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.]

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.]

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.

Retro (Brighton marathon training, weeks 1 & 2)

Having long planned my first marathon for April this year, and not even started a training plan, let alone approached the 2016 start line, it is with some trepidation that I am now contemplating lining up alongside thousands of others on 9 April 2017 at the Brighton Marathon in less than fourteen weeks time.

Consequently, I must already be two weeks into my sixteen week marathon training. And, that having now occurred to me, it would seem reasonable to have an actual plan in mind. Fortunately with such a long lead time I have had plenty of time to consider several options. Taking into account my current level of fitness and my recent history of injury I have decided on a relatively conservative training plan that requires four running days per week. Fully fit I like to run on five days. Right now, I am just ready to move up from three to four days per week.

So, retrospectively comparing my last two weeks running with the first two weeks of my training plan, it seems my first two weeks have gone reasonably well …

week 1 – ending Thursday 22 December

day* training
Fri (swim 1.0k, 28 mins)
Sat 57 mins including 20:37 5k parkrun (4:42/km average)
Sun
Mon 51 mins easy (5:02/km average)
Tue
Wed 72 mins easy (5:08/km average)
Thu
total 3 hrs (+30 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 1 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.]

week 2 – ending Thursday 29 December

day* training
Fri
Sat 76 mins including  19:53 5k parkrun (4:48/km average)
Sun
Mon 55 mins easy (5:29/km average)
Tue (swim 1.2k, 34 mins)
Wed
Thu 80 mins easy (5:22/km average)
total 3 hrs 31 mins (+36 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 2 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.]

Reflecting on my first two weeks, I can see that I’ve run slightly too far and over three days not four, but of course I was unaware of my training plan at the time. I will, naturally, be running with the plan in mind in the coming weeks. Also, I’m aware that my parkrun habit is introducing speed where the improver plan does not currently specify any. I am not going to be giving up parkrunning completely, but recognise that I need to temper my efforts to some extent so as not to defeat my marathon training.

I am looking forward to week 3 already 🙂

Track dinosaur

Last Friday I ran only my second 10000m – at Orion Harriers annual Fast Friday track event. Whilst the distinction between a 10000m and a 10k may be subtle, it is one I am happy to make, particularly as it guaranteed me a PB. I have run twenty two 10k races and my PB in that discipline currently stands at 39:04, however I recorded just 44:04 in my first 10000m back in 2007. When I entered Friday’s race I anticipated my recovery and training going well and had an optimistic target of 39:30 in mind. Before arriving at the venue I modified this slightly, as I have had to back off for the last two weeks, to a still highly optimistic 40:00.

I arrived in good time and picked up my snazzy, bespoke race numbers; front and rear, got changed and talked to one or two other runners. I warmed up gently and made a mental note to search online for information on best practice when warming up … I have a feeling that I warm up too close to race start.

As the race started shortly after 7:30pm, I consciously set out at a pace faster than my target with a view to testing the limits of my performance to gauge how far my recovery has come. I have done this a couple of times recently; my logic being that since events are not currently likely to produce PBs, achieving a particular time target is not in and of itself the most important thing. In this, slightly unusual, case I rationalised that whatever PB time I recorded it would be one I would hope to better significantly when fully fit. I set out at 39:35 pace, partly because this made the mental maths, 95 seconds per lap, easier as I passed the race clock every 400 metres and partly because two runners soon settled in at this pace in front of me. Although I was wearing a GPS watch I did not want to rely on it for pace or distance on a track.

This seemed to go well for a while. In fact, I was arriving at the start/finish a few seconds inside each lap target, but the two runners soon left me behind as my pace slowed. I continued to try and do the mental maths to check my lap splits … 1:35, 3:10, 4:45, 6:20, 7:55, but struggled to get it right beyond lap 5 as the physical effort became more demanding. Even as I completed lap 5, and the first 2k, my average pace to that point was only just inside 4:00/km – which of course projects to a 10000m time of just under 40:00.

Just before half way, perhaps 10 laps into the 25 lap race, I was lapped by the lead runner. I was not discouraged by this or by the majority of the field who also subsequently also lapped me. I knew the target times of the other runners, from my race entry confirmation email, and had anticipated being lapped at about half way. In fact, I found each of the runners lapping me briefly useful in pulling me along until I lost contact with them. At about this time, I selected another runner who had just passed me and worked hard to stay with her for the next few laps. As the race progressed I kept her in sight, but the distance between us stretched to maybe 25 metres or more.

Encouragement

My snazzy, bespoke race number!

Also from about half way, the timing team began to call out the number of laps remaining for each runner; using the names on our race number bibs. This approach made sure the information was clearly communicated. Which was useful as I was now completely lost on what my lap split times should be or for that matter how many laps I had done. The back straight water team had been shouting encouragement on every lap also using our names. This became more and more significant and I put all my energy into maintaining something approaching decent form and not losing touch with the runner in front, now maybe around 35 metres ahead. After the number of laps being called out to me reduced to single figures I checked the average pace on my watch a couple of times. I could see that I certainly wasn’t going to achieve 40:00 and that 40:30 was looking increasingly unlikely.

I felt tired, and attributed this to the same combination – of it being an evening race and that I had done no training, just two race efforts, in the previous two weeks – as I did on Wednesday. However, the combination of the small crowd on the main straight, the fantastic encouragement from the back straight water team and my still just maintained contact with the runner in front of me, meant that I still felt that I was racing. I wrestled with the idea that I might be able to catch the runner in front, but wasn’t sure that I could give much more. As the remaining laps reduced below 5, it seemed that perhaps I was closing the gap. My memory is indistinct on just when I realised that actually catching up was a real possibility. It may have been that I made a sustained effort over the final two or more laps or perhaps all the gains were made in my final sprint which I think started with 200 metres to go. I finished just 0.6 seconds behind.

race data summary

official finish time 40:41.0 PB
target 40:00 – 41 seconds outside
approx km splits pace
3:55, 4:01, 4:04, 4:04, 4:01, 4:06, 4:09, 4:10, 4:14, 3:57
HR
155, 161, 161, 161, 162, 163, 162, 163, 163, 166
biometric summary average HR – 162
max HR – 172 (estimated personal maximum – 172)
average cadence – 182
approx start weight – 69.8kg
positions overall – 18 out of 20
gender – 14 out of 14
category – VM50-54 2 out of 2