28 June 2009

Week 11 of 12

Did 70k in 5 and ¾ hours (av 4:55) during Week 11 of 12

I really enjoyed my first week taper. Singapore mornings have been cool (26c & cloudy) all this week and these made running much more palatable. In addition, I felt that all the runs were relatively easy effort-wise, which could mean two things: 1) my body has adapted to training and ready to peak, or 2) I didn’t train hard enough and my training intensity during taper were too easy.

Ran 6 days a week and only had Monday off. My taper plan was to maintain running frequency (to keep weight in check) with a 20-30% reduction in mileage, for instance long run was cut from 30 to 24k, recovery runs from 40mins to 30mins, as well as shortened duration for speed session. I did 3 workouts at varying intensities this week: 10k MP run 12 days out, 2 hour easy long run 10 days out, and a controlled 5k race at 10k pace effort 7 days out.

My plan for the race week is to do a short run on Monday, 12-13k on Tuesday including 5k of moderate pace running (sub MP to MP), fly to Melbourne Tuesday night, rest on Wednesday, 8-10k run including 3k MP on Thursday, 30mins jogging Friday, and 10-15mins jog once I arrive in GC on Saturday evening. Probably 35-40k in total for Mon-Sat.

All the best to Rob, Craig, TB, and Henry who are running Perth Marathon on Sunday as well as Max, Ewen and others who are doing GC. All the best to you all!

By the way, for anyone who cares, my bib is M2521.

Training this week:

Mon (Rest):

Tue (Tempo):
14k run in 65mins (av 4:38) including 10k @ 4:18 min/km

Jogged for 2k and then ran 10k tempo in 43mins flat (av 4:18) at a few seconds faster than MP. Av HR was 164 bpm with a high of 173. Hopefully today’s tempo will make the MP feel easier at least for the first half of the marathon next week. Broke-in a new pair of shoes for the marathon.

Wed (Easy):
6k Recovery (av 5:23), 3 strides

Thu (Long):
24k run in ~120mins (av 4:55)

Last long run 10 days out and decided to make it an easy one (previous 2 long runs were moderate paced and not fat-burning mode). After a couple of ks of warm up jog, ran ~90 minutes at 4:55-5:00 pace. Then picked up the pace to MP + 5%-8% (4:30-4:40) in the last 20minutes. Tried the Endura (GCM sports drink) for the first time.

Fri (Easy):
9k Easy-Moderate (av 4:55) + 6 x 15sec hill sprints

Sat (Easy):
5k Recovery (av 5:32)

Sun (Race):
11.5k run consisting of:
- 600m warm up
- 5.24k Brooks Republic Run in 20:28 (av 3:55, 5k in 19:36)
- 5.7k cool down

My plan was to treat the race as my last speed workout and to run it at 10k pace. Didn't sleep well the night before and arrived late at the race location. Only had the time to deposit bag and go to the toilet. Did only 600m warm up to the start line and went off. Very controlled effort from the start and once I hit the target pace, I just locked it in and stayed there. In fact, my shoe lace got undone after 2k, but too lazy to stop and tie it. Just ran steady, without any huffing and puffing and no attempt to kick.Splits: 3:55, 3:54, 3:57, 3:56, 3:53 (passed 5k in 19:36), and 51secs for the last 235m. Average HR was 171 bpm with a high of 183 bpm versus my actual Max HR of 193bpm, hence it seems that I still have a lot of in the tank. In sum, I pretty much got all I wanted from the run: a good leg speed workout without having to dig deep into my energy reserves (straining) and came out without any muscle soreness. A quick look at McMillan calculator, it says that an all-out 19:36 5k is equivalent to 3:11 marathon, so hopefully my marathon shape is under that.

Todays' race was won by a Kenyan Thomas Kiprotichs and the second place was Clinton Mackevicius, a former Australia's nation 1500m runner in late 1990s (~3:45 timing)

Total 70k for the week (1060k in last 11 weeks)

21 June 2009

Week 10 of 12

Did 92k in 7.5 hours (av 4:55) during Week 10 of 12

Starting my taper now with 2 weeks to go. Really looking forward to longer sleep time from now on since I have been getting up at 4 or 5am on my workout days to avoid the heat. My plan for the taper is 70k next week then 40k during race week (pre-marathon).

One dilemma I have is that I have a 5k race next Sunday (registered and paid long time ago). I am not sure what kind of effort should I put in for the 5k since the marathon is only 7 days later. On one hand, 5k is a short race and recovery should be quick. Read that lots of old-school elites used to run 5k/10k a week before marathon as part of peaking, leg turnover workout and to dissipate some nerves (race practice) before the big day. On the flip side, I don’t want to jeopardize the marathon which of course is more important (and costly) race.

Most training programs typically schedule 18-21k long runs on Sunday to remind the body and maintain adaptations of long runs done over many weeks. I think this shouldn’t be a big issue since I can play around with the structure, such as doing 20k on Thurs/Fri, run the 5k on Sunday, and then do an easy 15k on Monday.

What do you guys think? Should I run the 5k race at:
a) Race effort (probably sub/low 19 for the 5k)
b) VO2max workout: 3 x 1600m at 5k pace, 400m jog
c) Controlled effort: 10k pace (probably under 20 for the 5k)
d) Semi-controlled effort: 4k at 10k pace, last 1.5k hard/all out
(actual distance seems to be about 5.5k according to mapmyrun)

Training this week:

Mon (Intervals):
16k run in 72mins (av 4:32) consisting of
- Warm up + strides
- 3 x 1600 @ Threshold in 6:20, 6:20, 6:20 (av 3:58 min/km)
- 3 x 800 @ 5k pace in 3:01, 3:00, 2:59 (av 3:45 min/km)
- 3 x 400 @ 2k-3k pace in 65, 64, 61 (av 3:28 min/km)
- Cool down

Ran in the evening to give extra few hours of recovery. The SMU track was full of school kids; hence some of the splits were couple of seconds slower due to the traffic. Recovery was 90secs walk after each rep and 3mins after each set. Compared to the same workout a month ago, the 1600s were a couple of seconds per k slower while the pace for 800s/400s was similar. Pretty happy with the effort considering I did a 36k long run two days earlier.

Tue (Easy):
AM: 30mins elliptical + 30mins stretching
PM: 5k Recovery (av 5:40)

Wed (Easy):
11k Easy (av 5:10), 4 strides

Thu (MP tempo):
20k run in 93mns (av 4:39) incl 14k @ 4:24 min/km

One final engine test at goal MP with 17 days to go before the D-day. Covered 1/3 of marathon distance in 61:32 (av 4:24) without stopping on flat terrain. Average HR was 161, max 177. I did an exactly similar test run before Seoul Marathon last year in 61:47, av HR 162, max 170. Hence, today’s run was 1sec/km faster with 1bpm lower average HR, albeit higher HR at the end. Also did 4 x 25secs hill during warm down.

Fri (Off):
Off, 30mins pilates

Sat (Long Run):
27.5k in 2h:12 (av 4:47 min/km)

Started with 3k slow warm up (5:18), then ran 16k at MP + 10% (4:40-4:45) to get sufficiently tired. After arriving at the track, did 4 x 1000m intervals at HM pace (4:07, 4:06, 4:07, 4:03), jogging 200m. Despite the intervals being only at HM pace, I found the change in gear to be pretty hard, but maybe that’s because after 90 minutes of moderate-paced running. Finished the run with 4 x 100m strides and slow cool down jog.

Sun (Easy):
6.5k Recovery (av 5:30), gravel/sand surface

Total 92k for the week, 990k in the last 10 weeks (av 14k per day)

14 June 2009

Week 9 of 12

Did 110k in just over 9 hours (av 5:01 min/km) during Week 9 of 12

Was initially hoping for a hard training week, but it wasn’t meant to be. Mileage was good, but not the intensity nor quality. Had a massage early on Monday and the muscles were sore for the next 3 days. Consequently, I only managed to one so-so speed workout (normally I do two a week) and a weekend long run. In total, I had 5 slow/easy days this week.

Three weeks to go to GCM. Frankly, I am not sure whether I am in a better shape compared to my last marathon in Seoul. My average training paces are slower this year and I did less ‘long fast workouts’. Last year, I felt fresh and was able to do more intense quality workouts. While for the current training cycle; I’ve been hampered by groin problems and hot weather (one of the warmest on record). On a positive note, this year’s longer prep (4 weeks longer) is probably worth an extra 350-400 km in mileage (hopefully this will help!).

The plan for next week is to up the intensity since it will be virtually the last hard training week before I enter a 2-week taper. Plan to do 2 speed workouts (focusing on MP) during mid-week and 25-28km long run in the weekend.

Mon (Easy):
AM: 6k Recovery (av 5:30)
PM: Massage

Tue (Easy):
AM: 8k Recovery (av 5:36)
PM: 8k Easy (av 5:10), 4 strides

Too sore to do any workout after a painful massage yesterday.

Wed (Threshold):
AM: 19k (av 4:42) with 52mins worth of HM pace/MP work
PM: 5.5k Recovery (av 5:32)

Similar style to last week’s workout, alternating intervals at HM pace with recovery at MP. 3 sets of 1k HMP, 1k MP, 1k HMP, 1k MP with 2mins rest in between on the F1 track. Splits for the 4k sets: 17:12 (163 bpm), 17:12 (168 bpm), and 16:55 (170 bpm). Average pace was 4:08 for the HM segments, 4:25 for the recovery, and 4:17 min/km for the 12k total. I wanted to do another set but I was too stuffed from the warm weather.

Thu (Easy):
11k Recovery (av 5:19)

Fri (Easy):
AM: 9.5k Easy (av 4:58), 8 strides
PM: 20mins gym work

Sat (Long Run):
36k in 2h:50 (av 4:42 min/km)

Ran with Max again at East Coast Park. We started pretty early at 5:30am and didn’t see the mercury until near the end of the run - which was good for a change. After 3k warm up, ran 27k at 4:40 min/km or 3h:18m marathon pace (excluding a few brief drink breaks). After Max left, I planned to do 5k at goal MP to wrap up the long run. However, I was too tired by then, and only had energy to do 2 x 2k at goal MP (4:20 min/km) with a slow 1k jog in between. Including today’s run, total mileage for the last 7 days (Saturday to Sunday) was 130k.

Sun (Easy):
AM: 7k Recovery (av 5:26), 4 easy strides
PM: Yoga

Total 110k for the week

07 June 2009

Week 8 of 12

Did 99k in around 8 hours (av 4:58) during Week 8 of 12

Re: marathon decision….

It is gonna be Gold Coast. After discussion with my wife, doing a marathon in the East Coast is a better idea since I can make a combined trip to visit the family in Melbourne. Had a few things to take care (baby passport, shipment etc) before my wife and baby will head to Singapore in early August.

Apologies to the guys in Perth for not being able to run Perth Marathon this year. I’ve discussed with my wife about doing Perth Marathon next year (need to re-qualify for Boston if I want to run it in 2011) or perhaps even one of the WAMC’s weekend events. I hope that speedsters Epi and Clown will be kind enough to pace me to a 10k/21k PB since the road race culture and organization and in Singapore is really bad.

Anyway, training has been lackluster this week. I was unable to get the results I had hoped from the workouts (e.g. less tempo distance, slow pace of easy/long runs etc). One reason could be that I am just tired. During my last marathon prep, I did 8 weeks of training and I felt good the whole way. In contrast, the current training cycle is 12 weeks long and I passed the 8 weeks mark today. I’ve been feeling tired and sluggish (also running with sore groin/quads) since the last few weeks. Singapore weather during April-May also has been much hotter and humid (which is very draining) compared to the Sep-Oct period.

Below is the comparison between the two marathon preps. Two things that strike me are that a) I am doing less number of and much shorter LSDs; and b) training paces for the two preps are almost exactly the same, for instance tempos (4:00-4:10), intervals (3:50s), MP (4:20-4:30), and Easy (5:00-5:30). In other words, there is no increase in training intensity (in fact, the Seould prep was actually more 'dense' if we count the number of both easy and quality long runs completed during the short training cycle). The only difference is that I will have 4 weeks of extra training this time around and I wonder whether this will yield a different (better) results?

Seoul prep (followed by 2 weeks taper):
Mileage (6 weeks): 94, 91, 105, 98, 115, 105 = av 101 km
Long Runs (Easy): 32, 35, 35, 27, 30
Long Runs (Quality): 27 (21 @ MP), 32 (28 @ MP), 31 (21 @ MP)

GCM prep (another 2 week training + 2 weeks taper):
Mileage (8 weeks): 88, 90, 121, 97, 112, 93, 88, 99 = av 98 km
Long Runs (Easy): 25, 27, 24, 31
Long Runs (Quality): 30 (15 @ MP), 33 (24 @ MP), 35 (26 @ MP)

Training this week:


Tue (Intervals):
15k av 4:50 with 6 x 1k @ 10k pace

Back in SG and I felt the difference in effort right away. Last week, Melbourne was 14c and the wind chill made it to around 11c (apparent temperature). This afternoon, Singapore was 32c with a heat index of 35c. This basically means that I am training in a place which is 3x hotter than in an ideal (lab-like) conditions. Ran 4k for warm up to the F1 track, 6 x 1k @ 10k pace (av 3:54) with 90secs walk, 5k cool down including strides and short hill sprints.

Wed (Easy):
AM: 10k Easy (av 5:17), on treadmill
PM: Weights/Core

Thu (Threshold):
AM: 7k Easy (av 5:06)
PM: 16k (av 4:45) with 6 miles Threshold (alternate miles of HMP & MP)

Due to limited running space in Singapore, sometimes I have to be creative in finding places to run. Tried a Threshold workout, alternating 1600m on the track at HM pace with 1600m recovery 1600m at MP on a short stretch of road. Splits: 6:36/7:05, 6:36/7:01, 6:37/6:52 (av pace 4:15 for 9.6k, 4:07 on the HM and 4:23 on the recovery) with 1min rest between sets. Also did 4 x 30secs hill during the cool down. Might do another variation of this workout next time.

Fri (Easy):
AM: 7k Recovery (5:27)
PM: Pilates

Sat (Aborted Long Run):
17k including 14k av 4:37

Ran with a friend (Max) in East Coast Park who has a 3h:15m marathon target. The plan is to do 3k warm up, followed by 24k of goal pace (4:37 min/km). Felt sluggish and my heart rate was hovering at 170-175 which was very high for the effort. Could be either due to dehydration or insufficient recovery from previous workouts. Didn’t want to take any chance of over-straining and decided to cut short the run.

Sun (Long Run):
27k Easy

Ran around Tanglin and Bukit Timah area which has a mildly undulating terrain. Ran the first half at 5:00-5:15 and the second half at 4:50-5:00. Had a few breaks in the middle to rehydrate. Tired legs, definitely in need of a massage.

Total 99k for the week