Training Log for Week 39 of 2018

There was not much to report in terms of training from this past week, as I was tapering to get ready for the half-marathon on Saturday. Including race day, total mileage for the week was 56 kilometres (35 miles) with 644 meters (2113 feet) of climbing. This amounted to 4 hours and 19 minutes of running.

I kicked the week off with an easy day home from work in absolutely brilliant fall weather, which made for perfect running conditions. Tuesday I started the day with running into work, and it was a harsh reminder that darker days are upon us. I was not mentally prepared to run in the cold, wet darkness again. A bit of work to do with my psyche, no question, because I was feeling really sorry for myself that morning.

Early morning sunrise
Some fall morning runs are easier than others!

Wednesday and Thursday were both complete rest days, in preparation for the upcoming race on Saturday. This is a bit of an unusual taper strategy, but I have found that my legs tend to respond very well to complete rest, and I wanted to try the strategy again to see if it was a replicable strategy or merely a fluke. I got the answer on Friday afternoon when I went out for a quick shake out run where my legs felt fresh and ready to go.

Saturday was race day, which, as always, will be properly covered in a separate race report coming up later this week. (Now published, and you can read it here.) And on Sunday I rested, absolutely shot after the race. The focus for the upcoming week will, quite naturally, be to recover from the race, and to start preparing for the final race on my schedule this year; a 10k on October 22nd.

Training Log for Week 38 of 2018

After feeling fresh and ready to race last week, this week brought me down to the earth again. I spent 6 hours and 43 minutes running this week, for a total of 83 kilometres (52 miles) and 956 meters (3136 feet) of climbing.

The signs were there when I kicked off the week with a 12k recovery session on Monday, where I felt quite tired. Despite that, I decided to give it a go with the planned workout on Tuesday, which was supposed to be 11k at around half marathon race pace (3:50 min/km). Having gotten through 9k feeling very well last week, I thought this should be doable even on an off day. I was wrong. Already a few kilometres in I was struggling, and after 5k it was all I could do to hang on and squeeze myself through to 7k before calling the session.

Cloudy over a trail perfect for running
I am now back to work, which means most of my runs will be part of my commute.

A real bummer, and not the confidence builder I was looking for leading into my upcoming half marathon on September 29th. Either way, the show must go on, and I progressed through the week with three more easy runs from Wednesday to Friday, before having a full rest day on Saturday.

On my Sunday long, my legs felt a bit more fresh again, and I decided to do a progressive long run on an undulating course to see how the legs would hold up. The composition of the run was the first 7k easy, before slightly increasing the intensity over the next 8k, while doing a natural fartlek-style final third. In this final third, I went more or less all out on the uphills, while maintaining a decent float pace (4:15-4:30 min/km) on the flats and downhills. Through the entire session, I felt quite good and recovered really well at a decent clip between the climbs. All in all, an encouraging end to a week where I struggled overall.

Training Log for Week 37 of 2018

Fall is well and truly upon us, and the fickle weather that accompanies the season has descended upon us here in Norway. During this week I have run in amazing fall weather, with clear blue skies and perfect running temperatures, and in a seemingly neverending rainfall. My weekly totals were 86 kilometres (53 miles) run, 799 meters (2621 feet) climbed, for a weekly total of 6 hours and 56 minutes.

Monday and Tuesday were easy days to get ready for my half marathon specific workout on Wednesday. The conditions were absolutely perfect, and I got through the 9k threshold session at goal half marathon pace without too much trouble. In fact, I felt much better this time around than I did in the equivalent, but shorter, session last week. This was a very nice confidence boost, and I am starting to believe that I can get actually keep my goal pace for a full half marathon. As long as the conditions are favourable, at least.

Beautiful weather for running.
The conditions for my long run were absolutely beautiful.

Thursday was a rest day, while I did a 12k easy run on Friday. My weekly long run, which was 27k this weekend, was done on Saturday. I kept it easy, as I was a bit tired, but I was still struggling a bit muscularly towards the end. A timely reminder that neuromuscular endurance disappears quite quickly, once you cut the distance of your long runs.

On Sunday I only did a short 10k recovery session, after watching the magnificent Eliud Kipchoge absolutely obliterate the Marathon World Record in Berlin in the morning hours. 2:01:39 is the new, superhuman WR, and Kipchoge is now the undisputed greatest marathoner of all time. What a show that was! Hopefully, Eliud comes back to Berlin next year, and I’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the legend himself in person.

Training Log for Week 36 of 2018

Having finally nailed down the races I will be running to end the running season 2018, I feel like there is some purpose to my training once more. In just a couple of weeks, I will be racing a half marathon, while my last race of the year will be a 10k towards the penultimate weekend of October.

As I don’t have much time to do much preparation for the half marathon, my training is now centred around trying to get ready for that. That means focusing on quality over quantity these weeks leading into the race. This week I ran 85 kilometres (53 miles) and climbed 811 meters (2660 feet), and this amounted to 6 hours and 37 minutes of running.

Great weather for running.
Some great autumn weather this week made a few easy runs a breeze!

There is not much I can do in the way of improving my fitness in the span of a few weeks, so the way I am trying to optimise my chances of performing well is by running at goal half marathon pace. This week that meant a Tuesday workout with a continuous 7k threshold session at 3:50 min/km (6:10 min/mile). The next two weeks, I am aiming to repeat that session, but increase the distance. If I can manage 11k at goal pace a week and a half out, I will feel quite confident going into the race.

Apart from that session and easy running on the other days, I did a hard long run with one of my running buddies on Sunday. We went out with the intention of doing a half marathon at faster than 4:00 min/km (6:26 min/mile) pace, and I was able to do just that without going to the bottom of the well. And that was in less than ideal conditions, with constant wind and rain, and on a slightly undulating course. For me, this is more or less a marathon pace session, as this is the pace I will be targeting for my next marathon, and I was pleased to get through it. This tells me that my base fitness is still good at the tail end of the season, as I approach the time to wind down and take some time to make my plans for the coming year.

Training Log for Week 35 of 2018

There is a feeling that only comes around on Sunday evenings. Those precious few hours of the week when you can look at your training log, and feel content. You’ve done the job, and the current week’s numbers in the log confirm it. There’s no time to dwell on it, because just a few hours from now, the counter is reset, so you need to enjoy the feeling. My numbers for this week were alright. I ran 90 kilometres (56 miles) with 946 meters (3103 feet) of climbing, which amounted to 7 hours and 31 minutes.

I kicked off the week with easy runs on both Monday and Tuesday, 12k and 8k respectively, before having a go at the first workout for the week on Wednesday. On the plan was a VO2Max 1000 meters interval session. As I would be racing again come Saturday, I decided to cap the number of intervals at just four, compared to the six or eight I would normally do for this session. The session was good, and I was able to progress the pace of the intervals as planned.

Light clouds over a country road an early morning.
Another early morning shot from the road.

As with most weeks, I followed the workout with more easy days, this time sticking to easy runs on both Tuesday and Friday. On Saturday I participated in a local 5k race. I did a short 5k shakeout run in the morning, and with the race plus warmup and cool down that took my total for the day 16k. A complete race report will be published later this week, but the short of it was that I managed to improve on my lousy 5k performance from three weeks back, but not with as much as I had hoped. My chip time was 17:50.

On Sunday morning I felt the impact of running too much in racing flats throughout the week, as I had done my interval session plus all my race day running in my Adidas Sub2 shoes. My plantar / heel was tight and a bit painful, but I hopped into my Pegasus Turbos either way and got out on the road for my Sunday long run. The plan was to keep the effort level comfortable and controlled until I reached the 3k climb near the end of the course that I had chosen.

I stuck to the plan and was able to get in a very decent 10-minute climbing session, before just cooling down on the final stretch back home. The reasoning behind a session like this is that putting in a hard effort towards the end of a good week of training, presumably on tired and beat up legs, is very specific training for the final stretch of a marathon. If you can close out a long week with a strong and prolonged uphill effort, preferably towards the end of a decent long run, that will help get you ready for the tail end of a marathon.

Training Log for Week 34 of 2018

This week kicked off with a bang, as my wife gave birth to our son on Monday morning. As such, running got pushed to the back seat on my list of priorities for a while. Luckily, the little guy is a calm and tempered one, and is generally pleased with his existence as long as he gets to sleep and eat, and have his diaper changed every now and then.

That meant I could get back to running quicker than I had thought, and I got in a couple of runs at the tail end of the week. The weekly total was 33 kilometres (21 miles) run, with 319 meters (1047 feet) of climbing spread out over 2 hours and 46 minutes.

Baby feet
The tiny future runner attached to these feet has kept my running to a minimum this week.

My first run was Thursday, and it was just an easy 12k. The morning after, I did another, even shorter easy run at 8k. On Saturday I got in a proper workout, and it was a good one. Inspired by a couple of other people over at r/ARTC who had nailed their LT sessions earlier in the week, I decided to do a threshold workout myself. Having not done one of these in a while, I decided to take a page from Jack Daniels’ book and split the LT session into two parts, separated by a 1k float to not let my HR drop too much. According to Daniels’, this offers more or less the same physical stimuli as a continuous session.

The goal of the session was to do two times 4k at around half marathon-pace, which I think is around 3:50/km (6:10/mile) while running a 1k loop which is slightly undulating. For the float, I wanted to keep the pace at around 4:30/km (7:15/mile). I more or less nailed the session, running the two threshold segments just slightly faster than goal pace, while the float was a tad bit slower.

Coming through this session unscathed has given me confidence with regards to my physical shape, and I now believe that my time goals for this fall are within reach. To recap, I want to go below 17:30 in the 5k, 36 minutes in 10k and 80 minutes in the half marathon. The first chance to realise one of those goals is the coming weekend, as I’ll be racing another 5k on September 1st. Very much looking forward to a chance for redemption after my previous 5k fiasco!

Training Log for Week 33 of 2018

After a poor showing in my recent 5k race, I took some time to reflect on my training in the weeks and months following my marathon. I came to the conclusion that, even if I obviously had a bad day on the day of the race, a loss of focus in training over the past month or so has definitely contributed to my lack of sharpness. I have put in the time, but not been anywhere near enough disciplined with regards to what is the purpose of each session. The number one goal for this week, therefore, was to get back to easy runs easy, and banging it out on harder days.

The numbers for this week were good. I ran a total of 130 km (81 miles) with 1331 meters (4367 ft) of elevation gain spread over 10 hours and 58 minutes of running. This is the most mileage I have ever run over the course of a week, and I am happy to have gotten through it without any noticeable pain or discomfort. This tells me that my body is ready to put in the work.

The week kicked off without much fanfare, with just a 10k recovery session on Monday, followed by a 12k easy run on Tuesday. I made a point of staying within my easy and recovery HR zones on both of these runs. This resulted in the pace dropping a bit compared to most of my recent running, which is a strong indicator that I have been running too fast on easy days.

My first workout for the week came on Wednesday when I did 6 x 800 meters on the track with a running buddy. Because I was still a bit uncertain about my own shape, we ran these progressively, increasing the pace for each interval. We ran the first 800 in 3:00, and the final in 2:45. I felt really good on the day, and believe I could have repeated the final interval a couple of times without going down on the steel. A great session!

I followed that by doing a medium long on Thursday, adding another 22k to my weekly tally here. This run was pleasing because I managed to progress the pace nicely, despite the workout a mere twelve hours previous and the challenging weather with both wind and rain. Friday I did the first double of the week, two recovery sessions at 12k and 8k respectively. On Saturday I had another easy run at 15k, to get ready to go a bit harder again the following day.

Forest trail for running.
I spent the Sunday long running up and down on the local trails.

To close off the week, I went out on Sunday morning with a friend for a pretty hilly (422 meters / 1385 ft of elevation gain) 25k trail run. The numbers don’t necessarily show it, but this was a pretty hard run on the day. Going out, I felt pretty good for the first 10k or so, but after that, my legs really started to fade, and during the final steep climb it was all I could do to keep my turnover at a running trot. Still, I managed to keep up a decent pace throughout, and I was happy to be able to do this near the end of a 130k week. Later in the day, I went out for a 6k recovery session to bring my weekly total above 130k, because I like round numbers!

The coming week will be a recovery week, in terms of running anyway, because my wife and I received our second child on Monday morning! That is, of course, also the reason why this weekly report is being published late. Given the story of our first child, we feel lucky and blessed to be able to say that both our son and his mother are doing really well, and as of the time I am writing this, they are resting together in bed. This will obviously make training even more of a challenge for me in the future, but that is one challenge I welcome with open arms.

Training Log for Week 32 of 2018

This past week was all about trying to get ready for my first race since running my debut marathon. And I failed, miserably. I will talk more in-depth about my race in a separate race report, coming later this week, but the short of it is that I went out looking to run the 5k faster than 17:30, and ended up finishing in 18:44. But, what’s done is done, and I am here to talk about my training for the week, so let’s get to that right now. The totals for the week were 92 kilometres (57 miles) of running with 1056 (3464 feet) of climbing over 7 hours 24 minutes. I did not do any cross training this week.

I started the week with an easy run home from work on Monday. On Tuesday, I did my first real workout since before the marathon (this is probably a clue as to why I stuffed up the 5k) which was four bouts of two minutes on at around (estimated) 5k pace, and two minutes off at easy pace. It felt too hard, and I lacked any sort of rhythm.

On Wednesday I finally got to test out my new shoes, the Pegasus Turbos, with the short route to work, which is 11k. Tuesday I once again started the day by running into work, this time the trail route, which is about 15k. This run was another omen of what was to come on Saturday because my HR was high, my legs heavy, and I once more struggled to find my rhythm. On Friday I just did a short 8k shake-out, with five strides. Surprisingly, my legs felt alright here, and I was hoping that I feel ready to race the next day.

A dewy forest trail with blue skies above.
This week gave me more beautiful mornings on the trail.

I wasn’t ready, of course, and I’ve already mentioned how it went. For a more detailed account, check back later in the week to read the full race report. The week was closed out with a very decent hilly 23k progression run with a friend, where we finished the run with a hard 2k climb. To illustrate, I kept almost the same pace through this 5% climb as I did for the final kilometre of my 5k the day before! The body works in mysterious ways.

Either way, I was happy to end the week on a relatively high note. I have the coming week off from work, and I will be looking to take advantage by bumping my mileage quite significantly. One takeaway from my poor race, though, is that I need to get back to properly polarised training. This means I will be focusing on sticking to the mantra of running easy days easy and being fully prepared to give it all on the hard days.

Training Log for Week 31 of 2018

Another week of training is in the books, and I am now firmly in the “kicking stones” territory. That is to say, I am right between cycles of training for a proper goal race, and my training is probably suffering as a result. There is no short-term outlining the structure of my training, and I am probably not doing enough quality work to the get the returns I should given the time I am putting in at the moment.

Still, I managed to get in some decent mileage again this week, and as I am planning to start another marathon cycle this fall, improving that base is probably the most important thing. The weekly total was 94 kilometres (58 miles) and 1148 meters (3766 ft) of climbing after 7 hours and 42 minutes of running. Additionally, I cross-trained with 40 minutes of biking and 20 minutes of core strength work.

Trails, green trees and the blue sky.
Early mornings on the trails into work have become a favourite!

There was not much to talk about this week, as most of my training was fairly straightforward. On Tuesday I managed to squeeze in 6 all-out 15-second hill repetitions. Thursday I added back the famous mid-week medium long run for a total of 23k. I had almost forgotten how challenging those runs can be!

Going forward, I am now less than a week out from my first race since my marathon; a 5k on August 11th. I am not feeling particularly good about getting back to racing again at this point, let alone something as high paced as a 5k when I’ve done so little speed-work over the past couple of months. No matter, I will give what I have on the day. If you’d asked me a couple of months ago, I would have said that 17:30 was a decent race. But as I’m lacking sharpness, I’ll be happy to get in within 20 seconds of that. My current PR of 18:56 should still take a solid beating, though!

Training Log for Week 30 of 2018

At the beginning of the week, I was feeling a bit tired after last week’s increase in both mileage and intensity. With that in mind, I decided to keep mileage steady instead of further increasing further this week, and rather add on some cross training. Weekly totals are 86 km (53 miles) run with 868 meters (2 848 ft) of climbing over seven hours. In addition to this, I also biked for an hour and thirty-four minutes and did twenty minutes doing core-strengthening exercises.

I began the week biking to work on Monday morning, before doing a very slow 8k recovery run in the evening. Tuesday I reversed the routine by running to work (15k) and biking home afterwards. My legs were still heavy during the morning run, and I hoped that the biking would help me loosen up.

Wednesday I once more started the day with a run into work, this time opting for the 11k route, and with a couple of kilometres to go, I finally felt that my legs started to loosen a bit. That set me up nicely for adding a bit of pace to my 15k Thursday run, where I felt decent. I felt comfortable, and my heart rate confirmed it, but I am still struggling with turnover at higher speeds. This means that I need to continue to do some up-tempo work on the hills in the coming week, as I try to get ready for my 5k race in two weeks time.

A walkway in Ski, Akershus, Norway
Great weather once more on my Sunday long run, if a bit hot!

Friday I only cross-trained with half an hour on the bike, and Saturday I did an easy 10k run in the morning. My last run for the week was, as it should be, a long run. After ten hours of sleep, I only got out the door at around 10 AM, and the heat was pretty rough. But I got the miles in, and that’s all that matters at this point.

As mentioned, I will try to add some more up-tempo work on the hills this coming week. In conjunction with this, I also want to continue to increase the mileage back to my pre-marathon levels at 100-110 kilometres per week, to keep improving my base endurance.