The Breaking 2:24 Project:
Here we are, back again with week 3 of my blog documenting my lead-up to the 2018 Berlin marathon and my quest to run a career best marathon and break 2 hours and 24 minutes. I hope you are all well and are enjoying pursuing your running and your goals as much as I am at the moment!? First off, I apologise for being slightly late with the release of this blog. I will continue to strive to release it each Tuesday from here forward.
This week was certainly an up and down week for me but that’s part and parcel of this running caper and a typical marathon build isn’t it? You’d like to think as you become a more seasoned runner you learn how to avoid certain training errors and ‘yes’ to a certain extent this is true. However, like most runner’s are prone to do, ‘I bit off more than I could chew’ this week! Why? Be it ‘passion’ blurring the lines of ‘logic’, me overestimating my recuperative powers or the fact that a PB at the gold coast half marathon is the bigger goal? Upon reflection it makes complete sense why I finished Saturday’s Bundoora 10km Victorian Open Cross Country champs feeling like most of my energy was left on the training track this week.
Before, I debrief about the week that was. I might also add; I liaised with my good mate and training partner; Matt Davy (winner of the 2017 Auckland Marathon and fellow 2:24 marathoner) today to put together the final touches to mapping out the general plan/structure for the final 11 weeks before Berlin. He made a few changes, it’s funny how it so much easier to construct someone else’s program than your own. Every change he made eliminated the risk of overreaching. Every change was just me getting emotionally invested in my goal and thinking; ‘more is better’, it was an enlightening process. The funny thing is, in the past we have played reverse roles, I have been the logical sounding board when he has been emotionally invested in constructing his program.
So, the week that was….
How good was it starting with the Queens birthday public holiday on Monday!? I managed to get two easy runs out on my local Frankston Reservoir 5km trail, which is only 3 mins jog from my front door in South Frankston. Much thanks has to go to local Mornington Peninsula Park ranger; Nick Jansen (a keen runner himself) for opening this reserve only several months ago to the public! I had a much appreciated sleep in and tentatively set foot in the frosty conditions in my warm/comfortable thermal, grey hoody and matching trackies. You will soon gather I don’t mind some cringeworthy running get-ups; if I’m warm or it makes me feel ‘fast’ then I’m wearing it. At 10:30 am I ticked off 14.5kms at 4:50/km for 70 minutes and then at 5pm I meandered around for 7kms at 5:02/km in 35minutes.
Tuesday, I just did the one run as I did my double yesterday (another positive from the holiday; firstly; a sleep in and then also saving me from doing my 9pm Tuesday double after work). I got out for another leisurely run in my grey ‘Rocky Balboa’ hoody and trackies along the now muddy and puddle ridden rail trail from Mt. Eliza Regional Park. I covered 12kms in just over an 1hr at 5:08/km. Then it was off to the local Tower Hill rd Core gym, which is conveniently just 2 minutes from home. I knocked out my 45 minute leg, arm and core strength session (Video of Papa and Diesel’s gym workout is still in production).
Wednesday was my half marathon focused workout of the week; 3 by 3km at Seaford wetlands. This was my progression of the (8 by 1k reps) from week one and (4 by 2k reps) from week two. It was perhaps the highlight of the week as I felt so good doing it and I really surprised myself! Infact, post session, Papa and I were sitting at Chelseas’s ‘Two feet first’ café (If you haven’t been there give it a try, it’s a good feed) pinging from post session endorphins, demolishing 2 breaky burgers, devouring lattes and talking smack when Papa’s strava upload of the session got instant praise from my good Newcastle mate; Ben Toomey. I consider Ben one of those guys that if you can get a compliment from you are doing alright. He is one of the biggest scholars of the sport in Australia, no joke, a wealth/ cesspool of running knowledge and expertise. He doesn’t hand out praise lightly. Post session I already knew I was going along nicely, I’d never run like this ever before. So to get praise from Toomey was further affirmation. I’ll throw you over to my training partner with ‘wheels’ for a debrief of our Wednesday, about time all the readers got to know one of the other characters in ‘The breaking 2:24 Project’.
Introducing Joshua Papanikoloa (aka Papa);
..” It’s getting pretty cold on the bike at the moment, but I’m still having fun towing Dane around for his big workouts of the week. People who know ‘Diesel’ will be astounded that he arrived before me last Wednesday for a hefty 3x3km session along the river.
He brings fiancé Jess’ bike for me, hauls it out of the boot and throws on the front wheel with a beaming smile – he’s typically excited to test himself, he doesn’t care that it’s cold… I do.
The warm-up is standard, out along a trail and back – I usually jog with him for this but got on the bike following a ‘legs day’ at the gym – yes I’m currently unemployed so it’s gym, applications and helping train Dane at the moment.
Our routine has stayed the same; slow easy warm up, change the shoes, bit of a chat about the session then into a few strides and stretches. I think having anyone around pre session to discuss the workout you’re about to do, properly taking into account how you’re feeling that day, is important.
I’ve become quite good at pacing on the bike (yep, I rate myself), which is obviously good for Dane as he can just sit in behind and get into a good rhythm early on. For this session we were right on pace within a few hundred metres, and he did the first 3km rep in 9:26 about 20 seconds quicker than we’d planned, but well within his range.
The second rep was tougher into the wind, 9:22, a strong effort and he was working a bit harder the last few minutes. It’s funny on the bike without even seeing him actually running I can tell how the session is going to go after a minute or two; the loudness of his breathing and how hard his feet hit the ground… We’ve become quite good at easing off the gas at times to make sure the session is done right – often that requires some choice words from me as Diesel is more than prone to getting carried away.
So the second rep was tough but we both knew he would handle a third 3km at the same pace, and we were right. The last minute or so was testing, ‘how far?’ came out a few times, but that was why he did that session, to put some work in and make half marathon pace feel easier in a few weeks. He clocked 9:15 for the last rep.
It was a good session that will give him confidence. Racing a handful of days later at Bundoora was probably not needed, but sometimes it’s okay to get a kick in the bum and force you to back right off with still two weeks before Gold Coast half marathon.
Dane has got 400s this coming Thursday… I might leave the bike in the car for that one.”…
Thanks Papa! I might just add, as this is the perfect Segway for it, how valuable are training partners! Running becomes more than just running when you have a ripper group. It’s a reason to catch up, chew the fat, dream, work together on something, inspire, take advice, give advice, debrief, have deep an meaningfuls/ meaninglessness’s or just have cheap digs at each other. So a shout out to all the running partners out there, keep providing for each other!
Below are a few snaps of ‘workout Wednesday’!
Thursday included two easy jogs; a tired 5:48 am 7km shuffle at 5:32/km along the Aspendale Gardens bike trail and 62 minutes after work for 12.5k at 4:58/k along the lovely Kannanook creek trail. Just a heads up, if anyone needs a running guide or some tips on where the best trails are to run on the Mornington Peninsula, I’ve learnt a few over the past 20 years. From here I went to Core gym and got my second strength session done for the week- bringing me up to 4 consecutive weeks of 2 gym sessions.
Friday morning at 9:20 am was another hour easy jog at Devil Bend. As I said last week, I love the trails in this place and it is currently my favourite place to run. I can just turn off and let my mind wonder when I’m running amongst the trees of Devil Bend. This is another place that I owe a lot of thanks to local park ranger; Nick Jansen, for fixing up. I just cruised for 65 minutes at 4:58/k covering 13.2kms, mindful that I had a race the next day.
Saturday morning included a trip to Sunshine to check out an vintage furniture hiring company for Jess and my wedding in December, it was good fun! Then it was off to Bundoora for the State Cross Country Champs at 230pm. Fortunately the rain held out and the course wasn’t muddy at all. My achilles breathed a sigh of bated relief, no spikes required (I haven’t worn spikes for going on 2 years).
It’s funny how nervous you get pre-Bundoora; perhaps its by association, as over the 20 years I have been involved in the sport it has always been referred to as ‘D-Day’ or the ‘State selection trials’. Or maybe it’s Bundoora’s revered rolling hills? I warmed up and felt tired but I just thought this was nerves or the like, I have had some of my best races and felt the same way. Unfortunately, after a deliberately conservative start over the first 2km where I was in 80th, this fatigued state stayed with me. I pushed the middle lap of the race and was happy with where I got myself by 6kms but I just never really felt like I was in the race. The last 4kms where really just about fighting to the end, where I came 55th in 33:10 averaging 3:24/k. I was disappointed as I thought I was in better shape than last year where I came 22nd. Nonetheless, I don’t normally choose to do a 3km’er session the Wednesday before the race. I suppose it shows where my confidence in my shape is at the moment, the fact that I thought I could still run well at such a big race without a taper. I certainly was wrong! Although, it was another good strength run for my half marathon prep.
Sunday was a very slow 2:20 long run out along the ever beautiful Devil bend trails covering 30.5kms . I decided against Ferny Creek or Cape Schank because of how flat I was yesterday, I decided to avoid completely ‘gassing’ myself further on some big hills. Other, good fallouts from my tired run at Bundoora was the decision to scrap my Wednesday workout next week and really focus on sharpening up for this Gold Coast half marathon.
So that was the week that was; 130kms, 7.5 hour sleep average, 1.5 litres of water a day, a prepared lunch each day, 2 strength gym sessions, 9 runs in total, 2 double runs, 1 long run, 1 race and a half marathon specific workout!
What’s in store? This week will be a lot lighter than initially planned. It’s important to know when to change the program and now’s the point as it’s not as though I’m chasing fitness, infact I don’t think I’ve been fitter, I just need to give myself the best chance to sharpen up! So a lighter week is on the menu; with quaters and a mona fartlek. Then it will be a taper week and the Gold Coast Half Marathon where I’m hoping for a pb (68:10)!