Thursday, October 15, 2015

16 of 16: Now

Melbourne Marathon 2015 - Week 16 of 16

And so it is race week. My whole year has been working towards this week and the race which caps it off. I've dreamed, I've planned, I've sweated. I've given it everything. And in the last few weeks I've battled a hamstring tendon injury which has threatened to unravel all of this hard work. The time is now. All that matters is what I do now. It all comes down to now.

Tuesday 13 October

Tonight I went to see Rob for my last physio session and he taped up my hammy to try to lift the pressure off it. It felt a bit like getting a butt-lift with some tape and felt completely weird. After this, as it is daylight savings and was a lovely night, I went for a 5k run around home.

This was my best run in ages. I'm clearly not nearly 100% but I could run semi-comfortably at about 4.37 pace, including a couple of km's at 4.33. This was the fastest speed run I've done in weeks and was a bit of a confidence boost!

Thursday 15 October



This final short run has usually been a bit of a celebration, the pace and distance being neither long enough or hard enough to cause any kind of stress. Today, as with most of the last few weeks, it as been another test. A time to see how my hamstring is repairing itself and trying to work out what kind of race I can expect.

After Tuesday's reasonably good run I was optimistic here for another good one. The weather was quite warm (over 30 degrees) and it was a bit windy. My hammy had not felt great all day and I ran accordingly. It was not as fast or as comfortable as Tuesday night and I finished this 5k with a slow 5 min last kilo up the small bridge where on Sunday we will begin the race.


Training Program:

Full session details for my whole training plan here.

Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - Steady As She Goes 5k @4.37; good run after physio
Thursday - One Last Run 5k @4.46; last run - hot

Summary:
Week 16 of 16 (this week): 2 runs, 10.0 km, 0:47 hrs
Week 15 of 16: 3 runs, 27.5 km, 2:18 hrs
Week 14 of 16: 2 runs, 31.6 km, 2:47 hrs
Week 13 of 16: 5 runs, 58.9 km, 4:55 hrs
Week 12 of 16: 5 runs, 65.1 km, 5:19 hrs
Week 11 of 16: 6 runs, 76.1 km, 6:58 hrs
Week 10 of 16: 4 runs, 48.8 km, 3:57 hrs
Week 9 of 16: 5 runs, 65.2 km, 5:30 hrs
Week 8 of 16: 4 runs, 59.0 km, 4:57 hrs
Week 7 of 16: 5 runs, 55.9 km, 4:35 hrs
Week 6 of 16: 4 runs, 44.1 km, 3:31 hrs
Week 5 of 16: 4 runs, 53.3 km, 4:21 hrs
Week 4 of 16: 5 runs, 65.8 km, 5:38 hrs
Week 3 of 16: 4 runs, 58.3 km, 4:46 hrs
Week 2 of 16: 4 runs, 52.4 km, 4:30 hrs
Week 1 of 16: 4 runs, 50.1 km, 4:11 hrs
Total: 66 runs, 812.8 km, 69:07 hrs

Thursday, October 8, 2015

15 of 16: Hang On

Melbourne Marathon 2015 - Week 15 of 16

After a reasonably disastrous last ten days I am just trying to get everything together before race day. I was back at the physio on Tuesday and am on a regime of exercises and light running only. My assessment is that running long or hard causes pain and break down, so I'll keep it to 5-10k runs only at an easy 5m/k+ pace. I just need to hang on and hope that i can give it one incredible effort during the race. I'm not sure that hanging on is the same thing as 'peaking' but this campaign has been reduced to this. Que sera, sera.

Wednesday 7 October


With easy running only on the plan I gave Tuesday's session a complete miss and so started off with Nike Run Club as my first outing this week. I asked to go into a shorter and slower group so was pacing a 5k team at 5.30 pace with one of our new leaders, a young Canadian guy, Jeff. With daylight savings upon us it was fantastic as we could see our whole way around and were able to stop wherever we wanted for our team photo!

Onto more important matters, with an easy pace my hamstring had no concerns. To be honest, this was as good as it has felt on a run since the injury. That said, this was the slowest pace I've run at since then too. But I was hanging on. And it felt ok, so that's encouraging!

Friday 9 October


Another cracking day in Melbourne and a perfect afternoon for running. Today, as with all my runs at the moment, I am not following my original plan and am instead running pretty easy, just trying to keep the legs ticking over without causing undue stress on my hamstring. I did a 7k run which took in just over 5k of the marathon course - the bit around the Tan deep into the race where it starts to get really tough.

The first kilometre was uncomfortable as my body sorted itself out. The little niggles took a bit to settle down, but I was into a rhythm after a mile or so. After this I turned left onto Alexandra Avenue and onto the marathon course.

I felt ok - not bad, not brilliant. The hamstring was noticeable, but not very bad. Of course, I wasn't stretching it out at all so I expected good-ness! I made the decision to test it out just a little on the run down Domain Road and for a kilometre I upped the pace from 5.10's to 4.40. Thankfully everything felt good, but after less than five minutes I reverted to my slower pace to see out the run back around onto Flinders Street.

So a good run done, with a little mini-test, and I passed. Of course, this is a long way from running 42 km's at a pace faster than this little test but it's a start!

Sunday 11 October

Today was my last chance to get in a decent long run prior to the marathon next weekend. It's a distance and pace (16k @4.30) that I have run many times during this preparation, but obviously with my hamstring still misbehaving, today I had quite different aspirations. All I hoped for was a run relatively free of pain, at a sub-5 min pace with hopefully a few kilometres in there at close to race pace.

I set off in the afternoon from Elwood at the bottom end of the marathon course. It was sunny and a south-west wind greeted me, meaning mostly tailwind. The first four km's were quite fast (relatively) with 4.36, 37, 40 & 40. The fifth km along Fitzroy St up the small incline was only slightly slower (4.44), so I went through 5k with an average pace of just under 4.40. This is not fast by any stretch but it is better than I have run in the last couple of weeks and I was pretty pleased.

After a pair of 4.41's a combination of not wanting to push it too much as well as some general hamstring tiredness caused me to slow up and I completed the back 8k of this run at only 4.59 pace. This included the harder section around the Shrine and some slower parts through Southbank and to Port Melbourne with a headwind. I finished the 15.6k at a 4.50 average pace which is my fastest in some weeks.

That I am writing about split times at all says that this was a good run. I was conscious that after about 1h15m my hamstring has become quite fatigued the last couple of weeks so I wanted to keep to no longer than this time. I got to test out a little pace and it wasn't too bad. This is not the run I would have expected a month ago, but it is a run that I am now happy with.

I am keeping optimistic that with another week of rehab and easy running, on race day it will be even better!


Training Program:

Full session details for my whole training plan here.

Strava links for the week:
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 4.9k @5.29; easy run
Friday - Mara-Easy 7k @5.10; easy run with one faster km
Sunday - Last Chance Saloon 15.6k @4.50; ok run over part of marathon course

Summary:
Week 15 of 16 (this week): 3 runs, 27.5 km, 2:18 hrs
Week 14 of 16: 2 runs, 31.6 km, 2:47 hrs
Week 13 of 16: 5 runs, 58.9 km, 4:55 hrs
Week 12 of 16: 5 runs, 65.1 km, 5:19 hrs
Week 11 of 16: 6 runs, 76.1 km, 6:58 hrs
Week 10 of 16: 4 runs, 48.8 km, 3:57 hrs
Week 9 of 16: 5 runs, 65.2 km, 5:30 hrs
Week 8 of 16: 4 runs, 59.0 km, 4:57 hrs
Week 7 of 16: 5 runs, 55.9 km, 4:35 hrs
Week 6 of 16: 4 runs, 44.1 km, 3:31 hrs
Week 5 of 16: 4 runs, 53.3 km, 4:21 hrs
Week 4 of 16: 5 runs, 65.8 km, 5:38 hrs
Week 3 of 16: 4 runs, 58.3 km, 4:46 hrs
Week 2 of 16: 4 runs, 52.4 km, 4:30 hrs
Week 1 of 16: 4 runs, 50.1 km, 4:11 hrs
Total: 64 runs, 811.8 km, 68:19 hrs

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

14 of 16: Get Healthy

Melbourne Marathon 2015 - Week 14 of 16

I am into my taper now and my focus for this week is stunningly simple - get healthy! On Monday morning it was off to the physio, my very good friend Rob O'Donnell at Southern Suburbs Physio Centre who suspects I may have a case of hamstring tendinopathy. He is optimistic and so am I. He has me doing a series of back arches, a bridge and self massage (to 'annoy the tendon') and we'll see later this week how I am going.

Importantly, there is no running until Thursday when I am permitted only to do an easy effort. So this means the Tuesday interval session is out as is Nike Run Club, which will be the first Wednesday I have missed since I began last April. I'm actually pretty sad about that but it is the right thing to do. If I am lucky then I may be back running ok by the weekend. At least that's my plan!

Thursday 1 October


I have rarely been as nervous ahead of a run as I was today. After doing my exercises and NO RUNNING for three days I was desperately keen to see if the rest and treatment was working. No matter f this was having a positive effect or not I knew I'd be apprehensive. I was under strict instructions to run only at an easy pace, so for me I decided that meant do my usual 10k route at just over 5m/k.

My first steps out of the office building were tentative. I wanted to run but I didn't want to run. Maybe knowing would be worse than not knowing .... I took it very easy and it felt ok. I could still feel the twinge, though it was nothing like on the weekend. Of course, after being home yesterday and spending a part of the morning weeding and cleaning (ie, doing lots of squats) I was actually a little sore from that and so found it hard to work out what was causing the sensations.

But it was positive. Certainly an improvement. A couple of times I resisted the temptation to stride out just to see if I could. I'll leave that for the weekend. I remain optimistic that magician-Rob will sort me out. He's good like that. Tomorrow morning - a public holiday here in Melbourne - he will see me again. More good stuff.

I'm looking forward to the weekend run and hopefully being able to stride out again! (Now, if I could just rid myself of this chest infection I've picked up from my family!!!)

Sunday 4 October

Only two runs this week and I had very high hopes for this one. After some rest, exercises, good treatment and promising signs on Thursday I was optimistic that I might be able to run at or very close to my target pace of 4.30 for this half marathon effort today.

It was the start of daylight savings and with a good night's sleep I got out at just after 7am while it was not too warm and the wind was calm!

As has been the case with this injury, I tend to know fairly quickly what kind of run it will be. Unfortunately today the sensations were not good at all. Oddly enough, at first the pain was around on the upper front of my left thigh - not at the back in the hamstring. Go figure! A few times in the first kilometre my leg almost buckled underneath me and I crawled a 5.23 to being with. I kept going, hoping that it work work itself out. After all, last Thursday I had run and felt much better than this.

I gradually tried to pick up the pace on the slow incline up East Boundary Road, covering the next three k's in 4.57, 4.50 and 4.38. My form felt ragged and it was not easy but I wanted to get down to something like my target pace. But it quickly faded and I slowed to near 5 m/k pace then to 5.10's and by 14k I was shot.

It was as if my right hamstring was out in sympathy with the left. I had absolutely no drive through there and it became a struggle just to put one foot in front of the other. The journey up South Rd was horrific, no quicker than my super long and hot 37k run a few weeks back if I allow for time at lights.

This is so upsetting. I wish that the race had been two weeks ago when I was in great form and feeling wonderful. Now I'm just a bit of a physical wreck and, to be honest, am not quite sure how to get right. My goals have rapidly slipped away and I'm staring at just my final goal - finish - to motivate me now!


Training Program:

Full session details for my whole training plan here.

Strava links for the week:
Thursday - Tentative Steps 10.4k @5.08; easy run
Sunday - Going Backwards 21.2k @5.22; very sad run

Summary:
Week 14 of 16 (this week): 2 runs, 31.6 km, 2:47 hrs
Week 13 of 16: 5 runs, 58.9 km, 4:55 hrs
Week 12 of 16: 5 runs, 65.1 km, 5:19 hrs
Week 11 of 16: 6 runs, 76.1 km, 6:58 hrs
Week 10 of 16: 4 runs, 48.8 km, 3:57 hrs
Week 9 of 16: 5 runs, 65.2 km, 5:30 hrs
Week 8 of 16: 4 runs, 59.0 km, 4:57 hrs
Week 7 of 16: 5 runs, 55.9 km, 4:35 hrs
Week 6 of 16: 4 runs, 44.1 km, 3:31 hrs
Week 5 of 16: 4 runs, 53.3 km, 4:21 hrs
Week 4 of 16: 5 runs, 65.8 km, 5:38 hrs
Week 3 of 16: 4 runs, 58.3 km, 4:46 hrs
Week 2 of 16: 4 runs, 52.4 km, 4:30 hrs
Week 1 of 16: 4 runs, 50.1 km, 4:11 hrs
Total: 61 runs, 784.3 km, 66:01 hrs

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

13 of 16: Finish Strong

Melbourne Marathon 2015 - Week 13 of 16

This is the final big week of training before the three week taper to the race begins. Everything so far has held up ok and I'm optimistic about having another week of good runs. My focus this week is on finishing strong - especially for my two main runs - a 13k marathon paced tempo and a very important 32k @4.39 pace on Sunday. It is very important to go into the race knowing that I can run it out strong until the end. Last week's half marathon was a great example of doing this ... some more this week please!

Tuesday 22 September

Another week begins in Melbourne and more of the up-and-down weather which typifies Spring. Today began with rain and even some hail; though by lunchtime the weather was just super-windy (!) but fine and even sunny. Consequently I was over-dressed with a warm undershirt on for my interval run today. The plan was simple: 10x 400's with 400m RI. In past campaigns I have run these at the track or on a measured section of street. Today I ran them over my usual 10k loop beside the Yarra River.

From early steps of the run I didn't feel great. My back was in some degree of pain which was really impacting my stride and form. It was about 3k into the run before this settled down which meant that my first two repeats, though I was pushing hard, were relatively slow at 1.35 apiece. The third was my quickest at 1.26 along a flat if somewhat exposed section of the trail. I think this one is closest to the pace I might have run on a regular track, but who knows!

The remaining seven intervals were all remarkably even in 1.31-34, despite the terrain ranging from flat a super-windy to solidly uphill. The effort was all very similar too with my HR reaching low 160's on each rep. When I look back a year too I can see that my 400m recovery this time round was much quicker (around 2 mins vs around 3 mins last time). So whilst the times are so-so I think this is actually a pretty good set.

And to make things even better, I scored a free six-pack of beer in a promo too. All you had to do was connect up your Strava account and run 6k or more to qualify. Easy-peasy!!

Wednesday 23 September


Another cold evening at Nike Run Club tonight and I was leading a "compact" group of 10k runners with Claire at the royal pace of 6.30m/k. Oddly enough, sometimes a slower pace can make you feel sore as it is not your normal stride. The toenail on my left foot had also cut my toe again (aargh!) so it was an up and down run for mid-week.

Thursday 24 September

Onto Thursday and the morning dawned still and sunny - a perfect start to the day. Of course, by the time I was running it was cool, overcast and windy. Have I mentioned how sick to death I am of this wind!!! The distance and pace (13k @ 4.30) held no fear today. In the last month I've run 2x 16k runs and last weekend a half marathon at this pace. No problems there. But today I woke up with a really sore lower back. It is a weak spot for me and is normally stiff and uncomfortable in the morning, but this was way worse and I took a couple of pain killers to deal with it. So I wasn't really feeling physically great.

The plan for this week is to finish strong, but from pretty early on I was really struggling. My kilometre times were all pretty even, but they felt laboured and hard. None of the relaxed zip I had on Sunday was with me and every step was forced. On the return leg I really noticed the wind, although in retrospect it was probably no worse than most days when I run here.

As for finishing strong, I ran the last 5k in 22.31 (so right on 4.30 pace) compared to 22.22 and 22.19 for the same stretch on my longer 16k runs recently. Not much of a time difference, but it was slower and definitely not much fun.

Tonight I am sore and walking slowly. I am also extremely tired. I really need this rest day tomorrow so that I can have a great final long run on Saturday.

Saturday 26 September

In my thoughts, today is the climactic run of the whole training program. It is the fastest long run at just 9 sec/km slower than marathon pace and everything has been building to this. Unfortunately, on Friday morning, I woke with the worst back-ache I can remember in a long time. My lower back which normally doesn't feel good, was terrible and I was on to the drugs immediately just to be able to function. I was barely making my way around the office on Friday and when I had my customary run the the fish and chip shop with Keira to collect dinner I almost buckled over as nerve pain shot through my left hamstring. This was bad; and I took another wad of drugs that night to try to be right for Saturday.

Come the morning and I could tell that although it felt better it was far from right. I had a choice - run now, or wait it out for a day and hope it improved. I decided to run. Within 100m I could tell this was not going to be great. The nerve pain meant that I could not stride out with my left leg and I was kind of shuffling; each step causing a ripple of pain through my hammy.

My first couple of kilometres, as I tried to work through the pain and hoped that things would 'click' into place, were just off target pace at 4.42. As I began to head down South Rd I tried to gradually pick up the pace but it seemed stuck at around 4.41 or so - occasionally just under, mostly just over. Conditions were ok, a slight headwind (not much) and a fog too until it cleared up after about 90 minutes.

By the time I got to 15k I was at Point Ormond and turning back to start a 17k section on the marathon course. Up to this point I had tried several times to lift the pace, but could not muster anything. My legs just did not want to work, even though my heart rate was very relaxed mid-high 140's. The next 2 km's told the tale for me. Up to this point I still believed I would be able to pick it up and recover my lost seconds. But on this section down to Head St and back that disappeared.

4.40's became a pair of 4.50's and then my back just gave in and I could barely run at all. The final 3k's of my run before I pulled the pin at St Kilda were a 5.05, a 5.42 and finally a crawling 6.00. I was totally broken. I felt miserable. My legs were fine. I had energy, but I could not run. I briefly tried to get going again but it was no use. Around me I could see other runners looking like they too were doing course recce with their runs. I was heartbroken and caught the tram into the city and then home.

This is not how I imagined my preparation would go and is bitterly disappointing at this time. I've made a physio appointment and am off to see my mate Rob O'Donnell on Monday morning. Hopefully something can get sorted out in short order so that I can be running again soon!!

Sunday 27 September

That part of me that hopes miracles happen wanted to run today. I resisted in the morning and rode my bike instead which was just as well as even that caused me pain. By the afternoon, with the sun once again shining brightly I could no longer resist the urge and I packed my runners so that I could run home from Port Melbourne after we visited my dad.

That attempt only lasted ten steps before the pain screeched me to a halt and I, sadly, climbed into the car for the ride home. We stopped at North Rd so the kids could go the the playground there and I once again tried to get into some kind of stride. After a couple of false starts I managed to get going a little. Make no mistake, this was still pretty lousy and a long way from actually running for me, but I was moving.

I got to Brighton Baths then decided to continue on so I could do 5k. I turned at Dendy St, picked up a slight tail breeze and gradually began to wind up the pace. There was nothing fast here. The injury stops me from running freely so I just kind of hobble along, but each km got faster and the last few were in 4.55, 4.50 and 4.46. It was so good to do something, even if it wasn't really running.

This week I need to get it right!


Training Program:

Full session details for my whole training plan here.

Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - 10x 400's Beer Run 10.4k @4.41; 10x 400m with 400m RI
Wednesday - NRC Pacer Home Run 10k @6.25; easy Nike Run Club session
Thursday - Tough 13 13k @4.29; hard marathon pace
Saturday - Broken 20k @4.52; pinched nerves suck
Sunday - Tester. Nope, really broken 5k @4.58; wanted to run long, still in pain

Summary:
Week 13 of 16 (this week): 5 runs, 58.9 km, 4:55 hrs
Week 12 of 16: 5 runs, 65.1 km, 5:19 hrs
Week 11 of 16: 6 runs, 76.1 km, 6:58 hrs
Week 10 of 16: 4 runs, 48.8 km, 3:57 hrs
Week 9 of 16: 5 runs, 65.2 km, 5:30 hrs
Week 8 of 16: 4 runs, 59.0 km, 4:57 hrs
Week 7 of 16: 5 runs, 55.9 km, 4:35 hrs
Week 6 of 16: 4 runs, 44.1 km, 3:31 hrs
Week 5 of 16: 4 runs, 53.3 km, 4:21 hrs
Week 4 of 16: 5 runs, 65.8 km, 5:38 hrs
Week 3 of 16: 4 runs, 58.3 km, 4:46 hrs
Week 2 of 16: 4 runs, 52.4 km, 4:30 hrs
Week 1 of 16: 4 runs, 50.1 km, 4:11 hrs
Total: 59 runs, 752.7 km, 63:14 hrs

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

12 of 16: Pacing

Melbourne Marathon 2015 - Week 12 of 16

This week signifies the end of the third quarter of the marathon training program; and the penultimate big week before tapering for the race. The program and hopefully my fitness really starts to come together now as the race looms large. With a slight tweak to my long run plan for this weekend I am going to have two marathon-paced long runs this week; a 16k on Thursday and a 21k on Sunday. So my theme for this week is 'Pacing' as I really want to focus on getting this dialled in and correct.

Tuesday 15 September

Today was an unusual day. After my super-long and exhausting run on Sunday I wasn't sure how tired my legs would feel for today's speed session. So what did I do ... two speed sessions! The first was my normal/planned one and the second was Nike Run Club's first trial of their Speed Run which I agreed to pace.

But first things first. At lunch time I headed down to Olympic Park to run 3x 1600m with 400m recovery. Of course, as the frequent reader of this blog will know, that track is 520m long so I run 1560m with 520m recovery. (Come to think of it, there is no reason why the recovery cannot be 400m, I just choose to run the full lap ...) The target (mile) pace is somewhere between 6.01 and 6.26, depending on which pacing chart I choose to use. I chose the "Furman 3.15" target of 6.11 which would equate to a 6.02 for this odd distance.

The last time I ran this session (back in week 5) I had stuffed the calculations, ran a slow first rep in 6.07, on target 6.01 second rep then died again for 6.07 to finish. This time I wanted to run absolutely even laps of around 2 min each. The wind was gusting in one direction but I've had worse so was confident I'd be ok!

The first rep was bang on target with an even three laps in 6.01. Everything felt controlled and I was going hard but not flat out. So far so good. An easy recovery then into the second rep which was exactly the same - perfectly even laps to finish in 6.01. I was a little tired now but determined to finish strongly and ran the third rep in 5.59. I was ecstatic with this and let out a little shreik for joy. Just what I wanted and, amazingly, my legs didn't feel so bad.


In the evening it was Nike Run Club and Coach Mathieu Dore had a set of 500m reps at Anderson Street planned for us. I was leading the "5 min group" which meant our reps would be at a target pace of 4.15. The idea was to run at that pace for ~250m leading into Anderson St hill, then turn the corner onto the hill and complete ~250m at that same pace. Strength-endurance as he called it. My group comprised about ten folks, a couple of whom are very fast and ran off in front, the balance of whom just stuck to my tail.

It was pretty hard trying to (a) get the pacing right, (b) offer encouragement, (c) dodge other runners/walkers and (d) keep the pace going up the nasty hill. To be honest I'm surprised it went as well as it did! The first rep was exactly 4.15 pace (a small miracle) but the course was short. Mat fixed this for the subsequent four reps which we ran in 2.05/6/7/8 mins so around 4.18/19 pace. Trust me, no one was complaining that the pace was "too slow" and I think the runners really enjoyed this great challenge.

Lots of fun and for me an 18k day and I feel really good. Bonus!!

Wednesday 16 September


Another cruisy run for Nike Run Club tonight. This one a 10k at 6 min pace with two other run leaders - Hannah and Lexi. We had such fun in a small group and even picked up the pace near the end. All very easy with a nice team dinner to follow!

Thursday 17 September

Today was a serious run (aren't they all)! Another longish marathon paced effort of 16k. I ran the same course as two weeks ago along the Yarra and conditions were fairly similar - cool with a little breeze. I am fairly certain this run did not feel any easier than last time, hence I call them mara-tempo runs as they are certainly an effort, but a controlled one.

I'm sure my Garmin measured slightly differently to last time as I ran past the giant gum tree where previously I turned. Maybe it added 15-20 seconds overall, and I finished in a time about 10 seconds faster. That said, the goal was not to run faster, but to run with less effort than last time so I was trying to stay relaxed and controlled. Without a HR monitor on this time it is hard to say if this effort was less, but it was a good run.

Sunday will be a 21k half marathon race at the same target pace (and along much of the same path/road). Should be fun!

Sunday 20 September

Photo Credit: Instagram @m.l.campbell

Some days stuff just goes well. Today was one of those days! In lieu of a 24k fast finish run I decided to run the Sri Chinmoy Half Marathon at Burnley. The plan was simple - run at target marathon pace (4.30) and I'd have my good mate - and ace runner - David Weeks with me as my personal pacer.

The morning was just brilliant - cool and sunny with only a light breeze. The course there is over a five kilometre loop with a brief and-out-back at the start to bring it up to 21.1km. From the gun we were right into our stride and settled into a pace of ~4.29. After the 'introductory' km we completed the first full 5k lap in 22.25min. All was good and we chatted away as we watched the other runners go by.

The course is essentially flat with only a short 100m long rise in one spot. By now I was right in the groove and we ran a very even pace for the next 10k, completing the next two laps in 22.17 and 22.14. This was perfect and I was very happy. By now the wind had picked up a little and the sun felt a bit warmer. On marathon day this would be hard, but today it was ok.

Feeling good we made the decision to try for a fast finish. I did some rough calculations and worked out that my all-time half marathon PB of 1:33.20 hrs was possible if we really picked it up. The next 3k were good in 4.20/16/15 then on the 'uphill' and into a now stronger breeze I struggled, back to 4.26, but finished at 4.10 pace to close with a 21.23 min last lap and an overall time of 1:33.20!

Two very different races six years apart with identical results. I am very happy with this result, it is exactly what I was hoping for.

On a side note, a long toenail on my left foot cut the adjoining toe again today (this happened in the same spot a couple of weeks back!) I felt it from pretty early on but just ignored the pain - what else can you do! And I also tried some new runners today - a pair of super light Nike Lunaracer+ 3's. These are da-bomb! Like little ninja-slippers on my feet. Very happy with these.


Training Program:

Full session details for my whole training plan here.

Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - Miles Done Better 9k @4.41; 3x 1560m with 520m RI
Tuesday - NRC Pacer Speed Run 8.9k @6.03; 5x 500m Anderson St
Wednesday - NRC Pacer Home Run 10k @5.49; easy run
Thursday - Mara-Tempo 16k @4.29; marathon pace
Sunday - Three Chimneys Half 21.1k @4.25; marathon pace then fast finish

Summary:
Week 12 of 16 (this week): 5 runs, 65.1 km, 5:19 hrs
Week 11 of 16: 6 runs, 76.1 km, 6:58 hrs
Week 10 of 16: 4 runs, 48.8 km, 3:57 hrs
Week 9 of 16: 5 runs, 65.2 km, 5:30 hrs
Week 8 of 16: 4 runs, 59.0 km, 4:57 hrs
Week 7 of 16: 5 runs, 55.9 km, 4:35 hrs
Week 6 of 16: 4 runs, 44.1 km, 3:31 hrs
Week 5 of 16: 4 runs, 53.3 km, 4:21 hrs
Week 4 of 16: 5 runs, 65.8 km, 5:38 hrs
Week 3 of 16: 4 runs, 58.3 km, 4:46 hrs
Week 2 of 16: 4 runs, 52.4 km, 4:30 hrs
Week 1 of 16: 4 runs, 50.1 km, 4:11 hrs
Total: 54 runs, 693.8 km, 58:18 hrs

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

11 of 16: Big

Melbourne Marathon 2015 - Week 11 of 16

My theme for this week is 'Big' as this will be the biggest week of this campaign and I expect to cover around 70-75k, culminating in a 36-38k run on Sunday. I'm looking forward to this week. It is a lot of fun and if I can get safely through this then race day is almost in sight!

Tuesday 8 September

The first session of this week was a series of 1/2k intervals with 400m recovery between each. I ran these on my favourite Yarra path and (yada, yada) windy again ... but hey, nothing I can do about that.

The run itself felt very controlled. I was never running flat out and measured my effort through each rep. None of them were particularly fast and all were slightly slower than the target pace range of 3.46-55 for the 1k and 7.49-8.00 for the 2k. I'm pretty much used to this and it doesn't worry me much any more. I just do them as fast as I can and have some confidence that I am able to run the endurance runs at the required level. So my times today were 3.58/8.02/3.59/4.01. The one that surprises me is actually the 2k time as it really is at the same pace as the shorter efforts. I'm not sure if this means I am 'sandbagging' the short runs??

I did this same session last year and my times today were similar for the 1k reps, solidly faster for the 2k rep and the recoveries were all faster. Overall this continues to add up to me being fitter than at the same time last year and is just the reinforcement I need!

Wednesday 9 September


It was a case of switch then switch again for my Nike Run Club group today. I was rostered for the 10k 6 min group, then changed to the 7 min group and finally, as we were leaving to start our run, moved once again to the 6.30 group. No problemo for me, just means I have to think twice about what pace I am running before we set off. Thankfully, with Nicx at the front it was easy going as we began on a beautiful, crisp Spring evening.

Our group was reasonably compact and stayed together for the most part which was great. A few hundred metres in I even had Danielle run up behind me and join the team so it was a very cruisy 10k chatting away and having fun.

By the way, as of today I have run 1462km which is more than the 1458km I ran for the whole of last year (which in itself was my best year). Very happy, and another reason why I should be confident that I will run a faster marathon next month!

Thursday 10 September

I was surprised at the planned tempo run for today. According to the Furman app I have it was a reasonably easy 8k at marathon pace with warm up and cool down. Considering last week the tempo session was a straight 16k at marathon pace this would be a doddle. I ran my normal Yarra loop, cutting the warm up to 1km and was right into the groove.

My splits were pretty even in 4.29/32/29/28/30/32/24/31 - the 'faster' one being when my Garmin got confused and didn't seem to know what was going on. In any case, all very even, no problems. It was a beautiful Spring afternoon and life was good. Until I returned to the office and went to record my training session in my worksheet and found - to my horror - that perhaps it should have been run at mid-tempo pace of 4.14-4.20. Aaargh!!!!

So, really, I'm not sure what is going on. I'm chalking this up as a successful session, even if I'm not sure I did the "right" one. I know this is not really a big deal in the scheme of things, but is annoying all the same!

Friday 11 September

An unplanned run today. It was a beautiful day - save for a strong wind - and I took the time for a short and easy lap of the Tan at lunch time. Great to be out running without worrying about time or distance or pace.

I have to mention the inside of my right shin has hurt a bit over the last few weeks and still did today. There's one tender spot to touch. Hmm, not sure what this is.

Saturday 12 September

Today there was an all-day session at Nike for all the Run Club "pacers" as we are now called - "run leader" is so last season! It was a pretty cool session where we learned all about the evolution of NRC on a global basis, and we are about to see a whole bunch of new runs introduced into our program. It is very exciting and we were asked to bring our running gear for a couple of sessions.

I kind of thought we may actually be running but, as it turned out and for good reason, there was little actual running and most of time was spent learning the drills and extra stuff that goes into the sessions. On the plus side, this is just fantastic as it is all about turning runners into athletes which, of course, will make them better runners. It is very cool. On the down side, I am (currently) very much a runner, and not much of an athlete, so the drills, jumping squats, one legged work etc just made me very sore.

Aaargh! So the day before the longest run of my program I did new stuff that has left me sore and less able to run. Hmm, maybe not the smartest thing I've ever done.

Sunday 13 September


Today was all about going long. This is my "Rod O'Donnell Session" named after my physio who suggested that I need to do at least one very long easy run in the program. Last year, for Gold Coast Marathon, I really felt like this session helped me know that I could run out the full distance and I was keen to do about 3h15m or somewhere between 36-38k.

The weather this weekend has been warm and today the warmest. It was also windy with a strong northerly blowing (of course). So by the time I left home it was already 20 degrees and it would reach 24 by the time I had finished. And the wind blew at 20-30kph so it was less than perfect for running. Though of course it was a wonderful day to be out and about so every man, woman and child was down at the beach or so it seemed - making the path a crowded affair.

I set my early pace at 5.15-5.20 and wanted to pretty much maintain it somewhere in that range. When I turned onto the beach I really noticed the wind. Not being too fussed about my precise speed I let the pace drop a little over the Brighton 'bumps' then it sat pretty much right on target all the way to Port Melbourne. I turned at the Centenary Bridge pylon with 18.79km done at an average of 5.19 m/k. This was at the slow end of my plan but the heat and wind was noticeable - and I wasn't in a hurry so who cares! I was more focussed on trying to keep everything easy as I knew it would soon get hard!

With the wind at my back I found I didn't really get any quicker and the next 6-7k passed at pretty much the same pace as the previous 6-7. Now that I look at my stats I can see that at around 26k as I passed through Point Ormond near Elwood my pace noticeably slowed. The next 4k were all 5.23-26 but the real damage was yet to come and they would be my fastest k's from that point on.

I was now at Brighton Baths and stopped for a long drink. I had the last of three gels and with just over 8k to go - much of it uphill - I settled in for the big push. I ran the next two in 5.33/35 and then turned up South Road. My plan before the run was to go harder up here, lifting my average pace and finishing strong. But now that had been jettisoned and I just wanted to get home.

Five minute km's became six minute km's and threatened to get even slower. I've had worse runs along here, but not many! About all I could focus on was trying not to let my average pace fall below 5.30, a feat I managed to do, finishing the 37.1km in 3:23 at 5.29 min/km. That was hard! Certainly not the same "sensations" I had a year ago on the equivalent run. On the positive side, the conditions were hard and it always takes a few runs to acclimatise to warm weather so better that I start to do that now!

And so Big was certainly achieved for this week. Six days of running (ok, maybe five if I exclude yesterday) and 76k's covered which is my biggest week ever.


Training Program:

Full session details for my whole training plan here.

Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - 2 and 1's 10.4k @4.33; 1k/2k/1k/1k
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 10k @6.24; very easy run
Thursday - Spring Returns 10.4k @4.36; tempo 8k @4.30
Friday - Cruisy Tan 6.4k @5.14; easy lap of the Tan
Saturday - NRC Pacer Drills 1.6k @13.22; drills and stuff
Sunday - Easy Gets Hard 37.1k @5.29; longest run, windy and warm

Summary:
Week 11 of 16 (this week): 6 runs, 76.1 km, 6:58 hrs
Week 10 of 16: 4 runs, 48.8 km, 3:57 hrs
Week 9 of 16: 5 runs, 65.2 km, 5:30 hrs
Week 8 of 16: 4 runs, 59.0 km, 4:57 hrs
Week 7 of 16: 5 runs, 55.9 km, 4:35 hrs
Week 6 of 16: 4 runs, 44.1 km, 3:31 hrs
Week 5 of 16: 4 runs, 53.3 km, 4:21 hrs
Week 4 of 16: 5 runs, 65.8 km, 5:38 hrs
Week 3 of 16: 4 runs, 58.3 km, 4:46 hrs
Week 2 of 16: 4 runs, 52.4 km, 4:30 hrs
Week 1 of 16: 4 runs, 50.1 km, 4:11 hrs
Total: 49 runs, 628.7 km, 52:59 hrs

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

10 of 16: Strength

Melbourne Marathon 2015 - Week 10 of 16

My training plan is now into double figures (week ten) and I am starting to nail more of my sessions. This week my theme is 'strength' as I want to finish all my runs feeling strong, as though I could keep going further or run faster. I want to start to feel on top of this program, not just keeping up with it.

Tuesday 1 September

Spring has sprung! Or at least that's what everyone's Instagram posts were telling me today. I wasn't so sure, but when I got outside at lunch time there was no doubting it. The weather was just that little bit warmer and the wind had even died down a bit too. This was a great day for a run!

The session was similar to one I did last year, though the program from Furman's app has only four reps (the book had six). I did four, but felt let off a couple. Target pace was somewhere between 4.31-47 for each rep. I ran down to near Punt Road along the southern side of the Yarra and would run a 1200m course down to the steps just west of Swan Street bridge. After a two-minute rest interval I'd run back. Repeat four times and that was the main set.

On the first interval I started reasonably and looked at my watch about 200m in. It said I was at about 3.45 pace so that was spot on. I kept what I thought was an even tempo for the balance and was pretty shocked to see a 4.55 on the clock when I finished. Aargh!!! I think this was laziness and inattention more than feeling bad. I resolved to actually run harder on the next rep.

I was pleased to see a 4.32 for the second rep and a similar time of 4.34 for the third. By now I was getting tired, but I think that is the idea, and the fourth rep was good at 4.37 without being special. Overall I did them reps on a good average pace but they weren't as even as I'd like.

Compared to a year ago they were definitely faster, so once again I get confirmation that I am in better shape this time. And my achilles - it was no bother!

Wednesday 2 September


Tonight kept the theme from last Thursday's Nike Run Club 'Fastest Mile' event, being another wet and cold affair. We've been pretty lucky in general, but tonight was solid rain for the whole run of the 10k run. Not that it made a difference to us. There were no complaints and lots of laughs being had in the 5.30 group as we returned to the standard even paced runs after eight weeks of tempo, intervals and magic miles.

Thursday 3 September

I wasn't sure where I'd fit this run in today. Normally my lunch runs are 45-50 mins in length but this one was a 16k tempo run and was going to take nearly an hour and a quarter. Luckily I could arrange my schedule in a way that meant I could take a longer lunch break and just work later into the evening to make up the time. Thank goodness for flexible work arrangements (and a lack of meetings today). Like many other runs in this campaign, it would be my fastest long tempo run that I'd ever done - at a marathon pace of 4.30 min/km.

In keeping with my mantra this week of strength I wanted to make sure I was in control for this whole run. This meant running steadily, not banking any time, and dealing with the inevitable wind. I ran an out-and-back course along the Yarra River from the city all the way out to the Yarra Boulevard at Richmond where Sri Chinmoy hold their races.

The run itself was pretty standard. This pace doesn't feel easy, but it is not hard. Maybe a 6.5 out of 10 on the difficulty scale, rising a bit towards the end as the effort needs to increase. The wind was a factor, but I didn't let it bother me, and I focussed on trying to run every split the same.

My outbound splits were pretty good: 4.30/29/31/31/34/29/32/33. The 'slow' km was over the small undulations near MacRobertson Bridge, so I was only 8 sec behind pace at half way and felt good. I didn't really try to pick up the pace at all, but just wanted to continue to run strong. I ran the return 8k in splits of 4.30/26/27/27/28/28/27/30 to finish 10 sec ahead of pace. This is pretty bloody perfect as far as I am concerned and I was really happy.

As a comparison, I ran the same session last year around home, so a slightly flatter course. My heart rate stats for each 8k are identical (bizarre) but my speed this time is 9 sec/km quicker. I think that's more validation that I am in better shape and should be confident about my race goal.

Sunday 6 September

Today, Father's Day, and a chance to do whatever I wanted! It started off nicely with a cafe ride with Brooke which I always love. By the time we were making our way home the north wind was starting to pick up. (Have I said how much I am hating the wind these days!) The forecast was for it to get stronger throughout the day which it did. I spent the early part of the afternoon at the shops with my family then I just lay on my bed and slept; doing anything - or nothing - to avoid going for my planned long run. I was due to do a 'fast finish' 24k and had been looking forward to this, but it all got too hard and as the time passed, then got away from me, it looked like I'd actually do nothing at all.

At five o'clock I jumped up and got dressed to run. Out the door a minute later and it was straight into a 13k circuit down Dendy St to the beach then returning via South Rd. I was feeling a little angry, or emotional, not really sure, but didn't run sensibly. I decided I wanted a steady run to the beach then hard on the return. I started ok, but with second and third kilometres of 4.30 then 4.18 I was just being silly. I backed right off and ran the one in 4.32 then four km's in the 4.40's.

Heading up South Rd and I really tried to pick it up. Slightly uphill and with a cross-headwind I ran the next five k's in 4.34/29/34/18/30 - adjusted for the gradient that makes them all sub-4.20's. So I did get my 'fast finish' to the run, even if I didn't do the extra 11k that the plan called for. Not what the plan called for, but a long way from a total disaster.


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

Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - 1200's 9.7k @5.16; 4x1200
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 10k @5.32; easy run in the rain
Thursday - Marathon Tempo 16k @4.29; even paced 10 miler
Sunday - Hour of Power 13.2k @4.34; hard hour in lieu of 24k long run

Summary:
Week 10 of 16 (this week): 4 runs, 48.8 km, 3:57 hrs
Week 9 of 16: 5 runs, 65.2 km, 5:30 hrs
Week 8 of 16: 4 runs, 59.0 km, 4:57 hrs
Week 7 of 16: 5 runs, 55.9 km, 4:35 hrs
Week 6 of 16: 4 runs, 44.1 km, 3:31 hrs
Week 5 of 16: 4 runs, 53.3 km, 4:21 hrs
Week 4 of 16: 5 runs, 65.8 km, 5:38 hrs
Week 3 of 16: 4 runs, 58.3 km, 4:46 hrs
Week 2 of 16: 4 runs, 52.4 km, 4:30 hrs
Week 1 of 16: 4 runs, 50.1 km, 4:11 hrs
Total: 43 runs, 552.6 km, 46:00 hrs

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

9 of 16: Consistency

Melbourne Marathon 2015 - Week 9 of 16

After what seems an endless few weeks of up-and-down training my theme for this week is going to be consistency. I'd like to be consistent within each run and from day-to-day. I'd like to have a solid week of feeling good about what I am doing and how I am doing it. I'd like a series of runs where I feel on top of my form - comfortably uncomfortable as some say. And I'd like all of this starting today!!!

Tuesday 25 August

After my great run on Sunday my legs were feeling suitably tired yesterday and even today they were less than zippy. My right calf seems good, but my left achilles is a bit tender and I was somewhat apprehensive about today's sprints. When I looked out of my office window at midday and it was raining it was all I could do to actually drag myself out of my chair and down to the change rooms.

By the time I ventured outside the rain had cleared and it was ok for running. Damp underfoot (obviously) but not cold and a light-moderate breeze blowing. I am sure that on one of these sprint days I will get calm weather, but that was not today.

I headed down to Olympic Park which is becoming a regular now. Last year it was more 'street speed' but this year it is Olympic Park with its weird 520m track. The session was simple and straightforward - 2x 1600m at 6.11-6.26 pace then 2x 800m at 2.57-3.05 pace, all with 1 min rest interval.

Now for a side note about these training paces. My program is a bit two-headed this year, or perhaps even four-headed depending on how you want to count your heads. But I digress! I am following the Furman FIRST program once again but am using the McMillan pace ranges for some of the faster runs. And, to complicate it even more, I started with the 3.15 program and am now trying to use the 3.10 pace targets. Stay with me here as I give you an example ... Furman has a 1600m rep time of 6.11 (3.15 plan) and 6.01 (3.10 plan) whereas McMillan has a range of 6.25-37 (3.10) and 6.16-26 (3.10). Go figure, so that means McMillan reckons I can run slower on his faster plan than Furman has me going on his slower plan. So I have kind of Frankenstein-ed the whole thing and have a 6.11-26 target on my 3.10 plan. All of which is, to say, that there probably is no single road to success!!

All of the above is in the "Training Paces" section of my Training Plan worksheet which is linked below; and each week I look at it again just to be sure of how fast I should be running.

Now, if all of this isn't enough, since I am running on the 520m track my actual interval distances are not 'standard' so today I ran 1560m and 820m which meant I had to do even more time conversions to work out 'equivalent' times for the regular plan. Ridiculous!! Let's be super-simple - I try to run as fast as I can for any rep whilst keeping the times consistent!

Today there was a kids footy match on at Olympic Park (it doubles as Collingwood's training facility hence the odd distance and shaped track) so I had to be careful of balls coming at me as a zoomed around on each rep. The first rep went by in 6.01 which I knew was very quick, right at the top end of expectations. It took a lot out of me. My achilles was in pain and I was doubled over the fence trying to catch my breath during my minimal 1 min rest. Of course, when you are tired the wind seems much worse and I was rather pedestrian in my second rep, doing a 6.15 (aargh)! So much for consistency!!!! These times calculate out to 6.10 and 6.25 for 1600m so bizarrely on plan or close enough to it. I'd have preferred to run a pair of 6.08's but stuffed this up.

On to the 800's (or 820's) and I did 3.10 (OMG, I am getting worse) followed by an acceptable 3.05. These are 3.05 and 3.03 equivalents so again right in the target range but they did not feel good at all. I really struggled with these and on my first day of "consistency" I ran probably my most inconsistent track times for ages. Go figure!

I have ice on my achilles tonight and hope a couple of easier days of running might help it recover.

Wednesday 26 August



Tonight's Nike Run Club run was the last in our eight week Zoom Boom promotion leading into tomorrow night's Fastest Mile event. In the course of this series we have introduced runners to some tempo, fartlek, intervals and the fast mile. It has been a lot of fun and tonight was a more relaxed session with just the mile then running according to our pace plan. We had to make a small detour around William Barak Bridge which was closed off at our normal ramp and so we got in a 'bonus' 500m for the night. It was a good gentle run, and even though I ran with heel raisers I could still feel my left achilles.

Thursday 27 August

Tonight, on a cold and rainy Melbourne evening, we did our Nike Run Club Fastest Mile event at Lakeside Stadium in South Melbourne. It was a bit sad that we had such poor weather because only 20 or so people turned up for what was a fantastic evening. After some warm ups and drills from our coach Mathieu Dore, it was into our fastest mile. We had the legit starters gun and full electronic timing and I led the 8.30 mile group. We set a modest tempo around the track and after 800m I had lost one off the front and all bar one of the rest off the back. With 200m to go I ramped it up slightly to bring my last runner through the line in 8.27. It was a lot of fun - and even the rain and wind died down for the mile. If we could do it all again on a balmy autumn evening it would be just fantastic!

Friday 28 August

It was back to the future on Friday as I did my tempo 7k on this day (just like old times) before I switched it up to a Thursday. I was conscious of a couple of things: firstly that my achilles was still not very happy with life - possibly not helped by now running on it for four consecutive days - and that in a week with the theme of consistency I had run a poor first session and now faced a generally bigger task of running an extended distance at a set pace. The day was somewhat windy but not horrible and I was optimistic that I could "hit the target" for the main set of 7k @4.14-4.20 pace.

I planned my "old faithful" course around the Yarra, incorporating just a 1k warm up before getting into the business. The first 3k were 4.16/16/13 which was good - conservative, not blowing myself up, and I felt in control. The fourth km is a bit harder and takes me up and over the freeway bridge and I was happy to get this done in 4.17. A stock-take at this point and I felt strong, average pace was on target at around 4.15-16 and I believed I could run this one out. The final few km I ran in 4.09 (nice!), 4.15 (up the incline at stop to Chapel St) then a 4.07 to finish off feeling great.

I was really pleased with this run, completing the 7k main set at 4.13m/k so one second faster than the quick end of my target pace. It felt very good going into the weekend with this one done so well.

Sunday 30 August

After my first Saturday ride in a while and another ride down to St Kilda to met instafriend Adam Murphy for this run, I was a bit worried that I may have used up a bit too much energy going into the most challenging long run of the campaign so far. At MP+19 sec/km this was to be a 32k effort at 4.49 pace. This would equal the fastest long run I'd done in training for Gold Coast - and I still have seven weeks (and faster pacing) to come. The plan on this almost pan-flat course was to run easy out to Sandringham (10k), gradually pick up the pace down to Port Melbourne (26k) then steady to the finish at St Kilda (32k). Or, in other words, we'd probably be 20 or so seconds behind target at 10k which we'd gradually reel back in then run the last 6-10k on exactly 4.49 target pace. Time would tell!

This was also the longest run I've done with someone else which meant two things for me. First was the small pressure not to crack (umm, that would be embarrassing) and, second, I suspected chatting away may slow us down somewhat. And so, when we turned at Sandy with 10k done at 4.52 pace (30 seconds behind) it was not completely unexpected.

The next 3k didn't get any better and so I tried to lift the pace so we could pull the deficit back. Unfortunately the next 3k were only covered in 4.46/48/50 so I began to get a bit worried. We had a cross-tail breeze which was 'freshening' as they say and with 16k done we were still averaging 4.51 so I was still 30 seconds back from where I wanted to be. Of course, in the grand scheme of things this is absolutely no big deal, but in my head I wanted my 4.49 pace and so after another 4.49 km apparently (I didn't realise this at the time) I put the hammer down and we ran a 4.38 then a 4.44. We got back to St Kilda now averaging 4.50 which was better, but still 20 seconds off. I was getting concerned.

By now I was really starting to feel tired and the wind became more cross- than anything so it was just hard. My heart rate was rising as it normally does but was still controlled. It was time to step it up. The next 5k went by in 23.47 (4.45 pace) and so for the first time I saw a 4.49 cumulative average on my watch. I was very happy but this had come at some expense. My HR was up to mid-150's and I was only just hanging on. I was really glad to make the final turn at Port Melbourne and be heading back to St Kilda.

At this point I thought back to last week where I ran the last 6k up South Rd and felt good. This would be a much easier course (dead flat) but I definitely didn't feel nearly as good, even though the average pace was the same. We ran these last kilometres pretty evenly at 4.48 pace and I was pretty happy to finish. My heart rate was now over 160 so this effort had come at a toll. Oddly enough, my achilles felt perfectly fine, but I was exhausted. This was a great run to finish and looked perfect on paper, but it wasn't anything like I thought it would be.

The end of a big week, 65k done, and time to look forward again.


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

Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - Watching Footy 8.1k @4.45; 2x 1600m and 2x 800m
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 10.5k @5.30; easy run with magic mile
Thursday - Nike Run Club 4.2k @8.06; warm up, drills and fastest mile (8.30 group)
Friday - Hit The Target 10.4k @4.27; incl tempo 7k @4.13
Sunday - Run With Murphy-Man 32k @4.49; long run ... a bit hard

Summary:
Week 9 of 16 (this week): 5 runs, 65.2 km, 5 hrs 30 mins
Week 8 of 16: 4 runs, 59.0 km, 4 hrs 57 mins
Week 7 of 16: 5 runs, 55.9 km, 4 hrs 35 mins
Week 6 of 16: 4 runs, 44.1 km, 3 hrs 31 mins
Week 5 of 16: 4 runs, 53.3 km, 4 hrs 21 mins
Week 4 of 16: 5 runs, 65.8 km, 5 hrs 38 mins
Week 3 of 16: 4 runs, 58.3 km, 4 hrs 46 mins
Week 2 of 16: 4 runs, 52.4 km, 4 hrs 30 mins
Week 1 of 16: 4 runs, 50.1 km, 4 hrs 11 mins
Total: 39 runs, 503.9 km, 42 hrs 2 mins

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

8 of 16: Half Way

Melbourne Marathon 2015 - Week 8 of 16

This week marks half way in my marathon training program and by the end of this week I will have a really good sense of where I am placed and how realistic my goal looks. As is often the case for me I have found the first month a little hard as my body adapts to the rigours of sprints, intervals and tempo workouts. By now I am normally well into the swing of things and am looking to increase my target as my fitness improves. But, being a little more optimistic this time, I increased that a couple of weeks ago and so everything still feels pretty hard.

This and the next four weeks are the really big ones. I've got to make them a success!

Tuesday 18 August

I normally run at lunch time these days but my work schedule today meant that I did not get out as planned and so deferred my run until the evening. It was a good night in Melbourne, cool with hardly a breath of wind and so I went down to Olympic Park for my session of 400's. The plan was two sets of 6x 400m in 1.24-27 with 90 sec rest between each rep and 2.30min between sets. Given the odd distance of Olympic Park I would run the 400m then walk 120m during the recovery to complete a full lap.

From the start I felt pretty good. Each rep followed a similar pattern where I'd run strong for about 250m then hang tough for the last 150m. None of them were flat out and I quickly dialled in a pace of about 1.24 for each rep. The range between fastest and slowest was only 4 seconds which I am pretty pleased with.

Unfortunately my calves are still feeling tender and though they are not stopping or hindering me, I certainly know they are there. Would like to get these under control before very long.

Overall, quite pleased with tonights first session for the week, I certainly found the 400's to be far more manageable in pace than the longer 800-1660m reps I have been doing.

Wednesday 19 August


Nike Run Club tonight and another chance for me to lead with my now favourite - and mostly the only - group I run with, the 5.30 pace 10k group. This is a really great team and we normally have in excess of 20 people running with us. This week was the first chance for me to lead with one of our newer leaders, Claire Hodgart, a speedy track athlete; and so I dutifully pointed her to the front of our bunch and off we went!

In addition to our now standard magic mile we did 3x 1k efforts at about 5m/k pace. Most folks did really well with this pace, though a few struggled as we would expect. It has been great to see the general improvement in everyone over the last seven weeks and next week we bring the Zoom Boom campaign to a close with our 'fastest mile' run on Thursday.

Felt  good tonight, though legs still tired.



Thursday 20 August

When I looked out my window at work today I could see a mostly sunny day with a bit of cloud cover. A short time later when I got outside I discovered the rather nasty wind that was blowing and which would make my tempo run along the Yarra another blustery affair.

The prevailing north west wind is essentially behind me on the way out, unfortunately when I am mostly protected by the freeway and bridges, then right in my face when I have nothing but clear water beside me on the return leg. All of which is to say that when you have a crap run you reach into the grab-bag of excuses to help explain why you ran like rubbish!

My legs have not yet recovered fully from City to Surf and I am having good runs followed by bad runs. They are consistently sore, my calves especially. I am walking slowly and today running was a drag. But I was still optimistic of being able to meet my target pace of somewhere between 4.04 and 4.10 for the 5k. After a mile warmup down to Morell Bridge it was into my work.

The kilometre splits really tell the story: the first one was a 4.04 so not super-fast and right on target. I felt ok at this stage. The second was a 4.11, a bit slower, but not outrageously so. The third km takes in the small rises up to Macrobertson Bridge and I slowed here to a 4.20. Not wonderful and getting slower but this is a harder km so I thought I was still good to bring it home fast. Then it went south. Well, actually, I went west, but my times went south! Into varying levels of cross- and head-winds I began to struggle. I had no zip, no power, no nothing; and crawled the fourth km in 4.17; only to get worse and finish the last one in 4.32.

So where I'd hoped to complete 5k in 20.20 or so, I was a rather woeful 21.24. I jogged miserably back to the finish where I hoped I could just crawl into a hole.

What have I learned? I though about this a lot in the final few k's of my run today. I'm not really sure is the short answer. I am not certain what my body is telling me. Perhaps it is just tired and needs some rest and maybe a good massage on the legs to get them going again. Or maybe shifting up the target paces is too much. Maybe I am trying to 'force' my speed to this level, rather than letting it come to me. In any case, I need to monitor this very carefully. My long run on the weekend will tell me an important tale.

Sunday 23 August


My training at the moment is proving to be a real rollercoaster ride and today it was back to a high as I tackled a 29k long run. It was a beautiful day in Melbourne, sunny and hardly a breath of wind, and running was a real joy.

After Thursday's debacle I had left two full days of recovery with not even a bike ride to break the monotony. I slept a lot over those two days and just tried to get my legs into some kind of shape again. I was a little apprehensive when I headed out this morning as I was not sure how I'd feel, but within a km I could sense that I'd be ok. The course was the reverse version of one I did a few weeks ago down to mentone then back along the beach before returning up South Road.

When I look back to my training from years gone by I would rarely have selected a course like this do do my long runs on the basis that any inclines slow you down and the fewer of these the better as I am trying to target a specific pace. These days I'm not so worried and figure that the small undulations just help to make me stronger as I progress towards my goal.

And when it comes to pacing I now usually follow the "Weeks Method" (named after my good mate David who first showed me how successful this can be) and keep an even pace throughout rather than trying to 'bank' time for a late slowdown. On a course like this where the last 6k is reasonably challenging as it rolls steadily upwards it means dealing with both the mental and physical challenge of maintaining pace late in a run. I think this has served me well and should do so again.

I started off very easily with a first km in just 4.59 and gradually picked up the pace over the next 5k, turning onto the beach at Parkdale and passing 10k at a 4.51 average. This was the easy part of the run - feeling fresh and mostly downhill. I knew the next 13k along the beach to South Road would be the tester. I made a conscious effort to pick up the pace a little here even though the terrain is a bit up-and-down through Beaumaris. I did this section at 4.48 pace and so turned up South Road with 6k to go right on my target pace of 4.49.

Now the challenging bit! To run successfully up here I need to lift my effort so that my pace can stay even and on plan. When I look at the data I can see I did just that, upping the HR from 152 to 157 and logging a solid pace of 4.47 for the last 6k. I have rarely run under 30 min for this section and did so today whilst feeling very controlled. I arrived back home with 29k done right on 4.49m/km. I could not be happier with this run; a great end to what started as a good week and had a mid-stream blip just to thrown me off. Next week: consistency!


Training Program:

Full session details for my whole training plan here.

Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - 12x400 Chewy Mints 9.5k @5.35; 12x 400m
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 10.1k @5.29; incl 3x 1k and magic mile
Thursday - O Legs Why Have You Abandoned Me 10.3k @4.45; incl 5k tempo @4.17
Sunday - Sunny Days Are Here Again 29k @4.49; beautiful long run

Summary:
Week 8 of 16 (this week): 4 runs, 59.0 km, 4 hrs 57 mins
Week 7 of 16: 5 runs, 55.9 km, 4 hrs 35 mins
Week 6 of 16: 4 runs, 44.1 km, 3 hrs 31 mins
Week 5 of 16: 4 runs, 53.3 km, 4 hrs 21 mins
Week 4 of 16: 5 runs, 65.8 km, 5 hrs 38 mins
Week 3 of 16: 4 runs, 58.3 km, 4 hrs 46 mins
Week 2 of 16: 4 runs, 52.4 km, 4 hrs 30 mins
Week 1 of 16: 4 runs, 50.1 km, 4 hrs 11 mins
Total: 34 runs, 438.7 km, 36 hrs 31 mins

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

7 of 16: Re-ignite

Melbourne Marathon 2015 - Week 7 of 16

I am well into the middle section of the marathon training program and it is time to get the big, hard work done. After an easier (?) week last week culminating in the City to Surf race I need to quickly get back into the swing of the full marathon program. The challenge is do this this whilst allowing enough recovery from what is a very tough event and one that tends to trash your legs for a week or so. My mantra this week will be 'Re-ignite' as that is what I feel I need to do to get back onto the main track after my little diversion!

Tuesday 11 August

After Sunday's City to Surf my legs were not yet ready for a hard interval session so I ditched this in favour of a shorter and easier recovery run. There was a bit of a breeze blowing along the river, but it was not so bad once I crossed the road for my easy lap of the Tan Track.

It was a lot of fun to run in the sunshine at no particular pace, just for sheer joy, and my legs felt ok whilst doing it - even if they are still sore once I stop!

Wednesday 12 August

Back to Nike Run Club tonight and another 10k run with the 5.30 group. This week was another big group of around 25 people and we headed via the MCG to Fitzroy Gardens where we completed our magic mile. Then it was over to the Olympic Boulevard and around the Tan to complete our 10k. We also did a solid 4k effort too which really extended the team a little. I could tell it was a challenging pace as the chatter stopped and the breathing became more pronounced. It was a lot of fun as usual!


Thursday 13 August

My legs are still not 100% but they are good enough for this tempo set. Last week's pace changes meant the 9.5k tempo should be at 4.23 m/k but I set a target of between this pace and the previous target of 4.29 with a plan to see how I felt.

Thankfully I felt a whole lot better than last weeks tempo run where I struggled at 4.21 pace. Right from the start I was just under 4.30 and despite a slight diversion at Punt Road because the path was closed, I held a pretty even pace the whole way.

I'd rate my intensity here at about 7 out of 10 so a long way from full gas. It was good to be running reasonably strong. My right calf is a little sore (I felt it twinge on Monday and it hasn't come good yet) and my upper back isn't feeling great either. Minor stuff, just have to monitor it and see how it goes.

I'm looking forward to Sunday's 21k run!

Saturday 15 August


Today in Melbourne was pretty good for winter. The wind was not too bad and the sun was out. I once again bypassed a Saturday ride so that I could do my long run today and get an extra day of rest or a light run in on Monday. The plan was for a 21k run at 4.39 pace (MP +9sec/km). This was by far the fastest planned run I have attempted as a result of me changing up the pace ranges last week. Last year my target marathon pace was 4.40 so this is a big step up and I am going to be wary as I could end up 'racing' my training runs if I'm not careful.

The course I ran was a reverse of the Henry Dendy's Brighton run I did a month back. On that day I struggled my way to a 4.59m/k average and it was not good. To go a full 20 sec/km quicker seemed a big step up. I headed off down South Road and my form was a bit ragged. Some days I feel smooth, and others it just feels a bit less fluid. Unfortunately this was one of those days. I could still feel that my legs were sore/tired from last weeks race so I'm sure that was part of it too.

A slower first km then a couple of quicker ones, then right onto target pace. I turned onto the Beach Rd at just over 6k averaging 4.37 so I was right on target. This part is slightly downhill and I knew the return up North Road might be a couple of seconds slower so this was right where I wanted to be. The good part about the next 3k or so is that it is along the beach path and so you get to see other runners. Sometimes this makes a real difference, just being able to see people out and about and it takes your mind off yourself for a while. Picking up a slight tailwind here my pace increased to 4.36 m/k but still in an ok range.

By 10k I was onto North Road for the long haul back towards home. This is quite an undulating section with some steady rises and also a few short and steep ones. Despite the odd minor downhill it is gradually going up and I was pleased to run at 4.40 pace for this section even if it came with a small increase in heart rate.

Turning onto East Boundary Road and I wanted to pick up the pace but my legs were just tired. Even though it is a net downhill here I was only able to get down to 4.38 m/k and even a last km push only rendered a 4.41 km to finish. Overall this was a hard run on tired legs (with a right calf that is not very happy about life either). Good to get it done, but not 'butterflies and unicorns!'

Sunday 16 August

After a nice bike ride with Brooke this morning to the cafe, on a beautiful afternoon I went out for an easy 5k recovery run. All good. A nice way to end the weekend!


Training Program:

Full session details for my whole training plan here.

Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - Cruisy Tan 7.9k @5.20; easy lap of the Tan
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 9.9k @5.31; magic mile and tempo
Thursday - Down, Around and Back 11.5k @4.34; incl tempo 9k @4.27
Saturday - Reverse Henry Dendy 21.2k @4.38; faster long run
Sunday - Suburban 5 5.3k @5.06; easy 5k recovery

Summary:
Week 7 of 16 (this week): 5 runs, 55.9 km, 4 hrs 35 mins
Week 6 of 16: 4 runs, 44.1 km, 3 hrs 31 mins
Week 5 of 16: 4 runs, 53.3 km, 4 hrs 21 mins
Week 4 of 16: 5 runs, 65.8 km, 5 hrs 38 mins
Week 3 of 16: 4 runs, 58.3 km, 4 hrs 46 mins
Week 2 of 16: 4 runs, 52.4 km, 4 hrs 30 mins
Week 1 of 16: 4 runs, 50.1 km, 4 hrs 11 mins
Total: 30 runs, 379.7 km, 31 hrs 34 mins

  © Blogger template 'Morning Drink' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP