27 September 2008

Week 3 of 8

Today I realized a couple of things about my marathon prep:

Although I managed the last three weeks well (94, 91, 105 km) without any issues, injuries, or the feeling burnout(not yet?), but I sincerely felt that I didn't have a lot of challenging workouts (only one of two so far). Other sessions were mild to moderate. This is attributed to Hudson's principal of linear periodisation which is similar to the Australian (Deek, Mona, Bideau et al) system. Basically there is no separaton of phases (e.g. base training) and everyone trains at various paces all year around. Hence, Hudson designs the program in such a way that all the hard workouts are spread over 20 weeks. But since I joined the program only for the last 8 weeks, there is some disconnect here.

Secondly, I found that my endurance is my shortcoming. Saturday's 35k long run was tough for me. Although, it was done at easy pace but I was struggling after 2 hours. Had to stop every 10mins or so in the last hour to drink and rest. Is this a signal that a marathon is too soon?

There are only five weeks to go to Seoul, meaning only three weeks of hard training left to go. It's now really the time to step up and start upping the ante.

In light of the above, I am thinking to ditch the Hudson plan temporarily for the next couple of weeks (talk about loyalty after three weeks of following his plan haha). He typically schedules 2 moderate hard workouts and a long run each week and this cycle goes for months. However, I feel Jack Daniels & Tinman’s principles of two ‘big’ workouts per week are more marathon specific, especially during the sharpening period. The big workouts entail long runs with lots of qualities, while other runs during the week are purely 'fillers'. I will probably re-join Hudson training plan again in the last 2 weeks to make sure I taper correctly.

Mon (Recovery):
42mins Very Easy (av 5:37) + abs work
Needs a slow day after yesterday’s MP practice workout. Treadmill with 0.5% incline.

Tue (Easy):
18.3k Easy in 90mins (av 4:56)
Ran the first 70mins at varying aerobic effort between 135-155 bpm, finishing with 4 x 400m to train leg turnover.

Wed (Easy):
45mins Easy (av 5:16) + light weights
Three easy days in a row, should be ready for a quality session tomorrow. Treadmill 1% incline.

Thu (Fartlek):
8k Easy (av 5:12) incl strides
5k Tempo @ HM pace in 20:28 (av 4:06)
5mins rest
2 x 1200m @ 10k pace (av 3:53)
Splits: 4:41, 4:40 with 400m jog in between
5k Easy (av 5:12)
All up, 21k in 1h:41m (av 4:50)

An ineffective, unstructured workout. Planned to do 4x2k or 3x3k at HM pace, but ended up doing 5k continuous. Was tired by the end of the tempo and didn’t feel like doing more long intervals. Decided to do 1200s at quicker pace afterwards but the body couldn’t do more than two. In retrospective, I should have followed the original plan so I can spend more time at Threshold.

Fri (Recovery):
36mins Very Easy (av 5:37) + core/stretching
Conserving energy for tomorrow’s long run. Treadmill 0.5% incline.

Sat (Long):
35k Long Run in 3hours (av 5:09)
Long run is definitely not my forte. Ran from home to Priece Rd and spent an hour running up & down on an undulanting terrain. Took gel after 90mins and decided I’ve had enough of the hills. Ran on flat terrain in the second half. Found the last hour to be very tough as I felt the effect of glycogen depletion and tired legs. Including today's long run, I totaled 124k in last seven days (Sun-Sat) The three hours exclude stoppages time to re-fuel & re-hydrate.

Sun (Easy):
39mins Easy (av 4:56)
Felt much netter than yesterday. Included 5 x 10-15secs hill sprints

Total 105k for the week, 2665k for the year.

21 September 2008

Week 2 of 8

This week's training is pretty much in-line with the Hudson plan. A total of 91k in 6 runs, with some shuffling here and there. He schedules two quality workouts, a threshold fartlek on Monday (which wasn't that hard) and 21k Marathon Pace Spec Test on Sunday.

All week, I've been pretty anxious about the 21k @ MP. Firstly, Hudson's plan is 20 weeks long and a 'spec test' after 14 weeks of marathon training is very timely. However, I jumped in only for the last 8 weeks of his program, meaning that I missed a solid chunk of aerobic support training. I also had 2 weeks of holiday (little running) and only started the training last week, culminating in my first 30k+ long run in 12 months, hence, I was really damn nervous. Secondly, given Singapore weather conditions, I had my doubts whether I could run almost continously in a non-race environment (solo) with limited hydration.

I decided to do the run in East Coast Park (near the airport, S$20 cab return) because it has a long flat, stretch of road of about 12k without any traffic. This is a rarity in a small country like Singapore. My plan was to run out and back for 21k with a brief stop in the middle. Because I wasn't sure whether it will have a vending machine at 10.5k mark, I decided to carry 500m bottle in my hand. Was very anxious during the warm up: even when running at 5:30 pace, my Garmin showed a HR of 140-150 bpm (normally around 5:00). The morning was humid as usual bit I thought it was warmer too.

I started at about 4:30 pace, but I wasn't feeling that flash initially, as the body probably took time to adjust to the pace and conditions. After around 5k, my body finally clicked into gear and the effort felt fairly okay. I reached the 10.5k mark (according to GPS) in 46:34, averaging 4:26 pace and 167 HR. Rested for just over 2mins to take gel, salt tablet, and 500m water and then started again. The second segment was harder and I felt like stopping after 2k. I continued to push along and tried hard to counter the negative thoughts. For some reason, the next 6k just flew like a breeze before I went into another bad patch with couple of ks to go. Legs were heavy and I really felt like stopping for a rest and drink. I continued to hold on and finshed the return leg in 46:40, averaging 4:27 pace. Average HR for this section was 169 bpm but reached mid 180s as I ran hard in the last 300m. The total for 21k was 1:33:15 (av 4:27 min/km) excluding 2mins rest.

Overall, I had a mixed feeling about the run. On one hand, I felt happy to complete the solo run with minimal stoppage and hydration (I am a heavy sweater). Given that I only joined the pgoram with 8 weeks to go and hence, missing a lot of solid endurance training, perhaps the result wasn't too bad. On the flip side, I felt that I didn't have a lot in the tank at the end. One thing for sure, I won’t be able to run at this pace for 42k in tropical country like Singapore!

As an aside, I bought a 2XU compression socks, which looks like a granny stocking. Since Seoul is pretty cold (5-15c) for someone who lives here, I am thinking to wear a Skin short and a long sock. I tried the sock during the MP run this morning but couldn’t feel any positve effects at all. Due to the length, it made the lower part of the body warmer too (extra sweat). At S$50, it is damn expensive for a sock !!!

Mon (Threshold Fartlek):
4.5k warm up incl dynamic stretching & strides
8 x 800m ON, 400m OFF (av time for the 800s = 3:11 or at approx One-Hour pace)
2.6k cool down
All up, 16.3 in 78mins (av 4:50)
Hudson plan calls for 3miles ez, 8 x 3mins @ HM pace + 2mins ez, 3miles ez, but decided to change it to 800s + 200s as they are close enough in terms of timing. Ran on the track clockwise for a change. The 800ms were done in 3:11, 13, 13, 12, 13, 11, 11, 07 - averaging just under 4:00 min/km pace or One Hour pace. Was ambitious in the recovery initially with low 2:00s but slowed to around 2:20 in the latter part. The total ON/OFF was 9.2k in 41:08 (av 4:28 min/km). Got no time to do a long cool down as I had to return to work.

Tue (Easy):
17.2k Easy in 85mins (av 5:00, 145 bpm)
Ran according to HRM on flat route. First 30mins < 140 bpm averaging 5:17, next 30mins <145 bpm averaging 5:00, and last 25mins at 150 bpm averaging 4:40. Felt so-so during the easy portion, but felt great when running at 4:40s. Wished I could have more time today.

Wed (Recovery):
6.5k Very Easy (av 5:30)
Treadmill 0-1.5% incline, also did 70 sit-ups

Thu (Easy):
14k Easy in 71mins (av 5:06)
Treadmill 0-2% incline. Started at 6:00 pace, worked down to 4:45.

Fri (Easy):
9.6k in 48mins (av 5:00) with 8 x 10secs hill
Circled a route with a 400m hill four times plus the hill sprints. Felt sluggish, perhaps the recent step up in mileage in last 1.5 weeks began to take its effect.

Sat (Rest):

Sun (Marathon Pace Run):
3.2k Very Easy (av 5:30)
2 x 10.5k @ 4:27 min/km with 2mins standing rest
Splits: 46:34, 46:40, an HR 168 bpm (total 93:15 for 21k)
3.2k Very Easy (av 5:30)
All up, 27.4k in 2:08 (av 4:41)

Total 91k for the week, 2560k for the year

14 September 2008

Week 1 of 8 (Seoul)

I've decided to follow Brad Hudson's training plan from the "Run Faster" book for Seoul. I don't normallly follow training plans per se because I believe workout structure & training efforts should be dependent on how I feel on the day. However, I am currently on borrowed times for two reasons. One, I have only 8 weeks (incl taper) to train, and two, I don't have any confidence in designing my own training plan for a 42k race (had a habit to over-train).

I like Brad's program (coach of Dathan Ritzhein who finished #10 in Beijing ahead of Ryan Hall ) due to several factors. Firstly, his principal is based on non-linear periodization. Basically, he suggests one to train at multiple paces consistently all year around with only a tweak in the final 4-6 weeks before a peak race to focus on specific race-pace endurance. For instance, for a 5k race, he recommends one to do 10k training (10k pace intervals, threshold) for aerobic support before focusing on 5k race-pace workouts in the last 4-6 weeks. For a HM race, the optimal aerobic support is of course, HM training (threshold, long runs). For a marathon race, he reckons the optimal aerobic support is also HM training. Why? By doing HM training, marathon pace will feel 'comfortable' because HM is a more challenging event aerobically. (Lets see and find out, haha) The good thing is my training for the last couple of months have been centered on HM training (race on 24 Aug), so I think there is something in common there.

Secondly, his level 2 plan seems to match for a runner of my standard. Brad has 3 plans: #1 for beginner, #2 for intermediate, and #3 for competitive runners. Level 2 plan encompasses 6 days of running (one rest day) and typical mileage of around 90kmpw. This training regime fits my life nicely. Thirdly, he schedules one interval type session (HM to 10k pace), one moderate session (MP run or progression), and a weekend long run in a typical training week. Again, there is some commonality with my training when I was preparing for the HM, except for the lack of long runs (duh !!)

However, there are a couple of main challenges. One, Brad's marathon plan is a 20 week program and I simply jump-in for the last 8 weeks. While I won't have any problems doing the intervals & tempo sessions in his plan, but I am severely short of long runs and aerobic mileage. My average mileage year to date is just under 70k, while the typical mileage in his plan is about 80-90k. Secondly, he schedules a series of tough long runs starting this week: 32k ez, 27k with 21 MP, 35k ez, 32k with 24k at MP+5sec, 37k ez, and 30k at MP+10-20secs. They might prove to be the archiles heel for me, who only did a handful of 20k+ runs this year.

Anyway, below is this week's training. Had no problem with the sudden increase in mileage. Made one tweak by replacing a 19k run with 5x1k intervals, as well as the normal shuffling here and there to fit my schedule. Reason for doing the intervals is to get back to fitness quickly after 2 weeks holiday.

Mon (Easy):
10k Easy in 50mins
Av pace 5:00 min/km
Ran the Leonie Hill Rd loop eight times. Haven't done any running on hills for ages, legs a bit tired.

Tue (Intervals):
2.4k Easy to the track with strides
5 x 1000m @ 8-10k pace with 90secs recovery
Average 3:51 min/km, 177 bpm (splits 3mins: 47, 51, 52, 52, 49)
2.6k Easy with strides
Total workout 11k in 52 mins (av pace 4:40 min/km)
Stretching/core + leg swings

Back to real world: lunch time run with apparent temp of 33c. Struggled after the 3rd interval. Av HR for intervals #2-5 was 177 bpm - higher than similar workouts a month ago at 172 bpm. Perhaps due to some fitness erosion from little running during the holiday.

Wed (Recovery):
9k Very Easy (av 5:25)
Treadmill with 0-2% inclines
Abs work (sit ups, torso rotation, back extension)

Thu (Threshold):
5.3k Easy to the track (av 5:14)
3 x 2400m @ HM pace with 3mins recovery
Average 4:05 min/km, 172 bpm (splits 9mins: 46, 48, 43)
5.7k Very Easy incl 4 x 10secs hill sprints
Total workout 19k in 92mins (av pace 4:52 min/km)

Ran at 6am: cool but awfully humid. The program had 3 x 10mins, but 2.4k at my pace is close enough (6 laps at track). The 2nd interval was tough, but managed to get back into the groove for the 3rd. I did a similar workout 7 weeks ago, averaging 4:01 & 174 bpm but with a shorter warm up, so looks like my fitness deteriorated a tad.

Friday (Recovery):
7k Very Easy (av 5:38)
0.5% incline treadmill
Gym work: pulldowns, deltoid, torso rotation, back extension, core exercises

Saturday (Long):
32k Easy in 2h:43mins (av 5:06)
Incl. 126mins on undulanting terrain (av 5:13), 10mins @ HMP, 18mins ez, 8mins @ MP

First 30k+ run in almost one year and it was difficult. Started at 5:45am to avoid the heat but it was humid. The first 2 hours was over undulating terrain and my legs were trashed by the hills. Ran the second hour in pouring rain too! To avoid getting bored, I spiced thing a little by doing 2400m on the track at HM pace in 9:57 (av 4:10). Then jogged home, running the last 8mins at MP effort. I think the av pace for today's run is a bit on the slow side, but given the terrain and the fact that it is my first long run in a long time, perhaps it wasn't too bad.

Sunday (Recovery):
6k Very easy (av 5:28)

Total 94k for the week, 2469k for the year