27 February 2010

Wishin' there are more time

Week 6 of 9 to Seoul…. Only 3 weeks to go :(

Thanks guys for the comments last week re: LSD vs MP run. As you know, my biggest weakness as a runner is the mental factor (lack of self-conviction). Therefore, I just couldn't stand not doing a long MP run before a marathon. At least one training session before a race….

So this morning, I left home at 5am and jogged 10k to East Coast Park where they have a traffic-free flat bikepath. After the 10k warm up, I ran 2x10k (Fort Rd toilet to country club) with 3mins standing rest in between. Did the first one in 42:47 and found it relatively comfortable (av HR 163). The second one was completed 5 secs slower in 42:52, but I had to work a bit harder (av HR 169). Anyway, average pace was 4:17 min/km with a total work time of 85:40 for 20k.

Also took a chance to wear my marathon racing shoes and practice fueling by alternating gels & sports drinks every 5k during the 20k tempo run (Seoul water stations are 5k apart).

Disclaimer: I am not saying I will be aiming to run 4:15 pace for Seoul although I do MP tempo run at around that pace. With only 9 weeks of prep time and a HM time of 87, doing back-to-back 90mins HM is probably still out of reach.

This week was also one of the faster training week. Adding up all the quality miles: 8k of interval work & strides (3:50-ish pace) on Monday, 8k @ 4:24 embedded in mid-week 23k long run, 6k tempo @ 4:00 pace on Thursday, and 20k MP tempo today, I accumulated 42k of 'work miles' in 2h:56m or marathon distance at 4:12 min/km. That's 42% of this week's mileage with the remaining miles at easy paces. Since my easy pace is around 5:00-6:00 min/km, my overall average training pace is still slow.

On the surface, it seems that I have reaped the benefits of the last 5 weeks training. Maybe that's why a 'proper' marathon training is typically 12-20 weeks since it takes sometime for the body to absorb the workouts and harvest the fruits of training (training effect lag). The bad news is that I only have another week for sharpening since my prep is like 5 weeks foundation + 2 weeks sharpening + 2 weeks taper.

If only I can have 12 weeks of prep time, I could do something like 5 weeks foundation + 5 weeks sharpening + 2 weeks taper. I reckon that extra 3 weeks of sharpening/specific work might be worth 1-2 minutes of marathon time (coming from extra 3 long runs, extra 3 midweek long runs, 6 additonal tempo/speed sessions).

If only….

Anyway, what's done is done. Training this week:

Mon (intervals):
20mins warm up
6 x 5mins, 1min jog
Av pace for the 5mins: 3:52, 53, 56, 53, 54, 48
Covered 7.74k during 30 minutes of work (av pace 3:54)
Including recovery jogs, covered 8.6k in 35+mins (av pace 4:05)
30mins cool down with 2x40secs + 4 x 20secs barefoot on grass
Total 18k
Done 48 hours after 36k long run.

Tue (easy)
10k easy (av pace 5:08)
XT 10mins: planks, myrtle hip, squats, lunges

Wed (long):
23k easy-moderate in 1h:51m (av pace 4:50)

Thu (threshold):
15mins warm up
6k in 24:00 (av pace 4:00)
13 mins cool down
Total 11.5k

Fri (easy):
30mins easy treadmill (av pace 5:45)
XT: 10mins upper body weights

Sat (long):
10k warm up (5:20 pace) to ECP
2 x 10k @ 4:17 average, 3mins standing rest
2k cool down
Total 32k in 2h:29m (av pace 4:40)
Including today's run, last 8 days total mileage 136k

Sun (rest):
OFF. Rest day.

Total 100k for the week (last 6 weeks av 96k)

20 February 2010

Old skool Aussie

Week 5 of 9 (one month to go…gulp!)

Last week, Ewen left an interesting comment on my blog:
"I'd stick to the 2 speed/2 easy long - esp if that's on the SW plan. When the marathon comes around, the speed and endurance meet with a MP race. "

In general, SW plan follows the old school Australian training system along the same line of past Aussie greats such as Deek, Mona, Wardlaw etc. The similarities lie in terms of structure and long run paces.

Typical week under SW for me includes 2 speed sessions on Tues & Thur, a medium long run on Wed (20k+), and long run on Sat (30k+). Other days are easy. I personally request one day off every week which is Sun.

Deek's training, for instance, was as follows
mon: 10km and 16km
tues: 10km and 10km in 38mins followed by 12 laps alternating straights and corners hard easy
wed: 10km and 29km
thurs: 10km and 8 x 400m off 200m floats
fri: 10km and 18kmsat: 19-21 km and 10km
sun: 33-36 kms in 2 hrs 15 to 2 hr 40 and 8km

Hence, Deek's structure included 2 speed days, mid-week medium long run and Sunday long runs.The rest were easy days.

Based on info on public domain, Mona's typical Sunday run was 35k in 150mins. That's 4:20 pace, or 1+ min/km slower than their MP. Deek's typical Sunday run was 33-36k in 135-160mins. This is about 4:10-4:25 pace , hence also about 1min slower than his MP.

The new breed of Aussie marathoners such as Jeff Hunt, wrote in his blog that he does his 38k long run in 150mins or 4:00 pace. This is about 50secs slower than his marathon pace (2:11).

It seems that all of these Aussies do easy-paced long runs at around 50-70 secs slower than MP. There are no so-called 'long runs at race pace (MP).

Maybe some of the Perth-ites could pose this question to Mona during the training camp :)

On the contrary, African and modern US runners incorporate MP running in their regime. Geb & Wanjiru are known to run 30k at competition speed. US marathoners such as Ryan Hall and Brett Gotcher (coached by Mcmillan) run 15 mile tempo runs at MP

For a runner of my (slow) standard, SW schedules long runs at 5:00 pace. I once asked him whether should I do MP long run. His answer was that I could run at MP for the last 30mins but I need to run the early part of the long run slower so that the av pace is still 5:00. For instance, if the schedule calls for 30k in 2h:30m (5:00 pace). I could run the last clip at MP, but have to run the first couple hours slower, so that the total duration is still 2h:30m.

I guess "time on your feet" for raw endurance is an important component of Aussie system.

Up to this point, I haven't done any long MP runs. For past marathons, I usually did a couple of long MP sessions and they worked well for me. Last week I tried to do 20k at 4:20 pace, but found it tough and ended up averaging close to 4:30.

Curious to get your views on:
1) whether MP runs are key to your marathon performance? How many sessions did you do during the marathon prep and how long per session?
2) Next week, I have a 32k schedule and this would be my last chance to do long MP runs (after that, the weekend long runs will taper off). Should I do the MP stuff next week or stick to the suggested pace of 5:00?

Anyway, training this week was affected by the trip to Jakarta and lingering ITB problems. Ran 15% lower mileage to finish at 84km for the week. Only did one session and one long run instead of normal 2 sessions and 2 long runs, so about half the load. The workouts were:

1) 15k continuous tempo in 61:50 (av 4:08 pace). This is supposed to be a TT but due to ITB issue, I decided to run it at current HM pace. I hope this should make running the first 20-25k in cool-weather Seoul to be relatively comfortable.

2) 36k long run in 3hours (5:00 pace) done 2 days after the 15k tempo, hence I had yet to fully recover from that workout. ITB was aching badly, therefore I was glad to complete the run. I also only stopped for 5mins in total (toilet, drinks refill) during the 3 hours, so it was almost continuous.

13 February 2010


Week 4 of 9 to Seoul (halfway there)

Good to hear Clown & TB are thinking to run MM on an auspicious date of 10/10/10 !! Hope to make my 9th marathon start there (maybe I should run another one after Seoul to make MM the 10th) . How cool is that? 10th marathon on 10/10/10. It's also a week before my 39th birthday, a nice present!

But first things first. Managed to 'survive' the first 4 weeks of training. Another 3 weeks of hard training to go before 2 weeks taper.

I think my training has gone pretty well until today. I planned to do 20k non-stop tempo at 4:20 pace during a 30k long run. However, I found the pace to be too hot to handle and I ended up averaging 4:27. I also had to make a couple of lengthy breaks to stretch ITB/glutes and to rest.

It seems four weeks of 90k+ of 'rushed training' from scratch (without sufficient base mileage beforehand) have finally caught up with me. Old niggles around ITB and glutes are coming back, upper body parts such as necks, back are very tight and legs are like jello.

SW doesn't actually schedule any MP runs. Since I thrived on long MP runs in the past, I made the decision to do MP runs today and it backfired. Doing 2 speed session and 2 easy long runs in a week are probably just the right dosage for me. If I want to do MP long runs, perhaps I should to think about dropping one of the speed session to keep the legs fresher.

Will be going to Jakarta to vist family for Lunar New Year. My plan is to do short slow runs until Thursday when I return to Singapore. This means I will miss half a week of training but hopefully I will feel fresher by then.

Anyway, training this week:

Mon (threshold):
3.5k warm up (5:30)
15' fast, 4' jog, 10' fast, 3' jog, 10' fast
Covered 8.9k during fast reps, averaging 3:56min/km
Including recovery jogs, covered 10.2k in 42'00" (av pace 4:08)
2.3k cool down (5:30)
Total session 16k
Challenging workout, done 48 hours after 36k long run.

Tue (easy):
33mins easy treadmill (av pace 5:35)
Tight on time. Busy at work

Wed (long):
22k easy-moderate in 1h48m (av pace 4:56)
First half 5:15 pace (felt crap), second half 4:40s (strangely felt better)

Thu (fartlek):
4k warm up (5:00)
30 x 30secs on, 15secs off
First 15 reps av 3:35, last 15 reps av 3:45 (total 15mins of work at 3:40 av)
HR never got lower than 180 (90-95% max HR) in last 15 reps
Including recovery jogs, the workout covered 5.6k in 22'30" (av pace 4:02)
3k cool down (5:35)
Total session 12k+

Fri (easy):
42mins easy treadmill (av pace 5:35)
Light weights in the gym

Sat (long):
30k long run in 2h:21m (av pace 4:42)
The plan was to run 20k at 4:20 pace, ended up 4:27 pace (had to stop a few times to stretch ITB, glutes)
Tired legs. Including today's run, ran 130k in last 8 days

Sun (off):
Rest day

Total 94k (392k in last 4 weeks from scratch, av 98kpw)

06 February 2010

No GCM this year

Week 3 of 9 to Seoul (gulp)

Will not be running Gold Coast this year as my brother's wedding is on the same weekend !

Hmm…so what's next then after Seoul? Melbourne in October looks attractive. Mostly flat course with some rises here and there. Good crowd and I am familiar with half of the route. October is also 6 to 7 months after Seoul which gives me ample of time to train for sub-3. However, the downside is the weather unpredictabilty, especially the wind (unlike Gold Coast which virtually guarantees calm, cool conditions almost everytime)

Perth City to Surf in late August provides me with 5 months to train, but sadly I am a dud at hills. Currently not interested in marathons elsewhere in the region.

If I run a decent time in Seoul, say under 3:10, I might be tempted to run WAMC Perth marathon in June. Traning wise, it is exactly 3 months after Seoul, which in theory should give me some post-marathon recovery time and a couple of months to continue building the foundations towards sub-3 goal. However, I hate the wind and pavement running. We shall see.

But of course, if I can miracoulously run a sub-3 in Seoul, I don't need to worry about these things anymore *lol*. It's a mission impossible as I don't have 10k/21k speed for sub-3 marathon. How I wish Captain Kirk can put a human transporter somewhere along the marathon course to timewarp me to the finish line !

Anyway, training this week:

Mon (interval):
4k warm up (5:22)
5 x 5 minutes, 1 minute jog in between
Pace per lap: 3:52, 3:53, 3:54, 3:54, 3:53, 3:45, accumulated 7.7k at average 3:52 min/km (with short breaks)
Including recovery jogs, the workout covered 8.6k in 35mins (av pace 4:03)
3k cool down with 2x200m fast (5:12)
Total session 16k

Tue (easy):
11.5k easy in 60mins, including 6 barefoot strides (av pace 5:15)
XT: lunges, squats, heel raises

Wed (long):
23k easy-moderate in 1h55m (av pace 4:55)
Based on pre/post run weights and drink consumed, my calculated sweat rate is 1.5 litre per hour !!

Thu (fartlek):
4.5k warm up (5:05)
12 x 60secs on, 30secs off
Averaged 3:30-3:40 min/km for the 1-minute ons
Including recovery jogs, the workout covered 4.4k (av pace 4:00)
3k cool down (5:30)
Total session 12k

Fri (off):
Rest day

Sat (long):
36k long run (22k @ 5:00 pace, 14k @ 4:48)
Excluding stops (drink, toilet), total running time 2h:56m (av pace 4:55)
Including stops (8mins total), total running time 3h:05m (av pace 5:08)

Sun (off):
Rest day

Total 99k in 5 runs

Week in summary:
Only ran 5 times this week as my father is in town. Nonetheless, a solid week with 2 workouts and 2 long runs. Monday's workout was great (at least for my standard), with almost 8k at 3:52 pace (translates to sub 31 8k or 38:40 10k pace). When I started with SW, I was whining about the short 1min recovery but now I feel it's not so bad. Did a 36k long run in the weekend, and surprisingly I found little problems in completing the distance. Consumed 1 litre water, 500ml sports drinks, and 1 gel for the whole 3 hours and felt good throughout the run. However, my ITB hurts afterwards, hopefully this goes away soon.

Last 3 weeks mileage have been 100, 99, and 99km. During the old times, I used to do 10-15mins shakeout run as a second run so that the total mileage rounds up to a nice number like 100k. Nowadays, I don't really care, even if I total 99.8k for the week. Makes me wonder if sub-3 marathon might be over-rated because it is just a nice, round number. Is there a difference in ability between runners who finish in 2:59:xx and 3:00:xx? I guess not. Perhaps if I never get sub-3 in my lifetime, then I should be as happy if I finish at 3:01 or 3:02 *lol*