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 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!

The Mental Gymnastics of Getting Through a Hard Workout

The night before

“I am still feeling a bit tired, perhaps I should postpone tomorrow’s workout with a day or two. It’s important to go into workouts feeling fresh and ready to go, and this one will be especially demanding with 8 kilometres at threshold pace. Yeah, that’s that decided, then, I’ll definitely push the workout unless I’m feeling better.”

The morning of

“The cumulative fatigue is definitely still too high to try an LT session today, yeah, no doubt about it. Glad I decided to postpone it. The roads are quite icy, though, so I’ll just go to the gym and get on the treadmill just in case I feel really good once I get going, and want to push myself after all.”

An hour before

“I wonder which shoes I should run in today. The Bostons are probably a safe choice, but if I do end up feeling great, it would be a good chance to test the Vaporfly 4% while running fast. Yeah, I’ll go with the Vaporflys just to be sure.”

Warm up

“Oh man, I’m so glad I decided to push that LT session because my favourite treadmill is busy. It’s impossible to know how the other treadmills are calibrated compared to that one, and it’d be a pain running on HR alone. I’ll get on this one here instead, and it doesn’t even matter that it’s making strange noises because I’m just running easy and taking it slow today.”

Upping the pace

“Hey, look at that, the girl on ‘my’ treadmill just left. Perhaps I should hop on over to that instead, and run a couple of kilometres at a quicker clip. And if my legs respond, perhaps I can do some LT work after all.”

It’s on

“Alright, I’m running at close to threshold pace here, and it doesn’t feel too bad. If I just get it over with today, I won’t have to worry about fitting this workout into my schedule over the next couple of days, which would be great. Let’s do this!”

0.3 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“Oh no, what have I done?! This feels like an all-out spring and I’ll never be able to do 8k of this. No chance. I can’t believe I managed to 6k at this pace just a couple of weeks ago when I won’t be able to get even close today. I just gotta try and make it to 1000 meters, then perhaps I can power through a few intervals of that instead.”

1.1 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“This is absolute torture, but I think maybe if I can just hold on for dear life, I can make it to 3k. If I just reach that, I can split the threshold session into two runs separated by a break.”

3.0 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“Maybe I can repeat the workout I did a couple of weeks back, and get in 6k at this pace. If I just manage to replicate that workout, that would be much better than going backwards. And, doing the math, 6k is almost a third of a half marathon, and being able to say ‘I did (almost) a third of a half marathon at half marathon pace’ sounds good to me.”

6.0 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“YES, MADE IT! I did almost a third of a half marathon at half marathon pace. Almost. Just like I did a couple of weeks ago. Although, if I do manage to suffer through just a few more minutes of this, 7k is more or less exactly a third of a half marathon. I think I am able to do that, I should definitely be able to keep this pace up for a full half while racing.”

6.3 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“Alright, I guess I’m going for 7k, then. Can’t stop, won’t stop!”

7.01 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“Hey! What’s going on here?! That was my stop. I was getting off there at 7.00, and the display is showing 7.01… 7.02… 7.03. I’m trapped, and I can’t get off this thing. Please, won’t somebody hear my calls for help and get me off this thing?!”

7.5 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

Meme face determined with tears

8.0 out of 8.0 kilometres completed

“I’m that star up in the sky. I’m that mountain peak up high. Hey, I made it. I’m the world’s greatest!”