Sunday, November 29, 2009

Preparing to succeed

"If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail". So says the famous proverb and as usual a metaphor that can equally be applied to running as to life itself. One of the many reasons I love this sport as much as I do is that it takes no prisoners. What you put in you get out, if you don't put it in you get nothing out, there's no bluff involved.

And so here I am 2 weeks out from Thunder Road and I think I'm as prepared as I could be considering all the crap I've gone through this year. Injury after injury made the end of 2009 and the first three quarters of 2010 a stop/start affair but since my broken foot healed I seem to have caught a break and put some solid weeks in. As a result, a season that looked to be destined for the trash can may unexpectedly end up with at least some salvation in the form of a marathon pr.

since my latest comeback mileage has been 11,22,36,44,51,56,58,69,72,59,76,76,75,60.

It was after the 69 mile week that I started to sniff Thunder Road calling, so it was straight on the line to coach Budic to draw me up a program to give me a shot at a PR come December. Six weeks later and I think I've got a shot. over that time I've been able to follow Tim's plan to a T. I screwed up one workout but other than that as usual Tim has had the uncanny knack of sensing what type of workout I need to get me fit and the paces I need to run the workout at to get the best out of it for me. No shortcuts, just hard, realistic work.

The first week of my 'taper' went well, with a good showing at the Turkey Trot on Thursday and a confidence boosting last long run today.

Workout 1- Turkey Trot 8k race (6th in 26:48, 1st in 35-39 age group



Goal was to try and hold around 5:20 pace and go sub 27, feel pretty strong and be competitive. All boxes checked. Held back a little on the first mile as I knew everyone else would go off faster than the pace I was targetting. Second mile was downhill and I picked off a couple of guys. The rest of the race I was on my own unable to get anywhere close to the group in front of me but conscious of Aaron gunning for me from behind. Miles 3 and 4 just tried to hold it together and was pleased to finish the last mile in 5:13. This was good training stimulus for the marathon too so all in all a good day.

Long run (18.8 miles with last 8 at MP)

Last big workout before T Road. Met up with Billy at the Y. we ran 5 miles of the course route before heading back to the Y to change into flats and suck down a gu. Rejoined the course to run the back half. After 5 more miles we launched straight into the last 8 of the course.

At that point we had covered 10 miles at 6:40 pace so we weren't hanging around as it was. The last 8 were meant to be at marathon pace but the first mile was downhill and I got a bit excited and ran 5:52. So now the tone was set for the rest of the run. Hit miles 2 to 8 in


Total for the 8 miles was 46:33 (5:49 average).

Am pumped right now. This was comfortably hard, I'm just hoping I didn't take it over the edge. I ran more miles than scheduled this week so next week I need to make sure I stick to the plan. No run tomorrow, easy 'group runs' planned Tuesday and Wednesday, only workout of the week on Thursday and 14 on Saturday

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Taper time

Phew! Another 75 mile week and the taper is upon us. Seems a bit strange talking about a taper when my training has been so truncated but I know that cramming in one more intensive week would just leave me with not enough time to get rested up for marathon day and I still need to follow the tried and trusted three week route.

Had another good week though and am looking forward to cutting back the mileage and hitting my workouts hard. Next week I'm cutting down to 55 miles with one workout (Turkey Trot 8k race) and an 18 mile long run with the last 8 at marathon pace.

Marathon pace? Good question! I have some ideas but am meeting up with 'Coach' Tim tomorrow night and that will be one of our main discussion points!!

Anyway, this is how the week panned out-

Workout 1 (goal 3k in 10:20, 400 jog, 8*400 in 75-78 with 1:00 rest, 400m jog, 2k in 6:40)

Hit up CC track very early in the morning to bank another workout. Had some company in the form of Pete who was doing his Yasso 800s.

I had to run harder than I would have liked for the first 3k. the goal was 10:20 and I was playing catch up straightaway as my first quarter was 90 seconds! Still asleep clearly! Pretty much got it back on track to hit 10:23 by the end. Jogged 400m and then launched into 8 400s with a minute recovery. The goal for these was 75-78 seconds and this part of the workout went well as I hit 75,75,74,75,74,74,74,75 without ever really straining, just trying to keep it as smooth as possible. After another 400m jog it was time for the final 2k. Goal was 6:40 and I did 5 solid quarters around the 80 second mark to hit 6:41.

All in all a pretty decent effort. Legs felt good and I didn't need to go to the well like I did during Saturday's workout!

Included 4*100m strides during the warm up and down

Workout 2 (goal 10 mile 'staggered tempo' with 4 miles in 6:00, 2 in 5:45, 2 in 6:00 and 2 in 5:30)

Did this whole run in the fasttwitch 3, they will definitely be my marathon shoe! 4 mile warm up and then 10 mile 'staggered tempo'. Goal was to hit the first 4@6 minute pace, then 2@5:45, 2@6:00 and finish with 2@5:30. Although the quads felt pretty heavy from the last few days' miles, I was able to get this done and then some without ever really crossing that red line.

Hit 6;01,5:53,5:56,5:57

Long run (18 miles in 2:03:03 (6:50 pace))

Hit the roads at 5 to get my long run in early this week. Ran to work taking in the Turkey Trot course en route to check that out again before next week's race. Felt decent throughout . Most miles were in the 6:40-6:50 range. Quads were trashed by the end but no wonder having run 34 miles in the past 24 hours. Last mile (admittedly downhill) was 6:20 even though legs felt very heavy and unresponsive by this point. Only one more 'long run' to go!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another week in the books

So another week gone and pretty happy with the week's work. Being off work was nice, fun being able to take the kids to school, have lunch with Lisa, etc. So back to work tomorrow, refreshed and ready to see how the new role works out.

The week also saw the after effects of Hurricane Ida pass through. We had three solid days of rain and high winds so had to adapt the training around that- not having to work obviously helped with this! So I had to juggle around my workouts and they panned out as below. All in all I ran over 75 miles for the second successive week. Another 75 planned this week and then the taper begins....

Workout 1 (10 mile Tempo)

Glad to get this done considering the weather! Chose a route around the neighbourhood as I knew the roads wouldn't be flooded. Billy drove all the way down to join me too which was greatly appreciated.

Couple of miles warm up, quick change into dry gear and flats and straight into the tempo. Ran 10 miles in 59:26. Splits were very even except the first one which we ran too hard (5:48,6:00,5:55,5:59,6:00,5:56,6:00,5:57,5:57,5:55)

The rain wasn't actually too bad (although i was thoroughly drenched by the end and tights were starting to weigh me down!). Happy with how this turned out

Workout 2(Predator- 8 mile cutback starting at 6:00 and taking 5 seconds off per mile)

Was meant to be a cut down workout starting off at 6 minute pace and knocking off 5 seconds per mile but I got all my pacing messed up and the splits ended up being all over the place

5:50 (too fast despite trying to hold it back)
5:56 (back on track)
5:43 (picked it up too much)
5:52 (went to sleep)
5:39 (this was the right pace)
5:39 (couldn't go much faster at this point)
5:31 (picked it up as much as I could for the last one)

Total for 8 miles 45:52 (average 5:42)

Certainly went to the well in this workout but some more solid work in the bank, although disappointing that I wasn't able to follow the prescribed pacing/workout purpose

Long run (24.2 miles in 2:52:43 (7:08 pace))

Longest run of the Plan banked. Pretty happy with how it went. I didn't feel great to start with, I actually felt a little light headed so wasn't confident I was going to pull the run off but once I got through that patch I was fine.

Legs felt heavy on the last ten miles and I felt I was plodding but we were running about 6:50 pace when I looked at the splits after the run.

Ran almost all of the course. First half with Steve Spada, had a good chat with him, then stopped at the Y had a couple of gus and some water and picked up Jay, Justin, Billy and Ben for some company for the second half- thanks guys!

First half was about 7:20 pace, second half closer to 6:50. Would be nice to negative split like that on the day itself! It is a reflection though that the first half of the course is a lot more challenging than the second. If you can get yourself in a good position at the half you should be in a good situation for the second half.

Planning a day off tomorrow but still need to get 75 miles in and only a long run of 18 this week so I'll have to work that out

Sunday, November 8, 2009

5 weeks out

At the start of this week I must admit the prospect of 75 miles was a little daunting, but I got it done and confidence levels are rising.

Good and bad news in other aspects of my life. On the work front, my 4 year stint at Bovis came to a close on Thursday. My new job in a different area of the business starts next Monday. This week I have off so I can be a 'semi professional' runner for a week! The new job will be a breath of fresh air hopefully and less stressful than my previous role, to the relief of myself, more importantly my family and hopefully to the betterment of my running too!

On the bad news front my Grandad passed away during the week following a brief battle with cancer. A great, strong man who touched so many peoples' lives and experienced so much during his life, he will be missed greatly by all. Rest in peace Grandad....

Workout 1 (Track- 2*3 miles with 800 jog recovery. 1st 3m in 17:15 (5:45 pace) 2nd 3m in 16:30 (5:30))

Solid workout this am..

Hit 17:10 (5:43,5:43,5:44) and then 16:31 (5:32,5:29,5:30)

Held myself back on the first 3 miles and was pretty much in control for the second set too. Bookended the workout with 4*100m striders

Wore my brand new Fastwitch 3 and they were awesome, hopefully I have found my marathon shoe although obviously will need to test them on a longer run!

Workout 2 (5k race)

Won the race. Course was long. Went through 5k on my watch in 16:28 which is leaps and bounds progress from that 17:26 I ran a few weeks back. Easier course, perfect weather and a few 70 mile weeks saw to that, although I did run a bit faster than I thought i would and wasn't too taxed so all in all happy with the race. Took it out with Brian, was running pretty hard to go through first mile in 5:10. Got a bit of a gap and just tried to relax as much as possible for the rest of the race. Next 2 splits which both had hills were 5:22. As soon as I finished thoughts turned towards tomorrow's 22 miler on the agenda! Brian, Ben and Stan all ran solid races too on what was a perfect morning for racing!

Long run (22.4 miles in 2:36:18 (6:58)

That was actually my longest run (apart from the Marathon obviously) ever, putting the seal on the most miles I've ever run in a week- and all singles too. So far so good in the mad dash to respectable fitness for TR.

Ran first 12 on my own. Again up to Arborway to take in a few miles of the flatter part of the course. Legs were feeling yesterday to start out but did start to roll a little heading back to my house. Stopped there briefly to shed a couple of layers and take in 2 Gus and a bottle of Powerade (the fuel on offer at TR) then headed down to Mcalpine to pick up Aaron, Jay, Todd, Justin and Paul. Ran 10 with them pushing the pace a little towards the end. Legs were heavy but another good run in the bank and a good week in the books.

Another couple of hard weeks ahead but looking forward to them

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A weekend of two halves

A slightly strange week. This was a down week so I didn't run Monday and three of the other days were easy and short. The plan was to hit the two workouts hard and get a decent 20 mile run in. Had to settle for two out of three...

This week- 59 miles, long run, 2 workouts

Workout 1 (4*3*800 at 3:00,2:50,2:40,2:30- 30 seconds between the reps, 3 minutes between the sets)

This was a pretty cool workout and it went better than expected.

Hit(3.02,3.01,3.01),(2.49,2.47,2.50),(2.39,2.39,2.40), (2.31,2.35,2.35)

I knew that the workout really would be starting after the third set and so it proved. I was actually on pace through 400 to hit the goal time on the 11th rep but then the legs and form started getting a bit wobbly and I pretty much had to drag myself through the rest of the workout at 5:10 pace. Happy with this though. Legs are feeling good this week.

Before and after the workout I ran a set of 4*100m striders

Workout 2 (3*2 miles on Lansdowne loop- 2 minutes recovery. Goal 11:10s (5:30/5:40)

Fail... Didn't head out until the afternoon and I think therein lies half the problem. My body is used to getting it done first thing!

whatever it was, felt very flat and tired from the off today. Did the first 2 miles in 11.06(5.27,5.39) which was right on schedule for pace but not effort! was very tired already. did the first mile of the second rep in 5.40 and decided enough was enough, no point in flogging a dead horse with 20 miles on the schedule tomorrow am

rough with the smooth...

Long run- 20 miles (2:18:22- 6:55 pace)

Talk about a weekend of two halves! Much better run today. Took a pre run Gu, ran up to Arborway to run a few miles on the course, headed back to Mcalpine, took on some Gu and a water stop (10.5 miles) and set off to meet up with Jay, etc. for some company for the last part of my run. Hadn't reckoned with the rains last night splitting Mcalpine in two however so couldn't get across the bridges to meet them! Headed back out of the park, down Wingrave, Providence, Alexander, Brackenbury, Sardis and home. Felt decent throughout and closed the last five miles at sub 6:40 pace. Maybe I should precede all my runs with a diet of candy, hot dogs and beer!