Cheruiyot v Keitany: How important is marathon pacing?

A look at two of the leading protagonists in the London Marathon shows the importance of pacing to run your best marathon time. While Mary Keitany set out at world record pace in London, Vivian Cheruiyot ran a more controlled and consistent race to ultimately take the win.

A look at each ladies 5km splits tells the story.

                                            Keitany                                                  Cheruiyot

5km                               15:46                                                   16:15

10km                             16:00                                                   16:38

15km                             16:00                                                   16:25

20km                             16:04                                                   16:13

25km                             16:34                                                   16:25

30km                             16:39                                                   16:23

35km                             17:33                                                    16:29

40km                             19:47                                                    16:20

42.2km                          2:24:27                                                2:18:31

1st half/2nd half           67:16/77:11                                          68:56/69:35

These splits tell a story about both ladies, firstly a brave decision by Keitany to go out at world record pace and as the second fastest lady in history it is an obvious goal to break Paula Radcliffe’s world record. Also a brave decision by Cheruiyot not to go with Keitany and Dibaba through the first 5km and run her own pace. Cheruiyot is the current Olympic champion at 5000m running 14:29 to win in Rio so no doubt could have stayed with the lead pace. The decision to be controlled and run a consistent pace over the entire marathon paid dividends in the end.

At 20km Cheruiyot was 1:41 behind Keitany and from there she started to close the gap, overtaking Ketiany after 35km. Cheruiyot’s 39 sec positive split was run on a warm day in London. A very patient and well paced race by Cheruiyot, running a pace that she could consistently hold for the 42.2km from the start of the marathon till the end.

How can the average runner benefit Cheruiyot’s pacing example?

There are two lessons here that average runners can take away.

  1. Consistent pacing is the key

The best marathon results are achieved by consistent pacing throughout the entire marathon. Cheruiyot’s marathon in London is a perfect example of marathon pacing. Her first 5km split is just 5 sec faster then her 35-40km split when the race was there to win. To run a 40sec positive split on a warm day in a 5 minute personal best means she was controlled and patient early and gave her best effort in the latter stages of the race.

This strategy can be replicated by every runner trying to achieve their goals. Be patient and controlled and when the marathon asks for your best effort you’ll be in a position to give it.

2. Know your goal pace is achievable on the day

If consistent pacing throughout the marathon is the goal you need to know your goal is achievable. If your best marathon is a 3:35 then attempting to break 3 hours may be unachievable. You may be able to run 3 hour marathon pace for a good part of the marathon but when it gets tough your pace will ultimately fall away and the last quarter of the marathon is most likely a painful experience. Cheruiyot clearly didn’t believe she could run world record pace for 42.2km, she did believe she could run sub 2:20 and paced her race perfectly to do this and ultimately win the race.

The other part to this is adjusting your goal if the conditions aren’t ideal. It was warm in London and a lot of runners suffered on the day due to the heat. Perhaps Keitany should have adjusted her expectation with the warm weather. Adjust your goal if necessary.

Pacing is an important part of running to any distance, learning this skill and be realistic about your goals and paces can help you achieve your goals and ensure your enjoy your race day experiences.

happy pacing, happy running

Coolcore Multi Chill – Product Review

The Multi Chill by Australian brand Coolcore is a versatile, multi-functional headwear item suitable for all types of outdoor sports and leisure activities. Coolcore advertise 12 different ways that the Multi chill can be worn that offer a suitable headwear item for all climates. The secret to the Multi chill and the other products offered by Coolcore is the fabric which claims to use a technology to keep you cooler, drier and more comfortable with a competitive advantage. If you would like to know more about the technology in their fabric visit coolcore.com.au for more details, there is a comprehensive explanation of the technology in the fabric provided.

I have been testing the Multi Chill for 6-8 weeks on a variety of my runs over differing weather. I wanted to test the product on both hot and cooler days and see if the fabric really did cool me during my runs. During these runs I have  used the Multi Chill in a variety of the 12 styles however predominantly the sweatband, saharine and bandana styles.

The main question I wanted to answer was, does the fabric provide a cooling effect? From my first few runs wearing the Multi Chill it was apparent that this is true, I could feel the fabric cooling my head as my body started to heat. The result wasn’t a huge cooling effect but certainly enough to feel a noticeable difference when running. These initial runs were all in mild weather in the early morning.

Using the Multi Chill under hotter condition and runs under direct sunlight, I was surprised to find the cooling effect is greater then the milder conditions. This seems to be when the fabric performs best, during these runs as my body and head heated the fabric again provides the cooling effect. The feeling is not extreme, but rather a noticeable cooling of the head. This also has the benefit of you staying drier, as the Multi Chill absorbs sweat from running the head and hair definitely stay drier and helps keep you comfortable while running.

If you are looking at the Multi Chill or other products from Coolcore and expecting a huge cooling effect in hot conditions then you may be disappointed. However the fabric used by Coolcore will provide relief from the heat of the sun and the natural heating of the body during exercise.

Using the Multi Chill at night in cooler conditions is also a positive experience. Using in the bandana method allows for warmth in the beginning of the run and as the body heats up the head remains comfortable. I haven’t been able to use the Multi Chill in very cold conditions yet however I don’t see any problems as the Multi Chill can be worn in a way to provide warmth and also the fabric’s cooling will happen when the body heats during the run.

If you are looking for a multi-functional headwear item for running or other sporting activity, I don’t see any weakness in the Coolcore Multi Chill. The claims that Coolcore make in regards to their fabric are accurate and the Multi Chill is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. It’s a welcome addition to my running accessories collection

The Multi Chill sells for AUD $19.95 plus $6.95 shipping within Australia. This is well priced against other products in this space with not many staking claim to the cooling effect that Coolcore offers. Coolcore has a range of products all using the same fabric, check them out at coolcore.com.au for more details.

 

 

 

*Disclaimer: Coolcore provided a Multi Chill without charge for the purpose of this review.

Canberra Marathon 2018 – Race Report

After a solid preparation my week leading up to Canberra marathon didn’t go exactly to plan. I was unable to get rid of the head cold from the previous week and felt pretty poor until mid way through the week. Following this I had a bad migraine on Thursday which kept me off work which carried over till Friday. By Saturday I felt better and spent most of the day flying to Canberra for the race arriving in the afternoon.

On arrival in the nations capital it was very evident it was cold and very windy and not ideal for running a marathon. It was windy through the night and the forecast was for similar conditions on race day which proved to be correct. With an early start of 6:25am meant an early start of 4:45am, getting to the race start by 5:45am with seemingly plenty of time before the start. Quick trip to the port-toilets took longer then ideal and after a dash to the car to offload a jacket I arrived on the start line as the announcer said one minute to go. Got in a nice spot near the front and in no time at all Canberra marathon was underway.

I quickly settled into my goal pace of 4:05-4:10 min/km, goal for this race was sub 2:55 and at worst to beat my personal best 2:57 from Seoul last March. First part of the race heads around the Parliament house square before heading along the foreshore to the Telopea Park area of Canberra, some small uphills and downhills during this area made for comfortable running and I was able to settle into my rhythm fairly quickly. I settled into a small pack of runners during this part of the race and just concentrated on keeping my pace consistent and being mindful not to run too fast at this point.

After this part of the race between 8- 16km we ran out of the city circle and to a freeway type area that was exposed and made for a tough run into the headwind. During this period I told myself to focus on being patient and not working too hard into the wind. Following this was a nice parklands area which was undulating and nice scenic running. At the turnaround at 17.5 km to head back into the city circle I made the decision to use the on course toilet. I was disappointed by this but needed to go and knew it would make me feel more comfortable and I’d run better afterwards. I was passed by a 6-7 runners in this time and was annoyed with this, next kilometre went through in 3:55 as I tried to make up for the minute I had just lost.

Heading back to the city area went through half way in 1:27, right on schedule for a 2:55 but knowing I didn’t have much time to spare if things got tough later on. By the time I was back in the city I was caught by a small group of runners, some half marathon and marathon competitors and I recognised one runner former Olympian Shaun Creighton by the name on his bib. I ran with this group for about three kilometres, they were running a bit quicker then my goal pace at 3:50 min/km but I thought it was a good risk to take to run with a strong group if I can hang with them for a while. At 27-28 km into the race I drifted off the back of the group as this pace running into a very strong head wind was giving me doubts for later in the race. This was the toughest section of the course, running into a big headwind, I was relieved to get to the turnaround point at 29km and head back for a down wind stretch till 36km. In this period the running was getting difficult, my legs and lower back were painful, I was still running well and taking advantage of the strong tail wind now but it was very evident the marathon was starting to bite.

The next couple of kilometres were running back over the bridges to the area near the start, a mix of periods with and without headwinds made for difficult running. When we turned with out of the city area to the Telopea Park area that was run near the beginning of the race I knew exactly where and when was left to run. The last 3-4 kilometres were tough running and my pace had dropped to 4:20-4:25 min/km, ticking off the time to go and willing myself to continue. I turned into the park to finish with a 200-300m run to the finish and put on a little effort to cross the line in 2:56:10 and a new marathon personal best.

Really satisfied to get another sub 3 marathon and new personal best. A different experience to my first sub 3 where I was very excited to finally reach the big goal. This time I didn’t experience any real emotions on finishing, maybe because the last few kilometres were tough going and I was just happy to get to the finish.

I enjoyed my second Canberra marathon. The first one was 2002, I ran 3:08 in tough conditions with heavy rain throughout after an injury hampered preparation. 16 years later a 2:56 in just as tough conditions with strong winds and cold weather with a mostly trouble free preparation. Good but challenging course, good atmosphere with plenty of crowd support and I hope to be back for this race again soon.

Every marathon I’ve run teaches me something about myself, today I learnt that I am able to fight through and give my best effort when the conditions aren’t great and things don’t go exactly to plan. While mostly my race went to plan the tough moments during the marathon are the ones that stick in my mind the most. Some of the headwinds were brutal, particularly those between 26-29km on a mostly uphill section. The last four kilometres are tough in every marathon, this race was no exception. Being able to get through these periods and then be able to run on to a new personal best were rewarding moments. Onwards to the next one now, whatever that may be.

 

Marathon Training week 13 & 14 – Race week

The last few weeks of this marathon preparation have been slightly disjointed but things are finally falling into place now. At the end of week 12 I started to get a sore throat and head cold which meant I didn’t complete the week as planned and delayed my final long run.

Week 13 therefore had a different structure to most weeks of this preparation. I was planning a two week taper but missed my last long run and wanted to get this done before switching off and tapering. Week 13 went as follows;

Monday – Rest (Still sick)

Tuesday – Aerobic 45 min

Wednesday – Long Run including 4 x 5km at 4 min/km with 2 km aerobic rest between – Total 28km

Thursday – Aerobic 45 min

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – Tempo run – 3 x 2km – first two 2km efforts at 3:55-4min/km, third at 3:30min/km – 1km recovery between.

The head cold I suffered returned at the end of the week and I decided to take Friday and Saturday off. The two major workouts this week were the final long run with 4 x 5km race pace or thereabouts efforts and the 3 x 2km tempo. Both these runs felt comfortable and leave me confident going into race week. Head cold is now 95% gone and I feel good about race week.

Only a  week left now till Canberra marathon and time to move into that final week taper phase. Not looking to much out there this week other then to keep the legs moving and be ready to race on Sunday. One short, fast session on Tuesday before taking it easy for the rest of the week.

Monday – Aerobic 35-40 min

Tuesday – Tempo – 3 x 1500 at race pace with 500m recovery with a  warm up and cool down.

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Aerobic 30 min

Friday – Aerobic 30 min

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – Race Day

Overall happy with my preparation for this marathon. Fitness is as good as it could be and feeling motivated to give my best effort next Sunday. In some past races I have been relieved to get to the start line because the body needed a break from the training. This marathon I don’t feel that way and feel ready to race.

My goal for this marathon I to better my marathon personal best of 2 hour 57 min. The body and mind feel ready to get me there, but the marathon can be a troublesome beast and always throws a curveball your way. Looking forward to race day now.

Took a few of my aerobic runs to beach this week which was a nice run now daylight savings has finished in NSW, Australia and the sun is up a little earlier.

 

Why I’ll run this marathon in shoes

The footwear choice for my upcoming marathon has been a decision I have thought about throughout this marathon preparation. Should I run this marathon in shoes or sandals?

Gladsoles sandals have been my number one footwear choice for the past 18 months, I do probably 60% of my running in them. I have completed a marathon in them before albeit the Beach to Brother trail marathon. They are a great sandal to run in. I completed my recent half marathon in these sandals in a new personal best time. I haven’t run a road marathon in these sandals yet though. My most recent road marathon was Seoul marathon last year which I ran in shoes, in particular the Salming Race 3.

While I do a lot of running in sandals, when I run long in them they are harder on my lower legs and feet. Naturally with less or zero cushioning they slightly tougher on the body. While this feeling is minimised by running a lot in sandals there is still a factor in the legs getting conditioned to running for long periods without cushioning.

Running in sandals has helped me be a better runner, my legs and feet are stronger and my technique is better. I have changed my foot strike from a heel striking runner to a forefoot runner. However when I run longer distances my form deteriorates as I fatigue. During my recent half marathon my form gradually deteriorated over the last 5km as I became fatigued.

For this reason I have chosen to run my marathon in three weeks time in shoes. Whilst I can run just as fast in sandals as shoes, when I fatigue in the final third of the marathon I don’t believe I can manage a running form that will allow me to run my best race in sandals yet. This is a weakness in the runner not the sandal, in time I will develop the strength needed to complete a marathon in sandals

The Salming Race 5 is the latest edition of racing flats from Salming and these will be my marathon race day shoes. They are fast, flexible and responsive. They are slightly narrower then the previous edition I wore in Seoul, which I would rather was not be the case but this is a small negative. The racing flat with only a small amount of cushioning will compensate for my drop off running form when I fatigue and allow me to run longer at my goal pace then the sandals on a road surface.

This is somewhat disappointing as it indicates that my barefoot running technique has still not developed to a point where I can run a road marathon and remain running with sound technique. I would prefer to run this marathon in sandals, however I am mindful that I want to run my best race and my weakness when fatigued will be better suited in shoes. I will continue to work hard on improving my foot and lower leg strength that will help me achieve this possibly for my next marathon, but this time it’ll be shoes in the marathon.

 

Marathon Training – Week 11

Ten weeks of marathon training down, for weeks to go till Canberra marathon. This training cycle has gone quite quickly and in the recent weeks it has started to come together and I feel like I am getting ready to run a good marathon.

This week I gave myself a couple of days to recover from Port Macquarie Half Marathon last Sunday. This result has given me confidence that my running is on track and the motivation to push hard over the last few weeks of hard training till the marathon. Monday I felt sore in the legs and my recovery run was only 6km and fairly painful. Tuesday was a planned rest day and this was well timed as the legs were still pretty sore.

Wednesday the legs were still sore but I decided to push on with my planned hill session. Hills felt quite good once I got started and I managed to complete this session relatively comfortably.  Thursday was a flat 10km aerobic run. Legs were starting to feel better by this stage of the week. Friday was my long run day this week and I felt really good for the majority of the 2 hours 40 min I ran covering just under 33km in this session. Saturday was another aerobic run of 7km on fatigued legs from the previous days run.

Sunday I attempted a tough interval session. Goal of this session is to increase my overall speed while in a fatigued state. After a warm up I ran a 10km comprising of 4 x 2km at half marathon pace (3:45-3:50 min/km) followed by 500m hard (3:20-3:30 min/km) after each 2km. Tough part of this run is to go back to half marathon pace after a hard 500m and  recover from the effort at a high cruising speed. For the most part I was happy with this run but it certainly hurt and made me work hard.

Overall 78.5km run for the week another consistent strong week.

This week I am planning another strong week. Hoping to get my mileage up towards 90km which is about my limit currently with my work, family and study schedule.

Monday – Aerobic (45-60 min)

Tuesday – Tempo (3 x 3km at 4:00- 4:05min/km with 3 min float)

Wednesday – Aerobic (45-60 min)

Thursday – Intervals (8 x 3 min at 3:34-3:45 min/km 90 sec rest)

Friday – Aerobic ( 45-60 min)

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – Marathon specific long run (3 x 14km at goal race pace with 30 min rest)

This week there are three significant sessions to begin to peak my training towards the marathon. Hills have been replaced by tempo for the remainder of the preparation. Strength work is now completed and it’s time to  peak my speed and endurance for the marathon.

Tempo session on Tuesday is relatively straight forward with three tempo efforts to work on my marathon cruising speed. This pace should feel relatively comfortable in my current condition.

Intervals on Thursday is another key session to build speed. Keeping these efforts relatively long and more specific with marathon training. 3 min at good pace with a rest of 90 sec to lower my heart rate and get me ready for the next. Eight of these efforts will be a challenge but one I should be able to handle.

A session I like to do three weeks from a goal marathon is this 3 x 14km with 30 min rest between at goal race pace. I haven’t decided what goal race pace is yet but it will be 4:10 min/km or slightly lower. Aiming to beat my marathon best of 2 hours 57 min. This session is hard, very hard but when I nailed this session three week before Seoul marathon I knew I was going to run my best race. This session is as much about building speed and endurance as it is about building confidence. This is a session I am already anxious about running next week.

Looking forward to another good training week.

Run well.

 

 

Marathon Training – Week 10

This weeks training culminated in the Port Macquarie Half Marathon where I ran a new personal best for this distance. One of the pleasing aspects of this is it came at the end of a relatively large week of marathon training.

Overall 77km ran this week including the half marathon to finish the week. Monday I completed an aerobic 13km. Tuesday my usual hill session of 9km, Wednesday another aerobic run of 8km and Thursday intervals which were 10 x 2 min with 1 min rest. I ran these efforts without looking at the pace on the watch and these efforts were comfortably hard between 3:30-3:40 min/km. Friday was rest day and Saturday I ran an aerobic 14km before racing on Sunday.

This week I am giving myself a little bit of time to recover from the race before getting straight back into training. No time to rest as the next three weeks are key endurance and speed building for Canberra Marathon on April 15th. A successful half marathon result during a training block has given me a lot of confidence that I can keep working hard over the next few weeks and run a good marathon.

Monday – Aerobic recovery run (30-40 min)

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Hills ( 60 min)

Thursday – Aerobic (45-60 min)

Friday – Long Run – Aerobic ( 2 hours 40 min)

Saturday – Aerobic – (45 min)

Sunday – Intervals (2km half marathon pace – 500m hard x 4 with warm up and cool down)

Trying a new interval session this Sunday. Over a 10km course doing 2km at my half marathon pace 3:45-3:50min/km and then hitting 500m hard (approx 3:20-3:30min/km). And doing four efforts of these over the 10km. This will be a really tough session but if I can hit these efforts for 10km will give me a real confidence boost. may also still be somewhat tired from Fridays long run so looking forward to seeing how this session goes.

Next three weeks are key marathon specific weeks. Over the next few weeks I am going to throw some marathon specific training into my sessions. Next week I aim to drop hill repeats and transition to some harder tempo runs over a flat course. I feel strong now, time to take some time to work on marathon specific speed.

Let me know if you have any queries or concerns.

Run well

 

Port Macquarie Half Marathon 2018 – Race Report

Just a few weeks before I was in two minds whether to compete in this half marathon or train through to my goal marathon in April. Two weeks out from the event I decided to race and test my marathon training progress.

Port Macquarie half marathon is in my home town in NSW, Australia and a race I have competed in twice before. It’s a nice three lap course around the river and beach area of the town centre. A three lap race can however be tough mentally, particularly heading out for the third lap. My normal race strategy is to break my race into thirds and a three lap race gives me an easy way to transition through each phase of the race.

The race began under perfect conditions, very light wind, cool conditions for this time of year and overcast clouds. In the early stages of the race there were a number of guys that went out quite hard, with a couple of elite runners in the field they went out very fast and some of the other runners tried to stay with them. I decided to stick to my pre race plan of 3:50 min/km for the first two thirds on the race and then give my best effort. I went through the first kilometre in 3:45 and felt really comfortable, although slightly quicker than planned I felt I had found a nice rhythm and was with a small pack of guys running well and decided to stay at the back of this pack. Next two kilometres were also ticked off in 3:45’s and I decided to stay with these guys. I recognised one of the guys who had beaten me two years ago here and knew he was going to go close to my planned goal time and thought I’d stay in touch even though quicker than planned. First lap felt really good, I had averaged 3:45 min/km for that lap and we had started to overtake some of the guys that had gone too fast early.

Second lap was much the same. Some rain showers started to fall and this was nice to keep us cool. In the second third of the race I try and focus on discipline. And by that I mean staying disciplined to keep my pace even and not go too fast or too slow at any stage. The field had started to thin out now, the guy I mentioned earlier had just got away from me by 50-100m so I just aimed to keep him in sight and stay disciplined on my pacing. I went through 10km in 37:40 and was happy with this. At the 13km aid station I took my gel I had planned to take just before the aid station, it didn’t go down so easy and I almost coughed it up. Took some water at the aid station and then proceeded to cough and spit till the next aid station at 15km I was still running well although starting to fatigue but was able to keep my 3:45 min/km average pace to the end of lap 2.

By lap 3 the race had begun and it’s now time to give my best effort. The field had thinned out considerably and my calculations had me 12th at the start of the third lap. At this moment I focus on giving my best effort. My pace was slightly erratic over this lap and slightly slower than the 3:45’s. Still felt relatively good up until 4km to go and then I had to dig deep. It’s always pleasing to be able to give your best in that moment, when you need to dig deep and are able to find something to stay at goal pace. I was able to do that and finish the race off fairly strong. Over these kilometres I was able to overtake three runners and finish in 79:30. Overall 8th place and 1st in my age group.

Overall happy with where this race puts me in relation to marathon training. 79:30 is my second half marathon under 80 minutes and a new personal best. My last time under 80 minutes was 2001 a few months before my first marathon.

I ran this race in my Gladsoles Trail sandals. They were great to run in again, really light and flexible and allow me to run free. My 5km and now half marathon PB is in Galdsoles so they certainly are as fast as any shoes I’ve worn. Still undecided whether I’ll wear them at Canberra marathon, I’m leaning towards shoes although I’ll explain in a future post why, when i make that decision.

Port Macquarie running festival continues to get better. Much bigger numbers then my race here two years ago and a great atmosphere on course and from the spectators. Always nice to race in your home town too. Look forward to next years event already.

 

Marathon Training – Week 9

The last week of marathon training went through without me running the amount of kilometres I’ve planned but managing to hit all my key sessions. Only managed 66km of running this week and mainly because I just didn’t feel great in many of the sessions.

The key session of the week were Tuesday’s hill efforts, Friday’s aerobic long run and Sunday’s interval session. I completed an aerobic run on both Monday and Thursday with both runs not feeling great and only completing between 7-8km during each. Tuesday hills went fine, although I still didn’t feel great throughout the run but managed to completed the desired efforts.

Long run on Friday was planned for 2 hours 40 min of aerobic running and I completed this although  felt poor throughout the run. From the first kilometre to the last I felt ordinary. Stomach issues made me need to stop for a bathroom break mid run which is something that rarely happens to me. Managed to get the job done but it was a struggle. Felt very tired and depleted after this run. I over slept on Saturday and missed my run before needing to go to work and therefore took an unscheduled rest day.

Sunday I finally felt good for the week and completed my interval session in very hot and humid conditions. Managed to hit all my efforts as planned and felt good through out the run. 12 x 2 min at faster then half marathon pace with a float/recovery of 1 min between efforts at between 4:30-5 min/km. Very happy to end a toughish week feeling and running better then it started.

Week 9 and now just six more weeks of training and tapering till marathon race day. Feeling like I’m on target but need to push hard the next 4-5 weeks to get ready to run fast on race day. This week I’m running a half marathon on Sunday and want to use this race to test my fitness and racing mind. Aiming to run consistent pace throughout and try and finish the last 5km hard. Will also continue to build mileage this week, no time or need to taper at all for this half marathon.

Monday – Aerobic (60 -90 min)

Tuesday – Hills (60 min)

Wednesday – Aerobic (60 min)

Thursday – Intervals (12 x 2 min)

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Aerobic medium long run( 90-120 min)

Sunday – Race – Half Marathon

Looking forward to another testing week, hoping to build my kilometres to around 80-90km. Saturday medium long run will be run depending on feel, if I feel like it feels harder than it should I’ll stop at 90 min or potentially less so I am ready to race Sunday.

The half marathon on Sunday I’ll be running in Galdsoles Trail 8mm sandals. These are my favourite Gladsoles model and at their best over races up to this distance. I’m still undecided whether I’ll run canberra Marathon in these or shoes yet. That decision is a few weeks away.

Later in the week I will have a review of a product I’ve been testing/using from Coolcore. They are an Australian based company that manufacture a range of products from a fabric which provides a cooling effect. I’ve been using the ‘multi chill’ for a couple of weeks now. I’ll post a review later in the week.

Reach out for any questions, queries or concerns

Run well

Will running a half marathon improve your marathon?

 

Running a half marathon during a marathon preparation is both a common and a logical stepping stone to the marathon. But will it help improve your running if running the marathon is your true goal?

Personally, I am running a half marathon in ten days which will feature in week 9 of my 14 week marathon preparation. Do I believe running the half marathon will help me run a better marathon?  No and yes.

The reason I don’t believe the half marathon helps improve the marathon is because the marathon doesn’t really start to well after half way. When you run through halfway in a marathon you’ll need to be feeling pretty fresh if you plan to run a solid second half. This won’t be the case when you race a half marathon, as the pace should be faster and you’ll give your best effort over the half marathon distance. You shouldn’t get to the end of the half marathon and feel like you can run it again.

Having said that, racing a half marathon gives an opportunity to have a better then race pace effort and test your fitness. If you can run a hard half marathon and finish in good shape then training must be going well and confidence can be gained from this race performance.

On the flip side, running a hard half marathon may result in you needing to take a day or two off training post race that could be used to continue to train for the marathon. You could be better advised to skip the half marathon and put in a longer then half marathon distance long run on the weekend of the race.

Running a half marathon isn’t easy though and has it’s own set of challenges. It is not half as much effort or half as hard to run a half marathon to a marathon. Naturally you will run at a faster pace when running a half marathon and being able to hold this pace consistently becomes difficult. Arguably just as difficult as holding your pace at the end of a marathon. This is where the benefit of racing can help you improve for your next race.

Ultimately when holding your pace becomes difficult during the end of a race of any distance the mind is what needs the training. Running a half marathon and fighting off the mental thoughts to give up can certainly help you run better at the marathon. When self doubt creeps in it’s important to shut that door quickly and give your best effort. Really it’s only racing where you get to test this out, you can’t get this from training.

Whilst running a half marathon won’t physically improve you on the way to a marathon, racing gives the strength and confidence that you’ll need during a marathon. Racing gives a valuable experience in staying in the moment and not giving up, this is an ingredient that has to be present during a marathon.

In ten days time I’ll race a half marathon and while I’m not expecting to gain any physical benefit that will help in the marathon the practise of racing will help when the mental battles start in the marathon. And this is the reason why a race during a marathon preparation is valuable.

Let me know if you have any questions or feedback.

Run well.