Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Middle Ages

Gold Coast Marathon - 9 Weeks to Go

Thursday 8 May

I've now entered "The Middle Ages" for my marathon program. These weeks are when you transition from ramping up the program to the long, hard sessions that set you up for race day success. It is during this period that you truly find out whether your dreams are likely to become reality ... or if they'll crumble and need to be replaced by more modest ones. Avoiding injury, staying healthy, maintaining motivation - these are the day to day challenges.

After completing the Great Train Race last weekend my legs were pretty tired so instead of running on Tuesday I reverted to doing my first training session on Wednesday. Which, of course, presented its own issues as I do Nike Run Club Run Leader on Wednesday nights. What to do, what to do, what to do ...

Originally I planned to get out and run in the early morning, but with work requirements (ok, and me not wanting to run at 6am) this was sidelined. Plan B - run at lunchtime. Hmm, that too was kiboshed with some last minute meetings scheduled. Plan C - do Nike Run Club and then do my speed session afterwards. Not my favourite plan ever - but this would have to do.

Thankfully I was set down for only 5k at Run Club this week which acted as a good warm up. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived back home it was very cold and a bit windy. So, at 8.30pm, a very hungry me left home to go out for some 'Street Speed.'

The intervals this week were two sets of 6x400m with 1.30 RI between reps and 2.30 RI between sets. I decided to run these along Purtell Street just near home. It is well lit, has no side streets and a good road surface. Of course, it also has cars going up and down - thought at this time of night thankfully not many. As I subsequently found out, my 400m stretch of roadway was actually ~410m and has a 1% rise (or fall) from one end to the other. As luck would have it, the rise was into the prevailing wind last night and the fall with the tailwind.

All of this made for uneven times, and obviously not very comparable to a lap of the aths track, but that is the essence of 'Street Speed' - it should be more organic than the strictly controlled environs of a track.

The first set of six had 'up' times of 1.31, 1.29 and 1.30; and 'down' times of 1.22, 1.23 and 1.22. After the long break between sets it was 'up' times of 1.29, 1.31 and 1.30; and 'down' times of 1.23, 1.24 and 1.24. I was very pleased with these times and how even they were with only a 2-sec spread from best to worst in each direction. Suffice to say I was exhausted after completing my second session for the night and have felt pretty sore today, especially in my left calf/achilles.

Friday 9 May

After Wednesday night's dual run sessions my legs have been absolutely thrashed. Two days on and my left achilles has been a bit sore, calves are both sore and even quads are feeling the pinch. I've had only modest recovery from those runs and today was a real stretch.

This was a repeat of a session I did three weeks ago so I was keen to see how I'd progressed. The first 4k of the tempo set also covers a Strava segment I was keen to achieve the 'CR' on so I had a little extra motivation.

During the warm up I wasn't actually sure if I'd be able to pick up the pace at all for the main tempo run; but, at the appointed time, I ramped it up and began to run a bit faster. It was quite windy today so I was pleased that my km times were quite even, being 4.18/19/18/16/23. Perhaps I was too keen to get my 'CR' (which I did) and hence the last km was a bit slow. Actually, given the target pace was 4.23m/k maybe the first 4k were too fast??

Anyway, goals for the session essentially achieved, but legs really sore, and I wonder at what cost. Sunday's long run will tell!

Sunday 11 May

The note above was right - today's run did tell just how much a toll this last week had taken. I didn't ride yesterday - the rain was pouring down and I needed all the rest I could get. Even today my legs were still sore before I started.

It was a beautiful morning when I headed out, nice sunshine and no wind. Unfortunately, within 500m my right popliteus was giving lots of grief. The last time it was really bad was when I did my 28k run a few weeks back wearing the same Pegasus runners. After a couple of km it had not settled down so I looped back home and changed into my trusty NB 880's. Almost immediately it got much better.

I have resolved not to run in these shoes again. I'm a believer in the adage there's no bad shoes, just shoes that are bad for an individual. These Pegasus kicks are very highly rated - but for some reason my popliteus is extremely unhappy with them. So with less than 10hrs wear they will be retired.

Back out onto the road and though my popliteus was a lot better it was not perfect. My feet were slapping the ground, I had little rhythm and just did not feel good. My mojo was gone. Which is not ideal when you have 30k or so in front of you.

Following my physio's modified plan today would be a 2:40 run for time (not the 29k @5.09 pace per the original plan). I think this worked well for me today as it meant I was not too fussed that my pace was a bit slower than I'd have liked. It would have been very hard to meet the original objective so the new one was good to have.

Splits were reasonably good to 15k just past Black Rock (averaging 5.13m/k to here). The next 12k, including the 'lumpy bit' around Beaumaris slowed noticeably, averaging 5.36m/k for this stretch. The last 3.1k were a crawl at only 6.03m/k. Not ideal, and not nearly as good as I felt for the last part of my 31k run a couple of weeks ago, but not to worry. An overall average pace of 5.28m/k so still in the right ballpark and for a run where I just didn't have it not too shabby! (Two gels today, at 1hr and 2hrs in to the run.)

The week ahead will be interesting. The distances ramp up again and I need to start feeling better about them. Let's see!

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

Strava links for the week:
Wednesday #1 - Nike Run Club 5.7k @5.07; cruisy lap of the Tan
Wednesday #2 - Street Speed 2 7.7k @4.25; 12x 400m
Friday - Tempo 5k 10.4k @4.41; Yarra River, hard 5k
Sunday - Run Done Hard 30.2k @5.27; Mentone

Weekly Summary:
Week 6 (this week): 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: 26 runs, 319.3 km, 27 hrs 25 mins

1 comment:

  1. Good to see your blog back up and running Paul. Nice set of "400"s there. I'll be up at GC too, probably for the 10k.


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