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.