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

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

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