Marathon Training – Week 6

Another marathon training week passed and one where I gained a lot of confidence in my running currently.

Four runs this week and two cycles. Didn’t swim this week as I just didn’t have the motivation to get to the pool on Wednesday so cycled instead. Planned to swim in Friday although motivation didn’t return and I took a rest day. This gives me doubts about whether Ironman 70.3 is a good idea as the swimming is certainly dragging to this point.

Running is going well though, my hill session on Tuesday felt great. I added a third repeat of my 2km Hill which I train on. The third was my 50th repeat on this hill over the past 12 months.

Intervals on Thursday was another strong session. 8 x 3 min at 3:30min/km with 1 min rest. Struggled to hit a couple of my splits but felt mostly good throughout.

Long run on Saturday was my best session and the one that gives confidence moving forward. 2 Hours 20 min with 2 x 12km at 3 hour marathon pace. Felt my pacing was good for both efforts. Ran into some hills in the last 3km of the second effort close to home which slowed me down although my effort didn’t change through this period.

Running a strong long run capped off a good week. Cycled twice for an hour each time, Sunday the legs felt average so I dropped the Sunday ride back from 1:30 to 1 hour.

This week I am away for work for a couple of days so will run early in the week and may not swim again. Trying to increase my run mileage over the next 2-3 weeks so a little less cycling too.

Monday – Run – Aerobic (1 hour 15min)

Tuesday – Run – Intervals (20 x 1 min 30 sec rest)

Wednesday – Cycle – Aerobic (1 hour)

Thursday – Run – Aerobic Long Run (2 hour 30 min Last 10km at 4:20min/km)

Friday – Rest or swim (30min)

Saturday – Cycle – Aerobic (1 hour)

Sunday – Run – Hills (1 Hour 15 min)

Looking forward to this week. Main highlights are continuing to increase my long run time and also increasing the time of my aerobic run and hill sessions. Overall trying to increase my mileage.

The end of this week will mark half way to my fitness building stage of the marathon preparation. Building endurance will stop after week 9 and then the focus becomes maintaining endurance and increasing speed through tempo and interval sessions.

Run well this week.

Reach out if you have any feedback or questions.

When does a marathon hurt?

The short answer is a marathon will hurt at some stage between the start and the finish. The long answer is difficult to quantify, it will be determined by how committed you were to training and how ambitious you’ve run the race to this point.

If you’ve trained well and run your race at a consistent pace then the marathon will hurt somewhere between half way and 35km. If you haven’t done the training or run too quick early then this point may arrive somewhat earlier then you like or expect. Ultimately at some point during a marathon you’ll hurt and you’ll be asked some questions of yourself.

How you respond to these questions ultimately determines the outcome of your race.

If you run your marathon smartly or strategically you’ll have run a consistent pace throughout, the effect of this will mean running will be relatively comfortable for the first half of the race before the effort required to maintain this consistent pace becomes more difficult. The elastic band gets tighter as the race unfolds, with the goal being for the hypothetical elastic band breaks.

How do you do this?

Know when the marathon is going to hurt.

There is no an exact science as every race is different and every run can unfold differently. But knowing your ability and being smart about goals and execution will help.

  • Understand the pace you can run. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, but also don’t be too conservative and leave time on the course.
  • Run the race consistently – Running too fast early is a recipe for disaster
  • When the elastic tightens – Be ready to give your best effort

 

Know your Pace

Knowing your best race pace is difficult. We all want to run personal bests and improve our race times. A couple of marathon specific training sessions you can run to test your marathon ready fitness are;

  • 3 x 14km with 30 min rest between each. Run each effort at marathon goal pace. If you can hold this pace for each of the efforts then you can run this pace in a marathon. The third effort should feel hard and simulate the end of the marathon.
  • 5 x 5km with 5 min stationery or 1km jog rest between each. Run each effort at goal marathon goal pace. Another session where the difficulty becomes harder as the run increases. Again, the final effort should feel difficult but not too hard.

These session should be run no closer than three weeks before the marathon. Particularly the 3 x 14km as it is a tough session and has 42km of running within it.

 

Run the race consistently

Running consistent pace throughout your marathon is the best way to maximise the time before the marathon begins to bite back. If you run too fast you’ll suffer in the back end, if you run too slow you’ll give yourself too much deficit to make up when things get tougher and also risk leaving time on the course.

The best marathoners in the world use this method when they attempt to run fast marathons. Eliud Kipchoge in berlin last year is a perfect example of this method of marathon running.

 

Be ready to give your best

When the marathon hurts and the elastic begins to tighten be ready. And be ready mentally to give your best effort. If you’ve done the training and ran the race consistently to this point then you’ve given yourself the best chance to succeed.

This point in the marathon is when you need to give everything you have, dig deep and ask yourself why you are doing this in the first place. We all have different motivations to run a marathon and these motivations can be what helps you through when the marathon bites back.

Be ready and be prepared to give everything you’ve got when the moment arrives.

Good luck in your next marathon. Reach out if you have any questions preparing for your next race.

Run well

 


Marathon Training – Week 5

A solid week of marathon training this week, being able to hit each of my sessions as planned. Running consisted of my three key sessions being hills, intervals and the long run. Feel the regularity of completing these sessions has kept me in good shape moving forward toward the next stage of my training.

The triathlon segment of my training isn’t quite going as well as planned. I am struggling with the swimming component and motivating myself to regularly swim. The cycle is going better, however I think I need more time on the bike but don’t want to sacrifice running time with a marathon now nine weeks away. My main goal is to run a good race in Canberra and then do my best in the Ironman 70.3.

This week I have decided to focus a bit more on the run with four run sessions, two bike and just one swim.

Monday – Run – Aerobic 1 hour

Tuesday – Run – Hills 1 hour

Wednesday – Swim – 40 mins

Thursday – Run – Intervals (8 x 3 min         – 1 min recovery)

Friday – Bike – Aerobic – 1 hour

Saturday – Run – Long Run (2:20 including 2 x 12 km at goal race pace)

Sunday – Bike – Aerobic – 1 hour 30 min

Looking to push the run along a bit this week, particularly the long run with a more marathon specific session. 2 x 12km at race pace while still completing the duration of the long run will be a good test of exactly where my running is currently. With less mileage this marathon preparation while incorporating cycling and swimming it’s a risk that this effects the marathon preparation. This run is about trying to see how I shape up as we get close to the middle of the marathon training phase. Currently I am a third of the way through the 12 weeks marathon phase before a 10-14 day taper.

Another decision I will make closer to the marathon is whether to run in shoes or sandals. Most of my training is being completed in sandals, however I haven’t run a road marathon in sandals yet. I need to be comfortable to run the marathon as fast in sandals as shoes. If I can tick that box then I’ll happily run in sandals.

Looking forward to another strong training week and finding out exactly where my run fitness is currently.

Hope your training is also going well. Reach out if you have any questions.

Run well.

Does swimming ever get enjoyable?

As a runner returning to triathlon I’ve been asking myself this question recently. Does swimming ever get enjoyable?

This morning I went to my pool session and can’t say I enjoyed it at all. Firstly I thought of some excuses to get out of going but couldn’t find one. In the car on the way to the pool I thought about turning the car around and going home because I wasn’t looking forward to it. Lets face it, for a runner swimming is hard. It’s hard to because it’s a different muscle and skill set to running that currently feels a bit foreign. Hopefully once my fitness for swimming return so will some of the enjoyment.

Can’t say I’m expecting that to happen. This morning I swam 1500 metres, 30 laps of the Olympic pool. I didn’t enjoy any one of these lap, some were easier than others but all were boring and sometimes painful. There were plenty of other people at the pool and some even looked like they were enjoying it, so maybe there is some hope.

One of the things I love about running is the solitude, one of the things I hate about swimming is the solitude. Thats a weird thing to say but very true. I can run for hours by myself and don’t need to see, hear or talk to another person but half an hour in the pool is another story.

Even though I’d been off the bike for a long time I’ve enjoyed getting back on the bike. Obviously it’s a closer skill set and fitness to running which has made it easier to adjust. Returning to the pool has been a different experience.

Clearly if I want to train for triathlon I am going to have to go swimming. It’s a necessary requirement of the sport and one I hope I start to enjoy in the near future.

Do you swim and how do you find it enjoyable?

Plenty of people in the pool enjoying their swim.

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 3

 

A successful week of marathon training getting through all my scheduled training. All my training went to plan, however after my long run on Friday I have been a little sore in my right foot. Nothing dramatic but some pain on the outside of my foot that hasn’t gone away as quickly as I’d like. Not an injury just a grumpy foot that needs some monitoring.

I have decided to take a couple of days off and rest the foot and make sure at this early stage of my marathon preparation that it doesn’t become an injury. So far no running, cycling or swimming this yet this week. Training will start again tomorrow and follow this pattern this week.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Run – Hills

Thursday – Swim – 40 min aerobic

Friday – Run – Intervals

Saturday – Bike – Long ride (2 hours)

Sunday – Run – Long run ( 2 hours – Goal marathon pace)

This week I am due to run my first goal pace long run of this preparation, this will depend on how my foot feels after the rest of the training this week. If there is still some pain I may revert back to an aerobic long run and run the goal pace run in week 4. There is plenty of time to get the training right for this marathon and making sure my grumpy foot doesn’t become and injury is important. taking a couple of days off is certainly not going to pose any problem but if it were to get worse and more time off was needed it would not be ideal.

Looking forward to getting back into to training tomorrow.

How is your training going? Are you on track for your goal races?

The Long Run

 

The long run has been the staple of running training ever since competitive running began. Every training guide ever written for running includes regular long runs. This is because it is the tried and tested method of increasing endurance for overall running improvement.

Every runner, regardless of the distance of races they run should run regular long runs. If you only ever race 5km races then a long run will give you the same benefit as a marathoner. The benefit is increased endurance. In running terms endurance is the ability to sustain a prolonged effort or activity.  Increasing endurance will help you give your best effort towards the end of your runs and races.

The long run length should be long relative to your overall mileage and race goals. There is no point pushing through a two hour long run if you only ever race up to 5km. A good rule of thumb is to schedule your long run to be roughly 20% of your overall weekly mileage. For a 5km runner who does 35-40km a week an 8-10km long run is more than sufficient. However for the runner training for longer races putting in 80-100km a week they will need a longer run to get the benefits.

As you run longer races the long run should build in time. I am currently in week two of a 14 week marathon preparation, my long run this week was at 1 hour 45 min and will build over the next 10 weeks until I reach a three hour long run. If I’m not focussed on a specific race distance then just maintaining a weekly long run that is roughly 20% of my total weekly mileage still has a  great effect on your overall endurance .

Focus on keeping your running at an aerobic pace. Pace doesn’t matter during a long run, keep the pace comfortable and ensure you get through the time. The seeds of endurance are harvested at an aerobic pace. This should also help make the long run the most enjoyable run of the week. Keeping the pace aerobic allows you to enjoy your run and the surroundings your running in.

Run long, run often and then run long again.

How did your long run go this week?

 

 

 

Marathon Training week 2

This marathon plan has started and week 1 went almost to plan. Completed all my run sessions as planned, with my hill session, interval and long run all going well.

Tuesday’s hill session was run over a familiar terrain and I completed this session and felt strong throughout. Thursday I completed intervals of 12 x 2 min at 3:30 min/km with a 1 min float between, a humid start to the day here made for a challenging session. Sunday’s long run was slightly shorter than planned at 1 hour 30 min but comfortable at an aerobic pace.

My other triathlon disciplines didn’t go quite to plan with just one swim and ride. I had a long ride planned on Saturday and felt fatigued when I woke up so I skipped this session and wasn’t able to make my afternoon pool session due to family commitments. Overall not a disaster in the first week of a preparation as I’m still adjusting to life back on the bike and in the pool.

This week sees a similar schedule;

Monday –             Swim                     (30 min – 1.5km)

Tuesday –             Run                       (Hills – 1 hour)

Wednesday –      Bike                        (Aerobic – 1 hour)

Thursday –           Swim                     (30 mins – 1.5km)

Friday    –              Long run              (Aerobic – 1:45 min)

Saturday              Bike                       (Aerobic – 1:30 min including single leg drills)

Sunday                 Run                       (Intervals 8 x 3 min – 1 min float)

 

Looking at a week without a rest day to ensure I get all my sessions completed. For the next few weeks I want to make sure I complete each session and develop the fitness needed.

Good luck with your own training or racing this week.

One lesson from a good and bad marathon

Marathons of last year for me were both good and bad and one lesson stands out above others. For both of these marathons my training was strong, I didn’t suffer injury along the way and was able to get to the start line fit and healthy. On both occasions I was confident of running a good race.

The lesson learnt is don’t be too quick to lose motivation and give up.

In the good marathon things went to plan from the start. I was able to comfortably run the pace I wanted to run and enjoy the race. When the marathon starts at 30km you need to be ready to give your best effort. On this day I was ready, motivated and for the last 10-12km when running became more difficult I was prepared to dig deep and give everything I had to get to the finish line.

In the bad marathon things didn’t quite go to plan from the start. The weather was unseasonably hot, I wasn’t prepared for this and didn’t adjust my pace early enough because of this. I was still able to run the pace I wanted to early in the race but by 30km when you need to dig deep I was cooked and didn’t have the motivation to dig even deeper. This lead to my legs cramping and I gave up and needed to walk. If I had adjusted my pace earlier and recognised that it wasn’t going to be the easiest day things may have been different.

Sometimes it seems easier not to adjust your pace and go through a tougher process to get to the finish line. I believe on this occasion I gave up too quickly, recognised it was going to be a tough day and didn’t give my best effort over the final quarter of the marathon.

In the good marathon I was buoyant as things were going to plan until 30km. Because of this my motivation was high and  I felt ready to give my best effort when I needed to most and was able to finish in a personal best time. The marathon is complicated race, nothing prepares you for the kilometres after 30km. Long runs in training give you the base to be ready but what happens in the final quarter of a marathon is mostly mental. It’s important to see it through to the finish and stay motivated even if things aren’t quite going to plan.

In my marathons I attempt to keep my pacing as consistent as possible, from 1km to 42km. The change in effort required to run the first to last kilometre is astronomical though. It is very easy to let self doubt creep into your mind as you tick over the kilometres, the key (easier said then done) is to keep believing and accept that the journey through a marathon is not going not to be easy.

Part of the process is knowing to sense you are giving up. It might be just some small thoughts that the pace is getting hard to hold. When things get tough as they in evidently and you recognise these thoughts it’s time to take a kilometre slightly slower, relax your breathing and get to the next aid station or kilometre marker. Stay strong, there is a finish line up the road soon and you’ll feel better once you are there.

In all races and especially marathons in the future I will try and teach myself to stay in the moment. Go through the process and do everything I can to keep self doubt out and give my best effort. The challenge the marathon presents in the final stages is why it’s so alluring. Disappointment for me comes from races where I know I gave up too quickly and could have done better if I was tougher mentally in the moments that mattered.

Is there a time when you recognise you’ve given up too soon?

Let the marathon training begin – Week 1

This coming week marks the start of my 14 week preparation for the Canberra marathon as well as integrating an ironman triathlon program into my schedule. The basis of this program is to run my three key sessions every week building up speed, endurance and strength over this period to peak for the marathon April 15th.

On top of this I will aim for two cycling sessions and two swim session per week to build other disciplines for Ironman 70.3 three weeks after the marathon.

The goal of the first week of the schedule is to begin to imbed this training rhythm into my cycle for the next 12 weeks. My priority is to continue to make running my priority sport however with a focus on the bike and pool. I am also planning to have one complete rest day in my each week.

Marathon training week 1

Monday                               Bike – Aerobic     (1 hour undulating course)

Tuesday                              Run –  Hills (2 x 2km hill repeats)

Wednesday                        Swim – (40 min – 2km)

Thursday                            Run –  Intervals  (12 x 2 min – 1 min recovery)

Friday                                  Rest

Saturday                             AM Bike  –  Long ride (1:45)                                       PM Swim (40min – 2km)

Sunday                                Run  –  Aerobic Long run (1:30)

This marathon program will be similar to recent programs where i have a two week taper before the race.  This one will be slightly different because I will still include swimming and cycling into the taper. This preparation will have a monthly goal pace long run starting in week 3 and with three weeks before the marathon a 3 x 14km race paced effort. These are focussed efforts to test my fitness during the cycle of training. The 3 x 14km effort is one I have used in my previous two marathon preparations and when this session goes well it is a great fitness test and confidence booster going into a marathon.

Still deciding whether to race in the lead up to this race. Not convinced racing a shorter distance during a preparation gives any benefit on marathon race day.

Motivated and looking forward to getting straight into training next week. My two weeks of training since Christmas has just been a warm up for the sessions to come. Now it’s time for the marathon and triathlon training to begin.