This week was all about nailing the key workout of the training programme - 3 x 4 miles @ MP with 3 mile moderate recoveries. I managed to complete it at the target paces but was a few minutes behind where I was in 2013. So while i'm still not in the same shape as I was then, I should be capable of a sub-3 hour marathon in Barcelona. As I am about 3 kg heavier than I was at this stage of my training in 2013 I reckon that is where the difference in pace is coming from.
The rest of my training programme should be relatively straightforward to complete, although next weeks 5, 4, 3, 2 & 1 mile @ MP with 2 minute recoveries looks even more daunting than this weeks session - back in 2013 I avoided this session by incorporating it in the Cork City Marathon, where I managed to cover 26.22 miles @ MP ;-)
Swim - 2 km
Bike - 38 miles
Run - 64 miles
February 2015 - Week 6 of 9
May 2013 - Week 6 & 7 of 10
Session # 1 – Nothing Scheduled
Because I cut a week from my training programme I was going to be missing out on a 22 mile long run so I decided to run an easy mid-week long run covering
20.16 miles in 2:48:49 (8:23 pace @ 116Hr = 605 Hb/Km)
I may do a MAF evaluation next week to see where I am in terms of aerobic efficiency.
With no specific speed session in the programme I used my Tuesday track session to complete the 5 mile evaluation run, the results of which I covered in my pervious post.
15.66 miles in 1:58:28 (7:33 pace @ 128 Hr = 601 Hb/Km) with 5 mile Evaluation in 34:18 (6:52 pace @ 138.4 Hr = 590 Hb/Km).
I paced the Killarney Lakeside Marathon for a 3:15 finish (7:23 pace & No HRM) – deferring my key training session until Week 7.
Session # 2 - 2 mile warmup followed by 3 x 4 mile @ MP with 3 mile recoveries
Today was the day - the key session in my marathon training programme - 2 mile warm up followed by 3 x 4 miles @ MP with 3 mile moderate recoveries and 1 mile cool down. I had originally planned to run this on the grass at the Farm (as I had done back in 2013 for my PB marathon(s)) but the overnight rain was sure to make conditions tricky underfoot so I stuck to the roads, running from home doing loops of the Model Farm Road / Straight Road and Ballincollig. Conditions were almost perfect for running - cool sunshine with a light north-westerly breeze (still a bit of a head wrecker when running hard into it). The downside of keeping away from the Farm was that I had to carry my water (500ml) and gel (homemade with honey, molasses & a pinch of salt) - using my Salomon race vest (great piece of kit).
The plan was to run MP @ 6:45 or less and the recoveries @ 7:30 or less (Ideally MP @ sub-6:40 and recoveries @ sub7:20 - which was my target the last time I did this session)
Warmup miles @ 7:32 & 7:13 pace were followed by 4 miles @ 6:34 pace (comfortably hard), 3 miles @ 7:15 pace, all well under control. The second 4 miles were a tad slower @ 6:37 pace but still under control. I had to concentrate a bit more to keep the sub 7:20 pace for the second 3 mile recovery @ 7:17 pace average ( I took the one and only swig of my gel and water here) before launching into the final 4 miles which proved much tougher (more drags) @ 6:39 pace - certainly feeling the pressure towards the end. A 1 mile cool down and I was done. Session nailed. A few minutes slower than in 2013 so I reckon I should be in 2:57/58 shape. Avg Hr 146 (628 HbKm)
21 Miles in 2:25:37 (6:56 pace @ Avg 146 Hr (628 Hb/Km) Max 160) with 3 x 4 miles @ 6:34/37/39 pace.
The day of reckoning had finally arrived.
I had asked Joe about this session when he gave me the programme as he had said that it was the toughest session of the programme - tougher than the 15 miles @ MP next week (5, 4, 3, 2 & 1 miles @ MP with 2 minute recoveries)? - "that will be no bother to you if you nail this session" he had assured me. I remember joining Joe for this session when he was training for Berlin in 2010 - although then the 3 mile recoveries were cut back to 1 mile (to save time). I used the same venue - the grass of UCC Farm.
I selected a MP pace of < 6:40 and the plan for the recoveries < 7:20 pace) was to keep them pretty steady so as to maintain a reasonable level of stress - there's no point in finishing fresh ;-)
I was using the run to trial a homemade gel receipe (honey, with a dash of black strap molasses and a pinch of salt, watered down to fill a borrowed gel flask - looked like a minature Guinness)
The 2 warmup miles took me from 7:20 to 7:00 pace before launching into the first 4 MP miles which were covered in a reasonably comfortable 26:15 (6:34 pace average). The 3 recovery miles were also covered in a comfortable pace although faster than planned (7:03 pace).
The next 4 miles were a bit more stressful, particularly at the start where I had to concentrate on the pace. The increase in effort paid off with a 26:23 second 4 miler (6:36 pace). The start of my second recovery 3 miler was around 7:20 pace but, once recovered, increased to give an average 7:07 pace. I took a swig or two from my gel flask and a drop of water at mile 15 (1:42:17) before launching into my final 4 miler after 16 miles.
This time it required all my concentration to keep on pace with the effort like that of a 20 minute tempo run. I could afford to push harder over the last mile and a half as I knew the stress would soon be over. It was a long countdown though - 26:11 for the last 4 (avg 6:33 pace) and Mile 20 in 2:15:39 (marginally faster than my fastest 20 miler - 2:16:00). A slow achy cooldown mile gave me 21 for the session. Legs well and truly smashed - so I suppose job well done and key session nailed.
21 Miles in 2:23:39 (6:50 pace @ Avg 144 Hr (611 Hb/Km) Max 161) with 3 x 4 miles @ 6:34/36/33 pace.