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
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)
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.


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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