Slight error of judgement

Been a bit of an idiot over the last couple of days. Again after a hard weekend of training I went out for a 6 mile recovery run yesterday, except that I did it at 7.24 min mile pace. No matter how hard I try I just cant seem to run in the 7.45-8 min mile range. Hey ho.

Today I intended to do a 9 mile run at 3hr marathon speed which is 6.52 min miles. This is a fairly brisk pace to run 9 miles at in training, especially since the route has 150m of climb. I went off at a reasonably hardish pace and went through the first mile in 5.58!! Oops, slight mis-judgement of pace me thinks! You can guess the rest, my legs soon started to feel extremely heavy and it became a case to hold on as best as possible. Still, I managed to get round the course in 57.15 which is 45 seconds quicker than when I pushed the week before.

However this is not the end of the story. I've noticed that the distance measuring device on my foot seems to under calculate whenever I push really hard - and not by a small amount either. When I'm running at 7.30 min mile pace the course tends to measure roughly 14.6km but like today when I really pushed it said I only did 13.7km which is a huge difference. Whenever this happens I tend to ignore the thing and go with the longer distance as it feels nearer the mark. However there is always that thought at the back of my mind that says "Well perhaps I'm not running as quickly as I think I am...". So today I've used the Mapmyrun device and mapped my run using aerial photography at high magnification so I can even map which side of the road I'm running. OK, I know aerial photography can have its errors as well, but I figure it has to be as close to reality as it can be. Thankfully it suggests 14.6 km, but taking into account I'll run the shortest possible route I'm going to go with 14.5km.

As a result my pace for the run was 6.21 min miles - a really bad misjudgement of pace considering I was aiming for 6.52 min miles. I'm going to switch my training around a bit this week and use today as my tempo run and switch the marathon pace run to Thursday.

On the flip side this sort of run at high speed confirms last weeks suspicions that I'm running at a good speed at the moment. Bearing in mind my half marathon pb of 1.22.30 equates to 6.18 pace and I'm pretty much achieving that speed in training shows that things are moving along nicely.

Just a normal 6 mile run tomorrow - but knowing me that could mean anything!


  1. Hey Lloyd, thanks for the encouragement. One thing I am very conscious of is that I've never done a marathon before, so it's all very unknown territory for me, so I want to keep my expectations in tact for the time being. They say whatever your half mara is, double it and then add 15 mins... however a 3:25 would be awesome!

    Just a note on the Kayano's, obviously last night as you read was really good, and I'm really starting to like the shoe, and think I'll wear them in the mds. They're very sturdy and personally I dont see the need for a trail shoe. I might be wrong, but I hate really cluncky trainers, so will stick with these I think. So thumbs up from me. Of course I've only done around 40 miles in them to date, but so far so good.

    I know what you mean about running slowly, and I think this is something that both of us will have to learn over the next year. I'm really conscious that all my running so far is on the road, which is really not ideal for the mds. However it's also very difficult for those of us who have careers too! My plan is to carry on running on the roads until April and get the Canberra marathon done, then I'm going to really focus on some trail running. Sydney has a massive national park about 30 mins away on the train and there's a great 30km run along the coast that I'm going to try out... so the more the better as far as i'm concerned. There's a guy on the firum, Paul Murgatroyd (or something like that), who is a mds vet and a lot of what he talks about makes a lot of sense. I'm currently following his training programme which he sent to me (albeit with some tweaks), but he offers a lot of really good advice and I think he finished top 150. Looking at his programme his times were fairly similar to mine, but the one thing is says is start slow and finish slower. I know it's hard, but I think it's people like you and I who are our own worst enemies when running given our competitive natures. Also one of the biggest reasons for drop-out is that people get too carried away and dont realise just how much the heat affects them and I'm really conscious of this. It's a massive lesson I learnt from Saturday and my run, and this was 30 degrees. For 10 miles I was great and then bang, I was a physical mess, but it's good to put yourself through that from time to time to make you realise just how the heat can hit you.

    Just as a little tip and this is something I got from Paul's training programme, do a run every few weeks at mds pace... i.e. 5 miles an hour. I know this will be really hard as we'll both want to push on and run to an inch of our lives, but those are the runs that we'll get the most from and in reality is the pace that we'll be running at in the Sahara - I think it makes a lot of sense. I'm going to try it in about 2 weeks I think... over a 20 miler and make sure I take 4 hours to do it.

  2. If it's one lesson I learned from doing my one and only marathon it is that you can't rely on fancy gadgets to keep your pace. I was using GPS and it got messed up in the tunnels/bridges in New York. It just went beserk at 18 miles and screwed up my pacing totally. I would suggest you take a basic lap timer wristwatch and click it every time you pass a mile marker on the course to check your last mile time. It's the only way to be sure on the day.

  3. Hi Lloyd, I find the same problem in running slowly - often, when I try to do a "recovery" run at say 5 mins/km it ends up nearer 4:40. The best way I've found is to run with someone slower than yourself.


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