Another week in the bag

So thats one more step closer to Melbourne Marathon. I finally strung together a pretty decent week by my standards.

Monday/Tuesday – Now spring is upon us my running route home has been extended again by a couple of kilometers as I can now run through the Botanical Gardens. So about 13.5km’s in a little over an hour for both runs.

I took Wednesday off. Not sure why. Makes sense to have a day off somewhere though!

Thursday – My legs were still feeling heavy from the half but I decided to go out and do 14 kilometers at marathon pace. In reality this should be feeling relatively easy at this stage but it buggered me more than the race on Sunday. I really had to work to hit my splits and my hear rate was hovering around the late 170’s for most of the run. In the end I finished up in 50.27 averaging 3.36’s which was a little quick. Stuffed.

Friday – I took it really easy and ran to Phills work (7.97 km’s averaging 4.18’s). I was keeping an eye on the heart rate after yesterday sessions, hovering around 148. Then I walked home with Phill, so another 5.85 kms. Lovely.

Saturday – Up at 5.50am and out the door by 6am. No breakfast just a small glass of water. I decided to run to ParkRun in Mosman which started at 7am. I covered the 11 km’s there averaging 4.14’s then straight into the 5km ParkRun. Its a 3 loop course with a short steep climb at the turnaround. This zaps the legs quite nicely. A group of 3 of use led out the race pretty fast for the first 600 meters or so at about 3.05 pace. We then settled and I gradually pulled away putting in a gap on each of the climbs. Finished up in 17.19 with 2nd place not too far behind. I then ran back home with the aim of finishing up with 7km’s at marathon pace. I got to the park having run 29 kilometers and the heavens had opened up which I was grateful for as this means the park would be fairly empty – no dog hopping! The target pace was to hit 3.40. I thought it might be a challenge with lack of fuel and tired legs but that was the whole idea. At the 2 hour stage in the marathon proper i’m going to be hurting so I wanted to try and replicate that feeling. I ended up feeling really good and average 3.34’s for the 7km effort which was a good confidence boost. 36km’s all up in 2hrs 24 (4.00’s)

Sunday – Phill and I spent the morning looking at French Bulldogs so that was a bit different. We got home this afternoon so I had a chance to run in the sun – 25 degrees today. Awesome! I thought I’d run down to Middle Cove and do an out’n’back on the trail there. 5km’s on the roads there averaging 3.37’s. Legs a little heavy but glad to get the pace up. Slow going on the trail to be expected. A little boggy in parts and my road shoes have zero grip. 4km’s averaging 4.36’s. Then a run to the shops to pick up food. 2kms in 3.54’s. So 11kms’s all up averaging 4.02’s.

That brings my weekly total to a respectable 102 kilometers. The first time since May. More of that next week please

Sri Chinmoy Half Marathon – Iron Cove

This week was mainly about keeping the legs fresh for the half marathon pb attempt on Sunday. I was conscious of ensuring I had fully recovered from Glenbrook Marathon so for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday I just run easy, monitoring the heart rate and ensuring I was staying in my aerobic zone.

On Thursday I thought I should hit the park and see what I could do in terms of intervals. I haven’t done any interval training in a long long time but on the bus home from work I had decided that 3.10’s per kilometer with a 2 minute rest would be a fair effort.

So a 2 kilometer warm up and I was straight into it. I planned on 6 reps as I didn’t want to overcook myself and to be honest I dont think I could hold that pace for any more reps. They went like this:

3.10, 3.08, 3.08, 3.08, 3.09, 3.09

So really consistent but definitely an effort. The hear rate averaged 180 for the last 3 efforts so it was right up there. In fact I thought I would explode trying to get under 3.10 on the last one.

I took Saturday off and spent most of the day convincing myself that I would run well during the Half.

I was up at 6.45am this morning, had a quick cup of tea and some wheetbix and arrived at the race hub by 7.30 to register and warm up. It was a nice cool and drizzly morning, perfect for running. My warm up consisted of standing around rubbing my hands. I considered actually running but thought I’d just save myself. I felt like a coiled spring.

My pre-race plan was to firstly get a PB – so go under 78 minutes; secondly to try and hit 75 minutes which is where I should be if I want 2.36 in Melbourne and then finally I had been convincing myself to just go out and try and hit 3.30’s for each kilometer for as long as possible for a stretch goal of 73 minutes.

Being a Sri Chinmoy event its all really low key and great value for money. The course is 3 laps of The Bay. Not standard laps as to make 7 kilometers a lap runners need to go around the park in one spot rather than staying on the concrete. I knew this would slow the pace a little as it was boggy and slippery.

The route is open to the public too so plenty of dodging other runners and pram pushers. But thats all part of the experience.

We had to do the extra 100 meters or so at the start to get the .1 in the 21.1 race distance.

Before long we were off and I was running behind a kid for about 500 meters!! I couldn’t quite believe it, I looked at my watch and were running 3.05’s so I eased off and let him go then caught him again after he died on his arse.

This will be a short race report as it all went to plan. I had a mantra in my head which sounds a bit daft but since losing my ipod a couple of months ago I’ve got to think about stuff when I’m running to occupy my mind. So the mantra was: Relax, Maintain, Surge. Given it was 3 laps each part of the mantra was related to each lap. The first lap was all about relaxing into the run and not going bonkers, the 2nd lap was just about maintaining the pace and the last lap was where i’d push.

That’s more or less what happened. Given the people dodging I didn’t do a great job of running the perfect race line so the garmin showed 21.36 kilometers and saw me running through the half mark in 72 minutes! However it could just be that my garmin was out so the official time was 73.42 which I was delighted with. Stretch goal achieved and I crossed the line feeling good.

Mcmillans running calculator predicts that with the right training that my time is the equivalent of a 2.33 marathon. The key part here being the ‘right training’. I know my mileage is way off and could cause some issues in the later stages of the marathon but we’ll see what happens on the day.

74.54 kilometers for the week. No wonder I feel so fresh! My last week hitting 100 kilometers was an anomaly on May 19th.

Easy week

Yet another week under 70 kilometers. This is turning into a bit of a habit. I wonder how many runners have gone sub 2.40 averaging 70 kilometers a week..

In my defense this was a recovery week of sorts after Glenbrook last Sunday so I’m not going to stress about it.

I took Monday off and then hit the treadmill to flush out the legs on Tuesday. Just an easy 5km and that seemed to help a lot as I was pretty sore after the race.

I didn’t get around to running on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday involved the typical commute home – 11km’s averaging 4.21’s – 4.25’s.

On Saturday the plan was to just take it easy as I have one eye on the Sri Chinmoy Half Marathon next Sunday. We were looking at house in Normanhurst so I decided to run back from there via St Ives and Frenchs Forest. A few pinchy hills but the pace felt easy enough on the flat stuff and the legs weren’t complaining too much.

The pace was fairly erratic throughout ranging from easy to faster than marathon pace. A nice drizzly afternoon for running but I was glad to be finished at the end. 30.31 kms in 1.58 (3.55’s). I had envisaged averaging 4.20’s but this felt easy enough.

Today I fished out the HR Monitor for the first time in years. I always get so frustrated with the garmin strap as it tends to give spikes and cuts out so I normally give up after a few goes. I’ve been reading Maffetones book which is all about training by heart rate. The idea is to really build up the aerobic system, so by the end of the training period you are running distances faster than you first did but with the same heart rate. It sounds sustainable as you are not thrashing yourself and keeping an eye maintaining your HR in the max aerobic zone which for me is apparently between 145-155 (no higher than 155).

Now all my training of late has been at a good effort, i would guess easily with my HR over 155. I know this isnt a sustainable way to train and after Melbourne i’ll use the Maff method during the long build up phase.

So just 10km’s today. The heart rate creeped over 155 just a couple of times and all in all i managed to maintain it quite well. At times it felt like i was just shuffling along but thats the whole idea. No doubt I would have gone alot faster without it which isnt great for recovery.

So 40 minutes 25 seconds (4.02’s). Not too slow so thats encouraging. Faster kilometer was the 2nd one at 3.41 and my slowest was the 10th at 4.12.

Just 67 kilometers for the week. Next week probably wont be any higher either as I wont run on Saturday to rest before the half on Sunday. I’ve no idea how i’ll go but next week i’ll run with HR monitor to ensure i’m not overreaching so I can go full pelt on Sunday. I’d be chuffed with 75 minutes

Easy week

Yet another week under 70 kilometers. This is turning into a bit of a habit. I wonder how many runners have gone sub 2.40 averaging 70 kilometers a week..

In my defense this was a recovery week of sorts after Glenbrook last Sunday so I’m not going to stress about it.

I took Monday off and then hit the treadmill to flush out the legs on Tuesday. Just an easy 5km and that seemed to help a lot as I was pretty sore after the race.

I didn’t get around to running on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday involved the typical commute home – 11km’s averaging 4.21’s – 4.25’s.

On Saturday the plan was to just take it easy as I have one eye on the Sri Chinmoy Half Marathon next Sunday. We were looking at house in Normanhurst so I decided to run back from there via St Ives and Frenchs Forest. A few pinchy hills but the pace felt easy enough on the flat stuff and the legs weren’t complaining too much.

The pace was fairly erratic throughout ranging from easy to faster than marathon pace. A nice drizzly afternoon for running but I was glad to be finished at the end. 30.31 kms in 1.58 (3.55’s). I had envisaged averaging 4.20’s but this felt easy enough.

Today I fished out the HR Monitor for the first time in years. I always get so frustrated with the garmin strap as it tends to give spikes and cuts out so I normally give up after a few goes. I’ve been reading Maffetones book which is all about training by heart rate. The idea is to really build up the aerobic system, so by the end of the training period you are running distances faster than you first did but with the same heart rate. It sounds sustainable as you are not thrashing yourself and keeping an eye maintaining your HR in the max aerobic zone which for me is apparently between 145-155 (no higher than 155).

Now all my training of late has been at a good effort, i would guess easily with my HR over 155. I know this isnt a sustainable way to train and after Melbourne i’ll use the Maff method during the long build up phase.

So just 10km’s today. The heart rate creeped over 155 just a couple of times and all in all i managed to maintain it quite well. At times it felt like i was just shuffling along but thats the whole idea. No doubt I would have gone alot faster without it which isnt great for recovery.

So 40 minutes 25 seconds (4.02’s). Not too slow so thats encouraging. Faster kilometer was the 2nd one at 3.41 and my slowest was the 10th at 4.12.

Just 67 kilometers for the week. Next week probably wont be any higher either as I wont run on Saturday to rest before the half on Sunday. I’ve no idea how i’ll go but next week i’ll run with HR monitor to ensure i’m not overreaching so I can go full pelt on Sunday. I’d be chuffed with 75 minutes

Glenbrook Marathon – Race Report

This years event was my fourth time participating in the marathon. The first year I DNF’d at 18km’s after falling hard on my hip. The 2nd time was the really hot year with a few bonus km’s, i survived to a 3rd place. Last year was in cooler conditions and I entered the race as part of my build up to C2K, so no taper and tired legs. I was fortunate enough to win that in 3hrs 15.

This year my target was to run better than last year and aim to go under 3 hours. Not so easy on trails with 800M+ of climbing. However, my marathon training had been going well albeit with limited running on trails and hills, and I was tapered more due to my lazy nature than purposefully tapering for this event.

The nutrition plan was 3 gels and my bottle of water. Take a gel every 10km’s, simples.

It was a nice cool morning in Glenbrook, perfect for running. At the start I noticed a couple of gun runners in the marathon in the form of Andy Lee and Matty Abel. I imagined they would be the guys to beat.

Knowing my strengths don’t lie on the technical single track but rather on the smoother fire trail my rough tactic was to be within 2 minutes of Andy Lee after exiting the single track section after Red Hands Cave. I thought if he was any further in front he’d be way too hard to catch.

The start was pretty comfortable as we made our way around the campsite and heading into the climb out of the site I was tucked into 3rd place behind Andy and a 25km runner. Andy and I went back and forth a little towards the Mt Portal turnaround and then he shot off going heading down into the single track. He was slowly stretching the elastic on me and I kept telling myself that it was ok to let him go. I was pushing it through here though but it was good fun and every now and then I caught a glimpse of Andy in the distance. This had me feeling good as I calculated that he was probably never more than 30 seconds in front.

After exiting the single track after 14km or so there is a nice long stretch of fire trail. I had anticipated that this would be where I start making up ground on Andy but the opposite happened. He was getting further and further away from me. I was also hurting. My legs just wouldn’t respond and I was going much slower than my perceived effort levels. This was really frustrating. Andy was out of sight and there wasn’t much I could do.

I gained confidence from going through 21.1km’s in 1hr 30 exactly knowing that the hardest and slowest part of the course was out of the way. This gave me a boost knowing that I could potentially break 3 hours if I continued on at my current pace (if the course was a true 42.2km marathon….).

At the Nepean turnaround at 23km’s I calculated that Andy was 400 meters in front. So all was not lost. I also made sure to measure how far back 3rd place was. It turned out to be James Sweeney about 1.7km’s back and moving well.

The day was warming up and I took advantage of all the dew on the branches as I ran down to the Pisgah turnaround. I’ve now got a lovely bruise on my eyelid from a stray twig! This out and back was another opportunity to see how far in front Andy was and fortunately it was still about 400 meters. However James was now 2km’s back so 2nd place was looking secure.

After exiting the Pisgah trail I now had 32km’s in the legs and I was really starting to seize up and i was not running well at all. I blew out both calves during the week on a run home as I was messing about landing on my forefoot in my minimus trainers. bad idea. they are still screaming now as I type this.

Pain was shooting up my legs and into my hips and glutes. From 32 – 37km the trail is a gradual uphill and I really struggled. I even walked for 20 seconds at one stage and had resigned myself that there was no chance of catching Andy. I hadn’t caught any glimpses of him whatsoever since the Pisgah turnaround which was disheartening.

As luck would have it, some of the other runners who were heading the other way to complete the Pisgah trail told me that Andy wasn’t too far ahead and I could catch him. It’s always hard to know what to believe but I told myself that I came to race and I came to hurt so just man up and have a go.

At the 37km mark Marcus Warner (Ultra168) also said that Andy wasnt too far ahead so it was game on. However by now I was really starting to cramp. I was getting flashbacks from TNF100 last year when I couldn’t stop cramping. Such a frustrating feeling as the brain wants to run but the cramping makes it impossible.

I managed to settle into a rhythm where I was just on the edge of cramping and there in the distance Andy’s green shirt came in to sight. I tried to lift my pace but the cramps said no. So I just calmed down and chipped away and Andy was getting closer and closer. We passed each other at around the 41km mark and Andy was as gracious as ever and gave me a pat on the back. I tried to encourage him that we could both break 3 hours but he was also seizing up and cramping – i was just fortunate enough that my pace was ever so slightly quicker.

I passed the marathon mark in 2hrs 56 and I thought that it would be a tough call to get in under 3 hours now if the course was as long as last year (43.6km’s) which I had anticipated it would be.

I tried as best as I could but I just couldn’t open up. In the end I crossed the line in 3hrs 1 minute to shave 14 minutes off my previous team. Gotta be happy with that. Andy wasn’t too far behind and came home in 3.03 also well under my old course record.

It’s fair to say if Andy wasn’t running hard from the front I wouldn’t have had the motivation to try and catch him and I wouldn’t have run the time that I did. So it was great having him there.

RunningWild put on a great event and I’d love to come back again to try and get under 3 hours. This could be my nemesis just like Fitzroy Falls Marathon!

Having been road running for the majority of this year I’d forgotten how much energy techy trails take out of you in comparison to road running. It’s completely different and next time I enter a trail event I’ll definitely earn my stripes first by training on the trails.

Slacking!

This seems to be how I roll at the moment. A few days of training here and there, a couple of days off and a hard run at the weekend. I haven’t read about this method in my many running books but it seems to be working out ok at the moment.

A pretty uneventful week. I certainly didn’t come anywhere close to hitting 100km’s for the week but who cares at the end of day.

Monday – nothing
Tuesday – run on a treadmill. Thought i should practice running uphill so the incline wavered between 6-15%. 8 kilometers all up in 47 minutes.
Wednesday – Run to work. Weighed my backpack. 5 kilos! No wonder I hate running during the week. 10.07 km’s in 42.46.
Thursday – nothing
Friday – Almost did nothing. I had planned to run home by ended up having to bring my laptop home so that ruled the commute out. So I dragged myself off to the treadmill. I pulled the pin after 5km’s in 17.40 (3.32’s)
Saturday – After the slack week I had to do the usual, a hard long run. I thought averaging 3.50’s would be an honest effort. There are some reasonable climbs on the route but nothing too outrageous. All relative as I’ve been neglecting hills this year. I felt pretty bouncy and cruised the flats and downhills and had to dig deep on the inclines. No gels or water as usual. 30km’s in 1hr 53 (3.46’s)
Sunday – Given Glenbrook Marathon is next Sunday I thought I should get out on the trails. I head down to Lane Cove and just took it reasonably easy. It had been pouring with rain so i was filthy and soaked in sweat, felt really humid. The legs didn’t feel too bad either. 20kms in 1hr 24 (4.14’s)

In total just 73kms for the week in 5hr 5 (4.11’s).

The Last 2 Weeks

I’ve been pretty lazy on the blogging front these last couple of weeks, much like my running in fact.

I had big ambitions at the start of this build up for the Melbourne Marathon to have a few weeks hitting out 140 kilometer totals. However I haven’t come anywhere close to this and now I don’t think I will, nor do I think I now need too.

My last road marathon was Gold Coast in 2012. I averaged 70 kilometers a week over about an 8 week period and hit 2 hours 41 which I was very happy with at the time. So this time around I wanted a big increase in mileage to get me under the 2.40 mark.

What seems to have happened almost by accident is that I peaked for Melbourne about 6 weeks ago (too many interval sessions, too much speed work) so over the last month I hadn’t been feeling too fresh. I stopped with the mid week speed work with my sole focus being on quality weekend runs. My thought process is that my leg speed is there to get under 2.40 so I just need to get the legs used to ticking over. Next month I think i’ll integrate some interval work back into my programme as I hope to peak again for Melbourne.

So last week I hit 93 kilometers in total which I was happy with. I doubt i’ll get over 100 to be honest. The runs during the week were either to or from work, so either 10 or 11 kilometers depending on the route. These runs are always done with a back pack full of gear. I’ll weigh my bag next time as it certainly isn’t light and actually makes my weekend runs so more enjoyable when I don’t need to run with anything. The pace of these runs averages out to be around 4.15’s per kilometer.

The Saturday run was pretty good. I had to drop a suit off at Double Bay so I ran home and wanted to thrash it a bit. It’s a reasonably hilly route back to Willoughby so I was dead chuffed with 16.40 km’s in 1 hour exactly (3.40’s). I then backed up on Sunday and ran down to The Bay for a few laps. The idea was to run easy to the Bay and then hit 3 laps at marathon pace (3.40 ish). My legs felt great from the off and I averaged much fast than marathon pace of the 3 laps resulting in 34 km’s in 2hrs 6 (3.43’s). In fact I felt like I could have continued on for 8 more kilometers at that pace to hit a 2.36 marathon – so a great confidence booster. On all my long runs I don’t take any gels or fuel either, this doesn’t appear to have an impact.

This week I spent a couple of days in Perth for work. I didn’t run on Monday or Thursday as I’m a lazy git. My Tuesday run in Perth was good fun exploring the area. 19 km’s in 1hr 15 (3.57’s). Legs did not feel fresh!

Wednesday I took it really easy exploring the Botanical Gardens in the morning. 13 km’s in 57 minutes (4.25’s).

This Saturday my plan was to run to Centennial Park (17km’s) and then once there do 4 x 10 minutes at marathon pace with 5 minutes recovery. I had the man-flu so I didn’t want to go too bonkers. I stuck to the plan pretty well. The first 17km’s felt really nice, I made sure I didn’t go fast then 4.09’s so I had to make a conscious effort to keep my pace easy as I really wanted to nail the work out part. I always struggle to hit Marathon Pace in the middle of a long run unless I set out fast for some reason. Anyway the marathon pace segments went better than expected with the average pace for the segments being: 3.35’s, 3.35’s, 3.35’s, 3.31’s. So really consistent and a little bit zippier on the last one. This was obviously quicker than marathon pace but again a good confidence boost. So with the cool down after I hit 36.50 km’s in 2hrs 25 (3.58’s).

Today I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with myself. I thought I might do an easy 20km on the trails to get used to running in the bush again in preparation for Glenbrook Marathon. In the end I couldn’t really be bothered so I set out the house with a loose plan just to run 40 minutes or so at marathon pace. I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to respond after yesterdays session as I didn’t foam roll or stretch or do anything purely because of laziness. After hitting the first kilometer in 3.30something I thought I may as well give this a nudge and see what happens. The legs were tiring at 6 kilometers and I surprised myself by going through 10 kilometers in 34.01. Pushed on for 1 more kilometer to give me 11 kays in 37.30 (3.24’s). So that was a nice surprise.

The body seems to be responding pretty well. I’ve been having the weekly sessions with my Physio, Matt @ Sportslab which I really think is doing wonders. He commented that the muscles in my legs are feeling soooo much better than before I did C2K last year – a world of difference. Now my hip feels ok the next job is to free up my hammys as they probably couldn’t be tighter.

So that’s 90 kilometers for the week.