26 July 2009

Week 2 of 5 (AHM)

Did 73k in 6 hours (av 4:55) during Week 2 of 5 to Army Half

Sling Jr has finally landed in Singapore! He is now four months and getting chubby :) It will be interesting how my training will pan out due to the need to balance family life, work, and running.

Training wise, it was an enforced down week in terms of both intensity and mileage. I was sick with cold, runny nose and sore throat for almost the whole week. As Sling Jr was due to arrive in the weekend, I had to tone down my training to make sure that I recovered in time. For example, I cut my interval volumes from the usual 8k to 6k, Threshold run from around 10k to 7k and so on. At the end, I was able to get a pretty reasonable outcome: 1) getting some ok training when sick and 2) back to 90% fit when the baby arrived.

Three weeks to go to Army Half. Hoping that I can up the ante for the next couple of weeks.

Mon (Recovery):
5k Recovery (av 5:40)

Sick with cold and runny nose. I think my immunity is very low after the marathon, and I made a mistake by rushing back to training too soon.

Tue (Intervals):
12k run in 56mins (av 4:42) including:
- 4 x 1000m (av 3:52) with 80seconds jog
- 4 x 500m (av 3:35) with 2 minute jog
- 4 x 200m with 200m jog

Still sick, hence ran an abbreviated volume of intervals. Splits for the 1k: 3:51, 3:52, 3:51, 3:52 (av 174 bpm). Splits for the 500m: 1:49, 1:50, 1:49, 1:41 (av 177 bpm, high of 189). Splits for the 200s: 37, 39, 39, 38.

Wed (Recovery):
7k Recovery (av 5:40)

Thu (Easy):
12k Easy in (av 5:08) including 5 x 12secs hill sprints

Felt sluggish. Sore throat and bad cough.

Fri (Off):
1-hour Strength Training (abs, lunges, squats)

Decided to take a rest day to enhance healing process.

Sat (Threshold):
18k run in 84mins (av 4:40) including 3 x 2400m at Threshold effort (av 4:01)

Rainy day, but the good thing is that I was almost back to normal health. 5k warm up to the track, then 3 x 2400m in 9:45, 9:35, 9:33 (av 174 bpm) with 2-3mins standing rests. Finished with 4x100m strides and 5k cool down.

Sun (Tempo):
19k run in 89mins (av 4:41) including 10k at MP effort (av 4:30)

3k warm up, then 10k at MP effort on undulanting terrain, averaging 4:30 min/km. Found 1km stretch of small, slightly hilly road and ran out and back 5 times. A good variation to my normal flat running routine. Finished with 8 x 45secs fast, 1m:15s jog during cool down.

Total 73k for the week

18 July 2009

Week 1 of 5 to AHM

Did 80k in over 6.5 hours (av 4:59) during Week 1 of 5 to Army Half

I took a more cautious approach to training this time. A general rule of thumb for marathon recovery is 26 days (one day for each mile raced). Although, legs felt fresh but I am pretty sure there are some microscopic muscles damages inside. I just didn’t want to repeat the same accident last year where I embarked a full-on training straight away after the marathon and a couple days before the 10k race, I damaged my ankle ligament and was injured for 2 months. While it was a freak accident, but I think weak and stressed ankle joints, tendons & connective tissues post-marathon (further stressed by subsequent heavy training) were also responsible.

This week’s training has been fairly easy with the exception of Saturday’s workout. I did a 1-hour progression run on Tuesday, which wasn’t that hard in terms of effort spent. On Saturday, I did a big workout consisting 10k easy + 5 x 2k at HM ‘effort’ to simulate a second half of HM race. I emphasize the word ‘effort’ because I don’t know my goal HM pace is. McMillan calculator predicts a 1:27 based on GC timing, but the latter was done on good running weather. The average pace of the 2ks turned out to be 4:07 min/km, but I am not sure whether I could run at this pace for 21k straight.

Mon (Off):
AM: 40mins Elliptical
PM: 1-hour Pilates

Tue (Workout):
16k run in 75mins (av 4:42) including 60mins Progression Run

Progression run with pace change every 10mins at 5:15, 5:00, 4:45, 4:30, 4:15, and 4:00s, covering last 30mins at sub-3 MP and last 20mins at 87mins HM pace. Finished with Hill Sprints of varying length: 2 x 20secs, 2 x 15secs, 2 x 10secs.

Wed (Easy):
6.5k Recovery (av 5:29), treadmill

Thu (Easy):
17k Easy in (av 5:00), out at 5:00-5:10, back in 4:50-5:00

Fri (Easy):
AM: 10.5k Easy (av 5:03) incl 4 laps of sprint the straights, jog the curves
PM: 1-hour Strength Training (abs, lunges, squats)

Sat (Workout):
24k run in 116mins (av 4:50) consisting of:
- 10k Easy (5:12)
- 5 x 2k at HM effort (av 4:07)
- 3k cool down (5:34)

The aim is to get a feel of how the second half of HM will be like. Ran 10k easy from home to East Coast Park as a warm up, then did 5 x 2k at HM effort. Splits: 8:16/168, 8:14/172, 8:14/175, 8:14/176, 8:04/181. Recovery was 2:00 jog + 00:30 standing rest to drink & stretch, except for the last one whereby I took a 3:00 standing rest to ensure I ran a bit quicker. A hard workout, but not awfully tough. Legs still lacking zip. Happy to see that HR hitting 180s since I haven’t been at this range during marathon training.

Sun (Easy):
6k Recovery (av 5:35)

Total 80k for the week

12 July 2009

Post Mortem & Race Plans

Post race analysis and personal findings:

1) I found that the temperature differential (30c during training vs 10c during racing) will only allow me to sustain the projected MP for the whole 42k without bonking. Unlike other trained runners (e.g. by7), I still don’t have that ability to utilize the cooler racing temperature into running faster than projected MP. A heat chart by Tinman suggest that a change in temperature from 50F (Gold Coast temp 10c) to 90F (Singapore temp 30c) will cause a performance drop of 5%. Since I have been practicing MP at 4:20-4:25 min/km in Singapore, ‘theoretically’ the heat training in Singapore could enable me to do sub-3 (4:20 pace x 95% = 4:12 pace

2) My marathon HR in Gold Coast was 165bpm or 85% Max HR. My last max test was done 3 years ago and it was 195 bpm. I am not sure what my max is now but maybe it’s down by a couple of beats. Hadd training article and other lets run posts suggest that well-trained runners (with 190+ HR Max) can run marathon averaging 175bpm (87-88% Max). So my marathon HR is about 10bpm lower than those people.

The aforementioned points above may indicate a few things 1) Assuming if I was well-trained, I was too conservative during the race and didn’t realize the possibility that I could run a bit faster; or 2) I wasn’t very well-trained, hence I was unable to capitalize on the lower temperature and run at a higher HR; or 3) I am just one of those average joes.

Race Plans:

My next race is the Army Half Marathon in mid-August (did 1:28 last year). There are only 5 weeks of training left (including taper) to prepare for the race, hopefully I can match or slightly better last year’s timing.

No other races planned for the rest of the year. There are possibilities that I sprinkle a couple of short races here and there (e.g HM leg of Singapore Marathon in Dec or Freo HM in Sep if family allows). My wife and kiddo will return to Singapore at the end of the month, so training times will be slightly constrained and less flexible. My current aim is to do general type of base work consisting of moderate mileage, 2 day offs per week, in order to balance family life.

Have yet to decide on next marathon. What currently comes to mind includes Seoul International Marathon in March (flat course, sub-zero temperature in 2007), Gold Coast Marathon again in early July or perhaps Perth Marathon (not sure when).

Training this week:

M: off
T: off
W: 7.5k Recovery (5:28) in Melbourne
T: 12.5k Easy/Mod (4:48) with last 30mins moderate(4:40)
F: Arrived in SG, 6k Recovery (5:27) + massage
S: 5k Easy (5:00), 2 strides
S: 8k POSB Run for Kids race in 32:23 (4:03) + 6k wu/cd (5:40)
Total 45k

Despite just ran a marathon a week ago, I decided to do a low key 8k race. Initially planned to run this at about 4:05 pace to get HR data for next month’s Army HM, but got sucked in to a fast start. Felt good in the first half, but found no leg speed in the second half despite feeling as strong as an ox. HR was almost constant at 182 in the last 5k. Just couldn’t push harder. Finished 4th, about 50secs behind the 3rd runner and 3 minutes after the 1st runner. Splits: 3:53/167 (hill), 3:57/177, 4:00/180, 3:57/183, 4:04/182, 4:12/182 (hill), 4:07/181, 4:02/182, 10secs extra. I am not sure whether I can maintain this pace for 21k, so probably a 1:27-1:28 is an appropriate HM goal for me.

05 July 2009

Gold Coast Marathon 2009

Net Time: 3:04:50

A PB by 7 minutes and beat BQ for my age group (35-40) by 11 minutes.

Firstly, training for the Week 12 of 12. As mentioned previosuly, I felt that I peaked at the right time judging how easy my workouts were in the last 2 weeks (signs of adaptations). I had to patiently control the pace and duration of the workouts (including a 5k race), just to make sure I didn't 'race' my training.

M: 5k Recovery (5:26)
T: 13.5k (av 4:45) including 50mins Progression of 10mins @ 5:20, 5:00, 4:40, 4:20, 4:08. Covered last 30mins at MP, last 20mins at sub-3 pace
W: jetlagged
T: 10.5k (av 4:45) including 3.5k MP + 6 strides
F: 7k Easy (5:02), 4 strides
S: 12mins jog (6:00 pace)
Total 38k pre-race

Now, the race report:

Arrived at GC airport around 4.30pm (would love to get there earlier but no choice since it was a mileage ticket). Took the shuttle bus and arrived at the hotel. Picked up the bib + chip from Max (thanks a bunch) and went to have a pasta dinner at Surfers Paradise. Tossed and turned at the bed and couldn't sleep until about 1am. Had a weird dream that I was running a marathon carrying a monile phone and at km 10, I received a call from work. Stopped and talked for a few minutes, feeling de-motivated to run and DNF'ed. I then woke up and the clock was showing 4:00 am. OK, it was just a dream and I hasn't started running yet !!

Continue to sleep until about 5:20am, took shower, ate breakfast and took the bus to the race location. Had a mini fiasco during the warm up. I wore a belt which carries race bib and gels and I lost 2 packs of gel during warm up ! Luckily, I brought a spare one and now had 3 pax for the race. Now, I had to re-think about my fueling strategy as I initially planned to take gels at 10, 17.5, 25, 30 and 35k. I decided to rely on sports drinks for the initial part and would take gels at km 17.5, 27.5 and 35k.

I also happened to make the right decision on race gear. Bought a cotton glove after dinner and decided to wear long sleeve top for the run. It was a chilly morning, sub 10 degree and a bit windy in some areas. The course itself was 'relatively' flat (it's not 99% flat as Perth). There were a few gentle undulations along the suburban area and a couple of bridges. Would say it's about 95% flat but some of the slopes could affect your legs, especially after running on a flat ground for a long time. I found that the road is very cambered.

I ran pretty much even split for the first 30k, passing the respective 10k splits in 43:29, 43:31, and 43:45. No stopping at all as I drank during the run. Km 30-40k was harder since I began to feel tired and as we passed Southport, there were a couple of bridges to overcome. During this period, I had to resort to a few seconds walk breaks at the drink stops just to give the legs some rests. My average pace began to slow down to around 4:30s but I continue to dig deep. During this hard patch, I thought about my 3-month old son and how he always smiles. This enpowered me to keep going for the last 2k depsite the heavy legs. I managed to minimize the damage, hanged on to the finish and passed the clock at just under 3:05

5k 21:37 10k: 21:43
15k 21:47 20k 21:45
First Half Marathon: 1:31:39
30k 43:44
35k 21:55 40k 22:27
last 2.2k: 9:49
Second Half Marathon: 1:33:11

Net Time: 3:04:50
Av HR: 165 bpm (high 177)
Overall placing: 194 put of 3711 (179 of 2561 male)
Age group placing: 44 of 495

1k splits: 4:20/149, 4:18/159, 4:19/162, 4:19/162, 4:21/161, 4:20/162, 4:24/161, 4:23/161, 4:20/162, 4:23/163, 4:19/164, 4:21/163, 4:23/163, 4:21/164, 4:19/165, 4:25/165, 4:20/165, 4:17/166, 4:22/165, 4:24/165, 4:19/166, 4:20/167, 4:22/166, 4:24/167, 4:18/167, 4:27/166, 4:21/167, 4:27/167, 4:22/167. 4:21/169, 4:22/168, 4:23/169, 4:26/167, 4:23/169, 4:27/170, 4:29/168, 4:24/171, 4:32/170, 4:29/170, 4:27/172, 4:37/172, 4:27/174, 48/178