Training Log for Week 41 of 2018

One more week to go before the final race of the year, and I am mentally feeling very ready for a break at this point. With the coming week being a bit of a taper week, in an attempt to maximise my freshness for the upcoming 10k, this was my last full training week before the season break. Total mileage for the week was 95 kilometres (59 miles) and 1088 meters (3569 feet) of elevation gain across 7 hours and 45 minutes of running.

I kicked the week off with an easy run home from work, before I reintroduced the mid-week medium long run on Tuesday, with an up-tempo 20k morning run. These runs are staples of Pfitzinger inspired marathon training, and I like to keep doing them every now and then, even if I am a few weeks away from starting back up with another marathon training cycle.

Fall running on a road surrounded by trees.
Scenic views are one of the the perks of being a runner in the fall 

Wednesday I did a very slow recovery run, before following that with a slightly faster easy run on Thursday. The big session of the week took place on Friday when I had a 10k predictor workout scheduled in the form of a very demanding VO2Max session. The session is 3x2k with just 90 seconds rest between the intervals, which I have found to be a very good predictor for what I am able to do in a 10k race. The hope was to run each of the 2k intervals in around 7 minutes, which I believed would indicate being capable of going below 36 minutes in the 10k. In the end, average split for the 2k intervals was 7:02 (3:31 min/km or 5:40 min/mile pace) which was a little slower than I wanted. Still, it leaves me with a slight hope of sub-36 this weekend, and anything slower than 36:30 will be a disappointment after that session.

Saturday was a rest day before I ended the week with a solid long run on undulating trails on Sunday afternoon. I came dangerously close to bonking towards the end of this run, which was an important learning experience as I am attempting to dial in my nutrition strategy as I start a new marathon training cycle.

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 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.