Thursday, 5 January 2012


Posted by speedygeoff on Thursday, January 05, 2012 with 6 comments

Very short story of the four marathons I ran in 1978. My 1978 diary tells me there were no typical weeks; I played it by ear from week to week; raced frequently (some great times); did many very long training runs, which would not have been slow, up to 25 miles at the very longest; had some days off here and there; scheduled a run every day; ran 10-12 times a week; ran 3 times a day once a week; totalled 3160 miles for the year; and weighed in at 8 stone 5 for most of the year. My longest week in 1978 was 113 miles (in June), the shortest week was 18 miles (in September). I ran few track training sessions, few if any hill sessions. Just fast running over long distances, with heaps of road and cross country races. No track racing hardly at all; remember, this was the year I turned 30 but at the time Vets minimum age was 35, so there was no reason or temptation to bust a gut on the track, I could concentrate on long fast endurance runs with no pressure instead. Yes, my specific marathon training did include 10k time trials on grass tracks, Charnwood mainly, but these were much easier than running a track race; a few seconds slower makes a lot of difference. In the marathon I aimed to go through 10k in about 34:10 so my time trials were around 33.30 to 34.30.

My four marathon performances that year were

  • 2:30.24, 1st, in Canberra, pb by 4:38 
  • 2:29.03, Commonwealth Games Trial, on 2:22 pace but hit the wall with 3 miles to go after a 20 mile pb by 4:34 
  • 2:30.05 for a brilliant run in the national championships, 7th, in steam bath conditions, my best marathon but not my fastest
  • 2:26.58 1st again by a big margin in Canberra.
I carbo-depleted and carbo-loaded for these marathons and the loading made all the difference, especially at the Nationals in Caboolture. It is not something that worked every time, because later on my body didn't get tricked any more, I assume it had adapted and wouldn't respond.

Marathon racing is hard. Marathon training is great and my advice now is: enjoy all the training and reap the benefits in shorter races!

No coffee so far in 2012. This wasn't a "resolution" but I feel better without it. Coffee is something else which helped my marathons in 1978 but which the body has adapted to and doesn't work any more. In fact over the years coffee has started to interfere with my breathing. A stuffy nose is not ideal if you want to run fast. Tea is good though.

Australian Half Marathons Jan-April 2012
Sun      8 Jan    Cadbury, Tasmania.
Thu      26 Jan  Convicts & Wenches, Brisbane
Sat      28 Jan  Capital Summer, Canberra
Sat       4 Feb   Busselton Jets, WA
Sat       11 Feb Caboolture, QLD
Sun      18 Mar  Weston Creek, Canberra
Sun      18 Mar  Intraining Twilight, Brisbane
Sun      25 Mar  Orroroo, SA
Sun      15 Apr  Australian Running Festival, Canberra

official end of holidays...


  1. Hi Geoff, I am enjoying reading about all your pbs and great runs immensely.

  2. The Capital Summer HM is on a Saturday...

  3. A typo. I knew it was a Saturday but my typing fingers didn't.

  4. I also read though my old training dairies and look at how hard I ran in my 20's and 30's. I wish I could get my speed back, but my body doesn't like running fast anymore...

    I was slower than you in the 100m to 5000m, but then over 1000m and the half there is just 1sec in it. (to you!!!) as for the marathon, well I didn't run a good one on a flat route. I fought the wind in cape Town to run 2h32 and the forest of Knysna to run 2h33.

    Give me 8 years then I will try and be a better M50 then you!!!
    I need targets to aim at and my friends have turned into joggers!!! so I will race you from over the waters, keep writing...

  5. Thanks Geoff! Your 10k time trials on the grass at Charnwood were around HM pace. I wonder if I could run 10k on the Calwell track at HM pace? Maybe not!