Gold Coast Marathon - 3 Weeks to GoWith the hardest part of the marathon program behind me now, it is time to recover and get strong before race day. It is 'taper time' and I am looking forward to really hitting all my session times for the next three weeks. The goal now is to keep my high level of fitness, shake the niggling injury/illness concerns and be ready for a huge race day. Three weeks to go!
Tuesday 17 Jun
Runner's World Magazine's Chief Running Officer, Bart Yasso is well known in running circles for many things, but perhaps most of all for his observation that for many runners the time they can complete a set of 800m efforts in roughly approximates their projected marathon time. So, 800's in 3m10s equates to about a 3hr10m marathon. His workout, the Yasso 800's, is described here and the run I did today is a very close approximation to this.
Today I was back at the Westpac Centre in conditions similar to the last time I ran 800's there back in April - a bit rainy and a bit windy. Last time it was 6 reps and I averaged about 3.11 for each. Today was 8 reps and the plan was a 3.06 average pace.
On my warm-up the "popliteus roulette" game was played once again and this time came up with "minor right knee problem" which meant I click-clacked my way down the hill to the track. Whilst waiting to cross at the traffic lights I massaged and stretched a bit more which made enough of an immediate improvement that it didn't really bother me thereafter (amazing)!
Onto the track and I set out with the intent of building through the session rather than going out at full-tilt and hanging on. When I completed the first rep in 3.04 I thought I may have stuffed up my pacing (!) but it felt ok and I did the next three in 3.03/05/06 so was very happy at half way done. By now there were some folks kicking a footy around and even a few other runners so it didn't feel so lonely, not that it spurred me on or anything. With some good focus I ran the final four reps in 3.04/03/04/04 which was just fantastic. Everything within a 3-second spread, no drop off in speed at the end, and an average of 3.04 for the entire set. Yippee!!!
Wednesday 18 Jun
An easy run tonight at Nike Run Club, leading the 5k beginner group. We had about a dozen at the start, but before we got to Anderson St the group had exploded into mini-groups spread far and wide. I finished the run - right on the designated 7m/k pace - with one runner, Jane, for company. She is planning to do a half marathon at Run Melbourne then her first marathon in October. Very exciting to hear her story! My achilles were both a little tender tonight, but no big deal.
Friday 20 Jun
The last working day of the week and a chance to try out some new runners (and my potential race kicks) for an 8k burst along the Yarra. I saw Rob the Physio for a tune up last night and some final advice for race day. He suggests if I am still feeling good at 32k to go for it, rather than waiting till the last 5k. Popliteus both feeling fine today - no problems - but my left calf/achilles has been a bit sore all week and still is.
Today's run was planed as 8k @4.22m/k so i ran an out-and-back course along the Yarra River. It is pretty flat, but today was a little windy - mostly tailwind out and mostly headwind back so I knew it would be easier/faster at first. All good, no problems with that. The run itself was good. Apart from the calf/achilles I felt controlled and relaxed. Most k's were in the 4.12-16 range with a couple slower and a couple faster. In the end, a good run, if maybe a little quick, with 8k done at 4.15 pace.
I'll need to stretch and massage my calf prior to Sunday's 21k run at Albert Park Lake.
Today is the longest race-pace run on the whole program, a 21k effort at 4.40m/k. Three months ago this would have seemed a vey long stretch, but now it feels like quite a comfortable run - not easy, but comfortable! I took the opportunity to do this as part of an organised event, the Sri Chinmoy Half Marathon at Albert Park Lake. So whilst I would not be racing, at least I would have some company plus drinks etc. My mate David Weeks, who is just beginning on his program for his first marathon in October, came along for the run too.
Weather was pretty much perfect today. Dry, sunny, cool and only a light breeze. The course was four laps of the lake with appropriate "extensions" to make up the distance to 21.1km. My plan was simple - go out at 4.40 pace and keep it there with no variation.
And that is pretty much exactly what we did. The 5k segments were covered in: 23.21, 23.10, 23.03 & 23.18 with a slightly quicker 4.27 m/k last one to finish us off just under 1:38 hrs at 4.38 m/k. It is great to do a half marathon feeling like you could have run a lot faster!
Sri Chinmoy races are famous for the post-race pancakes so we made sure to get a couple of these and at the presentations Dave was good enough to have finished third in his age category (imagine if he was trained and had tried harder)!
My left calf/achilles was not too bad today (probably 80%) and my right popliteus was a minor annoyance only for the first km or so before settling down. Otherwise, most of the "sensations" were good for this race.
Two weeks to go!
Full session details for my whole training plan are here.
Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - Westpac 800's Redux 11.2k @4.45; 8x 800m with 200m walk recovery
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 5.7k @6.56; easy lap of Tan
Friday - Yarra Scoot 8k @4.15; brisk run along the river
Sunday - Sri Chinmoy 21.1k @4.38; comfortable half marathon run
Week 12 (this week): 4 runs, 46.0 km, 3 hrs 45 mins
Week 11: 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: 50 runs, 666.4 km, 56 hrs 03 mins