Intensity (Brighton marathon training, week 6)

Week 6 of my training plan introduced intensity- something other than easy running – for the first time. And this week’s interval sessions certainly were intense. My target pace for the ‘fast’ intervals on Sunday was 3:30/km and the targets for ‘steady’ and ‘tempo’ intervals on Tuesday were 4:30/km and 4:10/km respectively …

week 6 – ending Thursday 26 January

day* training
Fri
Sat 41 mins easy (5:02/km average)
Sun 11 mins easy (warm up)
8 x
{
1 min fast
2 mins jog
}
12 mins easy (warm down)
(4:56/km average)
over all sets:
{
(3:32/km average)
(5:44/km average)
}
(5:12/km average)
Mon (swim 1.4k, 39 mins)
Tue 11 mins easy (warm up)
3 x
{
5 mins steady
5 mins tempo
}
12 mins easy (warm down)
(4:56/km average)
over all sets:
{
(4:27/km average)
(4:12/km average)
}
(5:12/km average)
Wed
Thu 105 mins easy (4:57/km average)
total 4 hrs 7 mins (+8 mins versus training plan)
* The plan I’m using has long runs on a Sunday, as is traditional. I currently do mine on a Thursday, hence the shift compared to the snippet below.

… The ‘fast’ one minute intervals on Sunday were hard work and although I was slightly short of my target pace overall, I took satisfaction from completing all eight sets. By the time I started the fifth set I was battling with the thought that I was only just half way through. As I often do, I used the approach of thinking, “Well, after this one I’ll have done five. I’ll consider how many more I can do then,” and then, “After this one I’ll have done six …” etc.

With only three sets on Tuesday, it wasn’t so hard mentally, but physically I found it hard to maintain my goal pace for the tempo intervals. On reflection, the fact that I was running the steady intervals a little too fast probably didn’t help.

I did my long run on Thursday with my regular long run partner Simon. This was probably the most satisfying run of the week because, as we progressed beyond about 15k / 75 minutes, I still felt comfortable and full of running. I also used Clif Shot Bloks during this run, in a more structured way than I have previously on long runs, to start practising my probable race day nutrition. I ate one at 5k, 10k, 15k and 20k. Whilst this will certainly have contributed to my feeling comfortable on what is, for me, quite a long run, I have been reflecting on this since and attribute it primarily to the training plan I am following. In many ways, I am an experienced runner and I generally plan my own training, albeit informed by wide reading and available online training resources. This is the first time, for at least a couple of years or more, that I have closely followed a third party training plan. My thinking now is that I have been failing to include proper easy/adaptation weeks in my training in recent years. The easy/adaptation weeks in this plan are significantly easier than the ones I have been giving myself and, to be honest, what I have called easy weeks have often been forced upon me by injury. This improved balance of hard and easier weeks seems to me to be an important factor in my week culminating in a such a comfortable and confidence boosting run. Regardless of how my Brighton Marathon training story ends, this lesson will be an important one that I will be taking away with me for the future.

caption

Week 6 of the ‘2016 improver plan’ that I am using as a template for my training. [Available via Virgin London Marathon plans, devised by Martin Yelling.]

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Lows and highs (Brighton marathon training, weeks 4 & 5)

I started week 4 of my marathon training, or more accurately ended week 3 as I warmed up for the long run which concluded that week, by injuring myself with a foam roller. At the time of my post I hadn’t realised the significance of my achievement. As I rolled my upper legs and hips in preparation for my long run, I somewhat absently moved the roller to my chest and took my body weight on it just as I began to get up. The roller rolled down my ribs and momentarily, and painfully, I took most of my weight on my lowest right rib. For the next couple of days even laughing or pronounced breathing was painful due to my, apparently bruised, rib. Fortunately, running wasn’t precluded and although the discomfort has now all but disappeared, the embarrassment lingers.

Meanwhile, just after my first run of the week, I noticed a slight burning sensation behind my right kneecap which I recognised as the symptom preceding prepatellar bursitis, which wrote off the last two months of 2015 and continued to affect my running into early 2016. I skipped my planned Sunday run and used ice and a compression bandage to manage the symptom with some success. I was able to complete my Tuesday and Thursday runs unaffected. The latter, my long run, was my longest run for almost two years!

week 4 – ending Thursday 12 January

day* training
Fri
Sat 45 mins easy, 2 separate runs (5:14/km average)
Sun
Mon (swim 1.4k, 39 mins)
Tue 60 mins easy (5:01/km average)
Wed
Thu 90 mins easy (5:06/km average)
total 3 hrs 15 mins (-25 mins versus training plan)
* The plan I’m using has long runs on a Sunday, as is traditional. I currently do mine on a Thursday, hence the shift compared to the snippet below.
caption

Week 4 of the ‘2016 improver plan’ that I am using as a template for my training. [Available via Virgin London Marathon plans, devised by Martin Yelling.]

ca

My longest run for almost two years!

Fortunately, week 5 of my training plan was essentially an adaptation week and so I have been able to rest my knee to some extent. However, the burning sensation behind my right knee cap has persisted, albeit typically when I am not running. Fortunately, the symptoms have not progressed further and I have continued to treat with ice and compression. At this point, I am somewhat apprehensive about what the effect of returning to more intensive running in week 6 will be …

week 5 – ending Thursday 19 January

day* training
Fri
Sat 22 mins easy (4:58/km average)
Sun 34 mins easy (4:52/km average)
Mon (swim 1.4k, 40 mins)
Tue 22 mins easy (4:54/km average)
Wed
Thu 60 mins easy (4:47/km average)
total 2 hrs 18 mins (+8 mins versus training plan)
* The plan I’m using has long runs on a Sunday, as is traditional. I currently do mine on a Thursday, hence the shift compared to the snippet below.
caption

Week 5 of the ‘2016 improver plan’ that I am using as a template for my training. [Available via Virgin London Marathon plans, devised by Martin Yelling.]

PB review 2016 & targets for 2017

My running in 2016 ended on a relative high. This is probably better phrased as, “My perception of running in 2016 was only saved from being ‘a complete fiasco’ by returning to a decent level of activity in December.” I ran 21 parkrun 5k events this year, but most of those were simply part of the process of recovery from one injury or another. Certainly, none were PB attempts and the fastest, 19:23 at Dulwich in June, was a full 30 seconds outside my 5k PB. Outside parkrunning, I participated in only three events this year. The first two of these were also in June; a 3k team relay and a 10000m PB although the latter was more of a statistical anomaly than a notable performance. By July I was already injured when I participated in the Thunder Run 24 hour team relay which really was such a fiasco that I couldn’t bring myself to write a blog post.

fiasco

Running in 2016 was only saved from being a complete fiasco by returning to a decent level of activity in December.

Consequently my targets for 2017 are unchanged from last year. In fact, I have removed the 50k target which I optimistically added last year as part of my #50at50 challenge. If I am unable to maintain marathon training this year long enough to line up at the Brighton Marathon in April I will likely acknowledge that the marathon is beyond my physiology and remove it too next year.

2016 season 2017 season
event opening PB target events improvement target
800m 2:25.9 2:19.9 2:19.9
1500m 5:18.2 4:49.9 4:49.9
mile 5:31.7 4:59.9 4:59.9
3000m 9:59.9 9:59.9
5000m 19:01.53 17:59.99 17:59.99
5k 18:53 17:59 21 17:59
5 mile 31:28 29:59 29:59
10000m 44:04 38:29.99 1 June 40:41.00 38:29.99
10k 39:04 38:29 38:29
10 mile 66:41 64:59 64:59
half marathon 86:29 84:59 84:59
marathon 3:09:59 3:09:59

Goody Two Shoes (Brighton marathon training, week 3)

Three weeks of marathon training down and thirteen to go and I am feeling good; mentally and physically. And materially – two new pairs of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15’s were delivered this week. (If you use this shoe and live in the EU, there is currently a great price available, £55 UKP per pair at Start Fitness. This is not an affiliate link!).

Goody, two shoes!

Goody, two shoes! A pristine pair of GTS 14’s. (And two pairs of newly delivered GTS 15’s.)

My current pair of GTS 13’s now have 437 miles on them and so on Tuesday I unboxed a pristine pair of GTS 14’s and finished my running week in those. They should be perfectly worn in in time to line up at Brighton in April.

week 3 – ending Thursday 5 January

day* training
Fri
Sat 40 mins including 19:43 5k parkrun (4:26/km average)
Sun  54 mins including 21:55 5k parkrun (4:53/km average)
Mon (swim 1.2k, 34 mins)
Tue 35 mins easy (4:56/km average)
Wed
Thu 82 mins easy (5:04/km average)
total 2 hrs 46 mins (+16 mins versus training plan)
* The plan I’m using has long runs on a Sunday, as is traditional. I currently do mine on a Thursday, hence the shift compared to the snippet below.

caption

Week 3 of the ‘2016 improver plan’ that I am using as a template for my training. [Available via Virgin London Marathon plans, devised by Martin Yelling.]

This week, primarily because I actually considered my training plan in advance, I have adhered to it much more closely than I did in the first two weeks.  This time I have run on four days, only slightly too far in terms of duration and despite the double parkrun of New Year’s Eve and New Years Day I am satisfied that I have not included too much intensity. With the latter in mind, I plan to volunteer rather than run at parkrun for the next couple of weeks.