Sunday, May 23, 2010

Marathon Training Week 1: Smart week in training

This has been a smart week in training in the sense that I felt like every run/work-out was very focussed on my goal of a September marathon. I felt like there was nothing extra thrown in and nothing important left out. I have not been this satisfied with the week's work in awhile! When I ran my marathon PB I was training extremely hard but I was not training as intelligently as possible. I basically trained for a 10 km/half marathon and threw in the long runs needed to run a marathon. I ran a ton of mileage (for me anyway) and all that netted me a low-2:54 with which I was thrilled.

However, in chatting with my shiny new coach and thinking about things in retrospect, I know there were two things I could have done differently:

 1. I tend to run my easy days way too fast and although it feels good at the time, it affects my work-out days. I am now making a conscious effort to not go faster than 5:00/km on my easy days. I am aided in this effort by the presence of la cocotte who is now joining me in the Bob on my easy runs. I am still not thrilled with baby jogging but it maes life easier on a number of levels and it has the added bonus of keeping me honest on my easy days.

2. I did virtually no marathon pace work. Not sure how or why I left something that fundamental out of my plan.

I still maintain that my goal this autumn is not to PB because the course will be hilly (net uphill in fact) and the day will be hot and humid and I don't plan to put in as much mileage as I did for my last marathon due to the fact that my body feels like it is about to bust apart at the seams. However I do wonder if by training smarter I will be able to run faster than I think with less work. Wouldn't that be lovely?

So here is my first week of marathon training:

Monday - 18 km with 12 km @ marathon pace (2:55:50 pace i.e. 4:10 per km).
Tuesday - 14 km with baby jogger 1 hour 10 minutes.
Wednesday - 16.7 km with baby jogger 1 hour 19 minutes (too fast)
Thursday - 15.4 km with 3 X 1500 m: 5:30, 5:16, 5:20.
Friday - off.
Saturday - 16 km with baby jogger 1 hour 23 minutes.
Sunday - 28 km with 14 km @ marathon pace (2:55:25 i.e. 4:09 per km)

Total 108 km - 30.5 of them quality.
I'm pleased.


  1. I am just wondering, since you do only 12-14k at your marathon pace, how do you know (I mean how do you persuade your brain and body to believe) that you can keep that pace for 42k?
    I know that it is not possible to train such that you do all your runs at your marathon pace. (well, I did that. I wanted to do 3:30 marathon and ran all my runs at 5min pace...but I am *wiser* now and know it just meant that I should have run my marathon way too faster:)).
    It is easy to train at slower pace and than blast your 800 or 1500m, those are short, but for 42k?
    It must hurt a lot. I can bear (maybe!) pain for 5minutes, but 42k? It is scary.

  2. I just looked at some of the first things you blogged about, including "I don't understand, because YOU speak very bad Italian." I'm sure the woman quickly figured out your mistake.

    My biggest mistake was in German, when I needed to buy a toothbrush. I confused "burste" and "bruste" (actually, both have umlauts), so I ended up asking her if she had any breasts. And to make it worse, I couldn't think of "zahn" for "teeth," so I added "For my mouth."

  3. Mmmonyka - that is a really complex question you ask and I have been thinking for the past few days about how to best answer it. I think it comes down to this: an optimal performance in a marathon is produced, by definition, when the body is properly trained and properly rested and at the finish line the athlete should, ideally, be completely spent and the next day or week should not be able to produce an optimal performance. An athlete cannot do this in training b/c that would be counter-productive and it wouldn't by definition be training, it would be racing. It would be counterproductive to run a marathon or even say 35 km at marathon pace in training b/c the next week's workload would suffer and fitness would fall. So... how does the athlete make the jump from running SOME kilometers at marathon pace in training to running an entire marathon at marathon pace in a race. A few factors come into play -
    1. the marathon pace in training is done on tired legs so although I only ran 14 km at marathon pace, I had trained the day before that and the day before that etc. etc. so the 14 km at marathon pace is worth more than if it were done on fresh legs. When I ran those 14 km at marathon pace it felt more like running kilometers 20-34 km of a marathon than running the first 14 km of marathon.

    2. on race day an athlete should be properly rested and tapered, the first 20 km of a marathon are freebies... they aren't really hard. it is after 20 km that things get mroe serious but the athlete has already been in that zone by running marathon paced runs on tired legs.

    3. on race day the athlete has all the adrenaline and excitement (ideally) of the race which makes a huge difference

    make sense? convincing? I am still trying to convince myself :)

  4. I know it was pretty hard question. I am a really incompetent long distance runner and am learning, therefore have patience with me:)
    I have figured the adrenaline and rested legs thing myself, but have never thought about running training runs on tired legs concept. It really makes sense. I am 94,7% convinced and remaining 5,3% will come when I get a chance to experience it myself.