Tuesday, March 25, 2014

3 Weeks to London: Last Week's Training

There are less than 3 weeks left until the Virgin Money London Marathon, and the hardest work is in the bank. I've still got a few more tough workouts left, but with the volume easing down, my legs are slowly starting to freshen up. The marathon taper process is always tricky because you don't get to practice it often enough. Obviously there is no single way to taper; people have run very fast with drastically different approaches to the taper. Some drop their mileage to a mere fraction of their peak from the training block, and others prefer just a slight drop in mileage the couple of weeks before the race. This has been written on extensively, so I'm not claiming to have any new information on the process. I basically try to shoot for the middle ground. I will spend the last 4 weeks of training easing the mileage down a little bit each week until I land at somewhere around 80 miles for the last week. 80 miles may sound like a lot the week of the race, but this counts the marathon day, which easily adds up to 28 or 29 miles. That doesn't leave much for the rest of the week. Coming down from 150 miles, that week feels very mild. At this point, most of my dropped mileage is coming by shortening or eliminating the second run while maintaining a decent primary run for the day.

This last week consisted of tempo work on Thursday and a 22 mile long run on Sunday. The Thursday workout added up to 19 miles (3 mile warm up, 4 mile tempo, 5 mile moderate run, 3 mile tempo, short cool down). The tempo runs were on the track at a decent pace (18:57 for 4 miles and 14:07 for 3 miles), and my 5 miles between the reps was in the 5:30s. I came back with a smooth long run on Sunday. The weather finally held out for us on Sauvie Island, and I felt the best I have during the entire training block. I wasn't supposed to push it much during the run other than a 3 mile push from 16 - 19, but running in the mid 5:30s felt like a breeze. We ended up at 2:03:40 for 22 miles including a pretty slow first few warm-up miles. The time itself isn't impressive, but I was happy to feel so relaxed doing it. Feel free to check out the entire week below, and follow me here on twitter more updates. Thanks again for reading.

Week 11 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 9 5 40 minutes 14

Tuesday 14 6 + drills and grass strides

Wednesday 14 6 40 minutes 20

Thursday 4 mile tempo @ 18:57, 5 mile run in 5:30-5:40, 3 mile tempo @ 14:07 off

Friday 11.5 5.5 30 minutes 17

Saturday 13 miles + drills and grass strides off

Sunday 22 miles in 2:03:40 with 3 mile push from 16-19 (4:57, 4:56, 4:54) off



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

4 Weeks to London: Last Week's Training

The London Marathon is coming quickly, and it's time to start slowly easing off the training over the next 4 weeks. It has been a challenging and exhausting past couple weeks, but each week will get a bit easier from now until April 13th. This last week was finished off with a 16 mile tempo run on Sunday in which I crept just under 5:00 for the average. The pace was far from consistent due to the high winds. My splits ranged from 4:50 to 5:15 depending on the direction I was heading. My goal was to maintain a constant effort through the entire workout, and I tried not to focus on the frustratingly erratic times. I think the effort was right, and I was pleased with how my body felt after a tough Thursday workout and another high mileage week.

I am still waiting to hear the final details of the pacing in London, but it is time to start specifying my plan for the race. I'll be having a conversation with my coach, Dave Smith,  in the near future, and we'll start hammering out a plan of attack. It is challenging to determine your level of fitness while planning for a marathon because you can't get close to the race in training, and there are so many variables during the race itself. I have a much easier time guessing how fast I'm going to run in the 10km for example. At this point I am working more on comparisons; the build-up has been a similar structure to my previous marathons, and the workouts and easy days have gone better during this training bloc than they have in the past. That is the only thing I can say with certainty.

As each week passes I expect to be feeling more energized and recovered, and I like to focus my extra energy on all the necessary details. I'll be ordering all the shoes and gear from Brooks not only for London, but for the entire 6 weeks that I'll be in Europe. I'll top up my supply of Powerbar gels and energy bars for the trip, and I'll put together my own breakfast for the morning of the race in London. I'm sure London will provide an excellent and nutritional breakfast on race day, but I have learned from my past international race experience to never leave that to chance. I'll be attending a couple of weddings after the race, one in the Czech Republic and one in Ukraine (depending on the developing situation), so I'm going to be packing for some diverse occasions. At least I'll have the formal wear to take on whatever London sends my way after the race.

Thanks again for reading. I'll be posting again next week, but feel free to follow me here on twitter for more updates.

Week 10 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 14 6 40 minutes 20

Tuesday 14 6 + drills and grass strides

Wednesday 14 6 40 minutes 20

Thursday 1 hour moderate run, 6 x 2km (5:54-5:52) off

Friday 12 5 30 minutes 17

Saturday 14 6 + drills and grass strides

Sunday off 16 mile tempo (4:59)



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

5 Weeks to London: Last Week's Training

My last week of 150 miles is in the books, but there are still a few weeks of quality training left to go. I had two solid workouts this week that have given me a lot of confidence less than two weeks after the Gasparilla Half-Marathon. The first came Wednesday in the form of 4 x 2 miles on the track with two minutes rest. It was dumping rain (Portland got over an inch that day) and there was a decent wind, so I was happy to average a bit under my half-marathon personal best for those repeats. I came back with what was, for me, a monster workout on Sunday. It started with a 3 mile warm-up, 4 x 2km repeats on the track, a 10 mile run (56:45), and then another set of 4 x 2km repeats and a short cool down. Every 2km repeat was between 5:52 and 5:53, so not only a good pace for me, but very consistent. The consistent times can look deceiving, as though I was holding back on the second set. I wasn't. After the honestly paced 10 mile run in between, I was really struggling to hold the 70 second quarters for the last two reps. I could not have done another rep at that pace. The last 5 miles of intervals were miles 18 to 23 for me for that day, and they felt like an honest physical depiction of those miles on race day. I can't handle many workouts of this quality through my build  up, but 5 weeks out was the right time for this one. I'll start bringing the volume down slightly each week from here on out, but next week will still be close to the 140 mile range.

After that 4 x 2 mile workout on Wednesday, I did begin to feel some lower leg pain in both legs, but especially in my right. I haven't been able to quite shake it yet, so this week I'll be skipping any drills, strides, 200s, etc., until it starts to feel back to normal. If I have to take a day or two off I will, but I'm not at that point. I'm being proactive with ice, ibueprofen, light massage, and compression. I'll be seeing Dr. John Howell down at Portland Integrated Health today to help make sure it disappears in the near future. Hopefully these small adjustments will take care of it, and I can wipe it from my mind in the next couple of days. This is all a part of marathon training, and so far I've been able to adapt and back off enough to not encounter anything debilitating.

We're nearly inside the one month mark to the Virgin Money London Marathon! Big thanks to Starting Line Designs for the cool new artwork for the header. If you'd like, check out the training log for last week below. Thanks again for reading, and follow me here for training updates.

Week 9 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 7 14 40 minutes 21

Tuesday 15 6 + drills and grass strides

Wednesday 6 4 x 2 miles in 9:29, 9:27, 9:23, 9:22 w/ 2 minutes rest 40 minutes 21

Thursday 11 10

Friday 15 30 minutes + 8 x 200 meter hills

Saturday 5 14 30 minutes 19

Sunday off 4x2km, 10 mile run in 56:45, 4x2km + w/u & c/d (2km repeats all at 5:52-5:53)



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

6 Weeks to London: Last Week's Training

We're one week closer to the London Marathon, and we're one week closer to moving the clocks forward an hour. I doubt I'm the only one who's been counting down the days until the extra daylight and hopefully warmer weather. I can almost smell the dry pine needles on the trail floor and the smoke from the charcoal barbecue...almost.

Sunday's long run was a challenge due to the weather. It was just barely above freezing, but windy and very heavy rains for the duration of the run. At that point snow is almost preferable, because the rain is so cold when it is 33 degrees it eventually feels like an ice bath, matter what gear you're wearing. If it's coming down hard enough and long enough, it soaks through your tights and really starts to limit mobility. My legs felt good going into the run, suggesting that I am recovered from the half-marathon the weekend before. I was able to run a good portion of the run with neighbors Jared Bassett and Craig Hopkins, so it was good to have some company. We started out fairly slow for the first few miles as we warmed up, but I ended up averaging in the 5:30s once we got going. It'll be nice to see how easy that pace feels on a nice day.

The week was very light in terms of intensity, but I kept the volume high, and pushed the pace on the non-workout days. I'll be getting back into a normal workout routine this week with 6 weeks of training left to go. There will be no more sessions of faster mile repeats for the rest of the training block. Workouts will consist mostly of threshold/tempo efforts over the next month. I'm only a couple more high mileage weeks away from starting a slow, gradual taper. Time is flying by. Thanks again for reading, and I'll post again next week. Follow me here on twitter to get training updates.

Week 8 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 4.5 12.5 30 minutes 17

Tuesday 14 6 + drills and grass strides

Wednesday 14 6 40 minutes 20

Thursday 70 minute run + 8x200 meter hills + drills 6

Friday 14.5 6.5

Saturday 14 6 40 minutes 20

Sunday 22 mile long run in 2:06