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A marathon in under 3 hours

Pushing myself and park runs

martski | 2014-08-17 20:50:49 | Nincs hozzászólás!

The half ironman earlier this year set me up to be fitter than I have ever been in my life. Now I have the challenge of pushing on and making it count in the running. It seems to be working as I am improving.

I recently drove back to England with my family - not a fun experience - I advise against driving in Germany - there are occasionally nice motorways where you can go at 160km/hour, but there are too many traffic jams and roadworks. Anyway, while in England I was lucky enough to take part in 2 park runs. These are awesome 5km events, free, and many many different people doing it all over the country.


I have seen the other lifestyle in Britain with lots of people - including me - getting very drunk on Friday nights. Now I go back to Britain home and don't drink on friday nights so that I can run as fast as I can on a Saturday morning. I even take some friends with me. It's a much healthier society - good for the kids to see.

These park runs are 5km, and I did my first one in this visit in Ashford, Kent, in Victoria park. They asked if there were any tourists - I put my hand up and said I was from Hungary - well originally from AShford! They were surprised!
The Ashford park run is a good run in that it is on asphalt 95% of the way. However there is a nasty little hill toward the end of the lap. There are 2 laps. I really wanted to break 20 minutes - it has been an aim of mine for a few years now, however I was running alone and didn't quite manage - 20:04 - very close.

Not to worry, the Cambridge park run came a week later, and I have done well there before. It is almost all on terrain, but flat. If it doesn't rain and get muddy, it is fast.

I was pretty shocked to see there were hundreds of people there - I checked after - 355 people! You get all sorts, from the serious runners to very casual runners, it is great! It made me feel a little nervous! Exactly what I needed to create a little extra adrenalin.

I started off very close to the start, and after 1km checked my watch - 3:40 - 3:40! huh? I didn't really think about it, but that is awesome, I match that speed only in my best intervals. I remembered that I was running that first km and a guy was spitting - he then complained that swallowing flies is not the best way to run (he had swallowed a fly), I told him it was a good source of protein! Of course a fly decided to visit my mouth then - fortunately it didn't visit my stomach :)

3:40 though, that was good, that was very good, for me that was awesome. I didn't think too much about it, but I kind of knew I couldn't keep up with those guys - they finished in around 18:15 - almost 2 minutes faster than I had ever done! I just kept going, I count to 4 with my steps, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 over and over, and if I can I stretch my stride length. Easier said than done though - particularly when it is terrain.
Next lap was 3:50, still very good for me - I just wanted an average of under 4, so I was well happy, but when running and things go well you are numbed by pain and feelings. I just kept going, hoping I hadn't screwed up with too fast a start.
The next laps were slower, people were catching me and overtaking me, but I was holding on - trying hard to not let them get past me too quick, and mostly managing. The 3rd and 4th kms were probably 4min/km pace, then in the last lap I refused to let anyone else get past me and a sprint finish meant 19:26 for 5km. Holy cow! I beat my 5km record by 38 seconds!!! Another massive jump.

Running with many people around the same pace makes a big big difference. I realized 2 weeks later that I ran a sub 6 minute mile - in fact around a 5:50 mile! Before I have been close to breaking that barrier, but this smashed it - something I haven't been able to do in training.

I have continued on with my plan http://www.runnersworld.ltd.uk/acatalog/sub_3_hour_schedule.html
It is hard going, but I am in better shape than last year. 10km seems to be a particularly hard one for me. Last year I did it in 43:14. This year I have just done the first 10km in 42:12 - a minute faster. The plan said it should have been in 40 mins, but still its an improvement. The plan has another one for me to do shortly in under 39 mins :) I don't think so.
My intervals are also a bit faster than last year - not huge amounts, but the average 400m is 1-2 secs faster. My miles are about 5 secs faster. 

Last year I ran the Budapest half in 1:28:14 and then ran in the next weekend another half marathon (practise) in under 1:30 injuring myself.

I think I am in better condition now. I believe I am also in better condition than when I ran Debrecen in March in 1:27:12. However that Budapest half marathon can be hot. When it is hot, you can't run it fast!

AS the title of this blog says, I want to run a marathon in under 3 hours. My main race this year is the Budapest marathon, can I do it then? I don't think so, though I know I am getting closer. For the first time in my life I see I have a chance, and that is exciting, a little scary even!
My last marathon was Vienna - 3:09:51 -that was a little hilly. Budapest is almost perfect to run - nice and flat and fast, I know I will do better, I expect under 3:05. Do I have a chance of under 3 hours - I hope yes, realistically I reckon my chances are only 5-10%.
The first real indication will comme with the Budapest half marathon. I plugged in some numbers to the race predictor which said that those who can run a marathon in 3 hours, can run a half marathon in 1:26. that is 4:05 pace, I reckon that might be possible, though that would beat my pb by 75 secs - rather a lot.

A better and stronger base with 3 new experiences

martski | 2014-08-02 21:23:10 | Nincs hozzászólás!

After the Vienna marathon in April, I didn't know what I was going to do over the summer before I started my 14 week plan for the Budapest marathon.

Then a colleague of mine asked if I would like to do the Ultrabalaton in a team. I said yes. We had planned to run it with 5 guys, it ended up with 4. We ran the 212km in under 17 hours - an average pace of 4:45, we each ran around 53km - a bit more than we wanted, my pace was 4:40, tiring, but something different. That was the first new experience, and one I definitely wish to do again. The team did way better than expected.

The second experience was a triathlon. Well, I set myself up for a big challenge here. I had to get up to speed with the swimming - I am ok for that, I just needed to keep practising and improving my technique.
Then my big weakness is the cycling - I had to start cycling into work regularly and also try and get the longer distances going. I had some troubles here as the cycling made my back significantly worse. I already have back issues and am seeing a gyogytornaszno.
The other challenge was I needed a proper bike! My old one was horrible, and heavy, I was really tired after 60km, no idea if I could manage 91km.
I ordered the bike, but it was delayed for 2-3 weeks with issues at the factory. Then I was travelling for work. The bike arrived the day before Balatonman (fured) happened, I landed at ferihegy, didn't go home, rather picked up the clothes that I had left in the office, picked up the bike and met up with my friend Pierre to drive down to Balatonfured and get ready.
It was my first triathlon, interesting - I had never done an open water swim, never ridden my bike and a half ironman is a pretty big one to start with :)
In the swim I almost panicked - I didn't have a watch on, so was very worried I was slow and wouldn't make the cut off. I  swam all over the place - apologies to those I bumped into with my zig-zagging! In the end, it was the fastest pace I have ever swam :)
The bike was also interesting - it was the first time I had ridden it! It was awesome! I took it a bit easy as I wasn't sure how tired I would be for the run.
Eventually, I started the run - I caught up with Pierre who was a lap ahead of me. I left him and ran a fairly fast half marathon at 1h41 considering I had cycled a lot. I came in at 6 hours 25 - pretty good for a first half ironman with far from perfect preparation.

I had wanted to then try the Balaton atuszas as my 3rd event. That didn't happen as it was delayed and then clashed. Still I swam 4.2km in practise, so I count that here. My technique is improving, though I have a long long way to go. Swimming is rather boring! Maybe I should try some sprints and other things.

The good thing about the triathlon and this cross training is getting very very fit while doing other sports. I consumed over 32,000 calories in April when preparing. With running as the main sport, my max is 22,000.
It has got me into some very good shape. I haven't lost that much weight, but I believe I am stronger and seeing the results in my running now - together with the exercises the gyogytornaszno is giving me for my back, which is strengthening my core a lot.

It's looking good, hopefully I can get significantly closer to 3 hours in the Budapest marathon, I should.... I give myself 20% chance of breaking 3 hours this time.

I am thinking of the Zurich marathon for the first half of next year if I don't succeed in the Budapest marathon - I know the city and that is a very flat course - more chance than Vienna.

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