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 5:15:26!

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.

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