What a week I had, another real confidence instilling week, there is no better way to say it but everything has just ‘clicked’.
On Saturday I ran the AV Ballarat 15km Road Race and came 8th in 47:20 averaging 3:09/km on a very windy day. Infact, I found myself in 3rd position and leading the chase pack with 2kms to go! Unchartered territory for me. This was my PB for 15kms bettering the time I ran in the same race where I came 4th in 2014 by 6 seconds. To better a race I fondly look back on and previously regarded as one of my best ever runs was just a wicked feeling! To know that 6 weeks after this race in 2014 I ran what still stands as my marathon PB of 2:24:18 at Melbourne Marathon, shows I am currently on the right track. Especially, given it was 6 days off a 69 minute half this time round.
In the race, Harry Summers and Collis Birmingham took off from the start. I was amongst the next pack of runners. I embedded myself in the middle of this pack for the most part trying to escape any headwind. Initially, the pack had about 15 runners and then it soon whittled down to 6 late in the piece. The race was full of erratic surges, with no one wanting to be stuck out front copping the full brunt of the wind. So, it was a case of holding on and having the confidence to follow each surge knowing that the pace would soon settle as of the sapping head wind.
From 12 to 13 kms I started pushing the pace with the tail wind, finding myself in the bronze position, I really was so happy at this stage still just to be featuring in the race. I was running with some class runners though and the surge did very little haha. With 2kms to go we rounded a corner around Lake Wendouree and the group surged into the driving headwind. Liam Adams (6 days after his 2:21 M7 marathon win, who was thresholding the run) eased past with good mate Brady Threlfal (so strong at the moment- managed to kick home the best of the rest, snagging bronze), Anthony Aloisio, Andre Waring and Andy Buchannan.
I had no change of pace (managing to sustain my 3:09/km average) into the headwind and finished last in the chase pack, 15 seconds adrift.
Yes, I expect to have a few down/tired weeks again in the remaining 6 weeks to go, as that is just the nature of marathon training. I continue to try and tick every box I possibly can to maximise recovery, healing and regeneration. My focus on where I really can ensure I get to Berlin fit and well is what I continue to do off the training track, as it is here that I have let myself down in the past. The following have become non-negotiables ; 8hrs sleep, good consistent nutrition at work , daily hydration (forcing myself to drink more), twice a week gym, once a week spa and pool walking, once a week massage. Writing this blog almost feels like it’s therapeutically reminding me to keep ticking these boxes off away from the training track.
I have a gradual 3 weeks taper planned for Berlin, as I personally respond well to a taper. So, that leaves us with just 3 weeks of hard marathon training to get through now, well, after this week.
Not only was this week a good week because ‘everything clicked’ but an avid Run Culture reader, namely; Dave Parker came up with a name for the ‘Saturday- Sunday double header’ workout I’ve done the last two weeks. From now on forward, if you ever hear or see ‘SSS’ on any marathoners calendar, they are simply doing a ‘Super Saturday- Sunday’. So here’s to the ‘Triple S’ or ‘Super Saturday- Sunday’ becoming as unanimous and ingrained in Australian marathon running culture as ‘mona’ fartlek or ‘deeks’ quarters etc.
The week just gone was largely a easy jogging week, with my standard runs at the usual times and days. I did this as I wanted to freshen up for the 15km hard hitout at Ballarat just 6 days after ‘Run Melbourne ½ marathon’ last Sunday.
Here is a quick summary of the easy runs I did the front end of this week :
Monday 72 min run for 14.7kms after work in the dark at 5:45pm at 4:55/km on dirt roads in around Mt Eliza Regional Park. It was too dark to do trails as I walked Remi after work. Just went back and forth along a mile stretch of road listening to the ‘Self mad man’ podcast. An easy run but felt surprisingly good given I ran Run Melboune the previous morning. Delayed Strength in the gym till Tuesday to allow 48 hours after the half for some good recovery before I stressed the pins again.
Tuesday included 60 minutes in Langwarren Flora and Fauna reserve for 12.4km at 4:51/km and then straight to the Towerhill Rd Core gym for a strength work out on the lighter side of what I have being doing. Appreciating I raced on Sunday. After work I rolled an easy 7kms around Patterson River at 5:07/km at 9:30pm.
Wednesday, the first of August! Was 103 minutes slowly ambling around Devil Bend Reservoir for 22.36kms at 4:37/km in the morning. This perhaps was my most tired run of the week, I attributed this to the gym work I did on Tuesday.
On Thursday I did an easy 35 min 7km jog in the morning at 5:11/km just locally from home at the Frankston Reservoir.
On Thursday afternoon I did my first session for the week. I did a ‘mona’ fartlek to re-equitant myself with some leg turnover/cadence and speed after a week of a lot of recovery running. The aim was nothing special but to alternate between a pace that felt like 15km pace for the efforts(to ready myself for Saturday’s hitout in Ballarat) and marathon pace for the floats.
For this run I parked at Coolstores and jogged the 5km rail trail with my flats in hand to Narambi Reserve. I went about the session, knowing it was a matter of just ticking the box kind of session and nothing super special. I totally surprised myself. It is certainly a favourable gravel loop on the GPS front being just 700ms, nonetheless I hit 6.3kms averaging 3:11/km for the Mona feeling very much with-in myself and in ‘4th gear’. I know only too well not to get to caught up in ‘times and workouts in training’ but this session (one I’ve likely done 1000+ times throughout my career) instilled huge confidence that I should be able to target a similar pace on Saturday. This was a PB for the Mona and dare I say it, it felt effortless. So, two PBs this week! Meaningless however if I’m not peaking come the 16th of next month.
I followed the session with the second gym session for the week.
Friday was a very slow pre race recovery run for 63minutes and 12.8 kms at 4:57/km around Langwarren Flora And Fauna reserve. I tried to really just listen to my body in this run and use it as a ‘shake out’.
Saturday morning was another 35 minute shakeout pre- race at 8:50 am for 7kms at 5:10/km along the Coolstores Rail trail.
Sunday was my planned overdistance run at Ferny creek. I rolled around solo, just me and my thoughts at 4:45/km for 3hrs covering 38kms over the rolling hills. This run was all about time on the legs and strengthening the legs for those last few kilometres of the marathon, it included 900ms of elevation gain. It also included a run up and down 2 mile hill at the 1hr 40 minute mark which I find is so useful in recreating that ‘banged’ up leg feeling you get in the marathon. I had fun and was still obviously on cloud 9 after the previous days result.
So, 155kms for the week, another bigger one for me. Just 21kms of that was harder running, so a lot of jogging. I had two gym sessions in there and a massage.
The only blight to my week that was, was receiving tan email from race organisors that I wasn’t fast enough to receive personal drinks on the course for Berlin. My plan over the next few weeks is to practice running with two light 150ml bottles in my hands and a couple of gels in my shorts to assimilate what I will do on race day. The best part is of this situation is there is no uncertainty out there, I know I will have my drinks on me, so I can’t miss them!
Alright all, that’s me done and dusted for another week! I hope you are all enjoying your running journey as much as I am enjoying mine!
Chat next week!
Lets all continue to…