Thursday, 28 April 2011


  I mentioned in yesterday's blog that I was told ( by his coach)  that one of the UK's top marathon runners tended to limit his long run to his target marathon time and generally did it off road.  I suggested that this would result in a "long run" well short of 26.2 miles and if this practice is common with all our top ranked runners then this could be a factor in determining  much criticised race performance.
 I was keen to learn if there was any evidence of top American marathoner RYAN HALL training  26.2 or more following his 4th in the Boston marathon in 2:04.58.  A time which beat his previous Boston best time from 2010 by nearly 4 minutes and his previous marathon P.B. by 1:14 secs. 
 It didn't take long to find.  Amongst several training videos on Youtube we are shown him running with training partner Josh Cox on "dirt roads" in what looks like pretty hot conditions, certainly by the end.  Cox accompanies Hall for 1:45 mins including 1 minute hard/ 1 minute steady (x times) efforts leaving Ryan to go for a further 1:18.   He covers overall 30 miles in 2:54 but cranks up to tempo pace for the last 5 miles which he covers as follows......25 (5:38)  26 (5:32)  27 (5:27)  28 (5:25  29(?)  30 ( 5:11) then adds another 1.6 ease down for 31.6 miles in total.  

After a good cough and spit, no doubt due to the very dusty road he had been running on,  just to prove the 31.6 mile effort has not dulled his intellect,  he launches into extracts from a poem by George Meredith (1828-1909) presumably a source of inspiration for this spiritual athlete............

                THE LARK ASCENDING

                He rises and begins to round
                He drops the silver chain of sound
                Of many links without a break
                In chirrup, whistle,slur and shake

                For singing till his heaven fills
                'Tis love of earth that he instils
                And ever winging up and up
                Our valley is his golden cup
               And he the wine which overflows
               To lift us with him as he goes
               Till lost on his aerial rings
               In light and then the fancy sings.

Asked if he is 'the lark' he raises his eyebrows indicating 'perhaps' but  not all the time and that there are other 'larks'  out there.  Clearly indicating that the training is often arduous and gruelling,  but has to be done to remain competitive,  as there are rivals elsewhere giving it their all in much the same way.
     If you can fathom the full meaning of the poem ,  seeking sufficient inspiration to tackle training  runs   of 30 miles or more then perhaps you too could run a 2:05 marathon!   Certainly inspired me!!

1 comment:

  1. I quite often do training runs of 30 miles or more (37.5 due on 9 May) but my marathon best is only 3:09. It doesn't always correlate. I also do my quota of speedwork so in recent times I have tended to think that every runner has a race distance to which they are most suited (biologically, mentally, etc). It took me 34 years to find mine ... what's yours ?