TL;DR:
2:48:10 (PB)
– 130 day run streak (total: 2530.1km, avg. ~19.46km/day)
– 12 weeks @ 160km/week

Details
Since running a PB of 2:56 way back in Boston Marathon 2013 and after a disastrous DNF at Beppu in 2015, I had almost given up on marathon running. With the last few years focused on long distance triathlons under the belt, I had an itch back in October to purely focus on running again.
First, a special thanks to a few people. SeungGi of course, for also running a 3 min PB and being able to tolerate my training habits. Padraig for adding me to the run streak group back in early October. Members there like Glenn, Richard were motivating. Harrisson for his expert advice on pacing and for offering his site for this race report. As well as all the other members in Namban/Triathlon in Tokyo that was there on any training run around the palace and up in Ome (too many to list!)

Training Block #1 – Pre-training
After resetting my short run streak of about 2 weeks on Nov 8 with a 1.7km run, I figured I would use the rest of the month to try to get into a daily workout routine. SeungGi was due to run Osaka marathon and I was able to sub in for an injured runner. Figured this would be a good start benchmark and ended up running just a 3:12. It was after Osaka marathon that gave me the confidence that with if I purely train for it, I could be race ready by March or so. It was around then that I chose to target Seoul Marathon as my A race.

Stats
Nov 7 – Dec 2:
359.1km
Key runs:
Osaka Marathon (Nov 25) – 3:12:25 (4:29/km pace)
Okutama Ekiden (Dec 2) 1st leg – 29:54 / 7.2km (4:08/km pace)

Training Block #2 – Get the run done
From previous marathons, I run better after I have built a good aerobic foundation. The big mistake I made with Beppu was I was running a lot of mileage 160-180km/week and doing a lot of the runs quite fast (ex. doing a 23km run on a week night at <4:30 pace).

Determined not to make the same mistake again, my training strategy could be boiled down to:
– Run about 160km/week (assuming legs are not injured)
– On weekday evening, try to run home after work (distance is about 12km)
– One run of at least 30km once a week
– One or two quality run (tempo, interval, etc..)

The strategy worked quite well. On my easy runs, I kept most of the runs anywhere from 4:45/km pace to some days over 5:15/km pace and found even with a small fever or after a hard run, I could still run.

Stats
Dec 3 – Feb 18:
1925.98 (avg. 160.5/week)
Key runs:
1hr time trial at the track (Dec 26) – 15.2km (3:55/km pace)
1hr time trial at the track (Jan 28) – 15.67km (3:50/km pace)
Ome Marathon (Feb 17) – 1:59:57/30.1km (3:59/km pace)

Training Block #3 – Slight Taper
During the week of Ome Marathon, I was starting to think of what my MP (marathon pace) would be. Based on various calculations like the vdot calculator and soliciting advice from people like Harrisson, I figured a 4:00-4:05 pace was possible. After hitting 3:59/km pace during Ome 30km, I was reminded from Arnaud that Ome race pace is highly correlated to MP pace. Wasn’t sure if this was actually true but during the taper period, I figured I would dial back the mileage and spend more running at MP pace which I had tentatively put as 4:03/km or around a 2:51 marathon. If I have a good day, I figured I would try to sneak under 2:50.

Stats
Week 1: 140km
Week 2: 120km
Race Week: 58km

The Race
After working a half-day and then taking an evening flight to Gimpo, it was on Saturday that I had a good rest. A nice morning workout on the Han river (6km total), an awesome home cooked brunch with SeungGi’s family, we headed to the Olympic stadium. Race registration was no frills (it was outside and there was maybe just a few booths) so it took about 5-10mins. There, we met up with the rest of team. Rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing at Starbucks before a nice light dinner eating Korean dumplings, mandu at this famous restaurant with the rest of the team (SeungGi, Mika T, Ben C, Nick, Yuki, Rika).

The race website mentioned over 35,000 participants but everything went so smooth when checking in my bag that morning, I think the actual number was likely around 20-25,000. With the race starting at 8am, we woke up at 5, ate breakfast, took a 30mins taxi ride to the start then hung around a coffee shop. All stress-free. A short 10min jog at 7:30 and was ready to go. Since I had signed up via the Japanese site which was more expensive, I was grouped in A block at the front. That morning, I had read on the guide that the race would start at 8:05 but while lining up with Yuki, the gun had gone off right at 8am. I started my Garmin in haste and it was game on!

Weather was overcast with no wind. Great race conditions as it was probably around 5 degrees when the race started (with a high of 12 degrees that day). I crossed the starting line about 30s into the race and at the time, it was not congested at all. There were some tall buildings near the start line so I suspected my first 2km which were done at 3:52 and 4:12 probably was not that accurate. Feeling good, I did the first 5km in 19:31. The race guide mentioned there would be a 2:50 race pacer so my first goal was to catch up to them and run with them. Next 10km was done at around 3:57/km pace and by then I saw them ahead by about 45s. The race course went through the city and though there were a few turns, it was all on flat. By around 18km, I was running with the 2:50 pacer group. Took a 2nd gel at 20km and decided to bank some time. Crossing the half way point in just under 1:23, I was increasingly confident I could break 2:50.

At 25k, I had ran my fastest 5km split of the race with a 19:30 (3:54/km pace) and was about 1min ahead of the 2:50 pacers. All this time I was wearing headphones so I was in my own world but there were a few small group of Korean runners that I was tailing. My heart rate showed about 140bpm which seemed off and I was hardly sweating but by 30km, I had slowed back to around 4:00/km pace. There was also a slight head wind that was very noticeable. The last 12km would be about hanging on and not losing too much time. By 35km, I was happy to see I was still running at 4:02/km pace. I just have to make sure the legs dont cramp and get over the bridge across Han river and 2:48 should be possible. There was a slight incline at 37km and 38km around the bridge where I ran a 4:08, 4:07 but after a downhill where I made up the time with a 4:00/km, it was time to enjoy the marathon. Took off the headphones and running a 4:09, 4:12 making sure I had some energy left to run the last 1.2km under 4:00/km pace. The finish was right at the Olympic stadium and I was trying to calculate if I could break 2:48 since I had started my watch a bit late. Was off by 10 seconds but managed to finally break my personal best with a 2:48:10.

Stats
Bib #: A13018
Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/2218567166
Weight: 60kg
Gels: 10km, 20km, 30km, 35km (Maruten gel – yep, its about 4x the cost of other gels. This is why I dont use gels during training!)
Shoes: Nike Vaporfly 4% (bought 2nd hand off an auction site – yep, Id say the hype is real!)

Start5K10K15K20KHalf25K30K35K40KFinish
8:00:338:20:048:39:488:59:289:19:199:23:179:38:499:58:4810:19:0010:39:3810:48:42
0:19:310:19:440:19:410:19:510:03:590:15:320:20:000:20:120:20:390:09:04

Run Logs

Week#MileageMonTueWedThuFriSatSun
3-Dec1160.36
12:56
8.19@4:53
12.02@4:59
12.45@4:49
12.19@4:56
11.81@4:55
6.73@4:41
11.27@4:58
18.23@4:5211.27@4:53
10.49@5:07
30.79@4:52Fit for charity 10km
9.45@4:19
Fit for charity 5km
5.47@4:03
10-Dec2163.47
14:53
10.26@5:26
11.57@5:08
12.02@4:51
11.83@5:04
6.07@5:15
13.23@4:53
18.27@4:5710.10@5:13
12@5:03
15.11@5:3238.72@5:36
(Badass Run)
17-Dec3160.14
13:38
5.1@6:36
15.1@5:43
12.2@5:27
14@5:36
9.7@5:23
13.2@4:53
18.2@4:5018.7@4:51
7.3@5:16
15.8@4:4530@4:41
24-Dec4160.16
13:01
25.1@4:519.5@4:54
18.1@4:40
10@4:55
1hr Time Trial:
15.2@3:55
11.4@5:18
11.4@5:21
17.6@5:1024.2@4:5717.5@4:57
31-Dec5160.15
12:30
37@4:3625@4:4823@4:3813.3@4:5232.1@4:4014.8@4:5014.6@4:32
7-Jan6160.2
12:33
12@4:48
12@4:55
12.2@4:57
14.1@4:47
16@4:49
12@4:55
16.7@4:407.4@4:59
12@4:35
14.6@4:33
inc 8km@4:10-4:15
31@4:25
inc 30km/2:12
Ome course
14-Jan7160.3
12:52
25@4:4812@4:58
12.2@4:52
16@4:49 inc
Intervals
12×600@3:45-3:55
12@4:55
20.6@4:2812.3@4:5214.5@4:21 inc
Gaien Loop
12km@4:10
31@5:18
Inc. Mitake
21-Jan8160.3
12:53
12.2@4:55
12.2@4:54
15.6@4:54
12.1@4:52
12.3@4:54
12.3@4:46
17.0@4:4712.3@4:52
12@4:51 inc
Intervals
12×400@70-84s
10.2@4:5332@4:41
28-Jan9160.3
12:30
17@4:53
13.6@4:52
16@4:53
14@4:52
9.4@4:54
1hr Time Trial
15.67@3:50
5.2@5:50
15.5@4:51
16.4@4:59
3.1@4:512.67@4:4230.8@4:10
inc 15k@4:10-4:15
2k x 3@4:05-4:10
Random @ 4:07
4-Feb10160.1
12:20
12.3@4:53
12.2@4:53
12.3@4:51
12.4@4:49
13.8@4:20
inc 1.6km x 5
(6:20, 6:14, 6:10, 6:08, 6:05)
18.7@4:486@4:58
14@4:18
Gaien loop x5@4:10
5.5@4:5140@4:19
11-Feb11160.4
13:40
8@5:51
16.6@5:22
11.2@5:51
11.4@5:11
11@5:36
18@4:59
13.2@5:36
15.3@5:21
15@5:204.6@5:09
5.5@4:51
Ohme Mararthon
30.1@3:59
18-Feb12160.1
13:40
11.6@5:53
13.7@5:55
15.6@5:56
11.7@5:38
15.7@5:24
17.7@4:55
15.9@4:18
inc 10km@4:03
17.2@4:546@5:4535@4:23
inc 6,5,4,3,2,1k
@4:05
25-Feb13140.0
11:23
11.9@5:16
11.6@4:56
12@4:59
11.5@4:58
4.1@4:53
5km TT@17:57
6@5:16
12.2@4:58
12@4:59
11@4:3131@4:20
inc 16k@4:03
11.2@6:23
4-Mar14120.5
9:07
18.1@4:4114.8@4:3924@4:20
inc 5km x 3
(20:00, 19:49, 19:11)
12.1@4:3712@4:5823.6@4:2115.9@4:28
11-Mar15100.3
7:03
10@4:298.6@4:2815@4:18
inc 3k, 2k, 1k @ 4:02
10.1@4:268.2@4:256@4:16Marathon
42.2@3:58
Stan

Stan

Jack of all trades, master of none

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Seoul Marathon Race Report

2 thoughts on “Seoul Marathon Race Report

  • Derek
    2019-03-23 at 19:56
    Permalink

    Amazing Stan! Well done mate.
    ->>>>> 1925.98 (avg. 160.5/week) that is incredible and of course the 2:40 result is superb.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    2019-03-24 at 11:24
    Permalink

    Great preparation, great race. Nice that it all came together on race day.

    Reply

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