Thursday, July 2, 2015

1 of 16: A New Start

Melbourne Marathon 2015 - Week 1 of 16

Well, here I am at the beginning of another marathon campaign. This time I am targeting the Melbourne Marathon on 18 October. I begin this build up in reasonable shape, but not quite where I had hoped to be. Through the start of 2015 and right up until March I was running really well and was doing some long runs on weekends in conjunction with the Nike+ Run Club Run for the Kids training sessions. By the end of March I had just under 500km in my legs vs less than 200km at this time last year.

Then came my shoulder surgery which set me back for a few weeks and it was only in the last week of April that I got going again. Into May and at the start of the month I did "the double" of Puffing Billy Great Train Race and Wings for Life World Run on one day. I was exhausted and did very little the following week before getting sick a week later. By mid-May I was in the doldrums, running a pedestrian Sri Chinmoy Half Marathon at Como Landing in my sick state.

Keen to start getting some decent weeks worth of kilometres back into my legs I again ramped it up, with my first 50km week in a month to start June. This was punctuated by an awful 8x 1km workout where everything was just super-hard. I had no zip. My body was just not responding. A somewhat shorter week followed, but this finished with perhaps my worst run so far, a "long" run where I could only manage 10k at 5.17m/k pace. Struggle Street it was and I was still not completely over the cold I had contracted a month earlier.

A very easy week followed in mid-June, my cold flared up again, and I became even more frustrated. Last week was just under 50k including a tempo 10k (hard but ok) and a 19k run to "Emerald City" in the Dandenongs with my run club friend Adam. I got through and did not feel bad, but was not good. Which brings me to this week and the official start of training. As I say, I am in ok shape, but frustratingly not where I expected to be at the start of July.

I am once again following the Furman Run Less, Run Faster program with my own tweaks. I plan to add an extra run or two each week into the mix and some of the longer runs will extend up to 3:15 hrs or so. I've read through the Jack Daniels book and had planned to adopt this but it is very hard to make a plan out of it. There are so many options and variables and it when I read it I realised that Furman adopts his main principles anyway, so why not just stick with something which has worked for me before.

And what am I aiming for? In reality, if I can run the same or slightly faster than Gold Coast last year then I will be very happy. So let's say a sub-3:15 is my goal for this year.

Tuesday 30 June

The first training session and straight into mile repeats. Not many, to be fair, just three with 400m recovery in between each. Like last year, most of my speed sessions will be run in 'natural' locations away from athletics tracks. Which can make pacing more interesting but that is what I want. For this session I chose to run at the Fitzroy Gardens near work. Three-quarters of a lap is ~1550m so I decided that would be good enough, with about 400m of recovery to complete the full lap before beginning again.

The plan called for each repeat to be in 6.11min which I knew would be pretty hard to do, even if it is a net downhill on the course I was running. The first rep took me 6.12 so the time was right on - even if it was a shorter distance. But boy did it hurt! The second rep felt harder and was slower :-( in 6.15. The final rep was to be a big struggle and I heaved and fought my way around in 6.26 so my pace was ~7sec/km slower for that one.

On my cool-down run back to the office I could barely lift my legs (I think I even stopped on one of the inclines). I felt pretty stuffed from this effort and I am hoping that these sessions don't all feel like this one did!

Wednesday 1 July

For over a year now I have been privileged to be a run leader with the Nike+ Run Club here in Melbourne and so Wednesday nights I run with the crew there. These are one of my 'bonus' runs each week as I could be running short or long, slow or fast - who knows! This week it was the 10k group at 5.30m/k pace. I really enjoy this group as there is a wonderful spirit in the team. This week alone there were accomplished half-marathoners through to people contemplating a first marathon. Lots of stories to hear and lots of good running chat to be had. Loved it. Felt good!

Friday 3 July

The end of the work week and my traditional lunch time run day. Today's session was my first tempo set. I generally find these comfortable if I am in good form and they fall into two categories - shorter/faster and longer/slower (duh!) Today was a shorter/faster variety which meant a 3k effort @4.10m/k with 3k before and 4k after.

On the Yarra River 10k loop I have there is only one challenging (read: undulating) bit and that comes at 4-4.5k so this would be right in the middle of my fast section. My form has been a lottery too, so I wasn't sure how I would go.

The first of the three 'hard' km's I did in just 4.17 and my reaction was 'uh-oh, here we go again.' Through the undulating section and over the bridge I picked up the pace and was pleased to knock out the second km in 4.10. From here I ramped up the effort even more and ran strong, completing the last km in 4.03 for a perfect on-target 3k effort @4.10 pace. Sure!

Was pretty pleased to run this well, a great workout to finish the working week!

Sunday 5 July

Today was time for my first long run of the program, a half marathon at what should be a pretty comfortable pace of 4.55m/k. And whilst nothing has been coming easily as of late, I was optimistic of getting this one done on plan. I set out a one-lap course which would follow the border of the parcel of land Henry Dendy acquired in 1841. Amazing to think that he bought these 5120 acres for just one pound per acre and, even though the true value was at least five times that, he was bankrupt just four years later! I tried to imagine what it must have been like all that time ago - probably a few more trees, swamp and snakes with less roads than now. Lol.

It was a little bit windy out so I expected the first part to be a little slower but to pick up time 'downwind' along the beach before the run up South Rd. As it turned out the first 5k was right on target pace but I felt like I was having to push a bit harder than expected. I could feel my chest wheezing just a little when I breathed deeply on this cold day. The long section along North Rd to the beach was ok with a crosswind and I turned onto the beach at 11.5k with an average pace of 4.55 so still spot on target.

As it turned out, even with the breeze behind me I could only muster 14 sec to the good of my plan in 4k. More concerning was the fact that I was starting to feel tired and I turned onto South Rd without the 'zip' I knew I'd need to get up home on my planned pace. I pushed through as best I could, but within 1500m I had to stop as I felt nauseous and like I was going to throw up. I didn't, but it was not good. (In retrospect, maybe the two bagels and banana I ate 45 min before heading out was not such a great idea!)

From here I just plodded along trying to limit the damage and at least stay at less than 5m/k pace. With a little push through the final kilometre I achieved this (just) but it was not nearly as good a run as the Sri Chinmoy Como Landing Half Mara six weeks prior where I had recorded the same time, despite being sick that day.

Let's hope next week is better!

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

Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - Park Speed: 3x Three Quarter Fitzy's 8.5k @4.55; 3x 1550m with 400m recovery
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 9.9k @5.29; easy run
Friday - Three Hard 10.4k @4.40; incl 3k @4.10
Sunday - Henry Dendy's Brighton 21.1k @4.59; definitely not comfortable

Week 1 of 16 (this week): 4 runs, 50.1km, 4 hrs 11 mins
Total: 4 runs, 50.1 km, 4 hrs 11 mins


  1. Good to hear Paul. Especially with the G back in full use. Planning to be there again for the 10k.

  2. Cool Ewen! Always good to finish inside the Melbourne Coliseum!


  © Blogger template 'Morning Drink' by 2008

Back to TOP