Course profile

Looking for routes for clandestine marathons during the pandemic, I saw in Santovenia de Pisuerga the beginning of a new long-distance path, the GR-296, which stuck in my head to try to do it in its entirety, or at least in part, in another moment. With its 93 kilometres in length, it covers, mostly on paths, some of the closest villages to Valladolid, various places where I have trained regularly. When I read the first news that a marathon was being planned taking advantage of part of this route, I was hopeful for a new opportunity to have a marathon in Valladolid.

As the months went by, things became more specific until they took shape in this 1st Clarete Marathon, which, starting in Santovenia de Pisuerga, runs through Cigales, Mucientes, Fuensaldaña, the Fuente el Sol Park and Canal de Castilla to end in Santovenia.

Along with the marathon modality, a relay marathon is also offered. Being a first edition, and being “in tests”, not being competitive in the strict sense of the word, it is neutralized at each control/drinks station. Thus, we regroup in each village where we arrive to wait for the last runner, and again together start the next section.

At the start we gathered about 30 participants for the “solo” edition and approximately a dozen of the first relay in the team modality. Among the attendees some familiar faces, true marathon collectors who could not miss a first edition.

A little late, we leave for the first stop, which will be in Cigales, at the foot of its impressive church, and from there towards Mucientes. From this point the course is very recognizable to me.

Runners in Fuensaldaña

All in all, an opportunity to enjoy the fields of Castilla, with their brown colours and vineyards. Next stop Fuensaldaña, at the foot of its castle. It is from there where we approach Valladolid, entering through the Fuente el Sol Park, which has seen better days. Regrouped next to the Canal de Castilla, all that remains is to take its channel for a couple of kilometres, turn right and take the road that leads back to Santovenia. Perhaps the least attractive segment, following the lateral of the Cementerio del Carmen.

Despite the numerous stops, in the end this marathon also ends up being hard, due to the constant changes in pace and the roughness of the route in some sections. After all, they are still 42 kilometres to run.

Even so, I manage to finish in 3.57.50. Happy to finish a marathon in Pucela lands, and with the hope that the race manages to settle on the calendar, it was time to rest for the Mapoma the following week.

See you.

Views from the course


Start area

When I ran the marathon in Barcelona in 2018 I told myself that it would surely take a long time to return. The political situation with the independence movement was palpable in the air, and the atmosphere was not good in the city.

When I was planning the 2023 marathon season, I found a direct flight from my city for only 5 euros, which made me decide to give the city a chance again. Fortunately, the situation was much calmer, and the experience has been as positive as I would have expected.

With more than 10,000 runners in the streets and excellent weather, I turned to face its 42 kilometres, with staggered starts from 8:30.

This time, unlike Murcia the month before, I decided to keep the pace away from the 3h45m group. Mentally it is not difficult to plan 16-minute partials every 3 kilometres.

This being the case, I practically nailed the splits until kilometre 28, which I crossed with a small margin to my goal. At this point the temperature was considerably higher than at the start, requiring more hydration at the aid stations, preferably isotonic, to avoid dehydration and the much more dangerous hyponatremia.

Although slightly slowing down in the port area with less public and coinciding with the “wall”, I still manage to overcome runners as we enter the centre of Barcelona again. There the public turns to cheer on the needy runners.

I face the finish line, knowing that this marathon is already mine. I finish with a net time of 3.45.43. Marathon 73 sub 4h, 57 in Spain and 115 of the total.

After Easter we are expected to have the Clarete Marathon, a new marathon in the province of Valladolid, and again, for the seventh time, the Madrid Marathon.

Greetings, and until the next starting line.

Finisher medal


LLeida Marathon start

Writing this entry has taken time, a lot… but some things take precedence over others, and sometimes one is unable to dedicate time to everything. 

After the Vienna marathon in April, I had planned that the next one would be the Poitiers-Futuroscope in May, which I finally couldn’t run. And there began a long summer period of marathon drought that I did not break until the Logroño marathon, just started October. Thus, I repeated the marathon that I had already visited the previous year with the incentive that the registration fee was reimbursed by the organization. I finished in 3.52.57 in 150th position out of 243 runners. 

At the end of October, I run the newly organised Lleida Marathon, taking advantage of the All-Saints’ long weekend. A course with a round trip, not very attractive, although a race with potential for improvement and growth in the coming years. I finished in 3.55.29 and position 164 out of 263. 

And I closed the marathon year once again in the San Sebastián Marathon, in what was my fifth participation and my worst time to date, narrowly ending another sub 4h marathon, in 3.58.38 and ranked 1,497 out of 1,982 participants, continuing an increasing path in terms of times. 

To end the year, I also participated in the San Silvestre El Corte Inglés in Lisbon, on a 10k route.  

In marathon terms, the year was summed up in 10 marathons, 8 of them under 4 hours, and a season best of 3.42.41. 

Starting in 2023, the only marathon I had signed up for was Murcia, on February 5th, which was the last pre-pandemic marathon I ran in 2020. After missing a solidarity marathon in Burgos, between a cold and the snow, the Murcia Marathon offered 3 years later an ideal weather to run a marathon in winter. 

With more modest pretensions than on previous occasions, I got hooked almost from the start to the 3h45m group, after having deliberately lost 1 minute in crossing the starting arc. Certainly, I feel energized to attempt the breakaway, although I decide to reserve my strength and continue with the pack. 

After the half marathon in 1.51.14, Lola easily surpasses me. With a cadence that seems to require no effort, I am unable to keep up with her. Shortly afterwards Carlos also goes ahead. After the 30k I start falling off the group, although keeping them in sight. 

Catching a glimpse of Carlos, I manage to reconnect, running with him for the last few kilometres. Maintaining a good pace, I cross the finish line in 3.45.58 (net time), 303 out of 507 finishers. 

First marathon of 2023 and 114th of the total. 

Still undecided about which will be my next stop, we continue… 

Logroño Marathon Medal
Murcia Marathon Medal


Photo by Th G (Pixabay)

Many athletes usually train and compete on consecutive days, recurring to different post-exercise strategies to fasten recovery, such as cryotherapy, low-intensity sessions or tissue compression, among others.

The soreness after intense exercise, is a sign for the body to learn how to endure an overload. The aim of most training plans is ultimately to get better, or faster, in the case of runners.

Compression garments (CG) are form-fitted elastic garments that mechanically compress a body area for stability or support of the underlying tissue. They are usually socks, shorts, or short- and long-sleeve tops, used during and, more often, after exercise.

Supposedly compression garments work differently depending on when are used.

During exercise:

  • Increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery to the tissues, so exercise is less tiring and more efficient.
  • Increasing proprioception, and therefore improving posture and movement.

After exercise:

  • Acting like a massage on muscles to minimize delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
  • Raising the temperature of skin and tissues to increase blood flow and induce healing.


The study

A recent meta-analysis has tried to elucidate if wearing CGs during or after physical exercise facilitate the recovery of muscular strength outcomes. Thus, 19 studies complied with the inclusion criteria and were used in the meta-analysis.


Main findings

  • Contrary to expectations, wearing a CG during or after exercise training did not seem to facilitate muscle strength recovery, independently of the type of exercise or the body area and timing of CG application.
  • Athletes, coaches, and therapists should reconsider the use of CG and look for alternative methods to reduce the adverse effects of physical exercise on muscle strength.


Although somehow surprising we would like to know your thoughts and experience in using compression garments.



Can Compression Garments Reduce the Deleterious Effects of Physical Exercise on Muscle Strength? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. Négyesi, J., Hortobágyi, T., Hill, J. et al.  Sports Med (2022).

Photo by Mike Kaplan


Photo by Luke Baum (Unsplash)

Trail running is an outdoor sport, with an estimated 20 million runners every year, where runners confront off-road terrains, important elevation changes and distances ranging from a few kilometres to ultramarathons.

The health benefits of running are well documented, although trail running presents a high risk of injury. And even though most of trail running injuries are minor, in rare cases, they can be severe.

Identifying trail runners at risk before training and competition, may prevent injuries and ensure access to the health benefits associated with running.

A recent systematic review as tried to identify and summarise the evidence on factors associated with injury in trail running. It included 19 studies, with a total of 9 763 participants (80.6% males, 15.8% females, unidentified 3.6%) with a mean age ranging between 33 and 46 years.


Main findings

► The foot/toe, followed by the ankle, and hip/groin are the most injured body areas.

► Blisters, followed by joint sprains, and tendinopathies are the most common pathologies.

► There are a total of 17 statistically significant injury risk factors, among them:

  • Higher injury risk: neglecting a warm-up before running, not using a specialised running plan, regular training on asphalt, double training sessions per day, higher running experience and physical labour occupations.
  • Higher risk of sunburn: more than 3 hours of training per day, younger age, low skin phototypes (I and II, or clear skin) and single relationship status.
  • Higher risk of muscle cramping: prior history of cramping, higher levels of postrace blood urea nitrogen and creatine kinase and a slower race finishing time.

► Experienced trail runners seem to suffer less from blister injuries.

► There is a lack of literature on risk factors among female runners.


Use this information to prevent injuries and run healthier and safer



Trail running injury risk factors: a living systematic review. Viljoen C, Janse van Rensburg DC, van Mechelen W, et al. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2022;56:577-587.

Photo by Greg Rosenke (Unsplash)


Hayward Field Stadium, site of the events of the WA Championships Oregon 22 (photo by Chris Schiemann)


Men’s marathon              Sunday July 17 

Women’s marathon        Monday July 18

6.15 Pacific Daylight Time / 8.15 Mexico / 10.15 Argentina /

15.15 Central European Time (Spain, France, Italy, Germany)



The marathon will follow a mostly flat 14-kilometer looped course through Eugene and Springfield, starting and finishing in front of the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium.

It will follow long sections of the marathon course of the 1972 and 1976 U.S. Olympic Trials, trying to showcase the beauty and history of Oregon through the landmarks and landscapes.



By achieving the Entry Standard in the 18 months from 30 November 2020 to 29 May 2022.

*Qualifying Time, QT

For men: 2.11.30

For women: 2.29.30

By the Finishing Position: the top 10 finishers at the Platinum Label Marathons during the qualification period.

By Wild Card for defending World Champions of Doha 2019.

Note: the maximum quota per country is 3 athletes (or 4 in case of a Wild Card).

Oregon 22 World Championships Marathon Course


70 runners from 34 countries.

Full teams (3 or more present runners): Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Mongolia, Morocco, Uganda and US.

Most powerful team: Ethiopia, with most of the best QTs and Mosinet Geremew, silver medallist from the World Championships of Doha 2019, with a PB of 2.02.55.

Absent Eliud Kipchoge, from Kenya, more focused on completing his winning streak of World Marathon Majors, it is also worth to mention the Japanese and Moroccan teams (three runners each with QTs sub 2.08), the young Brazilian Daniel Do Nascimento (third best QT and South American record holder with 2.04.51) or the US team, with the experienced Galen Rupp (QT 2.06.35). A note also for the Mongolian team, a nation with no much history in the marathon distance, which will presumably have 3 runners in the start line.



48 runners from 26 countries.

Full teams (3 or more present runners): Canada, Ethiopia, UK, Japan, Kenya, Peru and US.

Most powerful team: Kenya, which includes the defending World Champion from Doha 2019 Ruth Chepngetich, and the Olympic gold medallist of Tokyo 2021 Peres Jepchirchir, both of them with PBs below 2.18.

Other top contenders for the victory could be Ashete Bekere (QT 2.17.58) and Gotytom Gebreslase (QT 2.18.18) for Ethiopia or Keira D´Amato (QT 2.19.12) for the US.


#Oregon22 #WorldAthleticsChampionships

Oregon’s Autzen Stadium, location of the start/finish of the marathon (photo by Bobak Ha'Eri)


Participants in popular races has continuously increased in the last decade. Most of these runners are amateur, with a reported 46.3% suffering from injuries during one year of follow-up.

Although running injuries can be caused by multiple factors, a correct support is essential to absorb the impact with the ground. The most repeated injuries in runners are knee (20.9%), calf (16.3%), Achilles’ tendon (12.2%), feet (9.2%), and hip (8.8%).

Stride frequency is defined as the total number of running steps per minute. The frequency with the minimal metabolic cost is known as optimal stride frequency (OSF), that usually coincides with the frequency that runners choose, or preferred stride frequency (PSF).

Nevertheless, when runners are tired, the stride frequency changes, causing an increase in the metabolic cost of running.

At the same speed an increase in stride frequency (SF) can reduce the risk of injury: the metatarsal is supported while the knee, ankle, and hip joints absorb less mechanical energy due to the lower impact of limbs against the ground.

It has been shown that music is a useful tool to modify stride frequency. Musical rhythm produces a synchronous effect in physical activities with cyclical movements (running, cycling, rowing, and others) due to the synchronization of bodily movement to the beats. Additionally, it offers additional benefits such as decreased perception of fatigue, improved emotional regulation and improved aerobic and anaerobic exercise performance, among others.

A recent study tested if popular runners training with music feedback at a controlled pace (+10% PSF) improved SF even in the absence of sound stimuli.


The study

Included 12 active runners (8 males, 4 females) with an average age of 36.7 years, who run more than 15 km per week and not having suffered any injury or illness in the previous 6 months.

The initial test was a dynamic warm-up (5–10 min) and subsequently, a music rhythm test to assess the participants’ ability to keep the rhythm of the music while running.

Afterwards a test to measure the PSF (using video capture analysis) was performed, running for 20 min at moderate intensity on a course of 450 m straight, 0% gradient asphalt road.

The experimental group received an individualized music track with a beat, in bpm, that matched an OSF speed a 10% higher than their PSF and instructed to use it while following their usual training plans.

The running tests to measure PSF were repeated after 15 days and 30 days.



  • There was an improvement in stride frequency in the group which used music feedback during their running training sessions.
  • Due to the increase in SF the risk of injury could be reduced.
  • Music also works as a stimulus to learn the running technique.



Despite the reduced size of the sample of this study, it seems that music playlists with a preset speed (in bpm) may help to increase stride frequency and reduce the risk of injury (by improving the running technique), while being also motivational for recreational runners.



Sellés-Pérez, S.; Eza-Casajús, L.; Fernández-Sáez, J.; Martínez-Moreno, M.; Cejuela, R. Using Musical Feedback Increases Stride Frequency in Recreational Runners. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 3870.


Kiprotich heading towards the finish line (photo by Peter Mooney)

The conditions were hot and humid but they were the same for everyone.   Determination is what matters.

Stephen Kiprotich

The marathon of London 2012 was run on the last day of the Olympics over a course of one small lap of a short circuit and 3 loops of a longer 13k circuit.

Among the favourites was the powerful Kenyan team, and especially Wilson Kipsang, who had won the London Marathon in April and had a PB of 2.03.42, second fastest marathon ever, obtained in Lake Biwa in 2011. His other teammates were Abel Kirui, who had won the 2009 and 2011 World Championships, and Emmanuel Mutai, winner of the 2011 London Marathon. Besides them was also returning the 2004 silver medallist Meb Keflezighi of the United States.

Stephen Kiprotich was the youngest children in a family of farmers from the Kapchorwa District, in Uganda. At 17 he quit school and moved to train to Eldoret, in Kenya, training ground of Eliud Kipchoge too. His previous experiences in the marathon were few. He debuted with 2.07.20 at the Enschede Marathon (Netherlands) in 2011, setting a new Ugandan record in the distance. In 2012 he had finished third in the Tokyo Marathon with 2.07.50.

Back in London, weather conditions offered for the day the highest temperatures of the 2012 Olympic Games: 23°C at the start and sunny skies. Because of this, runners decided to take easily those first few stages.  Brazilian runner Franck Caldeira tried his luck and crossed the 10k in 30.38 after opening a small gap of 8s from a large pack with more than 30 runners.

On getting to the kilometre 12 Wilson Kipsang moved to the front, increasing the pace and breaking up the group into a small one, most of them East Africans. Thus, he crossed the 20k in 59.57 with an advantage of 14s on his closest chasers.

Nevertheless Kipsang was unable of breaking completely the race. His gap decreased until Abel Kirui and Stephen Kiprotich made contact. The trio crossed the 30k in 1.30.15.

Kiprotich seemed to fall slightly behind, but soon recovered and getting to the 37k he made a move, sprinting to the front. Looking relaxed and in control he started to increase his lead, unanswered by the Kenyan runners. At 40k (2.01.12) he had opened a 20s gap with Kirui, while Kipsang was a further 32s behind.

That advantage would be enough for Kipotrich, who carrying a Ugandan flag crossed the finish line in 2.08.01, claiming the first medal for his country in Olympic Games since 1996. Second entered Kirui in 2.08.27 and third Kipsang in 2.09.37.

Also worth to mention the US runner Keflezighi, who being 17th at the 20k run a strong second half to finish 4th in 2.11.06. The Brazilian team was capable of having his 3 runners in the top-15. On the contrary it was a failure for Ethiopia: none managed to reach the finish line.

As for Kipotrich he claimed the victory in the World Championships of Moscow 2013. The next year he won the New York Marathon with 2.10.59. In 2015 he finished second the Tokyo Marathon, improving his PB to 2.06.33. At Olympic level he was unable to repeat his success in Rio de Janeiro 2016 or Tokyo 2021, which was his last marathon to date.

A moment of the London 2012 Olympic Marathon (photo by Peter Mooney)


London Marathon 2018

In our previous post we focused on periodization and training methods followed by some of the most well-known elite long-distance runners. In this second post we will deepen in the training characteristics of these runners.


Training Volumes

Most world-leading marathon runners train 500–700 h/year, relatively low compared to other endurance sports (cycling, triathlon, or swimming for example).

To obtain a relatively high training volume, these athletes seem to compensate by running twice a day most of the week

Most injuries are attributed to rapid and excessive increases in training load. Elite marathoners increase the total running volume gradually during the initial 8–12 weeks of a macrocycle. They start at 40–60% of peak weekly running volume, increasing by 5–15 km each week until maximal volume is reached.

Thus, typical weekly running volume in the mid-preparation period is 160–220 km distributed across 11–14 sessions. Peak volumes can be 20–30 km higher, but only for short periods (2–3 weeks) of time.

Despite this, some marathoners run “only” 130–150 km/wk although with a high proportion (25–30%) at near marathon pace.

Regarding female marathon runners they usually covered around 5% (or 10 km) less distance than males, although they trained 30–40 min/wk longer.


Intensity Zones

Training intensity quantification is complicated. No single intensity parameter works well as an intensity guide.

From an effort point of view there can be distinguished Low Intensity Training (LIT), Moderate Intensity Training (MIT) and High Intensity Training (HIT).

Training intensity distribution in long-distance runners have followed mainly one of the next three models:

  1. Pyramidal model: large volume of LIT combined with a small volume of MIT and an even smaller volume of HIT.
  2. Polarized model: same large volume of LIT combined with less MIT and more HIT.
  3. Threshold model: where a relatively large proportion of training is in the intensity range defined by the lactate/ventilatory thresholds.

MIT and HIT sessions are psychologically and physiologically demanding, requiring longer recovery times compared to sessions of LIT.

Most elite distance runners train most of their running distance (≥80%) at low intensity throughout the training year. One of the most important weekly sessions for marathoners are the ones consisting in 30–40 km runs slightly below marathon pace.



It is defined as a marked reduction of total training load before competition. Its main intention is reducing the cumulative effects of fatigue while maintaining the competitive edge.

A successful tapering period is said to enhance performance by 1–3% in well trained endurance athletes.

Most scientific guidelines define the ideal tapering as a 2-3 weeks period with 40–60% reduction in training volume, while maintaining training intensity and frequency. However, many long-distance runners only start decreasing training volume during the last 7–10 days pre-competition.



  • In the general preparation period, elite marathon runners focus on building aerobic foundation, with weekly running volumes between 160 and 220 kms.
  • During this period 80% or more of total running distance is performed at low intensity.
  • From the specific preparation period onward, the training intensity increases, with more running distance at race-pace
  • The tapering process typically starts at least 7–10 days prior to the competition.

We hope that some of these training tips, from some of the most successful marathoners in history, are useful to you.

Don´t forget that most of their training sessions were easy runs. You don´t have to push your limits each training day to achieve your running goals.



Haugen, T., Sandbakk, Ø., Seiler, S. et al. The Training Characteristics of World-Class Distance Runners: An Integration of Scientific Literature and Results-Proven Practice. Sports Med – Open 8, 46 (2022).

Photo by Miguel A. Amutio (Unsplash)


Kipchoge and Kosgei, winners of the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Marathon

Most top-level long-distance runners must endure a period of training of 8–10 years prior to reaching a competitive international standard.

A recent review has explored the literature and publicly available training logs of some of the most successful marathons runners in history. Among them figures such as Eliud Kipchoge, Kenenisa Bekele, Stefano Baldini, Gelindo Bordin or Robert de Castella in men, and Joan Benoit, Ingrid Kristiansen, Constantina Diță, Tegla Loroupe or Brigid Kosgei in women.

In this first post we will show how they organized their seasons and which training methods were mostly used.


Training Periodization

Arthur Lydiard introduced the periodization system in the late 1950s. He divided the training year (macrocycle) into smaller ordered phases (meso- or micro-cycles) with the explicit aim of reaching peak performance in major competitions.

Marathon elite runners usually compete annually in 2-3 marathons (separated by at least 3 months), 1 half marathon and around 3 shorter races.

They generally use a double periodization period, with cycles of 5-6 months, based in spring and autumn marathons, with resting periods of 7-14 days following marathon competitions.


Training Methods

Continuous running

  • Warm-up/cooldown, easy run. Low-intensive running (typically 3–5 km/h slower than marathon pace).
  • Long run. Low-intensive steady-state running (1–2 km/h slower than marathon pace). Typical duration 75–165 min for marathon runners, with pace varying during the season.
  • Uphill run. Low-intensive steady-state running uphill (3–6%). Typical duration 20–45 min.
  • Threshold run (or tempo run). A sustained run at moderate intensity. Typical duration 20–50 min. The session should not be extremely fatiguing.
  • Unstructured run over varying terrain lasting 30–60 min, where periods of fast running are intermixed with periods of slower running. According to athlete’s rhythms and terrain.
  • Progressive long runs. Commonly used training used by African runners. The first part of the session resembles an easy run, with pace gradually quickening. Typical duration is 45–90 min.

Interval training

  • Threshold intervals (or tempo intervals). Intervals of 3–15 min of duration at half-marathon pace. Typical sessions are 10–12×1000, 6–8×1500–2000 or 4×5000 with 1–2 min recovery or easy jog between them. Recommended total time for elite runners is 30–75 min.
  • VO2max intervals. Intervals of 2–4 min of duration at 10k pace, and 2–3 min. recovery periods between intervals. Recommended total time for elite runners is 15–20 min, although is a method more specific for track runners.
  • Lactate tolerance training. Usually 1–2 weekly training sessions for 5000-m runners in the pre-competition and competition periods. Intervals of 150 to 600 m at 800–1500 m race pace with 1–3 min. recoveries.
  • Hill repeats. Typical incline 5–10%, with repetitions from 30 s to 4 min depending on goal and time of season.

Speed work

  • 5–15 s runs with near-maximal to maximal effort and full recoveries. The main aim is developing or maintain maximal sprinting speed without producing high levels of lactate.


Bill Bowerman, one of the co-founders of Nike and US coach at the 1972 Olympics Munich where Frank Shorter won the marathon, summarized his training philosophy as:

2–3 weekly interval sessions, a weekly long run, and as many training sessions of Low Intensity Training (LIT) as possible

This training description has been basically the training organization of most successful long-distance runners during the last 5 decades.


In the next post we will focus on training volumes, intensity zones and the important tapering phase.

Photo by Rob Wilson (Unsplash)