At the beginning of the year I had just a few objectives in relation to running:
- Reach 2,000km run along the year.
- Reach personal best times in 10k, half marathon and marathon.
- Run 2 marathons.
Now, just one week after mid-year it’s a good moment to take a look at how these months have gone regarding the running part:
I have already run 2 marathons (Rome and San Diego) though in none of them I was under 3 hours 45 minutes. In Rome I was close to it (a minute slower) but didn’t reach it. I will even run a 3rd marathon this year in Athens next November (health permitting).
So far, even if I have run more races in 6 months than ever (10 races), I only attempted one half-marathon, in La Latina district (Madrid) which is not the best circuit to attempt a PB; I didn’t achieve it. I clocked 1:44:49 vs. the 1:42:30 I did in Toulouse in 2011.
I have run 3 races of 10 kilometres. In the first one of the year I was short of only 6 seconds to beat my PB (46:14) clocking 46:20. One of the other two was a cross and the third one was the Corrida Pedestre de Toulouse, where the distance is not even 10k but 9.64km and despite of that I was not in the rhythm to do any PB.
In relation to the mileage: in the first 6 months I ran 920 km, a bit less than 1,000km, but not a difference that I can’t make up for in the second half of the year.
Some stats to close the post:
- 920 km run from January 1st to June 30th.
- 206 km run in races in this time (22.4% of the distance).
- 86 hours and 58 minutes running in this 6 months.
- 19 hours and 46 minutes running in races in this time (22.7% of the time –> long trails).
- Over 80,000 Calories burnt.
Two weeks ago I published a post where I showed a graphic of the different world records in athletics with the speeds and paces.
I received a comment from Uwe, a reader of the blog, suggesting to plot it using a logarithmic scale. At first, I wanted to show how the long distance runners could almost keep a speed (between 20.5 and 23.8 km/h) for distances from 5 kilometres to 42, a marathon. However, Uwe convinced me to make the plot and here it is:
Athletics World Records vs. my times (speed) – logarithmic scale for the distances.
In this view, what it is interesting is to appreciate the different slops of the lines connecting the different records. There you can see how:
- 100m and 200m races are fully anaerobic where Usain Bolt is capable of maintaining an average speed of above 37.5 km/h. You can see in the explanation in the Wikipedia how these two races (both lasting below ~30 seconds) use as energy source high energy phosphates.
- races from 400m to 1 km are still a high intensity activity, with some anaerobic component, though another energy source enters into play: anaerobic glycolisis. And as we have heard often in descriptions about 400m races, the consequence of rapid glucose breakdown is the formation of lactic acid.
- from then (1.5 or 2km) on (up to 42km) professional runners are able to keep a high speed out of aerobic metabolism (using adenosine triphosphate, ATP). Of course, speed decreases with distance, but from the 26.2 km/h of a 1,500m to the 20.5 km/h of a marathon the speed decrease is of -22% for a race 28 times longer!
- for ultramarathons (over 42k) speed starts decreasing at a higher pace, though Wikipedia only offered the 100k time. Probably more data can be found in the web to try to find with more accuracy up to which distance the long distance stable pace could be maintained.
Uwe, you were certainly right. This view offers another very interesting perspective to the game :-).
I have many times commented with friends and acquaintances how impressive professional athletes are, what does it mean running a marathon in barely over 2 hours…
Many amateurs (not to mention sedentary people) would not keep up pace much longer than 100 metres. Each time I have made this comment to someone I had to verbally make some numbers for my interlocutor. I am sure these verbal calculations were not always well understood and digested. Following the adage “an image is worth more than a thousand words”:
Athletics World Records vs. my times
Red lines show speed (in km/h; decreasing as race distances get longer). Blue lines show pace (in mm:ss / km; increasing as race distances get longer). I have included a table so you can compare the numbers.
I took athletics world records from the Wikipedia. You can find my times in the page “Races” of this blog. I only added a tag to the records that most of you will recognise, as they were achieved by well-known super stars.
There are many catches in the graphic. Two impress me the most:
- I could have kept up the pace of Patrick Makau in his marathon world-record-beating performance for 100 metres… but not for 400m! (see black dotted lines).
- How once we enter into aerobic exercise, we’re able to almost keep up speed despite distance increases. The difference in speeds between Bekele’s 5k (23.77 km/h) and Makau’s marathon (20.48 km/h) is only 3.25 km/h!
NOTE: I am not a particularly fast runner, thus don’t take the times and paces and interpret them as if no amateur runner could keep up pace for more than 100m… some will keep it up somewhat longer. I just wanted to share the idea.