Sunday, May 18, 2014

Feel Strong

Gold Coast Marathon - 8 Weeks to Go

My motto for this week is 'Feel Strong' which is something I have not done in a while. I was asked by a friend and would-be first time marathoner if feeling run down and sore was considered normal for marathon training. I surmised this was often the case, but should not be. So this week I wish to get that strength back and feel good about my running.

Wednesday 14 May

After an average long run on Sunday on what I consider to have been a difficult week (ie, not running the best) I was keen to have a good week. As much for the mental side as the training side. And not wanting to repeat the double-shot Wednesday of last week I made sure I got out on Tuesday to do my first session for this week.

One of the things I've been happy to do - and actually enjoyed doing - this time round, is my 'Street Speed' sessions which would otherwise have been track repeats. Not that I've avoided the track but I am just as happy doing them on a road or a path; even if it is uneven, or has an uphill/downhill. Who cares! At the end of the day, the fundamentals of the session remain and I get to avoid some of the monotony of running around in circles all the time. It also means I've been able to run in the daytime at work whereas I'd otherwise have to run at night :-(

Yesterday was Street Speed #3 and I chose to run it on one of my favourite loops along the Yarra River. This is quite varied terrain - mostly flat with some ups and downs, twists and turns. The main set consisted of four intervals: 1600m (400m rest), 3200m (800m rest), 800m (400m rest), 800m. I know I have target times for each interval but given the terrain I was less worried about this and tried to run each one as hard as possible whilst maintaining something for the next one.

I did the first 1600m in 6.23min which was pretty fast (and quicker than I'd expected to run). My legs were still a bit sore from Sunday, but strangely felt better when I ran! I followed this up with a 3200m rep in 13.36min. This only became hard in the last 500m which is where the track is being worked on and you zig-zag along gravel, uneven surfaces and onto the road. So again, pretty happy with this - but quite tired! I ran each of the two 800m reps in 3.11min so an ok pace to finish with. Overall I was very pleased with this session and glad to have it done on Tuesday.

Tonight was Nike Run Club and I was leading the 5k beginner group, so a very easy lap of the Tan Track at 7.21m/k pace. A genuine recovery run. I am looking forward to the rest of this week!

Friday 16 May

Last night I went ten-pin bowling with my team for a social function. Today my glutes were sore from the repeated lunges :-(  Aargh!! Nothing really bad but not ideal on a week where 'feeling strong' is the mantra. Oh well. At least the sun shone and it was another beautiful, if a little windy, day for Friday Tempo Time.

The program today was something which on paper looked pretty easy, being 'only' a 7k @4.32m/k tempo run with warm-up and cool-down. Running along my now favourite Yarra Trail I knew exactly where I'd be going and when it would be hard or easy. My real objective today was to try to run as evenly as possible. Applied practically it means running an even heart rate as the splits will naturally vary a little with the terrain.

I mostly achieved my goal today. Excluding a faster first km (often happens until you dial into the pace) and a slower third km (which takes in the main ups-and-downs) it was pretty even, with the remaining five km within a range of 4.26-4.34. The last part was hard into a headwind along the river, but not too bad. All in all a good session.

Now if I could just get rid of these cold symptoms which are developing I'd be a happy man.

Sunday 18 May

'Feel Strong' is what I wanted for today's long run and, by and large, that is what I had. Sometimes you can tell from the first 100m whether you'll have a good day or bad and today the sensations were all good right from the start. The core program had 32k @5.09 on the menu with Rob O'Donnell's variation being to extend that out to 3 hours with no set pace. I designed a big lap of 33.7km heading into the city, along the Yarra and back down to home and figured this would probably take me three hours to complete.

My aspirational objective was for two things: (a) after an easy run to the Yarra pick up the pace for 5-10k to something near ~4.50m/k; and (b) complete the first 32k @5.09 so I could feel like I completed the original session as designed.

Conditions today were nice and sunny, but with a reasonably strong north wind, which meant a headwind for the first 15k, cross-tail wind for 12k then tailwind home. Probably ideal to be honest. The course took in roads and paths I am very familiar with from running and riding to work so that was good too.

The first 15k was pretty comfortable, averaging 5.05m/k and a gentle HR average of 138. If every 15k was this easy then running would be a breeze! Through the next 12k along the bike path I picked up the pace to 4.55m/k (HRAvg 149). I was really happy with this, not quite 4.50 pace, but a noticeable difference and held for the whole stretch. By the time I turned off the path I'd done 27k @5.03 and it was time to 'kick in the clutch' and cruise home.

I went through 32k @5.08 pace so goal accomplished there and after completing the last 6.7k @5.38m/k (HRAvg 146) I reached home in just over 2:54 hrs, so close enough to goal (b) being achieved. More importantly, I felt tired, but not trashed which is a big improvement.

Nutrition wise, I tried a couple of different things today. As I did not start till 1pm and I had not eaten lunch I had one gel just before I began. About an hour before this I'd eaten some beetroots too (don't want to miss out on any benefits from the latest sports nutrition fad!). During the run I had two gels at 1 hour and just over 2 hours. All seemed ok.

So very happy with this run and with the week just completed.

Training Program:
Full session details for my whole training plan are here.

Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - Street Speed 3 10.3k @4.34; Yarra River intervals
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 5.4k @7.21; very easy lap of the Tan
Friday - Tempo Time 10.5k @4.39; 7k @4.30 on a windy day
Sunday - Big Lap 33.7k @5.10; long run with fast bit in the middle

Weekly Summary:
Week 7 (this week): 4 runs, 60km, 5 hrs 10 mins
Week 6: 4 runs, 54km, 4 hrs 36 mins
Week 5: 4 runs, 46.3km, 3 hrs 57 mins
Week 4: 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: 30 runs, 379.3 km, 32 hrs 35 mins


  1. You're going well Paul - nice pace with the intervals. Hope the cold doesn't turn into a 'man cold' - they're the worst!

  2. Too right Ewen. I'm taking every potion I can to try to avoid this developing any further.

  3. Excellent training, Paul. I am pleased to see that you are adapting Furman in a sensible way. You are achieving the essential targets well, and remaining on the right side of the red line that marks the edge of over-training.

  4. Canute - thank you for the kind words. So far so good!


  © Blogger template 'Morning Drink' by 2008

Back to TOP