“You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.” – Frank Shorter
I joke that my last marathon was the best 22 miles I’ve ever run. That last effort was almost three years ago in Sacramento at the California International Marathon (CIM). In the 23rd mile of that race I hit the wall pretty hard, but I did manage to drag my battered carcass to the finish line in a time of 2:58:51. A sufficient amount of time has passed since that debacle and I can’t quite recall the depth of misery I endured on that cold day in December.So….I’m going to take another crack at the CIM. A few of us from Calgary are going down so it should be fun.
I intend to use this blog to log and share my thoughts on training. I hope to post weekly going forward. For those who are interested, my training is inspired by Steve Magness using his book “Science of Running”. I say inspired because I give him credit for what I have learned but accept responsibility for any misinterpretations of his work. If racing is something you want to get good at then you need to read this book. I look for every opportunity to train smarter and I have learned alot from Magness.
My current marathon PB is 2:51:28 (Hamilton, 2011). I’m quite a bit faster now and my training goal is to prepare for a sub 2:45:00. We’ll see how it goes.
Week ending August 14
Monday was an easy 7k to shakeout Sunday’s long run.
Tuesday I did a 11k steady run. A steady run is 5-10% slower than marathon pace, which turned out to be about 4:20/km. Total distance was 15k.
Wednesday was 10k easy with some strides to finish. I’ve also learned from Magness that running slow reduces muscle tension, and running fast increases muscle tension. Of course it makes sense based on my past experience, but it’s nice to know that strides are a tool I can deliberately use to my advantage. You generally want high muscle tension (but not too high) going into a race or a hard workout.
Thursday at lunch I did 7k with 6×8 second hill sprints. The purpose of hill sprints is to recruit as much muscle fibre as possible, so that more muscle is available near the end of the race. Hill sprints are generally very safe to do because it’s quite a bit less stress on legs muscles, especially the hamstrings. It’s almost impossible to have bad form sprinting up hill, but distance runners tend to have horrific form for flat sprinting. In the evening I did 5k easy with Stephanie.
Friday was a day off.
Saturday was 10k easy with strides.
Sunday was a 26k very hilly long run, finishing with 7 x 45 second surges. The purpose of the surges are to prepare the body for more strenuous long run efforts that will involve a lot of marathon pace.
Total distance: 80km
Weight: 126 pounds, which is about 8 pounds above my target weight for December. I have a near insatiable sweet tooth, and cutting out the sweets is the hardest part of training for me.
Week ending August 21
Monday was a rest day.
Tuesday was 11k easy with the last 5 minutes pickup at marathon pace.
Wednesday was general speed training: 12×45 seconds (at around 3k to 1mile race pace), with 1 minute recovery. 12k total.
Thursday was 12k easy with strides.
Friday was a 20 minute tempo session in the neighbourhood of 10 mile to half marathon effort. This workout demonstrated there is a lot of work to do. Nevertheless,tempos are my favourite type of workout.
Saturday: easy run finishing with 8×8 seconds uphill sprinting.
On Sunday there was an epic run up at Lake O’Hara. Overall the distance was about 35k which was mostly running, but also a lot of hiking (especially the sharp ascent up Wiwaxy). But there were rest spots for enjoying the view and taking pictures. I rate this the most beautiful run in my life to date.
Total distance: 94km
Weight: 126 pounds
Week ending August 28
Monday was a rest day which was much needed due to the battering at Lake O’Hara.
Tuesday was 12k easy with some strides. I was definitely not recovered from the Lake O’Hara run.
Wednesday: Alternate pace workout of 6 x (400 meters at slightly faster than lactate threshold, 1200 meters steady). This was a fairly easy workout, and I absolutely love alternating pace runs. I will build on this style of run throughout training. They will get much longer and eventually dial in towards marathon pace.
Thursday. At lunch I did about 5km warmup and then did some running form and strength drills. In the evening I did an 11k run. Total 16km
Friday. At lunch I did a session of 8 x (400 meters fast, 200 meters easy). Good extension of my previous general speed workout. I also did 5km in the evening. 19km total for the day.
Saturday: Stephanie and I hiked at Galatea Lake, so no running today. Beautiful hike as you can see by the pictures.
On Sunday I did a 32k run with Steve and his dog, Rocky. I came in third place. I did this run in a fasted state: no breakfast, and no fuel during the run. Just water. I often run without breakfast if the pace is going to be easy, but 32k is testing the limits of my fasted endurance. At 30k my energy supply was exhausted and my legs turned to lead and my brain to mush. It was a hard struggle home the last 2k. Steve pumped me full of food allowing me to regain enough IQ points to drive home. Although bonking is extremely unpleasant it is a valuable because it teaches the body to burn more fuel from fat. So I’m told.
Total distance: 95km
Weight: 126 pounds.