deadline and milestone check ins!

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    3. Sounds like a good progression plan into Christmas. Best of luck!

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  7. I did three speed sessions last week, but was determined to get out for a longer run on Sunday morning. I'm doing a trail half in a few weeks, so am trying to get in as much off-road running as I can (thankfully not too hard round here). A marathon-training clubmate was doing a 20 miler and looking for company, so I suggested I join him 'for half of it'.

    Famous last words. We agreed to try and find a mostly off-road circuit that I've been wanting to try out for a while, but unfortunately I was only sure of the route of about four miles of it. After that we were at the mercy of my OS map-reading and (usually good - stop laughing at the back kyd) sense of direction. Thanks to a very dodgy signal when in the middle of nowhere (who knew?) we lost the OS app, so had to rely on about 3% of phone battery and a couple of photos I'd taken of the paper version of the map. Much jogging around random fields, through brambles and nettles and along unmarked paths ensued, until we'd run 10 miles and still couldn't see any signs of civilisation. The funniest thing was both of us at different times exclaiming 'I know where we are!' and then five seconds later, 'Oh, no, we're not where I thought we were'.

    Thankfully we emerged from the brambles onto a main road, and saw the joyous sight (said no-one ever before) of the high rise on the outskirts of town. It was still a fair way off, but at least close enough to give us hope and a point to run towards.

    I finally arrived home after 2.5 hours and with 14 miles in my battered (and scratched, and stung) legs. The rest of the day was spent eating chocolate, taking antihistamines and scrutinising Strava to find out where the hell we'd been.

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    1. "scrutinising Strava to find out where the hell we'd been."

      I've been known to use Strava on a night out for the same reasons :-)

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    2. Proper lol. You're SO much cooler than I am!

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    3. For next time I recommend the "Trails" app on your iPhone - you can download offline maps (and upload GPS routes, if you're so inclined), so you don't need reception to navigate using the GPS on your phone.

      (Advice directed at RubyGG not àsta...!)

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    4. Hilarious Ruby! Does sounds a bit fun too, despite the brambles and nettles. And extra miles ... bonus!!

      Our Sydenham/Catford adventure went a bit Dr. Who when we ran away form a place, kept running, and there it was again in front of us. Saying nothing.

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    5. I got a watch I could put a course on to make this kind of exploring much easier. Still get lost sometimes, but not as often!

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    6. I love your recap Ruby! I was amused seeing strava too! Glad you made it home in one relative piece! Great to have someone to share those silly runs with! 😆

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    7. 🤣🤣🤣Ruby! That's so funny! I got a little lost on Sunday, but nothing like that!

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    8. @kyd yes, thankfully there was no twilight zone involved this time. Don't think I'll ever forget the disorientation of that particular moment! @Squirblej good tip, thanks - will take a look at that. @McWhirr I wish I had that watch, but sadly my Garmin isn't clever enough. That trail half in November had better be well marked that's all I'm saying!

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    9. Somehow navigating "by feel" never seems to work out quite the way one plans. I got totally lost on a 2k run around Lisbon a few weeks back and ended up doing about 5k before I got back to the apartment we were staying in!

      Sounds like a fun run all the same, if you like that off-road stuff...

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  8. I've been running for seven years now and I've been blessed as those years have been injury-free. On the odd occasion to get over a niggle, I've supplemented my strict two rest days a week with another day off. Therefore, my enforced seven-day absence last week was incredibly frustrating. I know contributors on here have had/are having lengthier breaks, so double kudos to them. I, however, was climbing the walls by Tuesday. But following doctors' orders in not running - not even wearing anything on my feet - and taking my antibiotics like a good boy has resulted in my infected blister clearing up a treat. So, yesterday I donned my 1,000 mile socks (double layered) for 14 kms of resistance running with a heavy backpack (three litres of water, several articles of waterproof clothing, a pair of jeans and a pair of shoes) and I didn't feel any ill effects at all. Today was 12 kms with an even heavier backpack (four litres of water with the rest of the above) along with those trusted 1,000 mile socks. At one point last week, I'd mentally resigned myself to not running my two autumn races (the 50-mile Thames Trot this Saturday followed by Hardwolds 80 in November), but now I'm positively chomping at the bit to get to the start lines on my blister-free feet!

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    1. I felt tired just reading your Strava update this morning...

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    2. Those 1000 miles socks, you're not talking about the brand are you? : )

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    3. @squirblej: I sometimes get more knackered typing up my Strava descriptions than actually doing the run! @keepyourdistance: Indeed. They were recommended to me, and they seem to be doing the business so far.

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    4. Mark's got a pair of wave riders with 7000miles of rough tough terrain on the clock - 1000miles on a pair of socks is nothing!

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    5. That was my joke intention Paul!

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    6. Now I feel a total wuss for moaning about a few stinging nettles!

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    7. @Paul, ha! I really do need to update that bit of info. Currently running in Salomon Sense Ride, which will soon be retired. @KYD, although my socks tend to get quite minging so they probably could walk 1,000 miles on their own. @Ruby GeeGee, nothing worse than stinging nettles. Hope you had a 'dog' leaf, as my youngest calls them, close to hand.

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  9. So I ran that local race here in Austria (it's called the Wolfgangseelauf for anyone who's curious) and in some ways it went pretty well, in some ways I'm a bit disappointed.

    It's a challenging race that can be described as a 5k with a very hard hill plus a half marathon. I had some difficulties in the first half and remember thinking at some point "why am I doing this to myself". One nice little local detail: as sometimes happens in Austrian races there was beer available at the halfway point, but I skipped that. Anyway, I had a quite low point right around halfway, but rather than stopping and walking as I really would have liked to, I hung onto two people who had just passed me, and eventually passed them. As well as many other people after that. My time was nothing to write home about but I finished quite strong and feeling good. I was untapered as I was treating this race as a hard long run for a possible 61k in a few weeks. But I have to admit that the time I ended up with was close to 13 minutes off of what I privately had as a goal, and I feel a bit disappointed with it.

    Probably I am just expecting too much from myself, as I haven't been running for decades. I ran my first half marathon a year and a half ago, and that was my first non 5k race. Before training for the half, I had never really trained in any serious fashion for any sort of race. I struggle because I feel very slow sometimes, and despite trying not to I fall into the comparison trap quite often. Objectively speaking my fitness and outlook have improved quite a bit since starting this whole running lark, but sometimes I'll find myself looking at my splits from a workout and thinking "gosh, I'm slow". I'd like to stop doing that because it's not a very nice feeling, nor it is a motivating thought. Also, speed is not really the point of any of this, is it?

    I don't know, I guess, for those of the slower amongst us: how do you feel about it? Do you also find yourself comparing yourself unreasonably to other, much faster and experienced runners?

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    1. I think as a runner one is in danger of comparing oneself unreasonably to other runners no matter how fast or experienced one is...

      Progression is the key thing that motivates me. Relatively few areas of life where I can invest time and effort and see the outputs. It's a much more simple equation than parenting, say.

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    2. Only compare myself to myself. And even then I compare training more than results. So I'll ask questions like 'did you do the work, did you do the right things, what could you do better', progress should happen if the right training's there. But if I hadn't had the consistency or had been ill or injured, then I'd be taking that into account. But comparing to other people - to strangers - I've no idea what they've been doing, what they're capable of, how much time they're able to commit, so comparisons are meaningless.

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    3. I'm also very guilty of putting myself under pressure or condemning myself because I should be quicker sometimes, why aren't I? then write myself off too quickly. What I need to remember at these times is the pleasure of self achievement that running can give me, even in small measures. I can wake up one morning and no matter what's going on at work I can go out for a head clearing run at lunchtime, even do some fast interval work and reach my pace goals. Running can give you the opportunity of patting yourself on the back, privately, at any point in the week. Let's remember that and not dwell on the unfavourable and often unfair comparisons we make against ourselves. It's a runners trait though, as Squirblej alluded to.

      A classic case of - Take my advice, I'm not using it!

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    4. "I don't know, I guess, for those of the slower amongst us: how do you feel about it? Do you also find yourself comparing yourself unreasonably to other, much faster and experienced runners?"

      Comparison is good so long as you do it in a healthy way - with the exception of about a dozen folk in the entire world, every runner is in the same position as being quicker than some others and slower than some others.

      So there's no point in beating yourself up about it really. But by all means look at those quicker for inspiration.

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    5. I agree with everyone who's already commented. But I would also say that as easy as it is to compare yourself unfavourably, you also need to cut yourself some slack. I will never be able to run a marathon as fast as kyd, for example, but in two years I have taken huge chunks off my finishing times at all distances, something I never thought I'd do as I got older. I think it's really important to hold on to the progression, as squirblej says, and also sometimes to strip it back to basics. You haven't run in ages, so you can't expect to be running crazy paces. I used to be tremendously self-critical of everything I did, but I've taught myself to be kinder. I often physically pat myself on the back after a particularly hard session and saying 'well done' out loud (quietly if there are people around).

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    6. Perhaps it's not so easy to come up with a realistic target time for that race, unless you've done it before? I would say you've actually got quite a lot of positives here - you finished, "quite strong and feeling good", and more generally, your "fitness and outlook have improved"! So no need to dwell on the perceived negatives.

      When pushing hard in any physical effort, there are frequently going to be testing times when we really don't want to be doing it, when it begins to hurt, when we begin to doubt ourselves and want to stop. A lot of it is a mental challenge. This is all quite normal. Many of us here will have experienced this - the fast people, the slow people, the in-between people.

      I do look all the time at the pace of others and find the faster paces to be both mind-boggling and inspirational. That doesn't mean I expect I will be able to achieve them. At work, in our office, we have various KPI tables and charts, and with these is one that has a healthy complement - and quite a range - of 5k run and 2k row times! Great fun and bragging rights at stake. Ultimately though, the only person I'm really competing against is myself.

      When my times plateau, well pace is not the be all and end all - there are still more than enough other goals to keep me going - running is good in this respect I think. And even running just for the pleasure of it!

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  10. A bit of marathon bad luck for me, but you know something, it's not the end of the world.
    Was signed up to do the Dramathon (full), which is just as great an event as BvP describes. On Tuesday evening my neck/right shoulder went totally into spasm, pain right up there at level 10, horrible. Sleepless night, trip to the docs,
    Diazepam and as much paracetamol and ibuprofen as allowed.
    No way I could run on Saturday and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.
    But Saturday came, I helped my other half get ready for his first marathon. Saw him off to the bus, then had a lovely walk around Dufftown, beautiful autumn colours. Went to the finish to cheer him in, so so proud of how well he's done increasing up to much longer distances than he's run before.
    On holiday this week, in Grantown and it's beautiful. Still pretty uncomfortable, but walking seems to be good (or at least not bad), and this is a lovely place to walk. And I know the shoulder will,
    With some more Physio and time, get better, far worse injuries to pick up.
    Lovely moment today when I came across a brown hare hunkered down at the side of the path - might have missed him if I'd been running or biking, so silver linings!

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    1. Very bad luck but hat-tip on the grace to support hubby so well regardless!

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    2. Rubbish luck, McWhirr, after all that training. And on such a fab day too. But sounds like fulfilling the role of Supportive Spouse was welcome. Hope you're soon on the mend and back on track.

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    3. Really glad you can find the positives and are at least able to walk in beautiful places. I hope the pain's gone very quickly and you're back at it again.

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    4. It must have been so frustrating! Sounds like an amazing race to do. Best of luck with the recovery and hope you can get back onto the running again soon.

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    5. That's really bad luck, but a great attitude to take to it all the same. It really is a pretty time of year right now, and well done to your other half for their first marathon!

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    6. Frustrating but you made the best decision. Speyside was beautiful all weekend and I could have happily stayed longer

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  12. No running for me as i've been down with the lurgy, but it's nice to live vicariously through you all and hear the great stories and runs you've had this weekend! Well done to all those who did races big or small! :)

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  13. Müggelsee half form me. It started in the forest with the plan to start just below 5:00 pace on the trail while avoiding roots and gradually pick it up, make some time on the streets when out into Friedrchshagen from about 5.5k then cling on when back in the forest from about 15k. I did this almost exactly, the only flaw being the return to the forest was actually on lovely paved road until the last couple of k so there was really no need to push so hard in the middle. The last 5k was brutal with that last couple - trying to keep feet going over roots or various broken path - downright excruciating. It finished with a wee 15m ramp up from the lake which literally finished me off - if that ramp had been 5m longer I'd have dnf'd or crossed the line on my knees. Anyway, I'd ran well enough to have about a minute in hand to 1:45 for the clinging on and ended up with 1:44.19 - more than a 90-second PB and very pleasing given it was done off only slapdash HM training. 1:39.59 is now the aim for February, we shall see...

    Only downside is a tweak which developed just after halfway at the bottom of my hip/top of the groin - will need to watch that but the season, in theory, has only another two weeks to go before I'm collapsing into a much needed break so shouldn't be a biggie.

    Anyway, well done to everyone getting out and about.

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    1. Nice report. Well done on breaking 1:45. Have you got a schedule for the HM in Feb? What sort of length - 10/12 weeks?

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    2. Cheers.

      I need to confirm the Barcelona half in mid-Feb, pending a couple of things. The rough idea is to do nothing for two weeks after a final race on Nov 4, do four weeks of 'base' plodding and leg strength without speed for four, then eight weeks of specific plan still tbc.

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    3. Well done on the new PB :) Sounds like a challenging course for it, too...

      Barcelona, now that sounds like a great place to run in February!

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    4. Ta.

      Yeah, a couple of folk in the club have ran Barca and liked it, and Spanish races in general seem very good. Conveniently it's the same weekend as Mrs Handsome's birthday so ticks that box too!

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  14. Finally, I am a runner again. After a few days sling-less getting used to my arm moving, I had a go at a 5K on Saturday. It should have been parkrun, but logistics, or more truthfully my in-ability to get up in time meant a mid-morning local run.

    The first 1km is slightly downhill and resulted in false optimism. Once the route started to go back uphill, I found that my legs were fine, but found myself aerobically challenged and had to slow down. The result was just the wrong side of 25 min, but given I last ran early August, not too shabby.

    I went out again Sunday and managed the same run, but this time just under the 25 minutes at 24:56. I shall consider this my Post Crash PB (PCPB) and will see how long it takes to get this back down to my real 5K PB. Today my legs ached somewhat, as they are unused to the impact of my ‘sack of spuds’ running technique. More 5K runs this coming week and maybe try a 10K.

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    Replies
    1. Congratulations! Enjoy stretching the legs again!

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    2. Thanks. It is nice to be back. Hopefully more to report next week.

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  15. Well, that's the first one back done. I can still finish 26.2 and I still have the bug. To be honest, that was the biggest unknown. With good paces in training but (as Kate kindly mentions above) a max of 19 miles once in training and maxing out at one 40 mile week Vs normally when I'd be hitting several 80 mile weeks and doing the full 26 at some point beforehand, I was rather nervous going into it. It was a relief and a joy to see Sarah Dudgeon of "art of your success" at the start. Really helped get over that 'oh heck' moment before the start. The plan was to start with the first hour at 7'00-7'15 pace (but aim really for 7'10), then go for 7;50-7'00 and then bring it home and maybe maybe just sneak in under 3 hrs if the start aligned. I felt comfortable at the lower end of that for the first hr and managed to bring it down for a bit in the second but then it was up and down and tailed off towards the end. Interesting;u I had the closest i've had to stomach issues, with a few cramps after each gel. Weird. Today I feel pretty normal, but again there's a slight difference in that it's my joints that ached slightly not my muscles. I guess that's the relaxing from the breastfeeding? I'm gutted not to have caught squirblej at the end and to have missed seeing Sarah again but another time. Now...do you think I can persuade Mr B to let me fly to Florence / Valencia for a quick weekend in November... I'm not sure I can wait until spring for another bash!

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    1. Awesome result so soon after your baby Gill - 'well done' feels a bit of an understatement. I'm in awe of anyone who can even get into their running gear sooner than year after giving birthday - took me way longer to even think I could run again!

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    2. Hats off indeed...! You had a really measured and confident run - if that's off much less mileage than usual then what an amazing result. I have obviously never given birth but having three children myself I have a sense of the physical changes and also the logistical changes that make it so hard to get back into running post partum...

      Not sure I want to do another marathon before Christmas - respect for that! - though Florence is such a lovely race. Hmmm...

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    3. Fantastic result Gill - really well done!

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    4. @squirblej - wiser people than me tell me I'm not allowed. Hrmph.

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    5. Super work Gill! You're a star, as always.
      Didn't realise that you normally do the full distance in training beforehand - typically that's not what most people do (I believe). Do you just do it alone? And how do you find it benefits you in the training build-up?

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    6. Amazing run, well done!

      Doing the full distance in training for halfs works well for me, but for a full marathon I'd find that very difficult. Do you typically do it much slower than race pace when you fit that in beforehand? Or is it pretty much a dry run of the event?

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  16. I've had to abort my latest attempted return - last run too much too soon, apparently. Strangely, felt okay until 24 hours later. The following 5-6 days were pretty gross. It felt like it was easing towards the end of last week, and I thought I would be able to run at the weekend, but then went to my physio appointment on Friday afternoon. He prodded the ATFL and the pain was severe - the worst since I've been seeing him. So am now back to daily hot water/cold water foot baths and massage (although have to be careful as the ligament is tender to touch...). Physio said try not to be despondent, but it's difficult when this is something that originated a year ago and I'm still trying to get it fixed. Not really possibly to plan any races, goals or do any structured training for the forseeable future...

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    1. Oh what a shame. Really frustrating when you were getting back to it.

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    2. Sorry Paul - that's so frustrating. Can you do other forms of exercise? How about rehabilitation with water running etc?

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    3. You must be gutted, Paul. Those ligaments in the ankle are right buggers when they go. I know it's far easier said than done, but all you can do is take it one step at a time and do as the physio says... and then some. Good luck!

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    4. Thanks all. I may try to do some cycling if possible. It's not cardio fitness I'm worried about though - I'm resigned to losing that, and I can always work to get that back. I just need to make an extra effort to make sure I do something enjoyable so as to keep my spirits up. Strava can be a bit of a pain in these situations as seeing other people getting out and doing stuff when I can't just drives me nuts!

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    5. I known this sounds like blasphemy, but you are allowed to not look at Strava when you're injured...

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    6. Sorry to hear that Paul, I feel your pain. I have a strange relationship with Strava when I'm injured, sometimes it feels like methadone and at the same time and irritant! I wish you a speedy recovery. Get into the detail of S&C, it helped me!

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    7. Very frustrating - hope you feel better soon. Delete strava temporarily if you have to! :)

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  17. A sneaky weekend trip to NYC with Australian visitors meant a chance to run around Central Park on Saturday morning with my club-away-from-home (NY Front Runners). It is a favourite spot for good reason. The nicest part is the hillier north. Leafy (for now), not as crowded, and all the chatter around you ceases to be about the pressures of work as runners and cyclists alike focus on getting up that hill. It's great. I arrived back at the club meeting spot with a big grin on my face.

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  18. Quiet weekend for me on the running front. Had a lovely long dog walk with Mr R&R and the pooch in the Saturday sunshine, then horsing later in the day which didn't go too well, when horsey took exception to something in the undergrowth and was quite naughty. I was grateful to patient drivers who allowed us time and space to get over our hysterics.

    Sunday was running day - bad planning, as it was chucking down rain after glorious Saturday. Did a nice, if damp, 8 miles along the old railway line, so not much gradient and I kept up a decent HM pace. Then met Mr R&R for coffee and cake in a new establishment. (Purely research, you understand.) It's quite nice to be running for the sake of it, and not because I'm slavishly following a training schedule with some particular goal in mind. But I will need a new goal soon.

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  19. I'm doing some half-term running in the South West (UK) this week. After the journey down on Saturday I escaped for a leg stretching run around town after nightfall, which, having forgotten to pack a torch, was a little fraught with danger around the coast path.

    On Sunday morning, after consulting the tide timetables, I broke my post-marathon 90 minute long run rule and went for an 18-mile run with the express intention of reclaiming a Strava segment or two (at the halfway point of my run) on the causeway between Marazion and St. Michael's Mount - segments that are only available for part of the day, when the tide is out. It didn't go completely to plan - I picked up one of the segments, but the causeway was far too busy to take the others - on the way back to shore I was joined by a very excitable border collie which made me stop until the owners caught up. I think the dog was having nearly as much fun as me. The second half of the run was a bit of a slog at times, just before 15 miles I nearly stopped, I suspect a little short on fuel. So I dialled the effort back, doing enough to get back home in one piece. It was a great run to do - it's one of my favourite long run routes, loads of running in country lanes with an iconic turnaround point (even when the tides are against you the view is still special).

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    1. I was going to ask what went wrong on the return segment :) Seriously though, thought that was brilliant, one of the best entries on my feed this weekend. Even better with this detail...

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    2. I did some similar running in the summer of 2017 when we stayed near St. Ives - know exactly what you mean with lovely country lanes and undulating roads. You just need to watch out for tractors and puddles!

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    3. Apart from the Bilbao Night Marathon, I've always fancied the Mont St Michel marathon, the only marathon where you can see the destination from the start! Trouble is, it's at the end of May and I suspect, quite warm.

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  20. Oh yeah, I forgot: I entered Brighton Marathon today! [gritted teeth 'eek!!' emoji]

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    1. Well done! You just can't get enough of that winter training can you Ruby? Here's hoping it's not another baking April Sunday for you!

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    2. So far nobody I know has gotten into London on the ballot. I've entered Stirling marathon. 3rd time lucky to at least finish, B goal of a London GFA.

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    3. @Paul - I was to-ing and fro-ing between Brighton and an autumn marathon, but I decided I'd rather brave the Arctic temperatures I trained in over the winter than risk having to do my long training runs in the 30+ degrees that we had over this summer. Here's hoping the weather is normal in April and I can reduce my finish time by at least half an hour - that's what I'll be aiming for anyway!

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    4. That's fantastic Ruby, well done!! I'm not ready yet, feel broken by dashed marathon plans and fruitless training : (

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    5. Good luck - let's hope the weather is kinder to you next April!

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    6. Yay, well done Ruby. I look forward to hearing about those 20 mile training runs ;)

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  21. I ran a 5k XC in windy cold and rain and won a six pack of beer for my efforts.

    I don't drink alcohol at all but nor am I one to turn down a podium moment. :)

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    1. Well done! You should have shaken it up and sprayed it everywhere F1 style :-)

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    2. Hurrah for podiums... you needed to barter it with the hot-dog van man or something.

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    3. Well done! Both suggestions for the beer sound good ones.

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    4. Congrats on the podium, nice one!

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  22. Nearing the end of an eight day trip to Manila, not the world most running friendly city. The hotel receptionist ruled out me running at the country club, not because it's private, but because 'it's too far' (1km...). I did identify, thanks to Strava heatmaps, a running track less than 2km away, so ventured out to that one morning, only to run in circles trying to find the entrance, then once I found it couldn't use it anyway as I had no money. So I ended up running around the driveway of the track, which was at least green, leafy, car free and with some hills.

    I've been put up in a luxury hotel with a fancy gym and complimentary classes, so have instead mainly been making the most of that - my first circuits class in four years has left me aching all over, I really need to start doing circuits again! Also joined a punishing pilates and yoga class - however, I fear the breakfast buffet's effects are still outweighing all this exercise!

    Looking forward to returning to Bangkok which at least has some parks that are easily accessible and pleasant for running in! Funny how travel puts it all into perspective.

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  23. Was back racing (two weeks after a PB at Chicago) at the Semi de Vincennes here in Paris. I'd missed out on sub-3:20 in Chicago, and thought that one of the causes could have been that my half-marathon PB was 1:39:57 - aka I'd have to PB the half in the second part of the marathon to negative split! Anyway, with the thought of trying for 3:20 again at San Sebastian (end Nov) I figured my half PB needed a significant update.

    Was meant to start slower for the first few kilometres, but I'd positioned myself too far back in the pack and everyone around was crawling over the start-line. In my haste to separate myself from the pack I split the first km at goal-half-marathon pace... and from there just tried to stick at that pace for as long as possible.

    That turned out to be 10-11km, after which the same level of effort was producing slower kilometres. On my hand I'd written 9 reasons to keep pushing on, and it took every mental game to get through those last kilometres (including an annoyingly long 'fake flat' at 15km). Found a final push and managed to grunt my way over the line with just over a minutes improvement.

    Biggest thing I learned though was that I'm done for the year! Now no longer planning a fast San Sebastian because I just don't have the physical or mental effort to do another quick one. Supremely pleased with a 3:31:22, 3:25:45 and now 1:38:52 in the space of five weeks. The rest of this seasons races will be run just for fun, then its time to rest before gearing up for Boston!

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    1. That's an impressive run of results! Wise decision to take it easy now I think - don't want to overtrain or burn out. Sounds like you had great mental resilience in the half - very well done!

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    2. What a write-up to bring pleasure on all fronts - an unexpected PB, some supreme mental fortitude, a year of training properly banked and utilised and a smart decision to finish at the right point and enjoy the close of the year.

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  24. Hey everyone!
    It's been a while. I hope you're all doing well.
    I've been trying to figure out how to comment on here for a few weeks but only sussed it out this afternoon.
    I wanted to share possibly my favourite parkrun to date. The conditions were perfect and I just love running on a sunny autumnal day. I set off pretty fast which wasn't planned with 4:07 first km so slowed down second km and sort of alternated between kms and speed. Third km fast. fourth km slowed down again to finish strong at the end. One girl my age over took me final km and fair play to her, I never got close to passing her. I ran past an older lady with .5 km to go but out of nowhere final 100 metres she really sprinted and I didn't have it in me. But I did my first sub 22 parkrun with a finishing time of 21:49 and I am beyond delighted!!!! Finished as 5th female. What a treat.
    One day I would definitely love to manage sub 20 (I'm aware it is a little ambitious) and to be honest the only strategy I have is to just keep chipping away at the time... Does anyone have any better ideas? All appreciated.

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    1. Do you do many longer runs? Longer tempo runs at a slower-than-5k-but-still-hard pace may well help with your 5k times. Intervals are always good too...

      All that said, you're faster than me over 5k so take my advice with a pinch of salt :)

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    2. Oh, and congratulations on the ParkRun PB!

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    3. Thank you MrSheepUK. I was doing longer distances earlier this year as I did the ldn marathon, and have sort of neglected them ever since. I occasionally do an 8k or 10k but going to try to do more of these at least once a week, maybe even longer...
      Also MrSheepUK I noticed you finished your half last week in 1:35 (which is brilliant), my PB is just 1:46:01, I am a little confused as to how my 5k is faster than yours if your HM is way faster than mine?!

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    4. I haven't concentrated on the shorter distances at all loubot - my last genuine attempt at a shorter distance PB was 10k in August 2017, and my current 5k PB was a ParkRun where I just decided to go for it (no preparation, no specific training for a 5k), so I suspect I could go faster if I tried... I'm loving half marathons at the moment though :)

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    5. Very well done!

      You should - theoretically, t+c's apply etc - always be faster running even pace than alternating between faster and slower ks. The tempo suggestion is a good one, extend the long run to 12-16k and throw in some fast intervals occasionally to properly get the engine firing - 6x800m with 200 jog recovery say.

      There are plenty of plans online which would give specific sessions and times.

      Good luck!

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    6. Great run loubot! I would think training for sub-20 is definitely a realistic option for you. Not an expert, but I would say work on two things: 1) Improve aerobic base by doing longer duration runs below threshold pace - so some at tempo but also quite a lot at endurance/moderate/conversation pace. Say 60-80 min runs. 2) Interval/speed work, possibly including some hill reps.

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    7. Glad to see you're still on an upward curve loubot. Congratulations. I don't see why you can't go sub-20 in the not-too-distant future - there's some good advice above that should help you get there.

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  25. A much-needed laid back week for me after my Birmingham Half PB last weekend - to keep my 2018 running streak in tact I dragged myself out for probably the hardest "2k easy" I've done this year on Monday - my quads were screaming and, while it was technically a run, I was nearly 2min/km slower than my normal easy run pace!

    It was Thursday before I got my spring back and put in a couple of easy paced longer runs, and finished the week feeling good (albeit with a bunch of gardening wearing me out, I hate gardening...). Up to 297 consecutive days of running at least 2k... I can see the finish line, but will I stop on Jan 1st???

    Ready to start planning the next half now, signed up for Wokingham in February, going head-to-head with my friend who I've been trading half PBs with - should be fun, and it's a nice fast route too.

    Aiming to try and lose a bit of weight to help get towards 1h30, but it's so difficult to do that while training hard (I tend to be /very/ good at eating enough to maintain my weight when doing lots of running). Anyone got any tips?

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  26. It was the Great South Run for me at the weekend, only my second ever race over course and/or distance and a softish PB target 3 years ago when I was a mere novice. I was hoping for sub-80 minutes but, as in almost all my races this year, pacing was an issue. McMillan predicted from my recent 5k times that I was on for something like 80:30 but instead of going off conservatively I went off too quickly and was hanging on by the end. 81:14 gave me a PB by about 80 secs but I couldn't help feeling a bit disappointed which is a bit daft given the average year its been. Anyway it's a time to target another day when I'm better prepared (although who knows when I'll race 10 miles again?).

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  27. Hello Folks. Had some weird internet trouble, hence the late post. I’m sure you’ve all been on tenterhooks!

    I had a surprisingly good long run on Sunday. 28km at average 5:49 pace, and I even sped up at the end. Not sure why it was so good, but I’ll take it. I seem to be inching ever closer to that magical sub-4 pace, but I’m not even going to allow myself to think about that this time around, because if I start to think it might be possible, I’ll end up going out too fast on the day and messing up the race. 4:15 is the goal, with 4:30 as an “it’ll do, I suppose” backup.

    One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot is something I read in the Guardian a couple of months ago where a running expert said that for marathon training, your 5 longest runs should total 100 miles. I remember being amazed and disheartened by this - for my first marathon I was nowhere near that. But this time, my 5 longest (assuming I complete the last two) will total 90 miles, which is still not quite there, but not too bad either, I reckon.

    Anyway, an easy week this week. Just 13.5 at the weekend. Really chuffed its all going so well, though.

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