The first thing to know about the trio of pacers for the 4h30’ group at Venicemarathon is that they’re all aficionados of this race, having already covered the role several times. Gianpaolo Palladino has been leading the marathon runners towards the lagoon since 2009. Last year he brought runners to Riva Sette Martiri precisely in 4:29:59. We forgive him for that one second! Both Andrea Leita and Nicola Rosso managed groups for the Venicemarathon in 2018 and, this year, will move a quarter of an hour to lead the 4h30’ group. While aiming for the same finish time, they are very different athletes. Gianpaolo is also a swimming instructor and takes advantage of the time spent in the pool with his athletes to train himself. Andrea Leita, a recently retired army officer, is an ultra-marathon runner. He started running fifteen years ago to set a good example for his officials, and has not stopped since. Nicola Rosso was born fifty kilometers from Venice and it is here that he chose to run his first marathon. "Venicemarathon has a place in my heart, a fixed point in my life" says Nicola.
All three men train differently, as it should be for three athletes with different characteristics. Gianpaolo runs three times a week and adds in swimming. He keeps a regular weekly tennis match with his friends all year round. Andrea is the group's exercisaholic with an overall mileage and five outings a week at dawn. Nicola calls himself "the anti-training-plan " of the group. He follows his instinct and often runs on trails with his partner Marianna.
Despite their differences, they all agree on some basic rules. Here is a summary from which you can be inspired for your marathon preparation in following the 4h30’ pace group:
- On average they run four times a week, for a total of 45/50 kilometers weekly.
- Even if two out of three say they don’t follow a precise plan, you can identify some of their criteria for organizing workouts.
- a weekly “recovery” training at a slow pace, about 10km
- a fartlek or faster speed workout (between friends or in a non-competitive race)
- hill training once a week for 12 / 15km (Trail or road)
- a longer run on Sundays
Structure for the long Sunday run: Gianpaolo uses non-competitive races in his area for his longer runs, up to 30km on a hilly course three weeks from the race. Nicola runs a few half marathons as a basic training and twice he’ll run a long 28/32 km four weeks and then two weeks before Venicemarathon. Andrea Leita maintains a rigid regime but with an interesting tip for the last long race. "I have a run weekend three weeks before the race. Saturday evening I run from 15 to 20 kilometers and then Sunday morning another 20/25 kilometers. It's exhausting but it works. ", Says Andrea.
Advice for following the 4h30’ group at Venicemarathon:
Andrea: "We try to manage the group without pulling and springing ahead. We talk, we chat and we encourage them. All three of us realize that the runners that follow us are trying to get their best possible performance and are entitled to our respect for all twenty-six miles. "
Gianpaolo: "The most critical point is at San Giuliano Park. That’s where we usually lose many marathon runners. My advice is to save your energy as much as possibile until that point. From there on it’s more of a matter of not giving up the race in your head. "
Nicola: "One of the best moments is when, from the lagoon, you can see Venice in the distance. That’s when the real race begins, the Marathon. But with the public cheering and and running over the bridges towards Piazza San Marco. consider this the prize for running the first thirty kilometers."
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