27 June 2010

Dog Day

Week 3 of 18 to Melbourne

Monday (intervals):
4k warm up to F1 track
5 x 1k at 5k pace, 2mins recovery
Splits: 3:38, 3:39, 3:40, 3:39, 3:39
4k cool down
Total session (w/u + c/d) 14k in 66.20 (av 4:45 min/k)

Woke up late and instead of doing the session at CCAB track which takes 5k going there and then return, I decided to go to the F1 track which is only 3k away. Unfortunately, the beer tent from last weekend's Singapore Beer Festival was still there and it chopped the 1k traffic-free road stretch by half ! Consequently, I had to do the intervals out and back on a 500m route. My plan was to do the 1ks at 3:40 pace and managed to do all of them spot-on although, the u-turns might over-state the distance a bit. Irregardless of the GPS accurancy, I felt that it was certainly a 5k-paced effort since my HR hit 186 in the last rep (my max probably 190??). Did a slow 5k in the arvo.

Tuesday (easy):
45mins easy (av 5:18 min/km)
10mins upper body weights

Wednesday (aborted session):
12k easy-moderate (av 4:40 min/km)

The plan was to do 10k MP (4:15 min/km), but had stomach issues and quit after 5k+. Honestly, I don't think 23mins worth of MP running (at 3-hour pace) has any fitness benefits at all. It was really a washed-out session.

Thursday (long):
24k long run in 2hours (av 5:00)

It just showed how disruptive a race can be to the training plan. Due to weekend's race, I have to do a longer run on a working day, which of course, comes with time constraints, resulting in shorter distance covered.

Friday (fartlek):
3k ez, 3k fartlek, 4k ez
Total 10k in 49:40 (av 4:58)

A light turnover session, 3 sets of 300m, 200j, 200m, 100j, 100m, 100j.

Saturday (rest):
Off. Core exercises

Sunday (race):
4.5k warm up
4.4k Cross Country Race in 17:28 (av 3:58min/km)
5.8k cool down

If it wasn't for a good cause to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, I wouldn't bother to muck up my training plan and do this run. Didn't sleep well and woke up feeling lethargic. My HR went to the roof during the warm up and I was actually expecting a dog day. The race itself was a social fun run, involving mostly weekend warriors and families. After 100m, it was obvious that I had a good chance for placing. There were three of us in the front pack as we entered the forest. I happily sat back in 3rd place, running at 4:10 pace (just above my marathon pace) for the first 2.5k of forest trails. After that, we switched into the pavements and I made a move by passing the two. They never responded and I continued running the last 2k of mild undulating route at around 3.45-3:50 pace to finish first. At the end, I was 30secs ahead of the 2nd placed runner and still felt relatively fresh.

Won a Hewlett-Packard top-of-the-range laptop ($3k ??), David Gan salon voucher, NTUC grocery vouchers, and a 1-night stay at The Fairmont. Really didn't deserve this. Thank you.

88k for the week, with one good workout (interval) and a less than 100% effort race. This week certainly doesn't look like a marathon training at all. Other than Monday's intervals, everything else was too moderate (5k MP run, 3k of fartlek, 4k of XC race at tempo pace). Basically I mucked up my marathon training and gave up a planned 30k+ weekend long run in return of  5 minutes of fame. Considering that I have been doing 9-10k tempo run at 4:00 pace in recent weeks, the pace at today's race was pretty lame. I entered the race with the intent to support the animals but was fortunate that there was no competition. I would probably be ranked in the top 20 in most 'serious' races locally, but today, I broke the tape first in a non-competitive race.
Does this make me a fun run whore?

20 June 2010

Lame training?

Congrats to Clown who graduated with 2:59:05 in Perth Marathon today. Way to go, man!

So out of the three amigos (Clown & Epi), that leaves me alone still learning at school and yet to pass the exam !

Week 2 of 18 to Melbourne

Monday (threshold):
3k warm up
Mottram Tempo
15 mins, 15mins, 10mins at different HR, 2mins jog in between
1st set: 5mins each @ 4:09 - 4:03 - 3:58 min/k = 15mins
2nd set: 5mins each @ 4:10 - 4:03 - 3:57 min/k = 15mins
3rd set: 3mins each @ 4:11(spent 15 secs to tie laces) - 4:03 - 3:55 min/k plus 1min hard = 10mins
40mins of work covering 9.9k (av pace 4:03)
2k cool down
Total session (w/u + c/d) 16k in 71:35 (av 4:29 min/k)

Buster Tempo is 3x15mins with 1min jog in between, where the first 5mins was run at 165 bpm, next one at 170, and the last one at 175. The correct way would be, of course, to do the session at certain % of Max HR since everyone has different threshold HR, but the good thing is that they coincide with my HR for MP (160-165 bpm), HM pace (165-170), and my 15k pace (175). In essence, the varied HRs touch the lactate threshold point and also slightly above and below it. Recovery was lengthened to 2mins in between the 15mins, which is probably more suitable for my level. By the end of 2nd set, I got dehydrated and to play it safe, I shortened the last set to 10mins.

My aggregate 'pace vs HR' was 4:10 min/km @ 165, 4:03 @ 167, and 3:57 @ 173 - all fall between 10k pace and MP. Overall, it was a good 'change of pace' threshold session, with me almost covering 10k in 40mins including the time to tie up shoe laces but excluding recovery jogs.

Tuesday (easy):
47mins easy (av 5:15min/km)
60 v-ups with med ball

Wednesday (interval):
4k warm up, CCAB track
8 x 800m, with 200m recovery
Splits: 2.56.81, 2.59.25, 2.57.33, 2.58.07, 2.57.02, 2.57.89, 2.58.85, 2.55.28 = average 2.57.50
Recovery jogs, averaging in 1.15
6k cool down
Total session (w/u + c/d) 18k in 85:40 (av 4:45 min/km)

Tweaked the Yasso 800 to be a VO2max workout by shortening the recovery to ~40% rest-to-work ratio (versus 100% rest/work ratio in a standard Yasso). The weather was super humid/muggy and legs were a bit heavy during warm up. Felt the burn in last couple reps, and I don't think I could do more unless if I take longer recovery (or maybe I am not fit enough??). Average times for the 800s were 2.57.50 (3:42 min/km pace) for 6400m of 5k-paced work. The results show Yasso's poor predicitive value for the marathon. My longest run so far is 27km and there is no way I could run 2.57.xx marathon right now even if my life depends on it. Anyways, one good thing to know is that if I don't have the speed to run these under 3 minutes, then I can forget about trying for a sub-3 marathon lol

Thursday (easy):
40mins easy treadmill (av 5:35 min/km)
20mins weights (lower & upper body)

Friday (easy):
40mins easy treadmill (av 5:15 min/km)
including 6 strides
60 v-ups with med ball

Saturday (long):
31k long run in 2h:35m (av 5:00 min/km)

The plan was to do 32k, but I was just too knackered. Another super-humid morning, shoes were 'flooded' with sweat (yuk). Time excluded 10mins worth of drink stops

Sunday (off):
Rest, core exercises

89k for the week, with two good workouts (Yasso intervals + Buster tempo) and a so-so 2.30 hour+ long run. I found that I made some gains in terms of workouts (both tempos & intervals), but still struggled with my long run pace. Hopefully, the pace will pick-up as weeks and months go by. Another thing that I notice is 80-85% of my mileage is easy-paced running and when I say easy, it is really like 5:00-5:40 min/k !!. The other 15% varies between 3:40-4:00 pace. Hence, there is a huge gap in pace between my hard and easy sessions.

With 80%+ of mileage at super-easy pace, do you think that my training is too lame?

Training to date:
Week 1: 81k total - 6% VO2max, 11% Threshold, 83% Easy
Week 2: 89k total - 7% Vo2max, 11% Threshold, 82% Eas

13 June 2010

Appetizers in a 4-course Menu

Route 1 of 18 to Melbourne

Monday (threshold):
3k warm up
7 x The Canal loop (approx 1.22k)
Alternating between 10k pace and recovery at 95% MP
Splits per loop: 4:40, 5:24, 4:40, 5:20, 4:43, 5:19, 4:40 with 400+ meters hard in 92secs to round up to 9km
Av fast stuff: 3:49 min/km
Av recovery: 4:22 min/km
2k cool down
Total session (w/u + c/d) 14k in 61:30 (av 4:24 min/km)

This is a mini version of Salazar session where he alternated a fast mile at 4.30 pace and a recovery mile at 5.20 pace for 7 miles (10k pace with recovery at 30secs/km slower). To cater for a slow guy like me, I chopped the distance to ~1.2k which is actually the distance my normal running loop called 'The Canal'. It also fits nicely with my training paces, as my fast splits of 4.40 and slow splits of 5.20 to cover the loop are pretty close to Salazar's splits (4.30 and 5.20). The only difference is that I was doing 1.2k, while he covered 1.6k :p An enjoyable workout with almost 5k worth of 10k paced running and a total of 9k continuous (inlcuding recovery) averaging 4.03 min/km.

Tuesday (easy):
40mins easy treadmill (av 5:22min/km)
15 mins upper body weights

Wednesday (speed):
5k warm up to CCAB track
16 x 300 - with 200 recovery in the same time it took to run the 300s
First set:
ON 300s = 62.3, 62.6, 63.2, 62.0, 64.8, 62.2, 63.6, 62.0, average 62.8
OFF 200s = 59.5, 62.5, 61.9, 60.0, 60.5, 60.9, 63.8, average 61.3
Second set (after 2mins break):
ON 300s = 62.3, 62.5, 64.4, 62.0, 66.0, 63.6, 64.0, 59.3, average 63.2
OFF 200s = 60.9, 61.6, 65.3, 63.1, 62.2, 63.5, 67.3, average 63.4
5k cool down
Total session (w/u + c/d) 18k in 84:40 (av 4:42 min/km)

Ryan Hall occasionally twits his workouts and he did this session a couple of weeks ago (his goal is Chicago Marathon - same date as Melbourne marathon). My aim was to run the 300s at 3k pace (about 3.30 min/km) which is 63secs, meaning the 200s recovery would be run in 63secs as well (5.15 min/km). Doing 300s repeats seemed easy on paper, but it certainly wasn't! As you can see, my splits in the second set were slower than in the first set. The fun thing about this session is that instead of just hitting the splits for the fast segments as per normal intervals, I had to hit the target splits for the recovery as well (same time it took me to run the 300s). It's amazing that my average splits hit a bingo at 63.0 for the 300s and 62.4 for the 200s. In total, I accumulated 4.8k worth of 3k-paced running in 16:48 (3:30 min/km pace) and total track work (including recovery) of 7.6k in 31:21 (av 4:07 min/km)

Thursday (easy):
40mins easy treadmill (av 5:30 min/km)
60 v-ups with med ball
10mins lower body weights

Friday (easy):
36mins easy (av 5:05 min/km)
including 6 x 00:15 hill sprints
80 abs crunches

Saturday (long):
27k long run in 2h:15m (av 5:00 min/km)

As usual, I always found long run to be the most difficult session, especially in the early phase of marathon training. 5:00 is supposedly an easy pace for me but certainly it wasn't! Rested couple of mins every 1/2 hour to rehydrate. Route was home-Nathan-Tanglin-Nassem-Dalvey-Coronation-Sixth-Holland-Dempsey-Chatsworth-home. Some undulations, but nothing major.

Sunday (off):
Rest, core exercises

81k for the week, with two good workouts (speed, threshold) and a so-so 2 hour+ long run. All in all, a fairly decent start to my marathon prep. For Melbourne, I am following the Italian marathon periodization where the training phases consists of 4-course menu. It start with 5k/10k training as starters, followed by HM/Threshold training as the salad, then MP training as entrees,and finally taper as the dessert. This is also the periodization plan that Ryan Hall will use to prepare for his American record assault in Chicago. For me, I plan to dedicate 4 weeks (whole of June) to do all these ball-busting workouts, then 6 weeks to do threshold and longer intervals stuffs (until mid Aug), then 6 weeks doing tons of MP stuffs (until end Sep), and finally 2 weeks taper.

To close, below is a good note from Ryan Hall's coach on his periodization plan (unfortunately, the weblink is gone).

Marathoning 101
May 25, 2010
by Terrence Mahon
We have 20 weeks to go to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Time to draw up the blueprints and set the stage for Ryan’s training going forward. We are now switching gears from how he trained for Boston, which consisted of a lot of workouts on undulating terrain, and will now be altered to prepare for a flat, lightning fast course. In order to get Ryan ready to go for his best time we will need to increase his leg turnover and overall speed. The plan is to segment out his training into 3 different phases. Phase 1 will focus on getting him back to his best 5k/10k fitness. This will be a six-week plan that brings in shorter intervals at close to 4:00 mile pace with plenty of rest in between. The volume will be low, but the intensity will be very high. Quality is a must in this phase so we will keep the mileage down from his typical 120-140mile weeks to insure that his legs are fresh and bouncy. Phase 2 will then take that speed and start to add in some longer training. Since this will take place over the summer and the hot weather will not be ideal for a lot of long training we will frame this program out more towards the half marathon distance. The intensity will be a little less than the 5k/10k phase, but will still have plenty of fast intervals. It is just that now they will be a little longer and with a little less rest.

Finally in Phase 3, over the last 8-10 weeks we will get into the specific work necessary to conquer the marathon. The overall goal is to bring the track speed of a 13:00 track runner to the roads of Chicago. Carrying that kind of speed into a great half marathon training block will then allow Ryan to bring in his incredible aerobic fitness to carry him to the final marathon distance. It is now about fine tuning the engine so that we can get in some higher rpm’s and increase his horsepower. Ryan will look to run Chicago at an average speed of 4:44-4:48 per mile. If he can do this then he will be the fastest American to ever run the marathon. This will also set him up to chase down his first World Marathon Majors victory. It starts with a dream, then a belief and finally a plan. Here we go!

05 June 2010

Oz trip + 10k PB

Firstly, congrats to Rob who smoked his PB from 39:00 to 36:45 within 2 years !!!
What a breakthrough, mate! To think I used to race/compete with you in Perth was a humbling experience

Went to Melbourne for a short family visit this week. Really enjoyed the cool, crisp, non-polluted air of wintery Melbourne. What a nice change from the wok-on-fire heat of Singapore !!

Only did 3 runs (but were all studs) :

Friday 28/05 (12c): 17k in 80mins (av 4:27min/km) including 4k in 15:25 (av 3:51), 5mins rest, then 3k in 11:15 (av 3:45)

Felt great. Did 7k worth of work at 3:45-3:51 min/km. Considering my 4-year 10k PB pace is only 3:56 pace, surely it's there for the taking !!

Sunday 30/05 (15c, windy): 30k in 2h:14m (av 4:27 min/km) including 25k non-stop tempo in 1h:48m (4:19 pace)

Purposely ran at the same pace as last week's Passion Run 25k in order to compare HR at different temperatures. I found that my heart needs to beat 737 times to cover each k at 4:20 pace in Singapore, while in Melbourne, the number is only 704 per km/. This means my heart need to work 5% harder when running for 2 hours in Singapore at approx MP.

Monday 01/06 (10c): 10k Time Trial in 38:20 (a PB by 1 minute)

Inspired by Rob's breakthrough race, I simply couldn't resist to do a TT on a cool, calm conditions.
First 5k: 3:39, 3:49, 3:45, 3:48, 3:48 = 18:49
Second 5k: 3:49, 3:50, 3:57, 3:57, 3:53 = 19:26
Total = 38:15

I added 5 secs extra since race distance is normally a hair longer than what GPS measured in order to round up to 38:20 (a flat 3.50 is also easier for setting interval paces)

Course was on bike path, mostly flat with some mild undulations. First 2k was a net rise of 20m, next 5k was a net decline of 40m, last 3k was a net rise of 20m. Hence, the reason for a big positive split (+27 secs) in the 2nd half, especially in the last 3k. Total net elevation gain/loss = approx 0.

Because I did a 30k long run (25k of which just above MP) two days before the TT, I think I have the right to claim that the 10k timing is probably legitimate and a good indicator of my true shape :)

All in all, there are a couple of positives:

1) The 10k timing is now equivalent on 2.59.54 marathon (barely !!!) according to McMillan. First time ever that I run a timing that calculators would indicate to correlate with sub-3

2) The popular Pfitzinger marathon plan schedules a 23k MP run about 6 weeks out before marathon. While last Sunday's 25k run at 4:19 pace is 5secs slower than my goal MP (4:14), but being able to do it without much difficulty and the fact that I still haven't' started my 18-week training seems to be an encouraging sign.

I also discover a couple of interesting things:

1) My recovery profile is much faster in Oz. It's amazing that I could do a 30km long run (averaging ~10 secs/k slower than MP), and 48 hours later, ran a 10k PB. If I do this in Singapore, I would be useless for days. My guess is that my muscles and heart have to work a lot harder in Singapore and there are lots of minerals disappeared with the sweat loss, which resulted in slower recovery.

2) My training paces are faster in Oz. The above 3 runs done in Melbourne within a span of 5 days have an average pace of 4.24 pace (coincidentally, this is what speedsters like Clown and Epi are averaging for their training). While heat training is often perceived as a poor mans' altitude training, I still think training in cool, dry places still yields a better training results. In my opinion, doing consistent/regular long runs at 4:30-4.40 pace in cool weather is way much better than doing long runs at 5:00 pace in the heat.

Wondering what kind of times I would be seeing if I live/train in Oz? hahaha.

Alrighty, no time for daydreaming. Gotta suck it up! Marathon training starts next week !!!