Sunday, June 8, 2014


Gold Coast Marathon - 5 Weeks to Go

Time is flying by with just five weeks to go till race day and only the final couple of weeks of big sessions ahead before taper. My theme for this week is 'Extend' as that is what I really must start to do if I am going to meet my marathon race target. This week I really want to run a fast speed session; a solid marathon paced 16k (feeling better than two-weeks ago) and conclude the week with a fast-finishing 24k.

Tuesday 3 June

Today's session was one of the "easier" sprint sessions on the program which is good as my legs are still pretty sore/tired after Sunday's long run. I headed out at lunch time and the rain was coming down though it was not too cold. Only the hardy runners were out today ... and ex-Olympians. Whilst waiting to cross the road at Flinders St a fellow walked up beside me, smiled, and said "the training has gotta go on" - making reference to running in the less than stellar weather conditions. I recognised the fellow as six-time Olympic rower and three-time gold medallist James Tomkins. I replied to him that "you would know more than most!" He laughed and advised me "not to go too hard." So with that advice in my head I set off for my run!

I ran a simple course along the Yarra today. Each of three reps were 1600m hard with a 400m recovery interval. The two reps heading south-ish had a slight tail breeze; but not too much. The bigger problem was being able to see through the raindrops on my glasses.

In short, I was happy with each of my reps; running 6.19, 6.24 and 6.23 for the miles. So an average of 6.22min against a target time of 6.33min. Significantly faster than target which I think is good (???) as last time round my paces for these intervals were a bit slower than this. If I can translate this short distance speed into good pace for the long runs I will be very happy indeed!

Thursday 5 June

Last night was my weekly Nike Run Club session; as always, probably my favourite run of the week. And even a winter downpour could not dampen the spirits of my co-run-leaders and all the runners who came along to complete their run. Together with Leigh and Natalie I led a 5k run around the Tan at 5.30 pace. We got drenched, we got dirty, we had lots of laughs and a great time. What more could you want!

Tonight I tried the foam roller on my legs. Nothing more to say. Move along.

Friday 6 June

Not sure I am friends with the foam roller. My legs really hurt today. Not running-sore; but massage-sore. Add into the mix that my left popliteus (?) is now not very happy and I have a brewing revolt going on with the lower half of my body. Against that backdrop tonight I had another 16k marathon pace workout on the plan. I last did this two weeks ago and it felt hard-ish, so with my legs as they were I was not sure how I would go at all. Thankfully it was not raining and the temperature was good - cool with little breeze.

Decided to wear my Run Club issue Nike Lunar Glide 5's and I have to say I just love these runners! For me they offer a great blend of light-enough weight with good cushioning. I have a neutral stride so do not need any fancy motion control stuff and these shoes fit the bill magnificently. This was only my second run in them at any reasonable pace and they were wonderful.

Which I guess sums up the run in general. I really loved it! Target pace was 4.40m/k and the plan was to stick as close to this as possible on the (very) slightly undulating two-lap course. As always, try to run the last lap a bit faster than the first. All of which is exactly what I did. My km splits were very even, each 8k lap was almost identical (36.57/37.00), HR in the range of 143-148 for all except the last uphill km where I pushed a little. Overall, it was 8 sec faster than last time - let's say identical - but with an average HR of 146 vs 150 a fortnight ago. I am very pleased!

Sunday 8 June

This marathon training block has been an absolute rollercoaster. When things have looked grim, they got better. And when they've looked great, they go to crap. After Friday's wonderful run I was really looking forward to this 24k long run today. I decided to run the same course near home which is about 8k per lap with the intent of going out slower than target pace then ramping it up every 8k.

Unfortunately, for the second time in eight days I have stuffed up my target pace and got it wrong. Though, unlike last week where 8k @4.22 became 8k @4.12 in my head (and run @4.09); this week the pace should have been 4.46m/k but I thought it was 4.49. Aargh! No big deal in the scheme of things but something small which I should be getting right. That stuff up aside, I planned to run the first lap (8k) @4.55-57, the second lap @4.49 and the third lap @4.41-43. So faster each lap and finishing at just over target marathon pace. Sounds easy!

The rollercoaster continued today when I started running. Almost straight away my right popliteus, which has been fine this last fortnight, was giving me bad pain. Most recently the left one has been niggly, but now the right is stuffed again! And I was wearing the same shoes (Lunar Glides) as Friday when all was good. I am so confused. I tried as best I could to ignore this and just ran. It hurt!

Pain and target pace aside, the actual run was really good and went according to plan. I ran the first lap at 4.57 pace (HR Avg 135), the second lap right on 4.49 (HR 140) and finished the third lap at 4.42m/k (HR 147). The whole run was 24.2k @4.49 so it came out perfectly, despite my popliteus being in a bad way.

If I can run this well when things are sh*t then it gives me lots of confidence about how I will run when things are good. Bring on next week!

Training Program:

Full session details for my whole training plan are here.

Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - Three Miles 10.0k @4.47; 3x 1600m with 400m recovery
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 5.5k @5.28; rainy lap of Tan
Friday - Bentleigh 16 16.1k @4.38; marathon pace effort ... niice!
Sunday - Fast Finish 24 24.2k @4.49; faster, faster, faster

Weekly Summary:
Week 10 (this week): 4 runs, 55.8 km, 4 hrs 28 mins
Week 9: 4 runs, 66.4 km, 5 hrs 39 mins
Week 8: 4 runs, 57.7 km, 4 hrs 37 mins
Week 7: 4 runs, 60 km, 5 hrs 10 mins
Week 6: 4 runs, 54 km, 4 hrs 36 mins
Week 5: 4 runs, 46.3 km, 3 hrs 57 mins
Week 4: 5 runs, 71.7 km, 6 hrs 24 mins   (biggest week ever!)
Week 3: 4 runs, 57.7 km, 5 hrs 9 mins
Week 2: 5 runs, 48.6 km, 3 hrs 51 mins
Week 1: 4 runs, 41 km, 3 hrs 28 mins
Total: 42 runs, 559.2 km, 47 hrs 19 mins


  1. Great advice from the ex-Olympian! The run club looks like fun - great motivation to get in ordinary weather.

  2. Your training is very impressive, despite the minor confusion about paces and the trouble with popliteus. Popliteus strain is difficult to comprehend because it is association with rotational motion. I hope it settles quickly.


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