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

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

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