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Member of the Month - Race Jase

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Jock Itch asks: Fantastic mate and much deserved. One of the fastest ever Fetchies in history with your recent 2.21 at Berlin being testament to years of hardwork. A vauge question I know, but what is the one favourite session you do that you feel enhances your training the most.

Race Jase says: Thanks Jock, my favourite session is the 20 pints after a target marathon and then feeling guilty for about 3 weeks at the debauchery. ;-)

On a serious note though, it's hard to point at one as I genuinely see it all as a big jigsaw and every run (short or long, fast or slow) goes towards enhancing the end result. Without all (or at least most of) those bits you'll end up with something a little disjointed and not quite complete.

As for the session that tells me I'm in good shape, it's a classic Steve Way session of 30 mins MP (4X5mins hard), 30 mins MP. If I can hit the MP sections at roughly my target MP then I know I should fly on the day! Of course, I wouldn't even get close to being able to complete that session without building up to it gradually of the prior weeks.
Huntsman asks: Ah! So pleased you've won member of the month. Do you think the cumulative mileage over the years has been the main reason for your quicker marathon times or something else?

Race Jase says: Thanks mate, very much appreciated. I think the cumulative mileage has helped of course, but don't think it's the only factor. I believe that there will in effect be a normal distribution of lets call it 'natural talent' and when it comes to the marathon I am probably on the right hand side of the bell curve. Whereabouts exactly I'm not sure? But that is the start point, thereafter it comes down to hard work to see how close you can get to that natural potential. I truly believe for the marathon that most people underestimate the amount of pure endurance and lactate threshold training that is required to run ones most optimal marathon. Naturally it's always a balance with work, life, how your body copes and how much it all actually matters but for the marathon I do think it's pretty simple, the more you can run without getting injured the better a race you will have!
Nelly asks: Congratulations, I'm so glad you've eventually been recognised for an unbelievable time in Berlin. With only 15sec/mile between your 10k PB pace and marathon PB pace, do you think you need to improve your shorter paces to be able to make the next jump to sub2:20? And if so, how do you plan about going about it?

Race Jase says: Hi Nelly. Thank you. You're absolutely spot on YES! My conversion to shorter distances is quite frankly woeful. Of course, you could look at it the other way and say how I have over-performed at the marathon. ;-) But the reality is I have most definitely under-performed at the shorter distances. My genetics probably do favour the marathon over shorter distances regardless but the training aspect is probably just as important. Ever since I started running more frequently in 2009 I have been targeting the marathon and so my training has rarely focused on developing my VO2max to the extent that is required over 5k and 10k. Through my marathon training I have managed to push my Lactate threshold probably very close to my actual VO2max so as soon as I go past my LT I am quickly operating at very close to VO2max which means there is such a narrow window between my current race paces.

How do I improve? Well I have just formally got a coach, Mike Baxter former GB international (28:16 10k!) who is working with me to try and improve my basic speed and VO2 max. I have put the marathon to bed until at least next Autumn as I need to focus on the shorter distances and push that VO2max up. If I can do that I am confident that I can make another big leap in the marathon.

As a side note, I am pretty sure I would have been very close to Sub 2:20 at Berlin, certainly within the 2:20:xx's had I not had a terrible stitch for the last 12k! I had never felt as good as I did up until 30k in that race. In a way, although I didn't get exactly what I was after, I now know I can go under 2:20 whereas just before the race I was never quite sure!
Peacey asks: Legend. About time you won this, massively overdue.
On question i would ask, what is the single biggest thing that can impact your running for faster times? More miles, more speedwork etc? Well done mate.


Race Jase says: Hi Peacey, thanks mate. :-) The answer to your question is 'it depends'. Next.... No, without being facetious when it comes to long distance running one needs to be working on all of the following; pure endurance, lactate threshold, VO2max, basic speed and recovery. The blend of the work will depend on what actual distance you are training for. If it's the marathon, pure endurance and lactate threshold are most important. If it's the 5k I'd say the VO2 max is most important followed by the LT. And if it's the 10k it's probably 50/50 between those two. From a mileage point of view, I think one should do as much as they can or are prepared to without negatively impairing the key workouts of the week. So if you are training for the 5k then make sure you are fresh enough to have a great VO2Max session. If you're legs aren't fresh enough because of mileage then you wont get the benefit from the session and you wont improve this part of your physiology which is the most important for your event.

It is important therefore to understand your own body as well as the physiology of the event you are training for to decide which are the most appropriate elements to focus most on.
James74 asks: Happy Christmas ! Nice one Jase.........

Race Jase says: Thanks James and thank you for your continual nominations. :-)

Merry Chrimble to you and yours.
_andy asks: Congrats Jase - great to see someone with your sorts of times get a deserved nomination. My question goes back to 2008-2009-2010 where you took your marathon times to sub-3h and then sub 2:40... that's an amazing rate of progress! What made the real difference over that time for you to improve your PB so much - which means how was the balance between losing weight and extra miles and training regimes?

Race Jase says: Thanks andy. :-) If I look back, 2008 was about running to try and shed some pounds. I lost about 40lbs that year and then ran my first marathon in Spring 2009. I ran 3:13 as my first, but that doesn't really tell the whole story. I hit the wall big time and ran/jogged/walked from 17 miles! I had somewhat ambitiously decided I would try to go for sub 3 and having been affected by ITB for the two/three weeks prior to the race meant quite a bit of lost fitness. I got sub three at Nottingham that year with not really doing much different to my first build up. It was just more miles in the legs over that time that got me through. 2010 I took things quite a bit more seriously and was expecting a big chunk to come off in the Spring. I ran at Bungay Black dog with a stinking cold and struggled although still managed a PB to 2:55 - I was really thinking I was closer to 2:45 sort of shape. Then to Abingdon which was a major breaktrhough down to 2:39. By this time I was down to 149lbs so had lost over 50lbs in total.

I do think weight is a major factor in one's ability to be successful at long distance racing and indeed I take even more notice of my weight and diet now I'm looking for any marginal gains I can get! My race weight is just under 10st now so about 139 lbs. I suspect I could still run at a few lbs lighter without it being detrimental to my overall condition. Of course in the early days the weight came off very easily just with more exercise. Now it is a bit more challenging. So in answer to your question, the training 'fed' the weightloss but also just the consistency of running more frequently and increasingly being able to cope with more mileage and smarter training helped me improve substantially. That's why most people tend to have such a huge improvement curve to begin with. I was coming from a background of being very unfit, overweight and unhealthy to all of a sudden doing quite a bit of exercise. I suspect others that are already very fit and healthy who decide to shift to running would likely see much less of an improvement curve.
baz p asks: Congrats you speedy so n so. With lots of small people in your life, how do you fit your training in around the "dad where are you going" questions from them (as I know I get them :) ).

whats the plan for sub 2:20?


Race Jase says: Cheers Baz fella. To be honest i try to keep my training as invisible as I can to my whole family. I try to run before they awake in the morning and go for my second run when my wife is picking up our eldest from nursery (I work form home mostly) at lunchtime so at least then I am out when they get back. I have also been known to do a training run in random cities across the UK if I'm out on business. It isn't always possible though of course so sometimes I do get those sorts of questions which depending on the mood of the little ones can be a challenge to deal with. I have been know to sack off a run as I cant cope with the guilt but similarly I know that they'll have forgotten all about me within a minute of me leaving the house. Race wise, I don't think I race too much so it doesn't stop us from doing tonnes of family stuff every weekend. Plus, they do enjoy going to the races I do as it's fun, unless the weather is hideous in which case we all tend to be pretty grumpy! Also, another reason why I love running, is that it is so accessible. You can get to a decent level without too much time commitment. If I wanted to be a decent cyclist for example, my training hours would probably have to increase by 100%! And that I wouldn't be prepared to do, as it would mean sacrificing too much family time. Re the sub 2:20, I believe I have it in my locker, in fact I think I can go quite a bit quicker than that but I'm not currently planning on a marathon until Spring 2017. I need to get quicker over the shorter distances first. That should then hopefully translate to a quicker marathon in the future.
RunningBob asks: Well deserved Jase! I remember running to half way with you at VLM 2012(?) and thinking that you were faster than me even with a cold. It's not often that you see someone take such big steps up as you have done. What is the key session that you'd add to us sub 245s training plans to really make a difference?

Race Jase says: Thanks RB. Yes, you're right it was 2012 not sure you kept up till half way though. ;-) As you have asked the same question as Jock, please see above! If I really had to pick one though, it's got to be an over distance (or at the least over target time) run. Really gives you confidence that 26.2 is easily achievable. Of course,I probably wouldn't be able to do an over distance if it wasn't for all the other training so you cant do one without the other!
Psimon asks: Very well done Jase, highly deserved. In recent times you have been running high mileage. What strategies do you undertake to keep injuries at bay?

Race Jase says: OOO, good question. The reality is I don't. I think after a few years running one has to deal with ongoing niggles pretty much all the time. I have pretty chronic lower back, pelvis, glute and hamstring issues which are very annoying and I am trying to get fixed permanently but nothing seems to work. Running strangely doesn't seem to make the issues any worse. Or at least rest doesn't seem to make it any better! I can still run and train with the issues, but I long for the day where I have a completely pain free run. As for looking forward, I am trying to do more core work and general strength and conditioning as well as seeing a chriopractor once a week to straighten me out!
paul the builder asks: Do you prefer to do hard sessions solo, or with company? Do you have (bloody quick) clubmates to chase down? And if so, is it better to push harder to do that, or just run your own session at your own effort level?

Race Jase says: That's a top question ptb, thank you. I am lucky enough to run in arguably one of the most successful athletics clubs in the country. As a result I am pretty average generally although am one of the stronger marathoners (but that's largely because not many people at the club do the marathon!). Last night for example, I was probably about 6th fastest in my (mixed)group from about 14 athletes. And that's with most of the really fast people missing!That said the training they do is very much focused around 5, 10k and XC which I haven't really done much of before. I think for this type of training running in a group is more important (for me anyway) as the paces and thus effort is much more than most marathon training sessions. If I'm training for a marathon I will do virtually all of it on my own as it suits me that way and it'd become difficult time wise trying to fit in 120 mile weeks if I had to drive somewhere first to meet someone for a run!
Sunbed Athlete asks: Congratulations young man!! Did you ever have that miniature I gave you at Edinburgh 😉
What's your least favourite session, but deep down knowing it'll help you in your targeted race?


Race Jase says: Ha ha. No I haven't had it, I'm actually looking at it right now. It's on my desk in my office, permanently tempting me. :-) I've had a few questions on types of sessions. I enjoy most runs I do and certainly the big ones are the ones that give you the most satisfaction after the event. So they can be both worst and best if that makes sense? Marathon wise, the Steve Way session I mentioned before of 30 mins MP, 4X5mins hard, 30 mins MP is probably the one that I have most trepidation about. Even when you're only 15 minutes into that first 30, you're thinking to yourself, there's no way I'm going to get this done! So it's the worst at that point but once the session is complete, I know that specificity wise I've ticked a lot of boxes and if the paces are roughly where they should be gives me confidence to have a crack at the PB!
Bazoaxe asks: A well deserved winner who has run some incredible marathon times and has improved quite significantly over the years. Lots of my questions asked already so I am struggling. What do you need to change to make that next step forward to sub 2:20....eek

Race Jase says: Thanks Bazoaxe. I was asked that question by Nelly. :-) I do actually think I can go sub 2:20, in fact I'm virtually certain of it without changing too much. I think I could possibly have got it at Berlin had I not had a stitch for 12k at the end of the race. That said, it has given me confidence to kick on and try and knock a big chunk off next time and the way that I see that happening is by having a good 12-16 months focused on getting quicker at the shorter distances and doing all I can to get to the start of a 10 week marathon specific block as a quicker runner.
Curly45 asks: Congrats RJ :) What is the shape of your usual training week? Go on terrify us...

Race Jase says: Thanks Curly. Things are a bit different at the moment and for the forseeable. I will probably run around 80miles a week with a session on Tuesday (club interval or LT run) and Friday(fartlek, hills, or XC session), Long run on Sunday. Looking back at my hardest week for Berlin, it was 114 miles and comprised of the following.
M 12 miles (6:23mm), 6 miles (6:49mm)
T 8 miles (6:54mm), 5 miles (6:57mm)
W 20 miles including 30 mins(3:00), 4X5mins(2:00), 30 mins (5:43mm), 6 miles (6:52mm)
T 11 miles (6:22mm), 6 miles (7:01mm)
F 7 miles (7:00mm)
S 6.5 miles (6:44mm), 4 miles (7:17mm)
S 20.5 miles including Great North Run in 70:52 (5:24mm)
Ninky Nonk asks: Congratulations! Ever had a running nemesis that you never seemed to be able to beat?

Race Jase says: Only one really. benshearer on this site! He always seems to beat me, but I haven't raced him for a while. Things may be a little different next time I do ;-) Unless we race at 5k in which case he'll probably wipe the floor with me again! :-) That said, although I am now becoming a more competitive runner I am still a little focused on times rather than beating folks. Yes it's nice to win the odd little race but really when ever I race, I largely just want to run as quickly as I can on the day so am not too bothered by other runners in the race. My racing tactics therefore are probably pretty much nonexistent! I'm not bad at judging my current shape and delivering on an optimal time though and from a marathon point of view I think that's sensible rather than getting caught up in a race with other folks who may be in better or worse shape than you!
B Rubble asks: Congratulations RJ, good to see one of the fastest Fetchies getting recognised. You had a pretty good improvement from 2008 to 2009 and have achieved some great times since. Do you think that there was ever a danger in your progression (i.e. reaching a plateau) and did you change anything to stop it happening? Oh, and once you get below 2:20 do you think 2:15 might be on the cards?

Race Jase says: Thanks B rubble. :-) I think everyone reaches a plateau to an extent but there is nearly always a little bit more that one can find. I am convinced that I can still go quite a bit quicker and wouldn't want to set a limit. As long as I can keep working hard and avoid being completely broken, I am sure I can improve for at least the next three to five years. That improvement may not ultimately come through actual marathon times (although I think I will go quicker!), but maybe running better than I have done at the shorter distances would make me a more 'complete' runner. My running CV is a little disjointed at the moment, and I'd like to look back and say that I'd done as well as I could across every distance 5k- marathon. At the moment, I don't feel I could say that. 2:15? Never, say never!
Windsor Wool asks: Brilliant, I do like it when real athletes get recognized for their achievements. Tell us about demons, do you ever have any nagging at you in races? If you do, what do you do to put them to bed?

Race Jase says: Thanks WW. That's a good one! Demons? I think the demons are a result of either not being focused enough on the race or misjudging one's fitness and then having to deal with the little critters telling you to pack it in. I think what this means is that ultimately you're responsible for your own demons. I have definitely had to deal with both types. In the summer I ran a couple of 5ks and a10k where my mind just wasn't up for them in the way that it should. As a result when the going got tough my mind very quickly decided it didn't want to 'go to the well' simply because I just didn't care enough. If I had, I wouldn't have let it happen. That's why I think having a primary goal is so important to me rather than haphazardly racing here, there and everywhere, as fun as that may be. I have also done the latter where I've run too quickly from the off and then just had to dig in when my body, rather than my mind is saying no. It's at those points where I remind myself of all the things that matter to me in my life and make sure I can still look back and be proud of what I achieved. London 2013 is a bit like that. I thought I was in 2:24 shape. I wasn't but went out at that pace anyway and didn't listen closely enough to my body in the early miles but I still inexplicably managed to pull out a 2, yes 2 second PB! That, despite the demons because of me running like an idiot, ended up being a satisfactory result that I can look back with some pride.
DazTheSlug asks: Congratulations! What is your main target for 2016?

Race Jase says: Thank you. I would like to have a decent run at the Northern & National XCs (never done either before!) and would also like to be part of my club's team for the 12-stage relays. Aftre that I really want to focus on getting a sub 15 minute 5k and sub 31 10k. Both should theoretically be doable and if I can then I will be confident of moving things up a gear at the marathon in Spring 2017.
Fenland Flier asks: Congratulations, is a national call up on the line for team GB and would you accept if any offer was made?

Race Jase says: Thanks FestiveFlier. Sadly for Team GB I think it's unlikely at any 'Olympic distance' as I'm just not good enough and unlikely to get to the level that would put me in contention. If I look more to the Ultra side of things I think I would have an outside chance of selection for an event at some point but I cant see myself turning to the 'dark side' for at least another 2 years! It is however an ambition to one day run for England at the marathon! So I'll just keep working and see what happens. Of course, if I got selected I would absolutely jump at the chance!
HappyG(rrr) asks: Many congrats Jase. Fantastic level you have reached with hard work and around a "normal" life. Lots of good training and performance questions asked already, so I'll ask a more random one! What sports background do you come from, as a kid, and how important is running to you, in the great scheme of things?! Congrats again. Cheers, :-) G

Race Jase says: Cheers Grrr. I did some sport as a kid, in fact I did a bit of running at school, and it was the one sport that I always had most 'promise' at but I just never did it to any sort of level. I really wasn't very good but did OK in my year at school. I loved playing football but only in recent times have I accepted that I was total rubbish at it! How important is running? Incredibly. In a way I wouldn't be me without running. It is integral to my happiness. That said it can also be my worst enemy. I love the simplicity of the sport and how generally speaking the more you put in, the more you get out. It's largely a great metaphor for life. If you try hard at something, you will achieve and you can make a success.
milemonster asks: What's your favorite beer?

Race Jase says: ha ha. too many to mention! I like virtually every beer I taste from real ale to lagers. There are some brilliant Polish beers. My wife is Polish so I've sampled a few on trips out there. Despite my love of beer, I don't drink much these days (post-marathon blow out aside!) as even a couple can leave me feeling pretty ropey the next day. Maybe I just need more practice. ;-)
Night-owl asks: Congrats Jase you amazing speedy runner A lot of questions have already been asked. So Whats your proudest moment in running terms?

Race Jase says: Thanks Night-Owl. Hmm not too sure really. There's been quite a few moments that I'm really proud of. 3rd place at Liverpool marathon in 2011 when I ran very poorly and had to really dig so deep to make sure I wasn't caught. I was also proud of my sub 53 minute 10 miler which at the time just looked like such an unfeasible goal. I sort of just talked myself into it and then hammered myself from the gun. First time sub 70 for the 1/2 was like that too. So there's been a few but I think it must be the Yorkshire marathon last year to finish 5th and first Yorshireman in 2:22:48. That was a big breakthrough race for me (PB by nearly 6 minutes!) and I got a time that I knew I was capable of but it had been a bit of a struggle since Spring 2012 when I'd only been chipping the odd second off here and there. I just executed a perfect build up and then also the perfect race. It was quite nice to beat GB international marathoner Dave Webb too.
Rach E asks: Congrats! So well deserved and have enjoyed watching your progress over the years. Which race was your defining moment between realising you were a "very good runner" to a "national class runner"?

Race Jase says: Thanks Rach. :-) to be honest I don't rate myself that highly! I'm just a bloke that runs a bit and has been fortunate enough to continue improving. That said, when I knocked nearly six minutes off my Pb at Yorkshire last year was the moment that I actually thought, ooo that's pretty good! But I wasn't overly surprised by the result either, because I knew I had it in me but that race was where I truly thought that I'd mastered how to race them. So maybe then!
DGA asks: Congratulations Jason, very well deserved. Do you have ambitions at 5k and 10k?

Race Jase says: Thanks Dave very kind. Yes, I do. Really want a sub 15 5k next summer and also sub 31 10k. Once those are done I would like to keep on improving but feel I need those before I can push on again at the marathon.
Bintmcskint asks: Congratulations! :-)
It seems wrong to ask a frivolous question of one so speedy but what the heck! You are stranded on a desert island. You can take one type of food, one book and one Fetchie. What and who do you take and why?


Race Jase says: Thanks bintmcskint. I like frivolous questions. :-)

Food - really difficult to pick just one. Seeing as I'd be able to get fresh fish (love fish!) every day anyway I suppose I'd take pizza. Can't beat a good pizza. It pains me that I wouldn't have chocolate but I really should cut down on that anyway!
Book - the lore of running by noakes. Still never got around to reading all of it. And, well it's probably the most comprehensive book on running ever written.
Fetchie - it'd have to be Jock itch, for the banter and he'd make a fun training partner too.

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