Friday, June 13, 2014


Gold Coast Marathon - 4 Weeks to Go

With less than a month to go till race day this is my last "big" week. And after last Sunday's strong run - but disastrous popliteus outcome - I am again treading the fine line between fantastic fitness and injury/illness. So the mantra this week is 'Hold' as that is what I need to do right now. My fitness right now is good enough to run a great marathon. I just need to hold it for one big week and then a taper.

Tuesday 10 Jun

Since Sunday I have been trying a few different things to get my right popliteus back in order. In the absence of being able to get into a physio I found some self-massage techniques on YouTube ... what could possibly go wrong! The one which seems to have had some good success is getting my thumb in behind the knee just above the calf on the medial side where the popliteus joins. Today it felt ok when walking though did not enjoy it when I sat for any period of time.

As of this morning my run plan for the week was another day of rest today then do my first session tomorrow at lunchtime with the Nike Run Club tomorrow night. But with it feeling ok I decided to go out this evening and see how it felt. Typically it feels ok or dodgy within the first km so I tend to know straight away. This time it felt ok so I continued on to do my session.

The plan was 10x 400m with 400m recovery so I went around the corner to a nearby street where I have previously scared the neighbours by running up and down like a crazy-man to do it all again. I took the 'soft' option and ran the 'downhill' stretch (about 1% fall) but it is 10m or so long so I guess that evens out! My plan was to take it easy and get progressively faster if possible - all reps to be under 1.30.

The first rep, especially, I just wanted to test out the 'pop' and see if it would be ok. It was and I ran 1.30. The next couple were 1.29 and 1.29 so pretty even. I picked it up for the next few, running 1.27, 1.28, 1.27 and 1.27. Feeling good! I finished the last three really strong in 1.25, 1.25 and 1.24. I am pretty stoked. Great times and all sensations were good.

Just 'hold' it together now!

Wednesday 11 Jun

Wednesday night is Nike Run Club night and tonight was an absolute cracker, weather wise, especially compared to last week which rained heavily and kind-of sucked. Today i was leading the 5k group at 5.30 pace with Hannah on our lap of the Tan. You can see from the pic above that we had our normal fun time! The only thing of note was about a third of the Tan track was completely unlit, ie - pitch black. I could see nothing at all! Thankfully our group made it back safely and exactly on 5.30 pace. Yee hah!

Friday 13 Jun

Another day, another run. This one was a marathon paced 13k which I got to do along the Yarra River at lunchtime. It is a beautiful place to run - mostly bike path, partly pontoon floating on the river. Today was sunny but a little windy, though I couldn't figure out from which direction as it seemed to swirl all over the place.

On my now daily game of 'injury roulette' I spun a lucky number. The right knee was ok and the left one about 95% so no real issues there. Legs don't feel very supple, so maybe I need a proper massage to loosen them up a bit.

The run itself was good. I tried to keep an even pace around 4.40m/k which I did, making the turn at half way at 4.39avg. I dropped in one slightly quicker km on the return home (4.25) as I chased a runner up the path ... didn't get him! All good and cruised up the Exhibition St hill to finish 13.1k @4.36m/k. Very happy with that!

Sunday 15 Jun

In the "olden days" of marathon running the programs I followed - ok, the ones I saw and should have followed - all built up to a single, almighty 20 mile run. (32k for us Aussies, but they were all written for the US market.) This was three weeks out from the race and today was that day. But times have changed - not only am I actually training for races, but the programs have adapted too, and this was my fifth run over 30k.

But it is still a pinnacle run, and the pace of these long runs has been getting steadily faster with this one at only 9 sec/km slower than target race pace. I got up early and was on the road by around 7.20am, trying to mimic to some extent what race day will be like. Except on race day I will be in a motel, not have my normal breakfast, will have a long bus ride to the start and the weather will be much warmer. So not really anything at all like race day but what's a few minor details between friends.

Unlike 2009 and my last significant marathon, this time round I am intent on running as even a pace as possible and not "banking" any time for a late race slow-down. I have tried to adopt this a bit in training too, with some success. It is a big deal for me mentally as I've had to convince myself that I will not slow down and can run faster if I manage the early pace a bit better. My training in 2009 was at a target marathon pace of 4.38m/k (race time 3:16) but I ran too hard at the start and finished at 4.42m/k (3:18). This time round my training is at 4.40m/k which is slower but I am absolutely planning to run a successful race at 3:17. So even though I am training a bit slower I am planning to race faster. As I said, my head has had to get around this bit!

Today's run was an "old favourite" course down South Rd to the beach then along the foreshore path to Middle Park and return. In practical terms this means downhill-undulating for 8.5k to Brighton Baths then flat for 15k before the inverse uphill-undulating to finish. It is normally windy, and was today with a stiff southerly blowing.

The other big bogey for me today would be my knees; or more specifically my popliteus muscles. The right one had flared up again big time last Sunday and the left has been niggling away for the last month. I could not afford for them to be a factor. On my shorter runs this week they'd been ok and, within 500m, I could sense that they would be ok for me today. Yippee!

After an easy first km in around 5 min I used the gradual downhill to slowly ramp up the average pace. By the time the course flattened at Brighton Baths I was right on 4.48m/k average and there it stayed all the way to 25k.  Along the beach I had run about 4.45m/k with the wind and 4.50m/k into it - though my HR jumped from mid-140's to high 140's in order to do so.

I turned into South Rd and knew the business end of the run was about to start. This is where it traditionally gets hard and many a day I have fallen apart on this section. The last time I ran this course was for a 24k run back in late May and on that day I ran quite strongly, covering the last 6k in 29.17min. Today I pushed (HR up to mid-150's) to maintain my 4.49 target pace and, strangely enough, covered the final 6k in 29.17! Total run of 32.04km in 2:34.24 hrs at 4.49 m/k. Perfect!

More pleasing is that the final 6k today was about half a minute faster than I did for the same run back in 2009. Coupled with my Fast Finish 24 last Sunday I can confidently say that I am running as well as ever and, more importantly, am finishing the long runs with something left in the tank. This is really encouraging and gives me huge confidence going into the race.

Three weeks to go :-)

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

Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - Street Speed 5 10.7k @5.11; 10x 400m with 400m recovery
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 5.3k @5.30; beautiful evening for a run
Friday - Marathon 13 13.1k @4.36; lunch time marathon pace
Sunday - Long Run (the last) 32k @4.49; perfectly paced long run

Weekly Summary:
Week 11 (this week): 4 runs, 61.2 km, 4 hrs 59 mins
Week 10: 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: 46 runs, 620.4 km, 52 hrs 18 mins

1 comment:

  1. Good to hear pop is doing the right thing. Not long to go Paul - don't tear a hammy on those fast 400s.


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