Dorset retreat (Brighton marathon training, week 9)

Week nine of my marathon training was completed at various locations, primarily in Dorset where my wife, my daughters and I spent half term. Serendipitously, week nine was also an easy/adaptation week. Target tempo pace this week was again 4:08/km.

Saturday’s easy run was completed at home in Beckenham and only just in time – much to the consternation of the Cyclist – to make our local travel connections to catch our pre-booked train from London Waterloo to Dorset. Sunday’s tempo intervals, following a warm up starting in Langton Matravers, took place on the seafront in Swanage. Running into a stiff breeze made it too hard to achieve my tempo pace on the odd numbered intervals, but this was redressed by running with the wind at my back on the even numbered ones such that, overall, my average was on target.

Arriving to visit my middle sister and her family in Bournemouth on Monday afternoon, meant that I was able to do my tempo run in the shadow of Bournemouth AFC’s Liberty Stadium the next morning. Unfortunately, I was also running in the shadow of Bournemouth’s defeat to Manchester City the night before which explained why our family meal that evening remained unpunctuated by the roar of the home fans.

Back with my mum and Alan again, for the last day of our family holiday, my long run started in Langton Matravers in a grey mist that considerably restricted visibility. Nonetheless, since my weather app showed clear skies, I set out with sunglasses perched optimistically on the top of my head. After a couple of kilometres in country lanes, the sun was visible through the lifting clouds and by the time I was approaching 5k and descending towards Swanage seafront I was running, sunglasses in place, in the forecast bright sunshine. I ran along the seafront, through the town and back out towards Langton Matravers before turning into the country lanes again and repeating my loop. As I passed along the seafront for the second time, I decided that I would try to complete the remainder of my run at marathon goal pace – 4:30/km – or slightly faster, once I reached 12k. This turned out to be a further 3.2km. Initially, I did well, averaging 4:31/km over the first two kilometres, but this slipped to 4:35/km for the final stretch. As I was running I was monitoring my pace closely and getting frustrated that I was unable to achieve my target; notwithstanding that I knew I was running uphill. I shouldn’t have been so concerned. Reviewing my run I saw that I had gained 11 metres of elevation over the initial two kilometres and a further 27 metres in the final stretch; significant enough that I revised my frustration to satisfaction and thoroughly enjoyed my rest on the train home.

week 9 – ending Thursday 16 February

day* training
Fri
Sat 52 mins easy (4:57/km average)
Sun 14 mins easy (warm up)
5 x
{
3 mins tempo
2 mins jog
}
10 mins easy (warm down)
(4:54/km average)
over all sets:
{
(4:08/km average)
(5:19/km average)
}
(5:11/km average)
Mon
Tue 11 mins easy (warm up)
11 mins tempo
15 mins easy (warm down)
(4:51/km average)
(4:04/km average)
(4:51/km average)
Wed
Thu 72 mins easy (4:56/km average)
total 3 hrs 30 mins (+10 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 9 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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Cutty Sark (Brighton marathon training, week 8)

Eight weeks of Brighton marathon training plan completed this morning with my regular running partner, Simon, on a long run of just over 26k from our homes, in Beckenham, out to the Cutty Sark in Greenwich and back. This was my second longest run ever which, on the one hand, is an achievement I take some satisfaction from, but on the other, it leaves me a little daunted by the longer runs** remaining in the second eight weeks of my training plan not to mention 42.2k on race day itself …  All the same, since tiredness and stiffness only began to become apparent from around 19k, I guess we did pretty well. This week I didn’t use any nutrition during the run, set out without breakfast and ate a low carb meal the previous evening. I rationalised that this would stimulate my body to use fat as an energy source rather than rely on stored carbohydrates, or those added during the run. I am now thinking that I will save proper “practice of race nutrition” for longer, possibly harder, runs later in my training.

The hardest run this week was Sunday’s interval session. I missed my target pace – fast intervals at 3:40/km – by quite a margin although I think I might have set it too high in the first place. Although I used intuition to come up with this target, it matches the pace suggested by the McMillan Running calculator for 400m sprint work for my ability, but perhaps given the number of sets and that I am in the midst of marathon training this was too optimistic. It didn’t help that I misread my watch during an early fast interval and stopped after 60 seconds instead of 90. After taking the additional 30 seconds of rest I made the next several fast intervals a few seconds longer to compensate which of course made it even harder to hit my target. Ho hum.

The most joyful run of the week was the first. As is my occasional habit, I travelled to my sister’s on Friday evening and, having spent a relaxing evening with her and her family, slept over before running Oak Hill parkrun with her the next morning. This time she had asked me to pace her to a course best 22:30 which fitted in well with my marathon training. As soon as we set off I could see that she was running fast and strong. By the time I moved alongside her, at about 500m, she had settled in to 22:05 pace and I could see no reason to slow her down. Briefly, perhaps during the fourth kilometre, I needed to encourage her to work a little to maintain the pace she had set, but she rallied and was even able to push during the final half kilometre to reel in a runner or two ahead. She finished in 22:00, a 32 second course best and just 10 seconds outside her all time PB!

week 8 – ending Thursday 9 February

day* training
Fri
Sat 52 mins including 22:03 parkrun 5k (4:45/km average)
Sun 11 mins easy (warm up)
10 x
{
90 secs fast
90 secs jog
}
12 mins easy (warm down)
(4:57/km average)
over all sets:
{
(3:57/km average)
(5:33/km average)
}
(5:10/km average)
Mon (swim 1.4k, 41 mins)
Tue 11 mins easy (warm up)
2 x
{
12 mins tempo
3 mins jog
}
12 mins easy (warm down)
(5:11/km average)
over all sets:
{
(4:08/km average)
(5:27/km average)
}
(5:09/km average)
Wed
Thu 130 mins easy (4:57/km average)
total 4 hrs 48 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 8 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.]

** Remaining long runs are: 75 minutes, 150 (which I am swapping for Brighton Half), 160, 170, 205, 90 and 70 followed by the race itself.

Confidence (Brighton marathon training, week 7)

Another week of Brighton training is complete and my confidence is growing.

week 7 – ending Thursday 2 February

day* training
Fri
Sat 43 mins easy (5:05/km average)
Sun 12 mins easy (warm up)
5 x
{
2 min tempo
2 mins jog
}
11 mins easy (warm down)
(4:57/km average)
over all sets:
{
(4:02/km average)
(5:00/km average)
}
(4:58/km average)
Mon (swim 1.5k, 41 mins)
Tue 16 mins easy (warm up)
2 x
{
8 mins tempo
5 mins steady
}
12 mins easy (warm down)
(5:04/km average)
over all sets:
{
(4:10/km average)
(4:28/km average)
}
(5:10/km average)
Wed
Thu 90 mins easy (5:04/km average)
total 3 hrs 50 mins (+9 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.

This week’s interval sessions felt easier than their counterparts last week although they possibly were in terms of the demands made of me. My target paces were again 4:30/km and 4:10/km for the ‘steady’ and ‘tempo’ intervals respectively and this week those didn’t feel as difficult to maintain.

I abruptly came down with a cold on Wednesday, around lunch time. I took paracetamol and ibuprofen and went to bed early, unsure if I would be well enough to run the next day. In the event I felt much better in the morning, although it was probably fortunate that my long run was a little shorter than last week. I certainly felt more fatigued towards the end of the run although I feel this was probably as much due to not using any nutrition during the run as it was to my cold.

caption

Week 7 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.]