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Newsletter - Latest Edition

Dear Fetchies,

More often than not, these newsletters are inspired by my own training goals. Just over a month ago, Katie and I were lovingly coerced into entering the Great Eastern Run - the first opportunity for either of us to do some proper serious training for several years. We did a couple of sprint triathlons last year, but that was less about pushing the envelope, and more about not pulling a muscle.

My best time in a half marathon dates back to Wokingham 2008, en route to my second marathon - enough lifetimes ago for me to have no idea what to aim for this October. With three months to go, and no goal in mind, I thought it would be interesting to dunk my head into the water barrel of knowledge that is the Fetch database, and try to emerge with the golden apple of truth clenched firmly in my teeth - or at least without inhaling any of those tiny weird mentalist minibeasts that dart round any water barrel I've ever seen.

Back in the 18th June 2010 Newsletter I made a lovely graph showing a typical relationship between training mileage and race outcome. There's a reasonably sort of "oooh" link between race performances and training mileage - at least for us real-world folk. Here's the graph (don't worry, this isn't a clip show):

A typical 1hr40 half marathoner will run about 360 miles in the 16 weeks pre-race. That simple word 'typical' hides a lot of variability. There have been 420 performances in the bracket between 1:39:30 and 1:40:30 - and their mileage varies considerably. Ten percent of them run in excess of 534 miles, whilst at the other end of the scale, ten percent run less than 222 miles. Here's a graph:

As you can hopefully see, there's our typical runner in the middle, turning in 360 miles for his or her 1hr40. Using some paperclips, wool and a cat with an ASBO, I repeated this exercise for every time from 1hr20 down to 2hr20 - not because I think slower runners are useless, but because I've got at least 100 performances for each minute within this data range. The following graph shows the typical (median) mileage, but also the 25th (green line) and 75th percentiles (red line).

The question I've come to is this - if I'm prepared to invest 360 miles of training mileage, what should I do to make the most efficient use of that time, and get the best outcome? Run your finger left across the graph from the point where the yellow line crosses the 1hr40 line, and you'll see that 25% of runners can run a 1hr30 half marathon on a diet of just 350 miles. Over the next few newsletters I'd like to investigate some things we could all try doing to get the best race results from the least amount of training miles. I'll also be showing you how to get rock-hard abs in just three seconds, and a new recipe for toast that will make you literally invincible. But if you've got any serious suggestions, please send me feedback.

Site news - you may have noticed a new set of graphs on the Train page, showing your recent training in lots of interesting ways. You can configure this section to pick out the graphs you're interested in, and put them in any order you'd like. Look out for more graphs appearing in this section in the coming weeks, and further ways to poke this data around.

I'm also pleased to let you know that the Fetch Shop has its first ever sale - all shirts and vests are £20.12 until the end of July - that's a whopping £8.77 off the price of long sleeve stuff. Of course, just like any sale, we're trying to have a bit of a clear out, and we might not have many common sizes, but feel free to exploit it mercilessly if it suits you.

Happy Running,

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