Marathon Challenge Finished

So the marathon challenge didn’t pan out the way I wanted, what with injuries and all, but yesterday I ran the Perth City To Surf Marathon and set a new, 53 minute PR of 3:15:26!

Three weeks ago I set a new 30km PR of 3:39, which I also broke yesterday with a 3:28:36.

I also learned a lot about how I respond to training and what I need to do going forward.

My biggest issue is my aerobic threshold, or the speed at which I can basically run all day. At the moment it’s around 6:45 mins/km. According to many legendary coaches like Arthur Lydiard, it’s built by running 1 hour or more per day at your easy pace.

It’s funny that I stumbled on that formula by myself during training. After coming back from the last injury I decided to leave aside any speed work and just focus on the fitness side of things. I ran 10km per day easy at that 6:45 ish pace, sometimes pushing Jamie in the pram. Ran pretty much every day, which worked out at 60km per week.

To prove to myself that the 10km/day/easy formula worked, I ran a 30km one day on the back of it, finishing in 3:39, which was a 20 minute PR for me. Also ran a 15K race over some pretty long hills 2 weeks ago, doing that in 1:30:38, which was 6:02 pace and something I’m extremely happy with.

At the marathon, I planned to run the flat first half between 6:40 and 6:45 per km. Did it in 2:22:36, which is 6:45 pace including all the twists and turns. According to my watch all the km splits were between 6:40 and 6:45 (except a random 6:33).

Hydration was perfect. I tried a new method where I used a wide mouthed powerade bottle that at all the water stops I took a couple of cups, quickly filled up the bottle and went on my merry way. A problem I’ve had in the past is that I need at least 2 cups of water at every stop (I usually need 1 litre per hour or more) which means a lot of water hitting my stomach at one time, causing GI distress. But yesterday was excellent and I’ll be doing that for every longer race from now on.

Some things couldn’t be helped – I tweaked my hip rounding a sharp bend at around 15km. That got progressively worse. Then the ankle I rolled a couple of times in training lost power and felt a bit unstable, but I kept pushing through and ran most of the way.

It was a huge morale boost this year – by being a lot faster (15 minutes faster through the first half) I ran the whole second half with the Half Marathoners. Got a fair bit jostled by the ones at the front, but I like to think that with my 6’5, 100kg frame they came off worse than me. At one point I felt like shouting “yes I’m going slower than you – you’re in your second km, but before you even started I ran further than you will all day”. Had to work hard to keep calm, think positive and banish the negative thoughts. But running with them, especially when the slower ones caught up with me later, was a massive difference from the marathon 2 years ago, where the hardest thing to deal with (other than the distance) was the crushing loneliness of being 100m+ behind the guy in front and the same in front of the next.

Once I’ve recovered from this race I’ll be back into the 10km/day mode for the rest of the year. Not sure yet whether I’ll do it as a 90 day challenge, but I may.

Thanks for following my journey.

Progressing With Marathon Training

With my first week of marathon specific training in the books, this is starting to get real. I’m finding, even after only one week, that faster paces are easier and I’m having a harder time keeping slow enough for my base pace.

Because my garmin strap is broken and the new one is still on its way, I’ve been running with runkeeper on my phone. That means I can’t check pace very often and I don’t have any automatic cues like the km beep on my garmin. As a result I’ve been doing most of my runs completely by feel. It’s not too bad, but I’ll be glad when the strap comes through (hopefully in time for tomorrow’s intervals!).

On Sunday I had to be out of the house with Jamie for the day, had some time to kill, so we drove over the City 2 Surf Marathon course from start to finish. I’ve run it before, but it was great to have a refresher. I didn’t realise just how flat the first half is, nor how hilly the second half is!

Found that with some small changes to my running route I can hit hills very similar to those I’ll face on the course. I’m now incorporating a lot more hill work into my regular runs. Both up and down are important to get used to what will be on the course.

Today’s easy 6km was in 37:57 @ 6:19 mins/km.

First Interval Session In Ages I forgot how much intervals make you hurt all over afterwards (and burn during)!

Ran 12 x 400m intervals at 126 seconds (5:15 mins/km pace – hey that’s very fast for me!) with jog recovery.

Very happy with how I did. The interval times were:

  1. 122
  2. 121
  3. 120
  4. 118
  5. 129
  6. 128
  7. 128
  8. 124
  9. 128
  10. 128
  11. 129
  12. 129

Now because I did them by Garmin, rather than on a track with a timer, the times are likely out by a bit. I dropped the pace on the 5th because I realised I was running them too fast for what I was trying to achieve, which is running close to my VO2Max, which is around 5:15 pace.

I’m glad I read the instructions in Hanson’s handbook because they said if you can’t jog the recoveries, you’re running the intervals too fast. Rather than keep the pace up and walk the recoveries, I dropped the pace. They also said it’s ok to drop down because the benefits come from anything over 80% of your VO2Max, so I know today was a good workout.

Man I’m feeling it now! All up, and including the warm up and cool down kms, I ended up with 13km today.

Marathon Specific Training Starts

So I’ve gotten through the base building section of my training plan. Last week I finished off a 50km week with a late (9:30pm) 6km run. Feeling pretty fit, despite not quite reaching my goal of a couple of 60km+ weeks. However, I’m in good shape to take on the marathon specific workouts of intervals, tempos and long runs that start tomorrow.

Eating is a bit tricky, because while I want to lose some weight to make running easier, I seem to be hungry all the time. It’s just a case of eating high nutrient foods most of the time and leaving the weight to take care of itself. I know when I start training in the higher km weekly range, the weight just falls off, so I’m not too concerned.

Today’s run was a relaxed 6km in 39:18 @ 6:33 mins/km.

16km Running By Feel

We’ve had a lot of rain (most in 9 years) so perhaps that’s why my Garmin was so screwy today.

I had to turn it to time only when it showed (I was running an even pace) 10:14, 4:32, 2:04, 2:38, 2:15 etc. Um, what? I wish I could run that fast! I worked out I would’ve run a 13:15 5K, which let’s just say would be a significant improvement over my current 5K PR lol!

When I got back I measured the course. Turns out I had run 16km, give or take 20m. Ok, so I’ve run it before and knew the distance lol, but I was surprised how close I got. Ended up doing 16km in 1:48:24 @ 6:46 mins/km. So even by feel on a longer run I managed to keep pace. Pretty happy with that.

This takes me to 44km for the week with 2 days left to go. My current 12 month weekly record is 55km, so it’s going to be tempting to do an easy 6km on Saturday & Sunday to beat that. We’ll see how I pull up from this one. Don’t want to risk injury over it.

I also realised I’m now 20km away from 2,500 km lifetime, so next week is going to be a bit of a celebration.

Funny thing is even though it’s 9th May, I’ve already beaten April’s kms.