Breaking 2:24 Project
Hi all, I’m just going to make this entry a quick one as I have spent all day packing as I am getting ready to jump on the plane to Berlin, in just 2 days time! I also need to pump this out so I can do my last workout this afternoon before the marathon, a 3km timetrial/hitout with my good mate mattress on the bike.
Suffice to say today has been full of last minute things. First, it was off to Frankston Library to print off the trip itinery as our printer is out of gas. Then, on to Officeworks to get a nice folder for the itinery (how’s this for organisation). Next, off to Chemist Warehouse to stock up on supplies such as; Vital Greens, Hydrolyte sports, Caruso’s sleep more (for the flight), Vaseline, bandaids etc…Then wash load after wash load to ensure I pack all my favourite running gear and casuals.
I’ve still a bit to go but I’ve got a couple of days to ensure I haven’t forgotten anything. And, for those wondering, no I haven’t packed the infamous yoghurt maker I packed for the Lake Biwa marathon, that not only didn’t work and took up stacks of luggage space but was an utter oversight as Japan loves yoghurt just as much as me!
Anyway, I thought I better attend to this blog and update everyone with how my past week has gone!
The Sunday prior to this week I had just completed a 42km day; 24k easy into 15km at 3:16/km along Yarra Boulevard followed by a 3km warm down. This session marked 21 days to race day and was scheduled as my last real marathon specific workout.
So, the front half of this week was ensuring I recovered from this workout and was littered with easy jogging. This week was also the start of my three week taper. Essentially, what that means is I still run just as frequently but the sessions are either shorter or not as intense or taxing.
I feel it’s important to run the same amount in your taper, as for the past 13 weeks my body has had a strict non-negotiable diet of frequent running, it’s what it knows, it has adapted to this diet it is used to it, it’s it’s norm. If you veer too far from your routine you risk feeling sluggish/stale/bloated/heavy/slow/tired.
Was just my usual 70 minutes easy after work. I did it along Patterson River and cruised along at 4:36/km for 15.2kms. I felt good given I ran a marathon worth of running the day before. What I really did notice on this run was how easy the pace came. I ensured I relaxed and just enjoyed the run!
I have been re-listening to the TMYT’s ‘Road to Berlin’ podcast in bulk this week. It is quite fascinating listening to a marathon prep week by week and knowing how that athlete went. If you haven’t already, get on to it. If you are enjoying following my blog, then you are guaranteed to love it. I have particularly enjoyed listening to Julian’s/Moose’s preparation from last year; a calf strain and a cold in the last month pre race but he held his calm and ran 2:18! A 6 minute PR! There are ups and downs in even the best marathon results!
On Tuesday I ran twice, jogging 12.5kms before work at 4:57/km along the Mt. Eliza regional Park rail trail. Once again, I cruised and enjoyed it! Since dropping down to 4 days a week at work at SSPC 4 weeks ago, I have been booked out every day, I am rapt with this result, I’m earning as much as I was working 5 days a week. To cope with these busier days, I consciously use running meditatively to switch off and have some ‘me time’. I always feel that much better after a run!
After this run I quickly did a 40 minute maintenance gym strength session. Over the past couple of weeks I have backed off trying to progress my strength and are merely doing this session at appropriate times in the week to maintain good leg strength and activation in my weak areas that I under utilise in running. It is a lighter version of the program that I have been doing for the past 3 months. My body is used to it, now is not the time to ‘push’ strength but to ‘maintain’ it.
After work, I did my usual 35mins at 9pm along Patterson River at 4:55/km for 7.1kms. I love this run, it is always still, quiet and eerie but ‘owe so peaceful’. I also always feel super fit after this amble. Be it the fact that near on no one else is stupid enough to be running at this hour, that you run along scared shitless at times, or because all is a fast blurr as you run blindly along the riverbank if it weren’t for the guiding moonlight.
At 8:50am I headed off to Devil Bend again and cruised along comfortably at 4:21/km for 95 minutes to tick off 21.8kms. I practiced consuming a couple more cola power bar hydrogels again on this run to familiarise my gut with my gel of choice for Berlin. I felt strong during this run.
I’ve had this session planned for a while, when I saw it 10 weeks ago in a great book called; ‘Running Tough-75 Challenging Training Runs’ by Michael Sandrock for some reason or the other I thought it looked like a nice session to do 3 weeks out. I think because it was shorter, was largely at marathon pace but had some speed play in it to both zap the legs (like a drinks station, a fall, tumble or a u-turn does) and work on leg turn over. I feel it is a good sharpener and a very taper worthy session given the meaty workouts I have completed in this prep.
I travelled 25 minutes to the Casey cycling criterium loop Thursday morning at 9am. For some reason or another, I felt great out of the car and hit 4:20/km average for my warm up. As a result I was very confident going into the workout. The workout I did, was; ‘The Oregon sustained run’; 1k (3:05-3:10)/5k(3:23s)/ 1k (3:05-3:10)/5k(3:23s)/ 1k (3:05-3:10).
Damian Koch explains the workout; ‘You get a little in debt at the start, then get rid of the debt while having to continue to run. It helps you get used to the psychological feeling of being uncomfortable but still being able to run without collapsing. Then you kick ass at the end. You are always recovering under stress. When you get into a race, you say; ‘Hey, I’ve been here before.’
I really enjoyed the workout and ticked it off feeling very strong. In saying all this I feel the 2km circuit I ran on was fast, so it was a pretty favourable course, I mean it was built for cycling crits!
I ran; 13kms in 42:49 at 3:18/km in total solo. I hit 1k (3:08)/5k(16:55 @ 3:23/km)/ 1k (3:05)/5k(16:36 @ 3:19/km)/ 1k (3:00).
In the afternoon I rolled around the local Frankston reserve for 35 mins for 7.7km at 4:34/km. What I have noticed the past week as it rolled on, my easy jogging pace has sped up a little. I haven’t consciously done this at all. For anyone who has followed the blog you will have noticed I don’t mind an easy jog over 5min/km, I always go by feel on my easy days(well, I have learnt to do this). I can only count this as a real positive that the taper is working and the body is appreciating a week with no mammoth sessions. The body is freshening up!
Was my usual recovery run, I just ran an easy hour in Langwarrin Flora and Fauna reserve at 4:58/km for 12.5kms after a quick 40 minute gym session in the morning. I didn’t feel too good on this run, my asthma has been up and down since my sinus infection last week. Although the sinus’ were coming good I was really tight in my lungs on this run and a bit wheezy.
After working the past several Saturdays, it was great to have a little sleep in. I woke up tight in the chest again, so I canned my planned 10km fartlek session of (1min at 3:15/km) and (1 min at 3:25/km) on the hilly dirt roads of Devil Bend. I just didn’t feel up to it and I didn’t want to get worse.
I’ve suffered asthma since I was a kid, thought to be a result of being born slightly pre-mature. Asthma is a condition where your airways get inflamed and also constrict. Asthma sufferers have different triggers, for me it seems to be set off by dust, pollution, smoke or as in this case, a sinus infection. I have got better and better at managing my asthma as I have got older, be it an experience thing or a stronger constitution, I am unsure. When I went through school the common 1 week cold would extend into asthma, a chest infection and a 4 week ensuing battle back to full health. This would frustrate me as it would often happen several times a year.
Fortunately, I have learnt how to tackle asthma symptoms early and quash it before it develops. It often means, taking my reliever and preventor puffers regularly, sleeping lots, taking the intensity out of my running and eating healthily.
So, I took my two puffers, put two long sleeves and a beanie on and proceeded on to my beloved Devil bend. I set out to just run 10kms at a constant marathon pace, knowing with 15 days till race day, I just needed to turn the legs over. I ran 34:22 at 3:26/km as comfortably as I could. Although, I was a little wheezy throughout, energy wise, I felt well with in myself. After a warm down I then got out of the rain as quickly as I could and into a super warm shower at home and into recovery mode for the rest of the day!
By the afternoon I was feeling a lot looser, as is generally the case. I rolled around gently for my Saturday 35 minute double at 4:33/km for 7.7kms at my local stomping ground the Frankston reserve.
For dinner it was off to the folks house, for an early fathers day celebration with dad. It was a great night, mum made a delicious lasagne and lumberjack cake and the whole family played the card game; 500 (I’d never played before but it was quite fun despite being blatantly the weakest link!)
At 830 I teed up a long run with my good mate Matt Davy at Devil Bend Reservoir again. His running is definitely on the up again after some health and hammy trouble. Matt just had 80 minutes but it was great catching up and we certainly covered some ground on the conversation front!
Initially, in my plan I had 2:20 at Ferny Creek over the hills. However, given I was experiencing a little bit of asthma still, I chose to do it at Devil Bend so I didn’t raise my heart rate too high, as I would on the big climbs in the Dandenongs. Devil bend has far more gradual and accommodating hills that you can run at a constant cruisey pace.
I averaged 4:25/km with Matt for the first half of the run and then did the last half at low 4min/km to average 4:12/km for the whole run covering 33kms in the 2hrs 20mins. I felt very strong and cruisey. I practiced consuming 4 power bar hydrogels as I plan to do on race day in this run and had no GI issues. I actually passed mum running the other way on her Sunday long run late in the piece, we gave each other a couple of ‘hi fives’ which was fun, otherwise it is always pretty quite on a Sunday morning at Devil Bend Resevoir.
It was then off to Lino, Jess’ dad’s place in the city for fathers day. It was a nice and relaxed Sunday arvo to round out the week!
So, that was the week 14! 156.5kms for the week. As funny as it sounds, I feel a lot fresher this week as despite covering a bit of ground the sessions weren’t as taxing. As I sit here, I am just 9 days from race day! When I put out the next blog it will astonishingly be from Berlin, just 3 days before the race!
Bring it on, I can’t wait!
Keep enjoying the process everyone!
And as always continue to …
ps. Couldn’t pass, not throwing this in. One of Elluid Kipchoge’s sessions from this week! Will we see the fastest marathon in history in 9 days time?