Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Analyse This

How time flies. It’s already 8 days since Dublin, and I still haven’t got round to do an analysis of my race. Truth to be told, there isn’t much to say that I haven’t mentioned in the race report already, but let’s look at some figures more closely, shall we?

I got my times from the official results. They have split times for 10k, and the halfway mark; both of these are gun time, but if I subtract 88 seconds of each, I get my chip splits (if such a term exists). There was a timing mat at 20 miles as well, but unfortunately that time is not included in the results page. That’s a shame, because I would have been interested to calculate my pace over the last 6 miles.

The half splits are the easiest to calculate, I ran the first half in 1:46:08, and the second half in 1:42:34, giving me a negative split of about 3-and-a-half minutes, and paces of 8:06 and 7:49 respectively. I’m definitely happy with my second half of the race, going any faster simply wasn’t possible. I was right at the edge of my abilities. The chip time for the first 10k was 51:55, which gives me an average pace of 8:21. I knew that already, and it was at that point that I decided to speed up. If I calculated correctly, the pace for the next segment from 10k to 13.1 miles was 7:51, which is basically exactly the pace I had planned to go in (so much for needing a better watch, guys. Ha!). As I’ve said, I haven’t got any official time splits for smaller segments of the second half, but I remember passing the 22-mile marker at 2:55. Of course this could be anything from 2:55:00 to 2:55:59. For ease of calculation let’s assume it was 2:55:42, which would mean that I ran the last 4.2 miles in exactly 33 minutes, or 7:51 pace. From all that I can conclude that I ran the first quarter of the race at 8:21 and the rest of it quite consistently at around 7:50. Would my time have been better with a faster start? Probably, but you can never tell. Who knows, I might have run out of steam before the end. But I have learned from the race, and maybe next time I can do it without all the doubts and negativity during the first part.

Oh, and my average heart rate was 164, which equates to nearly 85% of my max (which I THINK is 193). Blimey!

I can’t quite remember where I read about it, possibly in Mike’s blog, but I definitely remember reading an article about hitting the wall. In contrast to most people’s understanding, you are not out of glycogen when you hit the wall. Instead the brain just tells you that you’re out, despite the fact that you’ve still got some reserves left. The brain doesn’t know that you might be only 2 miles from the finish line; it prematurely sends out an empty signal when the levels start running low. That means that it is still possible to keep your pace going for a while, even if you feel you can’t. I think that’s what happened to me at mile 22.5, I felt pretty bad but I still managed to keep up the pace for another 3.5 miles. That’s the part I’m most satisfied with, and it probably saved my sub-3:30 time.

I think that’s about it. I’m still not running, my blood blister still looks the same and the pain in the quads might be getting better, but I don’t want to jinx it. I was tempted to resume soccer this week, but the head won out over the heart and I’ll wait some more. I found out that there’s a 5k in Dublin on the “Sound of Music” weekend in December, so I guess that means Niamh won and I’ll criss-cross the country once more about 4 weeks from now. I won’t be able to train much for it, and some people might frown upon the idea of running a 5k just weeks into base training, but I want to take the opportunity for a race when I get one. I wished someone would organise a few races in Kerry for a change (and no, don’t start looking at me now).


  1. Nice analysis and a nice negative split on the half as well.
    Let the doubts go - you ran a hell of a race!

  2. Thinking about how changing one variable of your race would have affected the outcome is indeed frustrating. Like all those books about going back in time. You change one thing or step on one bug and thousands of years later we all have wings and tails.

    Giving away 30 seconds a mile in the first quarter (when compared to your pace for the rest) might have been a bit much, but it also could have meant a completely different story at mile 23. I think I did post that article, and now I can't find the damn thing.

  3. Thomas,
    I have a severe lack of interest in organizing a race, so I completely understand. I'd much rather pay money and have it all done for me to run. You'll be fine on the 5k, just go.

  4. Again, we're all really proud of you Thomas. You ran a great race...congratulations once more.

    I'm also glad to hear that you plan to run that 5K in Dublin! I suspect with all of the training you've put in you'll ace this one and set a new PR.

    Meantime, nurse that blister and rest up.

  5. Ahh the Jingle Bells! Phil & I will be doing that this year. We're doing that since I am missing out on the 5k Santa Dash in Liverpool that same day.
    We hope to see you in the spirit of christmas wearing a Santa hat.
    Also I really think Jingle Bells is an excuse & you want to see The Sound of Music really!