Sunday, April 27, 2014


Gold Coast Marathon - 11 Weeks to Go

Tuesday 22 April

I've decided that this week is all about consolidation. After a month of really solid - if not a little quick - build up; it is important that this week I can consolidate those gains without getting sick or injured. Last week my body was beginning to feel the accumulated strain and it threatens revolt on me. Better take care!

Which brings me to my first run of the week, a Track Session comprising 2x1200m efforts and 4x800m efforts, all with 2 min rest in between. As I am on a short break between Easter and Anzac Day I had the chance to run in daylight once again - yippee! Unfortunately, since my run on Sunday, the pain behind my right knee has been bad. It is exactly as I've had on my left side from time to time, and manifests as a "flicking" pain low down on the medial side at the back of the knee. After a run it will feel swollen for some days. Despite my best Google-medico skills I am not sure what this injury is.

Today it bothered me the whole 2k of my warm up and several times my knee almost buckled under a sharp pain. When I arrived at the track I thought I'd give the first rep a go and perhaps it would be better at a faster pace. Within 50m it had gone again and by 100m I was stopped and almost in tears. This is so frustrating!!! I jogged slowly around the track intending to exit and go home (probably see a physio too). With about 50m remaining I once again picked up the pace (not sure why) but I could feel that the knee had responded well and was feeling ok. I have absolutely no idea what is going on or how this can be, but in the space of 100m I had gone from zero to hero and was running again!!!

I clicked the lap timer on my watch as I passed the finish line and off I went on my first of two 1200m intervals. After all that had preceded it, the intervals seemed almost anti-climactic. Target pace for the 1200m was 4.47min and I did both of these in 4.43min. During the rest periods I was too afraid to stretch or otherwise do anything involving my right leg lest it stuff itself up once again. The second set was 4x800m in 3.08min and I did these right on pace in 3.08/07/09/08. So the pace was great and I cannot say I felt any ill-effects from the long run on Sunday.

A cool down to home and I sit here not really sure what to do about this knee problem. Most importantly, I have some important confidence that even if it is giving me grief it can come good at no notice - so keep plugging away!

Fun at the New Runner Desk with Vanessa and Will

Thursday 24 April

Last night was my weekly Nike+ Run Club training session. I was assigned to lead the 10k group at 6m/k pace with Will. We had a good group over a different (safer) course to last week. The pace was even through to 8k (averaging 5.55 m/k to that point); then we let go of the reigns and brought the team home with a couple of faster k's (5.20 pace); finishing with 10.2k @ 5.46m/k. Another good run and the knee gave me no problem.

My original plan had substituted the tempo run this week for a Puffing Billy course recce with my friends. As I have the week off from work and am feeling pretty good I decided to put the tempo run back on the agenda and so headed out today, in the beautiful midday sun, to complete what should have been 8k at mid-tempo pace (4.31).

It is here that I will digress slightly into a discussion on training paces. According to the Furman FIRST program, which I am following there are very specific paces to reach for each training session. That includes track intervals, three different grades of tempo running, plus the long run. Last time round I found the paces for the track sessions to be a little hard (maybe I'm not suited to the short stuff), but the tempo and long runs were ok. Greg McMillan publishes a range of times for each interval and tends to be slower on the track reps but in a range mostly faster on the tempo runs. So what does this mean??? Well, I try to run tracks reps at the slower of either Furman or McMillan (fast end of range); with tempo at Furman pace (with anything in the McMillan range being acceptable after the fact). Long runs target Furman pace. I have either merged the best of both of these or created some Franken-pace that is largely irrelevant :-)

But back to the run. Regardless of what this pace 'could be' I had intended it to be 4.31m/k and so started easy with a 4.27. The next km, mostly downhill, was faster (4.13); then a slower one (4.26) to balance out. With my pacing being a bit all over the place I decided to run to feel and cruised through the next five km's in 4.22/24/20/20/23. I finished the full 8.4k trip home at 4.23 m/k so this was significantly faster than plan and was at my Furman 'short tempo' pace (but right in the middle of McMillan's equivalent 4.21-4.31). Aaargh!

Perhaps best just to say I went for an 8k run at a comfortably hard pace and leave it at that!

The final note for today is an injury update. Recent posts have commented on my right knee pain which I knew to be exactly like a problem I'd had with my left knee, only I'd forgotten what the problem was called. Duh! Today I remembered that through July last year my training diary was awash with notes about my "Bl**dy Popliteus" and I was even seeing my physio, Rob O'Donnell, about it. Though I can still feel that it is not right, at least today it did not bother me while running. I am going to ice it, see the physio and try to do some specific stretches for the thing. If that doesn't work I'll resort to praying!

Friday 25 April

Today, Anzac Day, and time for an easy run with friends up in the Dandenongs. We are all running the Puffing Billy Great Train Race next week and wanted to do some course recce before the event. So with some car shuffling we were able to run from Belgrave through to Emerald, covering all the "major obstacles" of the course over the first 10k or so. Weather was perfect for running, quite cool with no breeze and sunny skies. It quite simply does not get any better than this! Run finished, we sojourned to the Emerald Bakery and cafe for coffee and muffins before the ride home. Popliteus threatened to misbehave on the first downhill out of Belgrave, but came good thereafter.

Sunday 27 April

Today was my biggest run so far of this build up; a planned 32k at MP +28 sec (5.18m/k). I worked out a two lap course to North Rd, down to the beach and back up South Rd; passing by Dave Weeks house at about 20k before a shorter loop going as far as Hampton St and returning up South Rd again. So this would be a harder course than last week (more up and down) but at least I'd have some company for the last 12k or so.

The first (big) lap was mostly at under 5.20 pace but the beach and South Rd legs had a reasonable headwind and I just wasn't in the groove. I think mentally I found it hard since South Rd is normally the end of my runs so knowing I still had a long way to go played with my mind a bit. To be honest I even conjured scenarios where I would just do 20k and leave it at that! I completed this lap to Dave's house at an accumulated pace of 5.15m/k so right on target or thereabouts.

After a brief water stop we headed out and the company made a big difference - at least in my head, if not my legs. The pace quickly drifted out to 5.35-40 for most of the next 7k but it didn't feel so easy! Pleasingly, once back onto South Rd, the next 3k's were in 5.31-32 with a 5.25 and a 5.18 to finish. This was very good, so even though there was some slow bits in there it was not a complete blowout. Overall this run was about 5 sec/k slower than a comparable run in 2009, but that run was along the beach (flatter) for 20k and the last 6k of that was a shocker in 6m/k+ ... so some good signs that I am running well :-)

For this run I had two gels - the first at 1h10m and the second at 2h3m.

Strava links for the week:

Tuesday - Track 10.8k @5.19; 1200's and 800's
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 10.2k @5.46; cruisy Fitzroy Gardens and Tan
Thursday - Bentleigh Tempo 8.4k @4.22; comfortably fast
Friday - Puffing Billy course recce 10.6k @5.47; with Wilko,Weeks and Robert T
Sunday - Going Long 31.7k @5.22; Dave Weeks joined for last 13k


Week 4 (this week): 5 runs, 71.7km, 6 hrs 24 mins   ... biggest week ever!
Week 3: 4 runs, 57.7km, 5 hrs 9 mins
Week 2: 5 runs, 48.6km, 3 hrs 51 mins
Week 1: 4 runs, 41km, 3 hrs 28 mins
Total: 18 runs, 219 km, 18 hrs 52 mins

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