The Breaking 2:24 Project- Entry 2
I hope all you guys had good running weeks and ticked some boxes?! It’s now a little under 15 weeks to Berlin marathon, today I’m going to detail how last week’s training went for me.
In my plan the next 5 weeks are about instilling good habits in regards to hydration, sleep and balanced eating.
Running wise, the main focuses are; to stay strong, work on my half marathon pace, stay consistent, not get injured nor get carried away.Week 1 Berlin prep Mileage: 145.7km, -2 by 40 min gym sessions. -40hrs of physio work. -10hrs of running; 50mins at mara pace, 24 mins at 10k pace.Overall, it was a good week running wise, I ticked off everything I had planned and felt better than I envisioned I would at this stage. I have managed to come off my post Canberra marathon recovery phase maintaining a great deal of fitness and feeling completely rejuvenated mentally and physically.
Oh and guess what, my Berlin race shoes arrived! I got a new pair of nike 4%ers! I have run so well since wearing these shoes whether it was placebo or they just agree with me, I’m not sure but I knew I needed a fresh pair for Berlin. My old ones have done 300kms plus and are starting to show their age. I plan to do Gold Coast half marathon and 3-4 other runs in these pre-race just to wear them in.
This week wasn’t anything special; I had an easy 70 minutes around Patterson River bike path Monday afternoon. I used this lovely run every Monday night for 18 straight Mondays before my Melbourne Marathon PB, it’s a relaxing flat, peaceful and quite easy run. I usually do 2 laps of the bridge to bridge 6 km gravel circuit and then 20minutes to finish along Wells Road. I listened to episode 7 of The Final Surge Podcast- Jason Fitzgerald of Strength Running, it was quite a fitting listen, for where Im at in my preparation. He spoke about just ‘ticking along’ being ‘consistent’ and ‘not over doing it’. If you haven’t listened to this, I’d recommend this podcast to any keen runner. As you will soon learn, I am now an avid podcast listener with a thirst for knowledge and will recommend many more in my weekly recaps, so stay tuned! This run was all about recovery as I had a 12km XC race two days before.
If I session on a Tuesday post race, I often do a ‘sub par’ Mona. More often than not I don’t session on Tuesday after a race but I had an easy week last week full of jogging. My legs can get very one dimensional if I jog too much. So I did the Mona for some leg turnover and a different stimulus more than anything on Tuesday. Mona is only 10 minutes of speed play. When running this session post race, I run this one completely to feel and enjoy it. I often feel better Thursday or Saturday if I’ve done this rather than just jogging all week. At the same time sometimes a race knocks you around so much that you should jog all week. I felt tired during the Mona but this was understandable, I didn’t push I ran accordingly.
Wednesday was 90 minutes along the dirt trails and clay roads of Devil bend, one of the Mornington Peninsula’s hidden running gems. As you can see in my weekly diary below, I felt ‘really fresh and strong!’ I felt like I’d got my legs back post race, my average pace showed this as I did an effortless 20kms in 90minutes at 4:28/k over hills and trails. I really enjoyed this run, such is the scenery and ambience I felt like I was out on an aqueduct trail; at Falls creek, Flagstaff or Boulder at times during this run. A Beautiful run, I could have kept running but I had to stop and get ready for work.
Thursday morning is always a tough one, up at 5pm to fit my run in before my morning physio shift. This is often a shuffle and very slow. Is it worth doing? Well I wouldn’t if I felt it was going to make me sick. Infact, it is the first run that I drop if I am tired or run down. Is running 5:20/km helping me run a sub 2:24 marathon? Well, given it is 5:45am, a 5:20/km effort is perhaps equivalent to a 5:00/km effort straight out of bed into the winter morning, in trackies and a hoody, looking like Rocky Balboa! (Best thing about these runs is I can wear what I want as no one else is up, I have worn some interesting get-ups over the years for this run). The focus of a double run should never be on pace, they are recovery/ regenerative runs that are all about ‘time on the pins’. Be it mental or physical conditioning I feel double runs help marathoners build strength, although not all marathoners do them. Their downfall; if you run them too hard or add them in too quickly; they cut your recovery time between runs in half, increasing your risk of an overuse injury.
As you can see below in my diary, I like to; ‘go easy’ on my ‘easy days’ and I’m not a huge stickler for pace. Quite a few runs this week were over 5minutes per kilometre and this is a regular occurrence in my training week. This wasn’t always the case. Infact, I feel I have got more confident to treat my easy days as such, since I’ve included some bigger marathon specific work into my training. These sessions make you run easy, as you are too tired to do otherwise! Additionally, they give you the confidence that you know where you are at so you don’t need to go chasing that confidence on your easy days.
For my easy recovery runs, I deliberately go on trails as they slow me down and you have to use a variety of muscles to dodge the roots and rocks. Running is a repetitive sport- a bit of variety is good for not just the legs but the headspace. On trails I often lose myself in thought, immersing myself in my dreams, solving life’s problems or simply learning new stuff from the latest podcast I’ve discovered. I put my most cushioned and supportive runner on (often Hoka Claytons with a 9mm heel raise) to rest my feet (namely my Achilles) from the pounding it/they had the day before. I listen to my tired body rather than ignore it. I run with recovery in mind, this certainly wasn’t always the case and like a lot of distance runners I have learnt the importance of this the hard way; be it injuries, sickness or under performing. I have run my best when I have taken my easy days easy because it has helped me avoid sickness or injury and made me consistent. You are also more likely to turn up to race day mentally full of energy as you haven’t wasted it on the trails
Thursday afternoon was with Papa on the bike pacing me through 8 by 1km reps off 1minute in my old Nike 4%ers on Sandy Aths track. I had one of those running days that you just dream about and felt effortless and for those that know me this isn’t something that I say lightly or often. I ran 3:05, 3:05, 3:03, 3:00, 2:58, 2:57, 2:57, 2:54. The idea behind this session was to run just a little faster than half marathon pace (3:10-3:14/K), so hit about 3:05ish per rep. As the session progressed sitting in behind Josh on the bike helped a lot and because the reps were short I naturally found myself running a bit faster. I suppose I surprised myself with where my fitness was at. Week by week I want to progress this session leading into Gold Coast Half. This session bodes well as I want to do 3-4 by 2k reps next week, 3-4 by 3km reps the week after and a 3,4,5km rep session the week after that. These sessions are aimed at getting comfortable and efficient at half marathon pace.
As you can see below I do two Gym sessions a week. My program consists of the following:
-Reformer core and postural shoulder work -Smiths machine heavy strength- double leg squats, single leg squats -Leg press heavy strength- single leg calf raises and quad work -Single leg bridges with medicine ball. -Single leg standing glut cable work
It is short and simple for a reason. I am already doing 140 odd kilometres a week and I don’t want to over do it and get too fatigued/injured.
Over the past 10 years lots of studies have investigated whether heavy resistance training improves endurance performance? The verdict is it may well improve performance by up to 4% particularly in non-trained runners. Anecdotally, I feel it has helped me in the past. If I don’t do a strength program in the build up to a marathon I seem to be more likely to get aches and pains from 30km onwards. I do this gym program twice a week, however it will ease back as marathon specific work builds up in the last 8-10 weeks. The gym will focus on posture, balance, core and gluteal activation from here on in rather than heavy strength, as otherwise I feel I will be running the risk of a muscle fatigue injury.
I didn’t have a massage this week but I will schedule one in for next Thursday. I usually get a massage 1-2 weekly, I often combine this and walking in the pool and some spa time at my local gym to keep my body from getting too stiff and tight.
Friday, was an easy hour recovery run. Saturday was two easy jogs as well, one bright and early before work again and then one after work. As a physio I work every third Saturday. I deliberately made these three runs super slow and easy as I knew Sunday was going to be a longer one.
The aim of Sunday was to touch some mara strength work. I certainly won’t be doing mara specific sessions like these weekly. I will focus more on these types of workouts in my last 10 weeks pre Berlin and often they are a fortnightly thing.
These sessions are certainly only for the experienced marathoner with a fair bit of running behind them. In my first 3 years of marathoning I didn’t do any of these sessions. They are sessions that you work up to as otherwise the risk of injury or fatigue is too big. Since adding them in I feel like they have ‘steeled’ me mentally and physically as a marathoner. I love the grind involved in these sessions and the satisfied/elated feeling you get when you finish them. These sessions have made me feel highly efficient at marathon pace as I’m running it for large periods with fatigue in my legs. They have also given me the confidence that I can be strong late in the marathon. Specificity is a key principle in training. I was very happy with how Sunday went. Papa was out on the bike with me again and I wore my Nike Vomero trainers. I came up with this particular long run workout several months ago. Rather than doing marathon effort just at the end like a lot of marathoners do, I want to start trying to intersperse it a little at the start and in the middle as well, to try and re-create the up and downs you experience in a race and forge an ability to change pace nonetheless. I also feel sometimes I’m not as fatigued as I’d like if I just amble for 2hrs before hitting a small dose of mara work.
The plan was to do 3 separate blocks of 10 minutes of marathon paced running throughout the 2hr 20minute long run. We ran the flat gravel bike path of Dandenong Creek Trail in icy 9 degrees Celsius. I did this session with the idea I will expand and work on it in the months to come.
As outlined in my diary below, we aced it and I felt incredibly comfortable and within myself. We covered 34k at 4:14/km average with the 10 minute efforts at 3:25/k, 3:21/k and 3:18/k. What gave me so much confidence was the fact that the third 10 minute interval was deep in the run from 2:10-2:20!
Recovering off these sessions is so very important- I normally give myself 3-5 recovery days after these ones. Like I said before they can’t be done every week. Some people fall in the trap of treating these as magical sessions, you can’t lose sight that they are just one little session of the overall training block, if you are utterly run down for 2 weeks then you have gone way too hard. They are meant to be a little uncomfortable late but something you can recover off.
Disappointingly, I only managed an average of 6.5hr per night of sleep this week; which is no where near the 8 hours I need to assist my adaptation and recovery to my training. My juggling act with work, life and fitting things in continues, I will just have to start making this a non-negotiable! Hydration wise I still need to improve and I am going to start packing a 2 litre water bottle each day to work to ensure I drink enough. Lunches I was slack on this week and consisted of far too many bakery visits! I am going to start having a daily multivitamin and a daily fruit smoothie, to ensure the nutrients keep coming in. What I did do well was continue to have some daily probiotics, a habit I have been in for the last year or two, I’m certain this has correlated with less sickness.
Alright guys! That’s me done for entry 2 and week 1 of my build to Berlin! Please let me know what you think and if there is anything you want me to cover or you think I should do to improve the value of this blog! Also, I ask you kindly to share; ‘The Breaking 2:24 Project’ blog to anyone you believe will find following my progress interesting and invaluable!
Weekly Diary for those interested:
Monday 28/5/’18 4:45pm
70 minutes 15.39km at 4:34/k along flat gravel bike path around Patterson River.
Then 45 minutes at the Frankston Core Gym
20:11 3.8k warm up at 5:18/k
Mona Fartlek with the brakes on; 20mins 5.7k at 3:32/km around 700m loop at Narambi Reserve Mornington. Race in legs still.
20:45 3.94k warm down at 5:16/k
35:08 7.32km at
4:48/k- felt better for the run this morning.
1:32:58 20.83k at 4:28/k along the dirt trails and clay roads of Devil bend, one of the Mornington Peninsula’s hidden running gems.
Felt really fresh and strong!
38:07 7k at 5:26/k; A tired morning shuffle pre work. Discovered a great new podcast call; ‘The Fizzle’. Regeneration run.
21:25 warm up 4k at 5:25/k
8 by 1k off 1 minute in 3:05, 3:05, 3:03, 3:00, 2:58, 2:57, 2:57, 2:54 at Sandringham Aths track with Papa pacing on the bike. Had one of those runs tonight where it all came effortlessly.
20:13 warm down 3.5k at 5:49/k
Friday 7:30 am
60 mins 12.2km at 4:57/km easy at Coolstores Mt Eliza dirt trail. Regeneration run.
Then 40 minutes at the Frankston Core Gym
36:32 7km at 5:13/km easy at Mordialloc gravel bike path.
Tired morning shuffle pre work again. Regeneration run.
60 mins 13km at 4:37/km easy at Coolstores Mt Eliza dirt trail. Felt fit and easy.
2hr and 20 minute long run 34km at 4:13/km along with Papa on the bike Dandenong Creek trail a flat gravel path on the Mornington Peninsula.
Ran in my current trainers-Nike Vomeros. Sun was out but it was a very cold 9 degrees Celsius. Papa was feeling it early! Gloves stayed on just about the whole run. Felt great. Focus on recovery now.
The break down of this run was as follows;
50 minutes easy at 4:39/k
– 10 minutes at 3:25/k
40 minutes easy at 4:30/k
– 10 minutes at 3:21/k
20 minutes easy at 4:17/k easy
– 10 minutes at 3:18/k
3:48 minutes easy at 4:28/k to the car as a warm down.