Sunday, August 23, 2015

The 12th of 18 Weeks

The twelfth week of the marathon training plan went like this:

Monday8-10k E. The easy run after a long effort on the Sunday preceding it is always mentally easy, but somewhat of an unknown physically. I started off nice and easy and felt somewhat creaky, especially the patella on the left knee, but as the run progressed things loosened up and I felt fine by the end even if the legs were still very tired and sore. Kept this one very slow in anticipation of the Strength session to come and managed 10k E at 5:36/km in the end. Still at the cottage and my stretching and rolling routine has totally fallen off the map. However, I don't feel all that inclined to disturb my vacation with too much structure and prefer to sit on the dock drinking things, or swimming, or water skiing, etc. Don't seem to be worse for wear otherwise with the possible exception of the lack of energy that I've been experiencing while on the lake.

Tuesday4x1.5 miles. Man, sometimes you definitely have to wonder why on Earth you put yourself through these things. The Strength session of four repeats of 1.5 miles (2.4km on the interval setting on my Garmin) was one such event where I definitely felt like I would not be able to complete the workout. It was quite hot and humid out, which just added to the difficulty of the already challenging task at hand. Jogging the 2km warmup I felt sluggish. Then when I started in on the first repeat I felt ok at the beginning, then about half way through it started to labour quite a bit. Upon finishing the first 2.4km interval in 10:45.01 (4:29.13/km pace) I walked the first 200m of the 600m rest interval. Perhaps that was not right, but with the heat I really felt that I needed to do this. With some trepidation starting into the second repeat I managed it in a slightly faster 10:41.78 (4:27.41/km), but felt like I was running a lot slower and working a lot harder than this pace would suggest based on past Tempo run results. In any case, I kept reminding myself that the perceived effort was the guide that I needed to follow on a day like this one and not the pace that the Garmin was displaying. Once again, I walked the first 200m of the rest interval, then turned for home when starting my third repeat. This repeat began on a slight decline and was by far the easiest one of the lot mentally speaking as I wasn't under pressure to chase down the right pace after starting too slow. It got done in 10:34.15 (4:24.24), which was nice, but took a lot out of me. As I walked then jogged the next 600m rest interval I could tell that the last repeat would begin on an uphill and I knew that this would make it that much tougher. Sure enough, I had to fight like mad once cresting the hill to get my pace down into the right zone and was surprised that I actually managed to do it as I was most definitely dead at the end. The last repeat took 10:41.22 (4:27.18/km) and I was most happy to be finished. I walk jogged the last 600m rest interval, then very slowly jogged 2km back to the cottage. Those last 2km seemed to take forever, but I kept thinking that I needed to keep running to flush all that lactic acid out of my muscles. In the end I managed to complete 16km ST at 5:18/km. Not bad when looking back at it, but I have to note here that it was one of the toughest workouts of the entire marathon training plan.

Wednesday: OFF. Took the whole day OFF except for one thing: drove to Perth for a round of golf. The round itself was quite decent for me as I recorded three pars and had a putt for a third in a row on the last hole that just missed from about 14 feet, but overall for a 9-hole round that is a very good result for me. The heat was quite bad, however, and I didn't realize just how much that took out of me until...

Thursday14k T. The worst run of the entire training plan to date by far! Jogged the 2km to the main highway and that was ok, then as I turned South and started in on the Tempo portion of the workout I faced a very strong and sustained headwind. I worked very hard to maintain pace, but by the time I managed to get through 5km I was pretty much spent. Took my first rest break there, then ran the 2km to the turnaround spot, where I had another break. From there on it was just as bad despite the fact that the wind was now at my back. The legs were completely fried, I could barely maintain form, and with the wind behind me I was overheating as well. This was definitely not how a Tempo run was supposed to have been executed and this one should be chalked up as a failure and forgotten about as quickly as possible. The average pace for the "Tempo" portion, which really was more like an interval workout than a real tempo workout, ended up at 4:40.08/km, but I do not feel like that was a success. The total for the run with warm up and cool down ended up as 18km T at 4:53/km. I guess it should be noted as a good thing that my first real failed run (though there were a few others that I could have executed better, that's for sure) occurred in the twelfth week of the training plan.

Friday8-10k E. Not surprisingly, I was totally dead for the rest of the day after my Tempo run failure and the feeling was still in full force as I woke up late and headed out for the recovery run that was on the schedule for Friday morning. I came across yet another blog post from somewhere touting the virtues of keeping the slow recovery runs very slow and easy so I went out with that in mind and managed to not look at my Garmin for pace the entire time! I simply ran it as easily as I could and managed to complete the 8k E at 5:30/km without too much trouble. Legs definitely were still trashed, but I think that's what is to be expected as one nears the completion of the twelfth week of Hanson's Marathon Method training plan.

Saturday13-16k E. Same as the day before, the plan was to run on feel and not worry about pace. Once more, I did't check the Garmin even once for pace and just tried to enjoy the effort. Kept the breathing pattern to 3-3 the entire way, even on the hills at the end, and wasn't terribly surprised by the final pace as I completed 13k E at 5:13/km. The reason for this is that I loosened up towards the end of the run and could tell that I was gliding over the ground at a faster clip than I thought I could achieve while keeping things easy. Legs still trashed, but I am comforted by the fact that I am not burning out and not injured while never missing any workouts.

Sunday16k E/L. After a long day of driving, broken up by dropping the boat off at our cottage and mowing the entire lawn, then swimming for a short spell, I guess I had a decent sleep prior to the last run of the week. More than anything, these 16k efforts no longer come with any trepidation. It's a wonderful thing when 10 miles is just a normal run! Anyway, I still wasn't sure how my legs would be feeling, but I suspected that they would continue to be tired. I had thoughts of avoiding any hills, but then decided that I actually wanted to have some climbing at the end of these runs because the marathon I am training for has a couple of climbs at the end. So I headed down to the Beaches, which meant a downhill run for the first bit and I got into a decent rhythm as a result. I probably should have slowed down to get into the Long run pace range of 4:54/km-5:10/km, but as I ran I continued to put up splits in the high 4:40's. Even trying to slow down, but maintaining cadence, wasn't working. And I was breathing 3-3 pattern the whole time so I figured that was ok. As I got to the last 5k of the run I started to feel the effects of the week that was, but continued to maintain cadence as a primary area of focus. Then the hill coming back home was upon me in the last 2k and then my goal became to maintain pace under 5:00/km, which I did! In the end I managed 16k at 4:50/km and walked the 700m that were left home. Not an ideal Long run pace execution, but I think it was good. I guess the next few days will tell... Week 12 is done! And that means I'm exactly two thirds of the way through the plan. No runs missed, and workouts pretty much all on track as far as paces and execution goes. So far so good!

Total for the week: 81km at 5:09.6/km average pace.

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