Marathon Training week 13 & 14 – Race week

The last few weeks of this marathon preparation have been slightly disjointed but things are finally falling into place now. At the end of week 12 I started to get a sore throat and head cold which meant I didn’t complete the week as planned and delayed my final long run.

Week 13 therefore had a different structure to most weeks of this preparation. I was planning a two week taper but missed my last long run and wanted to get this done before switching off and tapering. Week 13 went as follows;

Monday – Rest (Still sick)

Tuesday – Aerobic 45 min

Wednesday – Long Run including 4 x 5km at 4 min/km with 2 km aerobic rest between – Total 28km

Thursday – Aerobic 45 min

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – Tempo run – 3 x 2km – first two 2km efforts at 3:55-4min/km, third at 3:30min/km – 1km recovery between.

The head cold I suffered returned at the end of the week and I decided to take Friday and Saturday off. The two major workouts this week were the final long run with 4 x 5km race pace or thereabouts efforts and the 3 x 2km tempo. Both these runs felt comfortable and leave me confident going into race week. Head cold is now 95% gone and I feel good about race week.

Only a  week left now till Canberra marathon and time to move into that final week taper phase. Not looking to much out there this week other then to keep the legs moving and be ready to race on Sunday. One short, fast session on Tuesday before taking it easy for the rest of the week.

Monday – Aerobic 35-40 min

Tuesday – Tempo – 3 x 1500 at race pace with 500m recovery with a  warm up and cool down.

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Aerobic 30 min

Friday – Aerobic 30 min

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – Race Day

Overall happy with my preparation for this marathon. Fitness is as good as it could be and feeling motivated to give my best effort next Sunday. In some past races I have been relieved to get to the start line because the body needed a break from the training. This marathon I don’t feel that way and feel ready to race.

My goal for this marathon I to better my marathon personal best of 2 hour 57 min. The body and mind feel ready to get me there, but the marathon can be a troublesome beast and always throws a curveball your way. Looking forward to race day now.

Took a few of my aerobic runs to beach this week which was a nice run now daylight savings has finished in NSW, Australia and the sun is up a little earlier.


Marathon Training – Week 10

This weeks training culminated in the Port Macquarie Half Marathon where I ran a new personal best for this distance. One of the pleasing aspects of this is it came at the end of a relatively large week of marathon training.

Overall 77km ran this week including the half marathon to finish the week. Monday I completed an aerobic 13km. Tuesday my usual hill session of 9km, Wednesday another aerobic run of 8km and Thursday intervals which were 10 x 2 min with 1 min rest. I ran these efforts without looking at the pace on the watch and these efforts were comfortably hard between 3:30-3:40 min/km. Friday was rest day and Saturday I ran an aerobic 14km before racing on Sunday.

This week I am giving myself a little bit of time to recover from the race before getting straight back into training. No time to rest as the next three weeks are key endurance and speed building for Canberra Marathon on April 15th. A successful half marathon result during a training block has given me a lot of confidence that I can keep working hard over the next few weeks and run a good marathon.

Monday – Aerobic recovery run (30-40 min)

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Hills ( 60 min)

Thursday – Aerobic (45-60 min)

Friday – Long Run – Aerobic ( 2 hours 40 min)

Saturday – Aerobic – (45 min)

Sunday – Intervals (2km half marathon pace – 500m hard x 4 with warm up and cool down)

Trying a new interval session this Sunday. Over a 10km course doing 2km at my half marathon pace 3:45-3:50min/km and then hitting 500m hard (approx 3:20-3:30min/km). And doing four efforts of these over the 10km. This will be a really tough session but if I can hit these efforts for 10km will give me a real confidence boost. may also still be somewhat tired from Fridays long run so looking forward to seeing how this session goes.

Next three weeks are key marathon specific weeks. Over the next few weeks I am going to throw some marathon specific training into my sessions. Next week I aim to drop hill repeats and transition to some harder tempo runs over a flat course. I feel strong now, time to take some time to work on marathon specific speed.

Let me know if you have any queries or concerns.

Run well


Marathon training week 12

A successful weeks training in week 11 of my program with my key sessions hit as planned. These were my hill repeats on Tuesday which as always tough but managed to get through the run. My long run on Friday I completed 39km and just under my goal time of 3:30, it’s very difficult to run almost past your house after 39 km and I didn’t have the willpower at that stage so I didn’t continue and run the extra 10 minutes. Sunday I completed intervals, these were 10 x 4 min at 3:45min/km with a 1 minute recovery between each. This was a really good session where I felt comfortable throughout and my favourite run of the week.

This week sees my last strong week of training before I start to taper off for the marathon on September 24th. Again my three key session will be run and for remaining runs I will keep the runs aerobic and make sure I get enough rest.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – Hill repeats

Wednesday – Aerobic 40min

Thursday – Intervals ( 20 x 2 min with 1 min recovery)

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Long Run ( 3 x 14km)

Sunday – Aerobic 40 min

As the race gets closer I will run some shorter intervals this week but maintain the intensity that I have been running them. I have changed to these to a 2:1 effort/recovery ratio to help keep me fresher for the Saturday long run.

The Saturday long run is good session which i like to run a few weeks out from a marathon, 3 x 14km = 42km so essentially I am running a marathon in the three efforts with a 20-30 min recovery period between each. These will be run over a undulating trail and beach terrain close to my home at goal pace for the marathon. This session has been a real confidence boosting run for me in past marathons, coming out of the third effort well gives me the confidence that I am able to push my goal pace during the dark times that the marathon throws at you and helps you overcome these.

Looking forward to this week, it’s a week that will  allow me to test my training over the last 11 weeks and see where my fitness is at going into a marathon in a few weeks time.

Marathon training week 10

After a good week of training I am feeling back on track in this marathon preparation. In week 9 I only ran three times and these were my three key runs. On my Tuesday hill repeats I still felt my fitness hadn’t returned after the recent sickness I’ve had and struggled up my normal hill route. By Friday when I ran my long run I felt good and was able to complete the 2 hours 30 min run fairly comfortably and my intervals ran on Sunday was a good session.

This week I will still maintain my limited running and continue to remain fresh and ready for the sessions that I plan to run. However with only five weeks left before the race day i need to fast track my long run time and distance to get me to the race day in the condition i want to be in to run a marathon over a tough trail course.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – Hills

Wednesday – Aerobic 40 min

Thursday – Intervals (8 x 4 min 90 sec recovery)

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Parkrun (5km fitness test)

Sunday – Long run ( 3 hour)

This week sees me extend my long run to 3 hours. Over the next few weeks I will build the long run to 3 hours 30 min. With three weeks remaining to the race I will complete another 3 x 1 hour session with a 30 min recovery between each. I ran this session over a flat course in the lead up to the Seoul Marathon and it was a real confidence booster going into that race, I aim to do the same session this preparation however over a trail course near home to give me the best preparation to the this marathon. This is a tough session that really mimics the marathon’s difficulties in one session, I will need to focus on the next few long runs to get the best out of myself.

Intervals and hills this week are standard sessions that I continue to do to build speed and strength. I want to run a park run this Saturday just to test my speed and fitness, last time I ran Parkrun I was just over my flu and was two minutes outside my best, it will be interesting to see if I am closer to my best times a fortnight later.

Looking forward to this weeks training and putting myself into a few tough sessions to build my fitness. Your goals don’t come and find you, you have to go out there and chase them.


Running into a gale

Sometimes you need to run in difficult conditions and currently in NSW, Australia we are experiencing some wild weather. Mostly winds and some very windy conditions over the past few days. Today was particularly windy with the bureau registering wind gust of up to 61km/h today in my home town. The forecast for the remainder of the weekend is similar with the forecast for tomorrow ‘chance of a shower, very windy.’

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 9.41.50 pm

Now the show must go on and tomorrow morning I have my interval session and expect to run this in very windy conditions. Hopefully all my efforts are down wind and all my recoveries are up wind although this feels like wishful thinking. Either way the running continues, a little bit of wind never stopped a good run and it won’t stop me at the break of dawn tomorrow morning.

The running must continue rain, hail wind or shine. Although I highly doubt I will see shine.

What is the worst conditions you’ve run?



Consistency is crap

There is a common thought in running that consistency is the key to improving running and achieving results. While I believe there is some truth to this overall I believe it is flawed and the idea of consistency is a misconception. Ultimately consistency is crap and variety and focussed training are more important.


The definition of consistency is ” to steadfastly  adhere to the same principles, course, form, etc.” In running this basically means to do the same workouts on regular basis until you improve. I am certainly an advocate of having structure in your training and it is one of my simple beliefs to run variations of my three key workouts each week to build focussed speed, strength and endurance. 

Where I believe consistency is crap is that a training program needs to have variety and flexibility in structure so that the runner is able to take time off if sick or sore. Also variety in the workouts that are planned that keep the runner enjoying running and improving and reassessing their training to continue to improve.

A lot of coaches will program a structured six day per week program with a single rest day. These programs will usually have a long run, tempo, interval run and various recovery runs to keep the runner running consistently and improving. The long run will build in volume through a period building up to a race preparation and the other runs will likely stay fairly static in both the style of the session and the day they are run on so it keeps the running consistent. Gradual improvement is likely to be seen and runner will ultimately likely do quite well at the race they have entered. There is also a likelihood that the runner can’t run all the runs programmed due to family, work, illness, injury or factors outside their control. In this case they will lose consistency with the program and either try and make up these missed sessions or believe they’ve had a negative impact on their training.

My philosophy to training has been built over experience, I have no qualification as a coach and don’t profess to be one. but I have run for a long time and seen what works well for me and what doesn’t. Sticking to a structured plan that involves running similar workouts on a very consistent basis doesn’t work for me. I believe that style of running training is boring and doesn’t allow the runner to rest when needed, do a completely different exercise if thats what they want to do or enjoy their running to their full potential.

My philosophy to training doesn’t completely abandon consistency however. I run my three key runs consistently, when training for a race every week unless I am sick or sore. I may change the day during the week if life gets in the way and stop me from doing whats planned however ultimately these runs are done consistently as they are the key to building speed, strength and endurance and this is needed to improve running. From here I believe in an anything that adds variety is acceptable whether running or choosing not to run should be enjoyed. If I choose to run on any of the other four days of the week they are run only at aerobic pace and many times I choose to not to run to keep my body rested and ready for the next key workout. If I choose to run I stay at an aerobic pace to allow recovery, recently I am enjoying some hikes in a weighted vest (about 6kg). These have added variety to my training and give me something different in my program. Being ready to run the key sessions is the key and running these sessions as planned is better than busting myself on the next run because the plan says consistency must be there.


Training at the beach is another way to add variety

There is a quote from Clyde Hart – Coach of Michael Johnson. He once said ” Time has shown me that the aerobic benefits far outweigh the anaerobic benefits. You put money in the bank when you train. To me, anaerobic is withdrawing money from the bank and aerobic is putting it back in. If you go out and do a lot of anaerobic running you might as well be racing.” I find this a very true quote and that running should kept aerobic as often as possible. My program only allows me to train at an anaerobic pace to build strength and speed.

If a runner attempts a key session and the body isn’t recovered and ready the key session will be compromised and hinder improvement. Consistency isn’t the key, nailing the key sessions and enjoying running is the key.