Saturday, 21 April 2012

MARATHON least for some.

I was in the Ilkley shop a week last Wednesday evening when a slim, fit looking young man came in and said he needed some shoes for tomorrow's LONDON MARATHON.  I asked him how his training was going.  He said he hadn't done any running yet; he had only taken up the chance to run take part in the marathon the previous Friday, 4 days earlier!
                I naturally queried what training he had done in the last 4 days then.  Nothing!
Restraining the strong desire to launch into a rant about people who treat the 26.2 mile event with such apparent "contempt" I just went about selling the young man a pair of £90 shoes. At least he was treating his feet with respect.  As a fairly fit, regular football playing young man he'll no doubt finish.  But  it certainly won't be a "fun run" as he probably hopes it will be.  When he reaches the Tower at 22 miles he is unlikely to be running and sadly is unlikely to be having any fun.
  So he was starting his marathon build up from scratch 10 days before the event. Very much an exception. In contrast  my friend SALLY M. was bringing our  marathon programme to near conclusion with a mile rep session (4) 10 days before the MANCHESTER MARATHON.  Achieving 6.40  mile pace in foul, cold and wet April conditions should make 7.15 mileing feel reasonably comfortable least for 15 miles or so before she has to dig deep as she did in the heat of Barcelona (see pic.)   Her longest run has been 24 miles which she ran at an average of 8.12. One minute slower than target  marathon pace.  Any faster and she would not have been able to cope with two speed sessions in the following 8 days.  12 x 600  4 days later and 5 x mile 4 days after that.
 I fully anticipate the energy will come flooding back now for her with 10 days of easy running, punctuated by just 6 x 1 minute next Tuesday to remind the legs a tad about pace.
 Described in his book, from last to first, CHARLIE SPEDDING'S last week  before his 2:09.58 Olympic Marathon included 5 x 400 on the Wednesday in 60.9! average.  Long run wise he states "I think it is important to run further than the marathon on one occasion  about 3 weeks prior" to the race.
 He ran 28 miles in 2:55;  6:15 per mile.
 He ran a 5 mile race 7 days before the marathon.  24.09......4: 48 pace
 He ran the Olympic marathon at 4.58 pace.
  So no intent it seems to run his long run anywhere near  "marathon pace" (MP) because after 2 days steady running he had to come back on the third day after running 28 miles with a track session of 10 x 400 , followed two days later with an 18 miler including intervals!

 Going back to the LONDON, the race for the third and last Olympic womens place will be of great interest. Echoed by this week's A.W. cover.  It's perhaps fortunate that the selectors didn't insist on Yamauchi and Paul Radcliffe racing tomorrow as well.   Paula's 72.03 in the Vienna Half marathon was good enough to win and take her to second in this year's UK rankings BUT  suggests as of today she is "only" in shape to run around 2:33. a time which won't be seeing her add to medals tally.    She was once again "distressed" after the race, mouthing apologies to the race organiser. Not good.  The planned handicap race with Haile G. did not come about as Haile passed t Paula after 5k!
 But  there is no doubt that to have suffered bronchitis this year and only just come off antibiotics will have detracted from  her performance and  she will be hoping to run better in the LONDON OLYMPIC marathon.
Cynics would say she had to run to top up the bank balance, of course. But whatever,  if it were me I would be looking for another half marathon to restore confidence that she can run well under 70 minutes .....and so under 2:30......whether there was a cheque at the end of it or not!  
 I would have her reducing the quantity of weekly miles and running several quality races to restore confidence.  To me she just isn't "in the sport" as she should and could be. The pressure of running less than a dozen high profile races per year must be immense.
  As always  we'll be settling down to watch tomorrow's race.  We'll be trying to spot some of the FASTRAX vests we've been sending out out for the last month.  But I think spotting my young novice customer might prove difficult amongst the masses. Hopefully the experience which is bound to be traumatic will not put him off running altogether!
 If you are reading this before running London ...why? should be eating doughnuts!  Have a good one!


  1. Thanks for the mention Terry. Feeling very excited about next week. As I dropped Georgia ( eldest daughter) and her friends off to get on the bus to run the mini marathon I must admit to wishing I had entered London. But Manchester HERE I COME !!!

  2. Sally you will be fantastic! I know how hard you have worked! Go girl!!!All the best will be thinking about you.