Friday, June 20, 2008

Still the First Week

The first week of official training is coming along nicely, and I already seem to be speeding up. This is presumingly a temporary blip, and I guess I'll settle into a pace soon enough. Actually, I'm not sure what pace to follow for the workouts just yet. The book gives very precise workout paces for your level; looking at my recent marathon in Cork puts me around level 29, but my best 10k time from last year puts me at 27. You could of course argue that I have to go with my most recent time, which would be the marathon, but on the other hand I'm reasonably sure that if I ran a 10k now I'd get a better time than 40:35, which is the 3:09 marathon equivalent. My shorter races have always produced better times than my marathons, no matter what calculator you use for your predications, and I know for a fact that that's rather common for runners. One of my hopes for the new marathon program is that it will at least reduce that gap.

Wednesday was a rather mundane 6-mile run, the only remarkable thing was that it was raining and very windy. The weather has been very good here for the last few weeks, but it took only one day of rain for people to start moaning again. Don't live on the Irish west coast if you're water shy, guys. Luckily by Thursday the clouds had mostly disappeared again, and my first "fartlek" workout was done in decent conditions. I put that into quotes because 6 miles with 2x30 seconds at mile pace is not what I would call a fartlek. I was unsure how to set my mile pace; according to the charts it should be around 5:40, even though I cannot imagine running a mile that fast. The next problem was judging the pace during the actual workout. The garmin was no help in that regard; the pace display is always smoothed, it takes the average pace over the last few seconds, and if you only have 30 seconds for your run, that display is useless. Basically I just ended running at what felt rather fast, and looking at the workout data afterwards showed that I ran the 2 speed sections at 5:32 and 5:38 respectively, which meant I got it more or less right. Just like on Tuesday, the workout was over before it had even properly started, but that too will change very quickly in the next few weeks. The first week is easy. The second week will already be much tougher.

I did 12 miles today for my "long" run, but it will still take a while until I'll do a run that I can call a long run without having to use quotes. I ran a loop through the neighbouring village of Cromane because it's a reasonably flat road, and then added a detour over some hills on the way back home. I slightly misjudged the length of that detour and inadvertently ended up doing 12.5 miles, but since I had started a few minutes early this was not a problem. The legs felt surprisingly fresh and I easily got the pace down to 7:30 early on but forced myself to slow down a bit, because I should at least try to stay within the prescribed parameters of the program. For whatever reason, I had a bit of a low point between miles 6 and 8, but picked things up again towards the end. That's not the first time I've had troubles at that distance, but I'm always able to recover, and once I get over the low point I'm absolutely fine again.

The training plan also includes a few strengthening exercises; after running for several years, putting in a lot of miles and being able to run a 3:09 marathon I expected my legs to easily deal with anything. I was not prepared for how tough those squat jumps were. After 20 I was panting hard, and my quads were on fire. I guess that's a sign that there's plenty of room for improvement. That's good, of course. Room for improvement is what I need if I want to cut almost 10 minutes of my marathon time.

18 Jun
6 miles, 47:32, 7:55 pace, HR 151
19 Jun
6 miles, 47:36, 7:56 pace, HR 148
with 2x30 secs @ 5:32, 5:38
20 Jun
12 miles, 1:37:08, 7:46 pace, HR 150


  1. Haven't really tried the squat jumps, but those single-leg box jumps are just plain cruel. Looking at the book and seeing how high he's jumping just adds insult to injury (or at least it adds insult to extreme hamstring soreness).

    The "stability ball leg curl" had me rolling my legs of the ball while sending it rolling across the gym. He makes it look easy though.

  2. Sounds almost like Crossfit stuff, sick. I look forward to reading this new chapter in your running experience, I believe you have a sub-3 in you just waiting to come out.

  3. I'm sure there's value in those exercises - with improved leg strength and range of movement - maybe 10 minutes' worth.

    I'll be interested to see how you go, in terms of recovery from the sessions, and the progression.

    Changing running style is another adaptation - not an easy one for sure. I hope it all goes well.

  4. I was training at level 26. That should be no problem for you (Your Banty half time alone puts you at 27+ and that was a hilly half).

    I only ever managed 12 of those squat jumps - I thought you might head for the upper end of the recommended 12 to 20.