Hi all, back again to report on another week! 31 days to go! To think is was 117 days to go when I did my first journal entry for breaking 2:24. Reporting back to you guys on the progress of my training has become just one of my many weekly non-negotiables. I really have enjoyed it so far, it has kept me honest and on task in many facets of my life and has forced my to really reflect on the essence of marathon training. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Thanks for joining me as I share my thoughts, adventures, training, ups and downs during this 16 week lead up to the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
This week I covered a lot of territory and it was the biggest mileage week of my build up so far; I covered 159kms.
My weekly mileage so far, looks like this;
90 (Gold Coast Half marathon)
Wen you see these figures it is perhaps also important to know that I have consistently hit this mileage every week for the past 2.5 years.
The next two weeks will hopefully be in the 150 bracket too and then I will begin my gradual 3 week taper. I think the only way for me to cover more territory would be to add 10 minutes to a few of my runs here and there, as with work and life I feel like I’ll be compromising recovery and balance by adding any more than 3 doubles in there. Nonetheless, this thought can be deliberated for a future marathon as I wont be going above 150ks per week in this prep. The risk outweighs the benefit and there just is no need, I have got in great shape off this workload.
Monday was an easy day after covering 38kms up at ferny the day before and my big Ballarat 15km hitout on Saturday. I cruised 70 minutes in the afternoon at 4:48/km for 14.5kms on the dirt rail trails out at Coolstores near Mt. Eliza Regional Park.
Included another two easy runs and a very light gym session. I planned not to session until Thursday this week to give the body 3 full ‘absorption’ run days. I parked at Core gym in Frankston and then rolled 60 minutes easy at 4:40/km for 13kms along the lovely Seaford Foreshore trail in the morning and then did some pilates, ambled around in the pool for a bit and then chilled in the spa.
After work, I did my usual easy 7 kms at 5:08/km pace along Patterson River at 9pm after work. It was so cold and windy on this run, so I was glad to get home to the heater and Jess, I mean Jess and the heater J I was also pretty darn appreciative of the warm yellow curry she had whipped up!
I rolled around the rugged terrain of Langy Flora and Fauna reserve for 1hr and 50 minutes for 23kms at 4:44/km the next day practicing drinks and enjoying letting my mind wander. I ran half of this run with spotify’s acoustic chill playlist coursing through my ears, such a great find if you haven’t come across it! Unfortunately or fortunately I could phrase it either way, my PBLT headphone’s battery ran out of gas halfway so I enjoyed the natural meditative vibrations of nature itself for the backhalf.
On the topic of in race nutrition, during the week I got a few concerned messages about how I was feeling about not qualifying for personal drinks for Berlin.
I am not super stressed about not getting personal drinks on the course. In fact I like the path it has meant I have had to take to ensure I still get some on course nutrition. It means, I will have all my nutrition with me so I don’t have to stress about missing my drinks during the race; which can create a lot of negative energy out there.
I can feel a tangent brewing here….
At the same time, just how essential is in race nutrition? Yes, I have been a lab rat on a treadmill with a dietitian that has suggested I should consume 90 grams of carbs per hour to help offset/delay ‘hitting the wall’. However, can we really ignore the many amazing marathons that were run in the ‘70/80s off water or nothing.
Does in-race carb/fluid intake assist performance? Yes, I do feel it helps but it is just a 1%’er and I feel a lot of runners place far too much emphasis on this aspect compared to other more cardinal aspects that determine performance; like just getting ‘the darn hard training done’ in the lead up. How does it help? Well, as is the case with many things in science no one really knows.
The fact that the ingested carbs during the race is well inferior to the rate at which we burn through carbs, I feel it acts more via the brain. In fact there is a good study by Chamber et al 2009 that suggests this. Our tastebuds act like receptors they are activated when we put the carbohydrate rich gel on our tongue. Immediately the pleasure/reward centres in our brain are activated and opiod neurotransmitters are released; we recognise this nice sugary taste of the gel and we feel less pain with running.
By ingesting high glycaemic index carbohydrates we also increasing our blood sugar levels 10 or so minutes later. This change in blood sugar levels will be sensed by the brain and the rapid loss of the body’s glycogen stores will suddenly be less threatening, reducing perceived pain.
To add to this, who can ignore the likely placebo effect an ergogenic aid like a gel has. If we believe it is going to help give us a boost, how good is it to have these positive affirmations/thoughts during the tough part of a marathon. Gels block out the negative thoughts and keep your mind happy and on task.
Here are the small 150 ml bottles that I will most likely be running with for the first hour in the Berlin marathon. I am planning to just take two and having one in each hand, a similar strategy to what my good mate ‘Mattress’ Matt Davy used to win Auckland marathon last year in 2:24, when he didn’t get personal drinks either.
This week I looked into what sports drink will be out on the course and it is ultraSPORTS Beetster, something I’d never heard about. It will be available at; 9 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 36k/ 40k points.
I looked in to it; Beetster is a carbohydrate performance drink based on concentrated plant power from beetroot, ginger, lemon balm, grape peel and various other extracts. Taurine and the natural caffeine from green tea give you an extra kick. It is vegan friendly as I’m sure my good friend Andy Allison will be happy to hear!
I will likely order some of these over the next week to try, so I have the option to grab it on the day. I’m not sure if it will be available in cups or bottles, so I might message the race organisors about that this week too. Cups are impossible to drink well from at pace.
I will also order some powerbar hydro gels cola flavour as these are going to be the gels I go with for the later part of the race. I Have found in the past from 30kms onwards sipping small amounts of cola has helped keep me on track.
Ok, that’s more than enough about gels! Lets get onto the rest of the week that was, week 11 of my 16 week Berlin marathon build!
On Thursday, I jogged an easy 7.26kms in the morning at 5:05/km straight out of bed and on the lovely 5km Frankston Resevoir trail loop that is at the foot of my doorstep.
Then it was into the city to use my Nike staff voucher that a generous patient of mine gave me. Here, I stocked up on some Nike Vomeros, a shoe that I am loving at the moment. The fresh foam in the forefoot of the new shoes have already settled a slight case of metatarsagia I often get from time to time.
Then it was onto the lovely gravel paths of the Yarra Flat trails in Heidelberg and a planned meet up with Melvin Wong, who was over here on holiday with his family from Singapore. We have been in touch here and there since meeting each other in 2015 at the Incheon International half marathon in Korea. He is a top distance runner in Singapore and an avid reader of my blog. He is also considering moving up in distance to the marathon, which is exciting!
We did a short warm up and then it was into the session I had planned. The session for me was; 30 minutes at 3:30’ish pace into 30 minutes of 1 minute at half marathon pace and 2 minutes at marathon pace. It was another strength workout after the 30kms I’d covered in the previous 24 hours.
As Melvin was fresh off the plane we decided that he just do 2 by 10 minute efforts with me on an out and back course at 3:30/km during my first 30 minutes of steady state running.
We aced it! I finished the session full of running and was really happy with how I felt given how cold and windy it was. I hit 17.5 kms for the hour at an average of 3:26/km and really enjoyed changing to half marathon pace rather than finding it a struggle! I found this quite odd but I was more than happy to feel this way.
On this, I do expect some ups and down still over the next two weeks as that’s marathon training but to still be feeling so strong despite the mammoth amount of work I’m putting in, is just so confidence building!
I caught up with Melvin again Friday morning and did a very slow recovery jog with the Kangaroos and rolling hills of Lysterfield park. We covered 14.2kms in 70 minutes at 5:01/km. Melvin, told me about the unrelenting heat/humidity and lack of hills in Singapore. Our cold windy run on the rugged terrain of Lysterfield really magnified how good we have it here for marathon training from an environmental side. It’s easier to recover and run harder in Melbourne’s cooler climate and it’s easier to toughen the mind and legs with so many hills at our disposal! Melvin is just yet another example of the many great people and friends I have met in this running game. Thanks for the great run mate! There is perhaps no better way to catch up chew the fat with someone, than doing it on the move, it just seems to create interesting convos, I’m sure a few of you are nodding your head to thisJ
For the weekend I had another SSS (Super-Saturday Sunday) planned, my last of the prep.
Saturday this week was long run day! I woke up early, prepared my drinks and got going at 7:30 am around a 10km dirt road circuit at my favourite Devil Bend Reservoir.
I did 3 laps solo with no music or podcasts; I just enjoyed the solitude of the run. I covered 32kms in 4:22/km in miserable weather, donnig a rain jacket for the entirety of the journey.
Jess was off to the snow with her sisters and brother so I went straight from my Saturday long run, had a quick shower and then it was off with Remi to puppy school. All I can say is thank god for the ‘pigs ears’ Jess left me, it’s the only thing that he’d concentrate onJ From here it was back home where I left a tired Remi with a Kong filled with peanut butter, as I quickly went to the gym and got a massage from the local myo.
Saturday night was pizza in Collingwood celebrating Caden Shield’s 30th birthday and farewell dinner as he heads back to New Zealand. It’s been a pleasure getting to work and know this fella other the last 6 months. I didn’t stay too long, as I needed to get a good sleep for Sunday morning the second part of the SSS!
I got to the Devil Bend fun run early (7:30 for a 9am start) as I had read that over the last two years the event had sold out. As I got there so early, I scored a neat park right out the front of the reservoir. Not realising how small a fun run it was, I had hoped to pay for my registration with eftpos only to realise it was cash only. A quick 20 minute detour back to the Moorooduc highway and an ATM at a shell servo later and I was set and registered to run. The errand was perhaps a blessing as it was utterly freezing outside but utterly comfortable in my barina with the heater blasting on level two; on my face and feet.
After a quick 10 minute warm up, I was off and racing in the Devil Bend half marathon. My initial plan was to run 3 by 5km and a 3km at a touch quicker than marathon pace with a 1km float but given how cold I was, the tough course and my slow’ish start I decided early on to just hit a steady state effort the whole way. The aim was to run marathon pace for the run.
I felt great and in retrospect had forgotten I’d run 32kms the day before. I ended up hitting 71:58 for the half at 3:24s feeling awesome!! Given it was a slow’ish course- windy, cold, dirt gravel roads with 3kms of muddy trails that you could only muster 3:30-4min/km at best, it just fills me with so much confidence that I hit my ‘Breaking 2:24’ goal marathon pace. Not to mention I did it all solo, with fellow Frankston team mate Nick Jansen coming in second 10 minutes behind. Infact, perhaps the fact the Papa (soon to be MC at my wedding and my good mate who often helps me on the bike with some key workouts) got a job and hasn’t been able to help pace me has been a blessing, I feel it is steeling me for any solo patches I could potentially have at Berlin. It is also really honing my inner pace judgement. Below is a photo of the presentation.
On an additional note, I have made another order for apparel just this week as I am out of stock due to both popular demand (and under ordering haha). Have come up with a new trucker hat design too, which I’m pretty rapt about! Let me know if you’re interested in getting one by shooting me a message at; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alright all, that’s me, for another week! I hope you are all enjoying your running endeavours/journey and its constant ups and downs.
Chat next week!
Lets all continue to…