Sunday, September 20, 2015

The 16th of 18 Weeks

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

Monday8-10k E. After the half marathon Tempo/Long run the day before I went out on a nice chilly clear morning and managed a controlled and very easy 10k E at 5:41/km. The legs definitely felt the effects of the effort, but other than lack of energy and perhaps a touch of soreness they felt fine. This program really does force one to adapt to running on tired legs and at this point I'm running on what feels normal when the legs are tired. Very curious to see how the legs react to the short taper at the end of the plan. In the afternoon I managed a typical running strength training session followed by some rolling and stretching.

Tuesday4x1.5 miles. With the right quad a bit on the tight side I went into the second last Strength session with a bit of worry about how my legs would react following the long run with that half marathon tempo paced component thrown in that I managed on Sunday. The 2km jog for warm up went fine and my quad didn't seem to be an issue so I stopped and stretched just a little prior to starting into the 4 x 1.5 mile repeats with 600m recovery intervals. I had set the Garmin to 2.4km, which I guess is close enough to the metric equivalent, and set off on the first loop, which I completed in 10:15.06, or an average pace of 4:16.28/km. I walked the first 200m of the rest interval as per usual, and then jogged the remainder before starting in on the second repeat. This I completed in 10:09.47 with an average pace of 4:13.95/km. At this point I started to wonder if I was going too fast as these averages were well under the overall average for my strength sessions, which hovered a bit over 4:20/km. However, my breathing pattern remained 3-2 so I decided that as long as I was able to maintain that I would be ok to continue and run them at whatever pace felt good at that perceived effort level. After the same walk/jog rest interval I set off on my third repeat and completed it in 10:08.48, which translated to an average pace of 4:13.53/km. My legs were starting to feel the effects of the lactic acid accumulation towards the end of the third repeat I think, but that is the point of the Strength sessions so I wasn't too worried. The quad was not getting any worse for the wear either. My last repeat I managed in 10:05.41 (average pace of 4:12.25/km) despite starting rather slow and staying above 4:20/km pace for the first quarter of the repeat. The average pace for the total session of repeats ended up at exactly 4:14.00/km, which is only 4s/km slower than what my Speed session pace was supposed to have been during this training plan! I guess this is a good sign. Still, this was a tough workout, but I am most pleased with the results to date, although this enthusiasm is always tempered by the fact that those last 10k in the marathon are a mystery and I have no idea how I will fare. In any case, the total for the session was 16k ST at 5:14/km. Before lunch I went to the gym to roll and stretch and do a bit of sauna to try and work out the kinks in my legs, especially that pesky right quad.

Wednesday: OFF. Another crazy day at work, but I managed to at least get to the gym for a decent strength training session followed by some rolling and stretching. The right quad, that had been barking quite a bit on Monday evening and into Tuesday, had settled down somewhat at least. This was a good day OFF I guess, though I did hold the first try out session for the basketball team I coach in the evening, which meant two hours on my feet chasing little athletes around and such.

Thursday16k T. After a horrible night of sleep where I maybe got three hours total I woke up feeling less than stellar as I faced the second last tempo run prior to the marathon. After running the half marathon at tempo pace I knew I could manage sixteen kilometres at that pace, but the way I felt while jogging the first two kilometres for warm up did not give me much confidence in executing this run properly. I chose not to do the usual loops that I'd been running to avoid red lights and major road crossing and headed for the same long loop that I used for last weeks Thursday run. I also knew that this would mean I would have to traverse some decent hills in the first half of the run and that this would be a good challenge to see if I could still manage the tempo pace with the undulating terrain. Well, long story short this was not the most perfectly executed run I've had, but not the worst either. I had to stop a few times due to red lights and also due to feeling off now and then. However, I did run this one well when I was running and averaged a much too fast (in some ways) 4:27.71/km for the 16k tempo portion of the run. With the warm up and cool down I managed 20k T at 4:41/km. With work being completely nuts I had trouble getting to the gym for my usual rolling and stretching routine, followed by relaxing in a sauna, but I did manage it despite the craziness.

Friday8-10k E. Now at the tail end of the 18 week training plan the legs have all the cumulative fatigue in them that they can take and these easy short runs are put in place just at the most appropriate time. Case in point was this easy 8k E at 5:32/km on another beautiful morning where I felt like I really needed a short and easy run. The taper can't come soon enough was the mantra, but all the while I tempered these thoughts with the knowledge that the taper itself is likely to be frustrating and filled with doubts about whether or not the training was enough. Should remember these runs in order to remind myself that indeed I have done as much as I could have. At lunch time I went to the gym for another strength training session followed by some rolling and stretching.

Saturday13-16k E. After a rough night wherein my Mom had to go to the hospital I had a bit of trouble sleeping and then waking up. I was out the door later than I'd intended and ended up running more than I'd planned as well. Instead of the 13k that I was hoping to get done I ended up managing 14k E at 5:08/km because the loop I selected was longer than I thought it would be. I had to be home in time for other things so I decided to not walk the extra kilometre. In the end it doesn't matter, though my left calf has a knot in it that will need to be worked out sooner than later.

Sunday16k E/L. With that knot in the left calf still present, and all the driving I had to do the day before to the cottage and back meant I was unable to try and work it out, I set off on the last Long paced run of the training plan on a beautiful morning that was perhaps slightly chilly at around 10C. The air was still and the sunrise proved to be spectacular as the cloud across Lake Ontario were lit up while I ran along the boardwalk. The run itself was good, but I think I ran it too fast as I ended up doing 16k L at 4:42/km. That's pretty much a Tempo run on this plan (which calls for tempo runs to be done at planned marathon pace and mine slotted in at 4:45/km based on that 5k race result from the end of May), though it didn't feel like I was pushing the effort into Tempo range so I think that's ok. If the last ten miles of the marathon feel like this I'll be in good shape for a strong finish.

Total for the week: 84 km at 5:04.04/km average pace.

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