C&C Official Site
Mailing List
Monday Sessions
Tuesday Sessions
Thursday Sessions
Weekend & Long Runs
Training/Race Routes
Diary [more]
Sunday 24th
• Colchester Half Marathon
• Oakley 20
• Thorney 10K
• Wymondham 20
Monday 25th
• Monday Groups (Wilberforce Road)
Tuesday 26th
• Endurance Training (Wilberforce Road)
Thursday 28th
• Endurance Training (Wilberforce Road)
News Index
Fixtures Index
Results Index
Photo Galleries
C&C Mugshots
C&C Forum
Latest: Fri 23/09/16 15:26
Race Reports
C&C Road Rankings
Search Performances
Public Documents
Club Documents
Club Newsletters
Officials Pics
Race Results Archive
Full results including Cambridge Cambourne 10K to 2013
Performance Calculator
About runcambridge.org.uk
Race Reports [Reports Index]

The Autumn Shakespeare Marathon
Saturday 14th November 2015
Christof Schwiening

Many, many months ago I offered to pace Julian at The Raceway - I knew he wanted to get VMLM Good For Age, which meant a sub-3:20. Julian began a serious block of marathon training. One week before the Raceway his average weekly distance over the previous 8 weeks (including one week of taper) was 96 km at an average pace of 5:16 mins per km giving him a Tanda prediction of 3 hours 13 mins for the marathon. Julian had done everything I considered important in optimizing the likelihood of being able to run a good flat-paced marathon. He had trained warm, depleted and slow. I spent a bit of time looking at his previous heart rate data and we developed a sensible pacing plan based on speed limits and heart rate limits. The Raceway, whilst very flat has 32 dead turns and the wind was set to be strong: 3:13 was not going to be possible. Since this was the only real possibility of Julian collecting a decent time before Christmas we optimized for a sub-3:20 time - the A plan. I knew the wind was due to increase in speed throughout the run and so planned for a milder negative split than I would have otherwise, the final 10km were going to get tough.

We drove down to Long Marston airfield with my brother-in-law who was also going to attempt a near 3:20 having just got a 3:35 at Frankfurt and ended-up on a stretcher at the end. This time I gave him a heart rate plan too - I didn't want another incident like that. We knew from his heart rate data that even if conditions were equally as good as in Frankfurt 3:20 was unlikely to be possible. The only optimization he could easily make at that point was getting some light race shoes, which he did.

The airfield was bleak as usual and the surface still strewn with stones and potholes. We set-off together at a sensible pace - 5 min per km for the first km was the plan. As we ran we exchanged heart rates and I was soon able to lock into the offset between Julian and my rate. Every 400m or so we shifted direction relative to the wind and a new pace was required to keep the heart rate flat. As Julian correctly described it afterwards, ceilings of pace and heart rate were gradually peeled away throughout the race with constant minor adjustments as Julian's heart rate rose or fell just a couple of beats too much. We went through what we judged to be halfway (there was no marking) in about 1:40 - so exactly on a 3:20 flat pace plan. But, by then we were already running nicely faster than required to finish in 3:20. I knew Julian had plenty of headroom for increasing his heart rate and we continued to 'ever-so-gently' increase the speed. The only two runners to overtake us were the winners of the marathon and half marathon who both lapped-us. I lost focus very briefly as the marathon leader came past (at a ridiculously slow pace having clearly begun a bonk). I just started to pull away from Julian to see what pace he was doing before I came to my senses and dropped back....I had a job to do.

Julian was clearly feeling some leg pain but stoically continued. I thought at one point that I might have to pull out as my quads became very stiff and painful. But, we both continued unwilling to fully admit just how uncomfortable it was getting. Then the rain started and the wind got stronger. By the last full lap we were running very close to the pace required for a 3:10 marathon. Julian had pulled off a 2 min negative split by the time he began the charge for the line - at a very similar pace to his finish at the Kevin Henry 5km. I was taken by surprise - I thought I had already pushed him as hard as he could go. He finished in 3:17:55 with just over a 21 min PB since April. His 5 km splits were: 24:10, 23:36, 23:36, 23:33, 23:37, 23:29, 23:24, 23:02. Not too bad at all for a course with so many dead turns and in windy worsening weather.

I was a very nice example of a no food, no water just running marathon. Now, Julian, we just need to ditch that MP3 player.....

All content © runcambridge.org.uk and individual contributors 2006-2019 unless stated, and must not be reproduced.
Views on this site are those of the individual contributors only.
No responsibility is taken for the accuracy of any information provided.
For official C&C information, visit the Cambridge and Coleridge Athletic Club official site.