Runners: Stop getting tired

 

“Distance runners don’t need to get faster, they just need to stop getting tired” – Matt Fitzgerald

When most runners think about improving their performance over any race distance they think about how to get faster. What we really should be thinking is how do I stop getting tired during races. This thinking and Matt Fitzgerald’s quote is synonymous with the way elite runners approach their training. It is mostly not about becoming a faster runner, it is about getting through an event reducing the effects of fatigue on your running performance.

Most runners suffer nerves or anxiety before a race, however not usually nerves at whether we can run the desired pace. Nerves before a running performance are often directed at the pain and suffering that runners go through as muscle fatigue sets in. It is not the speed we are running that is the problem, it is being able to keep running that speed as we tire that runners need to improve.

Your goal pace in the marathon for instance is not that fast for you. However it is extremely difficult and painful to continue at that pace at mile 24. The only difference is you are physically and mentally fatigued.

How can you stop getting tired?

If you want to be able to perform at your best practise makes perfect. If you want to improve your running, run more. Simple advice,  but there really is no shortcut to improvement.

  • Consistent long runs

If you want to give yourself the best chance at running well as you fatigue then consistent long runs are essential. Legendary running coach Arthur Lydiard used to have his 800m and mile runners complete 20 mile long runs every Sunday. These were completed at an aerobic pace and designed to have the runner build endurance. Elite 800m runners are no different to elite marathon runners in that they don’t need to become faster, they need to stop getting tired when they hit the home straight in a fast run 800m race. Quite simply, if you want to minimise the effects of fatigue during the business end of your next race you should be running an aerobic long run weekly.

  • Aerobic mileage

Aerobic mileage means running at a pace that builds the aerobic capacity, this means low intensity, low heart rate running. If you want to improve your running, run more at an aerobic mileage. It is not the weekly interval session that will make you tire less but the repeated aerobic mileage. Increasing your aerobic mileage and sustaining this over a period of time will give incremental improvements. These will be difficult to see in the short term but over time the improvements will be able to be measured. If you need to skip a workout for whatever reason it’s better to skip the interval session and run the aerobic session. Remember, you don’t need to get faster, you need to stop getting tired.

These are two simple ways you can train your body and mind to make a small change in your running training. Almost every one of us has been guilty at some stage of running our easy runs too hard, shifting your mindset to believe you don’t need to get faster can change this habit. If you run your easy runs at a lower intensity you will recover quicker and be ready and motivated for the next run allowing you to run more often.

When you go into a race knowing you’ve done enough training you will be better equipped to deal with everything a race throws at you when you get tired. You may not ever become a faster runner, you don’t need to, just stop getting tired.

 

 


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Goals of the first month of marathon training

 

A month into your marathon training program how should your fitness have progressed? A standard marathon program duration is usually 14-16 weeks giving you basically three months of training and a two week taper before your race.

In this initial month the goal should be two fold;

  • Increase your endurance
  • Increase muscular strength

This first month or even longer can be considered your base phase of training where you work on these two goals. We have spoken in depth about increasing your mileage to increase your endurance, this is a fundamental goal in the base phase of marathon training. You can build your mileage and endurance through regular aerobic workouts and stretching your long run time each week.

During the first month of the marathon base is the time to increase muscular strength, incorporating hills into training is essential for this development. Ensuring you complete your weekly hill session as well as running regular aerobic runs over hilly terrain should be increased during base training phase. This increase will build strength for when you do longer or more challenging interval and tempo sessions later in the training. Simply put running more over hills at an aerobic pace will develop both your endurance and strength.

If you use Strava or another online site to log your mileage you can focus on two metrics. Monitor your weekly mileage and elevation run. Your Strava profile will measure your last 4 weeks of running, focus on increasing this number during this period of training.

While the focus is on endurance and strength in this phase running a weekly interval session should still be completed. As part of the three weekly sessions it is recommended that an interval workout is run every week. During the base phase you can run longer intervals, the goal of intervals is usually to increase speed. However running a longer interval will give you an endurance pay off as well and teaching the body to be able to run fast as it fatigues. Being able to run fast through fatigue is a vital component of developing endurance for the marathon. At some stage in the marathon you’ll be asked to dig deep and stay on goal pace and these longer intervals and long runs are where you’ll teach yourself this skill.

After this first month of training you should be feeling comfortable with running the increased mileage you’ve developed. From here the recommendation is to continue to build the endurance through increasing long run distance, strength through hill workouts and more focussed speed through shorter, faster intervals. However you will need to recover from the harder workouts and you can run your aerobic runs on flatter terrain and possibly slower than the previous phase. After eight weeks of marathon training you should be reaching close to your maximum distance of your long run and be ready to build speed and strength to get you through the marathon. the value you’ll get from a quality base phase of marathon training will help you get through the hard training thats ahead and to the finish line of the marathon.

 

 

Marathon Training – Week 12

A disappointing week of marathon training this week. After putting together a few very solid weeks I started the week motivated to continue in this fashion but the week went south fairly quickly. This week I only managed to run three sessions and took four unplanned days off in a row during the week for a couple of reasons.

Monday started as planned with an aerobic run of about 40 min. Tuesday, completed my planned tempo session with 3 x 3km with 3 min recovery between each tempo effort. I averaged 4:15 min/km for this set including the recovery and the session went as planned. Wednesday morning I felt very tired and fatigued for some reason and with a wet morning decided to move my rest day forward. Thursday I was ready to run however there was torrential rain and I decided against it. I don’t mind running in rain however this was extremely heavy rain and not the weather to run an interval session in. On both Friday and Saturday I woke with illness and a slight gastro bug and decided not to run. Saturday I probably could have run but decided not to and save myself for the long run on Sunday.

My Sunday long was a planned 3 x 14km race pace effort with a 30 min rest between. It’s a session I like to do for my confidence and building mental capacity before a marathon. I was still not feeling 100% and decided against completing this session as planned. I decided on a 1 hour 45 min aerobic run followed by a race pace 60 min to finish the session. I was able to complete this session and felt really good for most of the final hour run. Part 1 of this long run was 22km followed by 13km at an average pace of 4:01 min/km or a bit faster then my marathon goal pace.

Overall not the week I wanted, short on both time and distance running for 54km. But it is what it is and we move on to next week

Monday – Aerobic (45-60 min)

Tuesday – Intervals (8 x 3 min at 3:30-3:35 min/km with 1 min recovery)

Wednesday – Aerobic (45-60 min)

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Long Run (5 x 5km at 4:05 – 4:10 min/km with 1km recovery)

Saturday – Aerobic (45-60 min)

Sunday -Tempo (4 x 3km with 2 min recovery)

 

Hopefully back to another solid week of training. Moving my missed interval session nearer to the front of the week and will probably delay my taper by a few days to fit in another last session, either tempo or interval in week 13. This week I am planning another marathon specific long run with 5 x 5km efforts at race pace or very close to it with a one kilometre jog recovery between. This will give me  30-32km session that will be my last long run before the  Canberra marathon.

While I missed a few training runs this week I didn’t dent my confidence. The soon part of my long felt quite good and this was pleasing as we are getting close to the race now.

Hope your training is progressing well.

Run well

 

My new Salming Race 5’s. These will be my marathon shoes, i’ll pot later in the week why.

 

Marathon Training – Week 11

Ten weeks of marathon training down, for weeks to go till Canberra marathon. This training cycle has gone quite quickly and in the recent weeks it has started to come together and I feel like I am getting ready to run a good marathon.

This week I gave myself a couple of days to recover from Port Macquarie Half Marathon last Sunday. This result has given me confidence that my running is on track and the motivation to push hard over the last few weeks of hard training till the marathon. Monday I felt sore in the legs and my recovery run was only 6km and fairly painful. Tuesday was a planned rest day and this was well timed as the legs were still pretty sore.

Wednesday the legs were still sore but I decided to push on with my planned hill session. Hills felt quite good once I got started and I managed to complete this session relatively comfortably.  Thursday was a flat 10km aerobic run. Legs were starting to feel better by this stage of the week. Friday was my long run day this week and I felt really good for the majority of the 2 hours 40 min I ran covering just under 33km in this session. Saturday was another aerobic run of 7km on fatigued legs from the previous days run.

Sunday I attempted a tough interval session. Goal of this session is to increase my overall speed while in a fatigued state. After a warm up I ran a 10km comprising of 4 x 2km at half marathon pace (3:45-3:50 min/km) followed by 500m hard (3:20-3:30 min/km) after each 2km. Tough part of this run is to go back to half marathon pace after a hard 500m and  recover from the effort at a high cruising speed. For the most part I was happy with this run but it certainly hurt and made me work hard.

Overall 78.5km run for the week another consistent strong week.

This week I am planning another strong week. Hoping to get my mileage up towards 90km which is about my limit currently with my work, family and study schedule.

Monday – Aerobic (45-60 min)

Tuesday – Tempo (3 x 3km at 4:00- 4:05min/km with 3 min float)

Wednesday – Aerobic (45-60 min)

Thursday – Intervals (8 x 3 min at 3:34-3:45 min/km 90 sec rest)

Friday – Aerobic ( 45-60 min)

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – Marathon specific long run (3 x 14km at goal race pace with 30 min rest)

This week there are three significant sessions to begin to peak my training towards the marathon. Hills have been replaced by tempo for the remainder of the preparation. Strength work is now completed and it’s time to  peak my speed and endurance for the marathon.

Tempo session on Tuesday is relatively straight forward with three tempo efforts to work on my marathon cruising speed. This pace should feel relatively comfortable in my current condition.

Intervals on Thursday is another key session to build speed. Keeping these efforts relatively long and more specific with marathon training. 3 min at good pace with a rest of 90 sec to lower my heart rate and get me ready for the next. Eight of these efforts will be a challenge but one I should be able to handle.

A session I like to do three weeks from a goal marathon is this 3 x 14km with 30 min rest between at goal race pace. I haven’t decided what goal race pace is yet but it will be 4:10 min/km or slightly lower. Aiming to beat my marathon best of 2 hours 57 min. This session is hard, very hard but when I nailed this session three week before Seoul marathon I knew I was going to run my best race. This session is as much about building speed and endurance as it is about building confidence. This is a session I am already anxious about running next week.

Looking forward to another good training week.

Run well.

 

 

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 4

After three weeks of marathon training aiming towards Canberra Marathon in April I’m starting to feel good about my progress. As I’ve documented in previous posts I’m incorporating triathlon training into the program aimed at Ironman Australia 70.3 in May three weeks after Canberra.

This week I started with a sore foot and decided to take a couple of days off on Monday and Tuesday to rest it. This did the trick and the foot was fine from these two rest days. Wednesday I returned to my normal hill repeat location for strength building hill repeats. Thursday I made a rookie mistake and forgot that I’d planned swimming and went cycling. With a public holiday on Friday and the pool not open to 9am on weekends I wasn’t able to get a swim in this week. On my weekends with my family I like to get my training completed early so we can spend the rest of the day together. Friday running was intervals and 8 x 3 min at 3:30 min/km felt good, tough during the last couple of efforts but mostly a good, confidence building run.

The weekend I was up early on both days for 2 hours on the bike on Saturday and a 2 hour long run on Sunday. Felt a bit sore in my calves on Sunday so I decided to not run my long run at goal pace and keep it aerobic to get through the time required. I will schedule this again next week and see how the week plans out, if I’m feeling good will run at goal pace but otherwise keep it aerobic. Each of these sessions went well and I go into week 4 with a confidence that I’m ready for what is ahead. Really happy with my run at the moment, bike is feeling good also and behind schedule in the pool for obvious reasons.

Important to be able to change the plan if things don’t go to plan. After feeling a bit sore after my Friday intervals in my calves they felt worse after Saturdays bike. Changing the plan from a goal pace long run to an aerobic long run allowed me to get through the time and build endurance rather then cut the run short due to soreness and miss valuable time building endurance.

Weather has been hot and extremely humid for most of the week and training in these conditions has been tough. Hopefully a bit of respite from the heat this week.

Week 4

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – Running – Hills (1 Hour)

Wednesday – Swim – Aerobic (40 min)

Thursday – Bike – Aerobic (1 Hour)

Friday – Running – Aerobic (2 Hour 15 min or 1 hour 45 min @ goal marathon pace)

Saturday – Bike – Aerobic (1 Hour 30 min)

Sunday – Running – Intervals (9 x 3 min with 45 sec recovery)

Looking forward to challenging myself again this week.

How is your training going? What races do you have coming up?

 

 

 

Some photos from this weeks training.

 

Marathon training week 9

After 12 days of no running due to the flu training resumed last week and all my goal runs were completed. The main two being my 5km parkrun on Saturday and a long run on Sunday.

Parkrun on Saturday was run in 19:23 about 2 min outside my best, however I was more than happy to get through the run. Sunday I managed 1:30 along th breach at 4:45 min/km which was nice for the confidence.

This week normally programming resumes with a simple routine.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – Hill repeats

Wednesday – Strength

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Long run (2 hour 30 min)

Saturday – Rest

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

Hoping to fast track training to be back on track towards the marathon. Will need to ramp up my long runs quickly over the next 3-4 weeks.

If I get through this week I’ll be confident I can get back to peak fitness by the marathon start day. Looking forward to testing myself anyway.

Marathon training week 5

Running went almost to plan this week with my planned runs all getting completed until this morning. Woke up this morning for my long run feeling sick, had a bad headache and zero energy. So I missed my long run which is disappointing but overall it won’t have a major effect on my program. Otherwise things went to plan with my Hills session Tuesday and my intervals on Friday the other key sessions.

I ran a parkrun on Saturday just for fun and ran a great race. I wasn’t planning on having a peak effort but I rolled through the first km in 3:40 and felt great, after which I passed a couple of runners and decided to put the foot down for a while. Soon found myself leading and decided to push to the finish which I got to in a new PB of 17:21. Pretty happy with that result, I like to use parkrun as a fitness gauge occassionly and just test where I am in my running

Week 5 has a similar theme as recent weeks however I plane to make up a little from my missed long run tomorrow with a race pace hour run instead of a recovery run.

Monday –  Marathon race pace hour

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Hill repeats

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Long run 2:40

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – Intervals (8 x 4 min 90 sec rest)

Again my focus is my three key sessions to build strength, speed and endurance. Plenty of rest placed throughout the program to keep me fresh and simplify my running.

Happy running this week.

Marathon training plan week 1

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It’s now 14 weeks and 1 day until my next goal race the Beach to Brother marathon and that means the training plan will start tomorrow. this marathon is an off road trail marathon with a steep 2.5km trail incline to finish making it a very tough finish.

For this marathon I will be focussing on my three key training sessions as well as a strength session each week and possibly a recovery run however each week will feature two complete rest days to recharge the body and mind.

The plan for week one is;

Monday  – Rest day – Giving myself an extra day to recover from a head cold

Tuesday – Long Hill Repeats

Wednesday – Strength Session

Thursday – Rest Day

Friday – Aerobic long run (1:40 at 5:00-5:20 min/km)

Saturday – Recovery run or rest day

Sunday – Short Intervals (12 x 400m at 3:20-3:30 min/km)

The key sessions each week being the aerobic long run, hills and interval sessions. The long run will increase each week by 20 min until I reach 3:40 in week 7. There are a couple of key performance long runs that I schedule later in my program being a 3 x 14km long race paced effort with a 20-30 min rest between each in week 11 and in week 12 a 30km progressive paced long meaning 10km at 5:00 min/km 10km at 4:30min/km and 10km at 4:00 min/km. These two sessions are designed to top off my training before the taper and give me the confidence that I’m in the right shape to run a great marathon.

Looking forward to week 1 and getting back into some focussed training aiming towards another good marathon result.

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Lighthouse beach and North Brother mountain – Part of the course and the mountain top finish to the Beach to Brother marathon

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Seoul Marathon – Race week

I’ve arrived in Seoul last weekend with the Seoul marathon this Sunday 19th March and very much looking forward to this race that I have trained for as my first goal race of 2017.

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My training has gone very well for this race with no injury or illness throughout my preparation needing me to change course at any time. I was able to get through all my planned long runs and key sessions as planned. My last two long runs were very good for my confidence. These were a planned long run to simulate race fatigue of 3 x14km (1 hour) runs at race pace with a 20 min rest between sessions. this was a session I was nervous about completing but managed to get through at race pace up until the last few kilometres and gave me the confidence to be able to push my desired pace well into the later stages of the marathon. The last long run I completed about 10 days ago was a 30km run where I started the first 10km at 5 min/km, 11-20km at 4:30min/km and the 10km between 21-30km at 4 min/km. Being able to push the pace faster on the last 10km then race pace when fatigued was another great boost to my confidence.

A few days before leaving Australian shores I started getting a head cold. This developed quickly and has been with me for almost a week and has me still with a runny nose and cough. It is something that I am confident of getting over before the race on Sunday but also an unneeded hiccup on the way.

Travelling to Seoul was problem free despite a 11 hour direct flight from Sydney to Incheon. Jet lag isn’t really an issue with this route as the time zone only changes by 2 hours. Going from the end of a record Australian summer to the end of a cold Korean winter has been a bit problematic and acclimating to the cold weather has been a challenge and not helped me rebound from a head cold. I am using my last taper runs to acclimatise to running in cold conditions and aim to be ready to run in these conditions by race start.

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The rest of the week we will spend sight seeing and enjoying the food and culture that the Korean capital has to offer. A visit to Lotteworld  theme park yesterday was great fun with my family.

Looking forward to racing this marathon on Sunday. I feel I am as fit as I have been going into a goal race and ready to run a good time over a course conducive to running a fast marathon on Sunday. If I can go sub 3 hours i will be ecstatic, much of this will depend on the crowds and how easily i am able to get up to running my desired race pace. If I can do this inside the first 2km I feel i’m ready to run a good race.

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