Sunday, 25 January 2015

Marathon Training Week 2 of 9

Two weeks down. A busy work week means my weekly (run) mileage was relatively low at 56 miles over 5 sessions. I currently aim for 3 quality sessions each week, 2 dedicated to the Marathon in March and 1 with an eye to the Ironman in September, consisting of a long cycle with Adrian (also signed up for the Mara and the IM) on Sunday morning of between 3:30 and 4 hours, followed by a solo run of up to an hour (typically @ 7:30 pace) - this session is primarily an endurance challenge and requires a bit of refuelling (chocolate/banana milk) between the bike and the run and  a good feed at the finish - the bike brings out the hunger more than running. I have also started to get a swim in on Saturday afternoon (typically 1.5km). I'm squeezing a lot into the weekend at the moment and the back to back sessions are tough, with only one recovery day until the Tuesday speed session. The plan is to up the time on the bike once the Marathon is out of the way in March - good ultra training apparently.
My 2 marathon training session consisted of an endurance speed session on Tuesday and a long run on Saturday - although the speed session is also pretty long. I'm not quite in the same shape as I was in 2013, partly due to the fact that I am about 2.5 kg heavier than I was then. So I know what I have to do.

January 2015  - Week 2 of 9
April 2013  - Week 2 of 10
Session # 1 - 4 mile warmup followed by 4 x 2 miles @ HM pace with 2 min active recoveries and 4 mile cooldown
Once you up the ante and begin serious training running becomes as much a mental battle as a physical one. After the 3 hour commute from Dublin in the evening drizzle I was too late for the club track session - by an hour at least. So I ran from home resisting the urge to put off the session for another day as the missus sat down in front of the fire to eat homemade chicken curry. A 4 miles warmup, 4 x 2 miles @ HM pace and 4 miles cooldown stood between me and my dinner.
I had picked the straight road (circa 2.5 miles) to run the repeats - 2 miles in, 2 minute slow jog, turn around and 2 miles out, 2 minute slow jog and repeat. Nothing better for mental training than seeing 2 miles of never ending road in front of you knowing that you can't rest until you get to the end and then only for 2 minutes before you have to turn around and repeat the process another 3 times before you can even think about heading home for the grub.
With a slight headwind on legs 2 and 4 my average paces were 6:14/22/12/29 with the last half mile turning into a struggle to keep under 6:30 pace. Obviously the wind played its part - happy enough with the overall average of 6:20 pace for the 8 fast miles. I took it easy over the 4 mile cool down as my left calf was tightening up.
16.81 miles @ 7:18 pace and 144 Avg Hr with 4 x 2 miles @ 6:14/22/12/29 pace.
This was by far the toughest session of the week. The 4 mile warmup was from work to the track @ about 7:40 pace. A few stretches and I was off on the first 8 lap section (lane 3 = 2.07 miles). My plan was to run slightly slower than last weeks sub 6:20 pace, using 1:37.5 (6:30 for 4 laps = 6:17 pace) as my guide. The challenge was to keep the pace
·         Manageable enough so that I would not only last the 8 laps but recover sufficiently during the brief 90 second walking recoveries to last the full 32 laps - all at the same pace and
·         Challenging enough so that I was running HMP. While my eye was on my PB pace of 6:18, I knew I wasn't in that shape, yet! so I was looking for a pace that somewhere between that and 6:25.
The first 8 laps came in at 13:05 a few seconds over my 13 minute reference point giving me a 6:20  average pace. I walked the 100m to the next 1/4 point on the track and while my Hr had come down from the low 160s into the mid 120s I didn't feel recovered enough to cover another 2 miles @ 6:20 pace, let alone another 4 miles after that. I had to push these negative thoughts to the back of my mind and concentrate on the current lap and trust in my body's ability to complete the session.
It was a struggle at times to keep the pace as the headwind down the home straight didn't help my concentration, coming as it did every 1/4 mile, but the laps passed by and despite the brief recoveries my legs and body held up pretty well to deliver a consistent pace of 6:19 for the remaining 2 mile repeats. I paced myself over the last mile with clubmates, Keith, James and Pat, who had just started one of their mile repeats 10 yards ahead of me. This helped greatly in pulling me along and taking my mind off the rising fatigue.
The 4 mile cooldown back to work @ 7:30 pace completed the workout, with the effects of depleted fuel reserves (carbs) beginning to show over the last mile - a good overall test to see how much fuel I actually need to run hard, as my sole food intake since rising at 7 was a banana, plum and 2 apples about an hour and a half before the session.
16.79 miles  @ 7:09 pace & 148 Hr) with 4 x 2 Miles @ 6:20/19/19/19 pace.
Session # 2 - 20 miles on grass.
 The plan said 20 miles on grass, so that's what I did. The ground was soft underfoot so my target pace of 7:30 felt a bit tougher than expected. I was joined by clubmate Pat for the first 5 miles and was on my own thereafter. My left hammy began to tighten up halfway through the session and was noticeably stiff afterwards. Time for a bit of foam rolling.
20.27 Miles in 2:31:58 (7:30 pace @ 135 Hr.
The programme was quite specific that this run be on grass (the only one of the programme?) I opted for the 2.3 mile grass circuit at UCC Farm, running 9 laps to give me 20.7 miles. The opening laps were a bit slower than my planned 7:20/30 pace although I wasn't too concerned as all the programme called for was "easy" running.
I had the company of clubmate, Vivian for the first 6 laps, with Ronan joining me from laps 2 to 7, with the average pace coming down from the initial 7:38 to 7:30 and below. The pace increased for lap 7 and before Ronan left we were joined by Clubmate Pat, who stayed with me to the end taking the pace for the last 2 laps below 7:10 and 7:00 - perhaps not "easy" running but finishing strong is always a good mentally.
20.7 miles in 2:31:40 (7:18 pace @ 133Hr)


  1. OK, comments working now...
    I know you're serious about this one if you're passing on homemade chicken curry ;-) 20 miles on grass is rather serious too!