Monday, January 21, 2008

A near PB at Chiba Marine Half Marathon

So anyway, as I was saying, after returning to Japan the first two days of training involved a short, slow and fairly painful run on Tuesday (later in the day after we arrived home) followed by an easy 18 km on Wednesday evening catching up with my mate Colin. These must have been a good couple of recovery runs because on the Thursday night I headed out with no particular plans but ended up warming into a fairly solid 16 km, a large proportion of which was at sub 4:10 and for a while verging on 4:00 flat pace. I then took Friday off and, with Chiba Marine half Marathon scheduled for Sunday, just had two very easy 4-km runs on Saturday to and from my brewing partner's place to bottle a tripel we had brewed before my trip.

So Chiba Marine. It is a mostly flat, mostly straight course and the conditions were ideal: cool and calm. But after a period of not particularly encouraging training, I had just about given up on my goal of snagging a PB in this race and was preparing to relax a bit and just run it as a solid workout for Tokyo. But with a couple of easy days before the race and lacing up the flats, I went out at a good pace and realized after a few km that if I wanted to suffer a bit later in the race that a PB might be on. I decided to hold what I was doing (about 3:55 to 4:00 per km) until 16 km and then see how hard I could race the last 5 km. A really good last 5km would give me a PB. While I worked very hard over the last 1 or 2 km, I did not pick up much more pace -- the climb up and over bridge between 18 and 19 km did not help my cause, but I suppose you pick up on the down what you lose on the up.

My gun time of 1:23:16 was only ten seconds slower than my Kanagawa PB gun time from two years ago. Close, but no banana. But when I looked at my splits last night, I discovered that it took me 41 seconds to get from the 21 km mark to the finish timing mat, a pace of 6:50 min/km, yet I was just about sprinting. Huh? A time of 20 seconds, 3:25/km, would have been more likely. If the course really was long by 100 m, I was denied a gun time PB. Bugger! Still, I am extremely happy to have run so evenly at that pace and been strong enough to finish hard. The fact I wasn't faster from 15 to 20 km, despite pushing hard, suggests I got the pacing about right and did not go too slow in the early part of the race. Splits were:
0-5k 0:19:37 0:03:55
5-10k 0:19:50 0:03:58
10-15k 0:19:42 0:03:56
15-20k 0:19:46 0:03:57
20-21k 0:03:40 0:03:40
last 100 m 0:00:41 0:06:50 ????

Hmmm...creates a bit of a dilemma for how to approach Kanagawa Half in two weeks. A marathon-pace supported training run or an aggressive tilt at a new PB?


Scott said...

A "drinker" with no obvious natural talent! How the hell do you run that fast? ;)

No, really Steve I'm in awe! If I can even get within a mile of your times I will consider myself a legend and are retire to Canberra with Ewen and Speedygeoff.

Pete said...

Never mind all those splits and running details--how was the tripel?

Seriously, is an M/2 PB more important than a marathon PB? The marathon PB may not be attainable but certainly will be more difficult if you race all out at Kanagawa.

Pete said...

Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention: congratulations on a great race result!

Clairie said...

Go for the half!!! it'll motivate you for the big one and reinforce that all your training is doing SOMETHING!!!

Ewen said...

Go for the half PB Steve. This race has set you up for it. PBs are hard to get, so run aggressively! You've got to be a chance of 82 minutes.

It's unlike the Japanese to have a long course. More likely they had the 21k mark in the wrong place; or they had all the extra 'certification' distance in the last 100 metres.

Joachim said...


good race, congratulations. You did not loose any shape in Aussi, in contrast to me ;-)
I got a spot in Kanagawa HM and I am damn happy to see you there.

Keep on running,

Tesso said...

I'd be pretty tempted to go for it in the half ....

Dan said...

Congrats on the run. I say you should go for the 1/2 PB. It sounds like you could hit 82 minutes without killing yourself, or throwing off your marathon goals. And I figure that if you are rounding into shape for a marathon PB then you will naturally set some PBs at shorter distances as well. I set a 5km PB while I was training for NY, where I ran a nice marathon time.

Pete said...

I will continue to express a minority opinion here, which probably means I'm wrong.

Your goal race is the Tokyo Marathon. You have a shot at a marathon PB in your home town, and goal, race. You've publically announced that you're going under 3 hours (well, you expressed it as a goal at least).

Kanagawa M/2 is 2 weeks before Tokyo. Your M/2 PB is NOT soft--you'll really have to go after it to PB it. That means a moderate taper before the race, and appropriate (and required) recovery afterwards, and working really, really effing hard during the race. None of those things (M/2 taper. busting it, M/2 recovery) is ideal 2 weeks in advance of your target marathon.

On the other hand, your original plan--a marathon pace run--is ideal and would enhance your opportunity for a great Tokyo Marathon.

I think you should stay the course and continue to target Tokyo.


Joachim said...

we discussed this issue yesterday evening in Yoyogi Park. Finally, I think, Pete is correct in saying that if you go all out in Kanagawa HM you will not be in optimal shape for Tokyo M. 2 weeks recovery is too short. Well, I ran my M PB after running 2 HM only some weeks before the M, but who knows how fast I would have run the M if I would not have done those two HM all out?
To go for a HM PB next Sunday is tempting and I am tempted as well. But if you want to run a strong Tokyo M you better run Kanagawa not all out.